Today we’d like to introduce you to Jerome Fleming.
Jerome, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was born in San Francisco, raised in the East Bay, Oakland to be exact. I’m a California, 80’s kid through and through. I love the music, the fashion, the movies, and the art… specifically the graffiti. Throw on a breakbeat and I might hit the floor and attempt a windmill. I still rock graphic tees, I speak in movie lingo, and I continue to find ways to add 3D characters and elements to my art.
In the early 90’s, after graduating HS, I moved to Phoenix. I attended a small, vocational tech college with a narrow focus on graphic design/desktop publishing. However, after graduating, finding a job was few and far between since this field was still in its infancy. Since I was pretty settled in Phoenix, I decided to stay and make it my home. I spent the next few years working a number of odd jobs (more on this later) before landing a job that utilized my schooling. My break finally arrived when a good friend referred me for an open position at a publishing company he was working at. Having been away from any form of graphic designing in years, this company was patient enough to train me within to get me reacquainted with programs and new technologies. I’ve worked 8+ years in the publishing business creating yardage books, magazine spreads, and posters for upscaled golf courses around the world. Fun Fact: If your an avid golfer, played any of the numerous courses here in the valley, visited any number of well-known courses, or are a reader/subscriber to Golf World Magazine or similar publication… there’s a good chance you are indeed in possession of some of my earlier work!
I had mentioned earlier that I worked a few odd jobs. One of those was for a premier skincare company that used to be headquartered in Phoenix. It was here that I would meet my wife. In ‘08, after the birth of our son, my wife and I made the decision that our careers would take on different roles: she remained with her company, growing her brand, and I became a full-time, stay-at-home father. With this transition, my focus has been commission based work for private customers and small businesses.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In the beginning, working behind a desk for 40-50+ hours a week to becoming a full-time stay-at-home father was definitely an interesting transition as you can imagine. So carving out space and time to be creative were huge obstacles. These days, most of the struggles is in the delicate balancing act between creativity, business, and family.
It is very easy to become complacent when working from home. So, I had to start dedicating myself to create a “work” schedule, which in itself ironically takes work. I knew if I wanted to be successful at anything I would need to do the hard work that came along with it. There have been many times along my journey where career has taken precedent over social life. You’ll find times where you will have to say no to work, essentially leaving money on the table. No matter what the challenge, the goal has always remained the same… creating a deliverable for private clientele or for public consumption, all while maintaining my integrity as an artist.
Please tell us more about your art.
I’m an award-winning, freelance artist, one-man operation, with skills in both traditional and digital art. I work with just about anything from your average, everyday ballpoint pen or acrylic paints, to creating intricate illustrations digitally with an iPad. My distinct, hand painted, abstract, geometric portraiture is what I’m known for and sets me apart from most. I view faces differently, and I employ a number of different techniques to bring out those features to help the viewer visualize what I see. Watercolor or ink, or the combination of the two are my mediums of choice, but more recently I’ve been transitioning to acrylics. This has allowed me a few advantages, mainly affording me the ability to work much larger. My subject matters aren’t limited to just the human face. In fact, I’ve been commissioned a number of times to create portraits of customer’s beloved pet, favorite cartoon character, or just about anything in between.
In my spare time, I’m an avid DIYer who’s managed to put together a decent workshop. I love working with wood, building my own cabinets, picture frames, and any other functioning piece of apparatus that I may need for my art or home. My goal eventually is to marry both my art and woodworking, bringing a whole new level and meaning of ‘one of a kind’ to art collectors. The feeling of leaving a customer satisfied with a piece of art that I’ve created is priceless, and it’s the most important thing that I’m proud of… period. It lets me know that all the hard work, sacrifices behind closed doors was well worth it.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Define success… this is an interesting question because I look at success as an almost unattainable goal. Let me explain: it’s human nature to always want more of this or that. So I don’t view success as finite. To me, success is reaching a goal, then turning around and reaching for another. What those goals are is up to the individual. So, if I complete a project and the customer is satisfied, then yes… that job can be considered a success.
- Instagram: kuorbandit
Jerome Fleming (aka kulorbandit)