February 26, 2018
David and Jessica Tenorio
BY BEE PAPER
How did you two meet?
D: Jessica and I first met in Austin, TX at a small art studio that I was teaching at. I joined the school as an instructor when it first opened, and Jessica was hired a few months later. We were introduced to each other by the school’s secretary and quickly became acquainted. We would stand in the parking lot and talk for hours after the classes were over for the day. I knew she was someone special.
J: We met as instructors at a small, private art school in Texas. We became friends almost immediately and not long after that, I knew we would be a couple.
Did art bring you closer together?
D: Definitely! One of my earliest memories involves Jessica trying to show me how to animate at the art studio where we were teaching. She stayed after class in the evening to show me how to animate a jumping flour sack (one of the first assignments any animator learns.) I was really bad at it! I wanted to be cool and do a good job but I was terrible, but luckily Jessica was very sweet and understanding, although she did poke fun a bit (I deserved it). We’ve spent hours drawing and painting together. One of our favorite date ideas is to visit the zoo to draw the animals, we love to study all types of wildlife. In Texas, we always hoped that one day we would make it to the San Diego Zoo, it was like our “mecca” of zoos. Sure enough, after many years, that dream came true when we visited the San Diego Zoo as part of our honeymoon!
J: Yes. We would work together at the art school and talk about our favorite artists and art forms as well as teaching each other about our respective fields. David taught me to watercolor and I taught him a little about drawing in perspective. It was really fun to share our artwork and learn from each other. One of our first major outings was at the Houston Zoo where we drew the animals. David painted the flamingos and he did an amazing job.
Do you like to work on your art together, or separately?
D: We work together very well; we’ve teamed up on a number of pieces and even had a small comic/art print business for a few years solely based on our collaborative work. We’re looking forward to doing more work together in the future. That said, Jessica and I have VERY different styles and goals, we have a really great mutual respect for each other’s work, and we understand that we have very separate goals and ideas. I actually think we work well together because we’re so different artistically, we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We have lots of freelance personal projects and schoolwork that we’re doing separately, but we’re almost always sharing the same space during our art time.
J: We share the same space, but for the most part we work on separate projects. We have collaborated in the past and we found that we work really well together. But, as David mentioned, we have very different styles and goals, so often the work that we do has to be done separately. We did have an art show together based on faeries. It went really well and I think the fact that we had such different styles and concepts helped our work appeal to a pretty wide audience.
Can each of you describe your favorite time/place to create?
D: Although I’m trying to become more of a morning person, I think my true creative time is late at night. I like any time after midnight when it’s quiet outside and the world is asleep. My ideal place to create would just be crouched over my desk, coffee cup to the side, supplies and paint thrown all over the place with my favorite music on my headphones.
J: To be honest, I used to be a morning person, but now I’m more of an evening creator. It seems like the only time that I can work since I’m usually at school all day. David likes to sit at a desk, but I never worked like that. I like to sit on the floor or the bed with all of my supplies spread out around me. I can’t really listen to music while I work. I agree with the cup of coffee, though.
You each have very different styles; how would you describe your partner’s artistic style?
D: Jessica’s style is very appealing; everything that she draws comes out well-designed and endearing to look at. She could make a glass of water look like it has a story to tell. Her work has an effeminate quality that is equal parts strong and pretty. I love her respect for classical art and animation. She’s very confident in the way she lays down her drawings, and that confidence really shows through in her work.
J: David has a very dark style. He has an obvious understanding of anatomy on any creature he is drawing. He creates well rendered and realistic images, even when they are from his imagination. His goblins, for example, are awesome. They have so much personality and his style really shines through on them. David is exceptional in the fact that he can do very realistic and fantastic imaginative art. When he paints, his brush strokes are confident and strong. I remember being amazed at how confident his brush strokes were when he was first teaching me how to paint.
What inspires each of you to create?
D: I’m driven by the simple need to create, to do it well, and to shine a light on weird, mysterious and sometimes forgotten characters. I have lots of crazy ideas and stories in my head. In the past, I just put them down haphazardly on paper, but now I want to make work that appeals to many people and not just a select few. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gained a tremendous respect for literature, mythology and fantasy worlds that have come before me. The same goes for art; I respect those who came before me, which in turn drives me to push my skills and my storytelling abilities. I’m also inspired by my audience. In some cases their needs outweigh my own.
J: I want to create art and tell stories that inspire people. I really admire storytellers who can create an intricate world and characters that feel so real and three dimensional that you feel like you know them. It’s my personal philosophy that art should be for the good of society. I think that’s why animation appealed so much to me. By telling our stories, we can change the way that people see the world. I think that it’s the responsibility of artists to strive to help create that change. After all, when archaeologists find the ruins of ancient civilizations, it is the art of the people that lived at that time that tells them about society.
In a slump, do you find encouragement in each other?
D: For sure! As I said earlier, Jessica and I are almost always in the same room when we’re creating art. I can’t count the number of times I’ve asked for her advice and direction on a piece. We have very vibrant and animated discussions about art on a daily basis. Those discussions center around our work, the art world, classical art, storytelling, and more. I really believe we have an energy that we bounce back and forth when the other person needs it. Jessica has made my work so much better with her insight. Because of my love and respect for her, it’s safe to say that she’s a little part of every piece that I create.
J: Totally. David is always supportive. Sometimes, I get creative blocks and he always has something encouraging to say. There are many times that just watching him work on a sketch or do an anatomical study has helped to inspire me and get me out of my slump. He is very driven in his desire to learn and improve and create. It definitely helps to be able to ask his advice if I’m stuck or get his opinion on a project that is feeling a little flat. He looks at things in a different way and his insight is indispensable.