Sean Davis: The ToonHeadz Artist Highlight
Meet another one of the ToonHeadz's amazing caricature artists, Sean Davis.
Sean is 24 years old and has a deeply rooted passion and enthusiasm for art. He has been working as a caricature artist for 5 and a half years. Although, he wasn't always interested in the caricature style. Like most people who collect caricatures at festivals or carnivals, Sean noticed his grandmother had one in her house, but he "never really batted an eye at it. Growing up in Florida, theme parks were crawling with sketch artists, like us." Yet, with graphic design origins that left his creative itch unsatisfied, Sean discovered a love for the art of caricature.
When asked what he enjoys most about caricature, Sean responded:
"I genuinely enjoy caricature, but as the art style inspired by the Art Deco, Cubist, and Surrealist movements of the 20th century, but also as the modern evolution into elevated cartoons as well. To view it as a respected and refined art is what I wished all our customers came to our booths with the expectation of, but it seems that these days the expectation as to what a caricature is has drifted firmly and far from its roots and definition.
The second thing I most enjoy about caricature is how conducive it is to creative thought. You can look at many of the best live artists today and definitely spot their inspirations and where their unique flavor derives from. Mixing and matching styles is such a cool thing with this style of art. It's totally Modular!"
It's evident to anyone with functioning eyeballs that Sean's artistic style and vision is extremely unique. He's the artist that will take his time to make sure his composition and quality are consistently up to par. Sean commented regarding his artistic style and work ethic, "Sometimes, and often, I have to compromise between my artistic ambition and the sensibilities of the customers, so experimentation is not always something I have the liberty of doing. I strive every time I work to search for something, anything that I can try out and add to my sketches. My goal, no matter how unrealistic it is, is to try and change the public perception of what a caricature is and can be so that the crazy artists are just as expected as the cute ones." These reasons, among countless others, are why Sean is a valued member of the ToonHeadz team: he's always looking to push creative boundaries, try new techniques, and he refuses to be anyone but his authentic, artistic self.
Sean explained his style further, "Some of the defining aspects of my sketch I would say are the geometry, colors, and line variation. I also try to add gags as often as possible and search for fun ways to communicate ideas or statements about the person I am drawing into the sketch. It is about drawing who the person is more than what they look like. Save the realism for portraits and cut loose, I say. That is what sets us apart from other art styles, the commentary we make on the world around us."
Even though Sean has been with the ToonHeadz since February of 2020, he has worked with ToonHeadz owner, AJ Jensen, for years. He expressed his gratitude for working with "artists who not only care about their business but their peers and art quality too." Possibly the easiest question for Sean to answer was, what sets the ToonHeadz apart from other caricature companies? Since he had previous experience with other companies, he stated, "[The ToonHeadz] is run by artists, for artists. Creativity is king here. It is not only encouraged but actively praised. You would be surprised at the number of companies run by artists that are way more corporate or profit focused. In the past I have been actively discouraged from experimentation, I have been treated poorly, worked inhumane hours, witnessed artist apathy, and even saw how little an employer could care for his artists no matter how much they claimed friendship. My experience in the community of caricature has not been great, arguably toxic. AJ and Bobby are great and encouraging people that make me feel heard and respected."
"Sean's adventure in caricature really makes me excited. He's constantly thinking of ways to explore different dimensions that lurks inside the art form of caricature. It's super impressive and brave. Live caricature is far from easy. You really have to put yourself on the spot and polish a skill that will sell to the customer. At the same time, always ignoring mistakes or the little voices in your head telling you "this customer is going to rip up the drawing in front of you." After all the hurdles and lessons, in the end, you will mostly find artists that get in a comfortable situation - only drawing a style that seems to sell well. Sean ignores all of that. He is constantly trying to push himself with every sketch. You really have to respect that. Sean has probably already found different formulas or styles that will make him comfortable, but he chooses to be ambitious with his creativity." -A.J. Jensen
Sean is a person with high expectations for himself and his art. His sage advice to any artists seeking to improve themselves is, "You need to be able to constructively criticize yourself so that you grow from each piece instead of harshly criticizing yourself. Balance criticism with something you like! Also, you are going to want to have fun and don't be afraid to draw what you want. Remember that you are the expert and customer's relation to you is just that. Finally, stay ambitious. Don't ever settle for good enough. We are creators and we can always improve our craft, I hope to be improving still 50 years from now."
We feel grateful and inspired by the work that Sean provides. The ToonHeadz would be nothing without caricature artists like him who are professional, determined, artistic, creative, and so much more. If you would like to see more of Sean's work, check out his instagram @the_dorklord