When asked how he describes his style of art, Johnpaul Gutierrez struggles to find the right words. But he does throw out a phrase that seems to best sum it up: Mental Vomit. The descriptive imagery those words evoke gives insight into his process. The characters he paints build off of each other, with each one spawning potential for another to emerge– creating a self contained world of random ideas and voices.

First thing you do when you wake up?

Make coffee and wonder if my brain is gonna cooperate with the plans I’ve laid out for the day.


Last thing you ate?

Pop Tart.

JohnPaul Gutierrez, Rooster Magazi

Best advice you’ve received?

It’s not up to someone else to get things done.


Favorite cartoon character?

Sylvester P. Smythe from Cracked Magazine.

How did you get your start as an artist? Can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I have been drawing since I was a child. I just felt an urge to recreate the comics and cartoons I saw back then and kept trying to make my own characters. I started doing graffiti when I was a teenager and just was blown away by all the talent and creativity I saw in graff mags and videos. That’s when I really found my creative streak and from there my mind went crazy with characters and ideas. Graffiti was my first real foundation artistically and it still influences my work to this day. I tried going to art school twice, but never felt it was a good avenue for me. I studied art history on my own and for years attended a nude figure drawing group and was surrounded by a lot of very talented artists and inevitably learned a ton from them. Realistic faces were always the hardest thing for me to draw, maybe that’s why I start with a distorted, cartoon head when I begin to draw now (haha)! From there I participated in art shows and kept refining my techniques and started showing my work to more and more people. Instagram has really been useful in getting my work seen.

How would you describe your style of art?

I always struggle with this question. But what I tell people is, it’s a combination of illustrative, cartoon style characters and creatures emerging from one another creating a self contained world of random ideas and voices. A sort of mental vomit, if that makes any sense.


What are your artistic tools of choice?

My go-to is a Tombow Fudenosuke pen and a Tombow brush pen for drawing. I really enjoy using Posca markers and colored pencils and when painting, Liquitex acrylic paint.


Where do your ideas for your next piece come from?

Every piece I create is an extension of the last piece I completed. My ideas never really stop; they just continually evolve and transform into the next piece and on and on it goes.

How do you come up with your crazy characters? 

It all starts by just sitting down and drawing. I usually start with a face or skull and build from there. I see every surface, opening and crevice in a face as potential for some creature or character to emerge from or take up residence.


What other types of art do you enjoy doing?

I enjoy sculpting with clay but don’t do that very often.


How do you spend your time when you’re not “art-ing”?

I spend time with my wife and kids camping and being outdoors. But let’s be honest, even camping I draw and when I’m at my kids Ninja Warrior gym class, I draw there too!

What would you say is the most important part of your creative process?

Being free and loose with my thoughts and tools. Letting the shapes and lines determine what I do next and definitely trying not to overthink what’s happening on the paper.


What is your favorite part about being an artist? 

Favorite part of being an artist is the ability to create worlds and characters that the viewer may not be expecting. By just laying down lines and strokes I can create depth, movement and surreal images that keep people looking and wanting to buy with their hard earned money.


What’s the most challenging part of being an artist?

Most challenging part has got to be the social media aspect of it all. Trying to keep up with posting and sharing my work constantly. Feels more like trying to entertain than just being creative. Although I really do enjoy sharing and connecting with people, it can be exhausting as well.