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Coulter Young Illustrator

The Best of The Illustrators Journal 2019: Interview with Coulter Young

Here are some excerpts from the colorful interview we had with Coulter in our Holiday issue in 2018. Our entire interview with him can be found here


When did you first think about art as something you wanted to do? Were you encouraged or discouraged by family, friends, teachers, mentors?

I was always drawing as a kid but did not consider art as a career option until I went to college. In high school I was on the ski team and I raced slalom. My motivation at that time was to go to college in Vermont, ski and study Recreational Management. I arrived at Green Mountain College in July to meet with the Dean of the school and take a aptitude placement test to find out my interests. I placed 95% in the arts and 5% in Management. The Dean advised me to become a Fine Arts major for the first semester and go from there. With my parents blessing that was how I was directed down the path of the arts.

What kind of kid were you? Where did you grow up? What were your influences?

I have been told that I was a laid back kid that you could bring anywhere. Just as long as I had a case of hot wheels with me I was good. I grew up in Mahopac, N.Y. a small town in Putnam County about an hour north of NYC. My extended fam- ily lived in Westfield N.J. were I spent time there during the holidays and my summer was spent down at the Jersey shore. My influences when I was young were 1970’s superheroes, matchbox, Hot Wheels and Kiss.

Your style is very unique. Did you work on developing a style or is that what naturally came out of you?

As a student of Illustration we were all encouraged to come up with our own style to set us apart from another. I did develop a style in my early days and as I recall I wanted to incorporate the elements of water, wind and fire into my artwork. If you look at my earliest portraits you will see a lot of swirling colors and organic shapes.

I’m curious about how you choose what to work on. I imagine your process takes a long time to finish so it’s an important deci- sion to decide what to work on. What’s does your process entail?

Start to finish. Can you give us a short step-by-step? Outside the realm of Illustration were the subject is chosen for you I take on a different process. I am inspired by music. I will choose a musician that has a look that intrigues me and sketch them with pencil and paper for a few days. Once I have a sketch that I like I will create a large painting of the sketch and then start making decision in my head about the color scheme. Once I have that part done I will paint until the painting is done. I like to paint for about 4 or 5 hours at a time.

What do you do to promote yourself and get work?

I try to have at least 2 shows a year to keep my work in the public eye. Other than that I just promote my website http://www.coulteryoung. com