William Thomas, also known as WRex, is an artist who resides in Tokyo, Japan. He works in many various mediums including traditional drawing and painting as well as digital art. WRex is an English Instructor by day and creates art in his spare time. His works have earned him the title of “The King of Mashups” among his artist friends and fans because he enjoys creating art pieces that cleverly combine two or characters. His art is both beautiful and incredibly detailed, sometimes may even offer a bit humor. I have known William (WRex) for about 6 months. We met on Instagram and we follow and support one another’s work. I never really had the chance to get to know him on a deeper level until now so I was very pleased to find out more about my art friend, WRex.
Q[Bre]: What name to do you prefer to go by as an artist?
A[WRex]: WRex is how I sign my art pieces
Q: Where do you live and what languages do you speak?
A: I currently live in Tokyo, Japan, but I grew up in South Korea. I lived there till I was 10; my father was retired Army working as a civilian at the US 8th Army military base in Seoul, and I lived in Hawaii. I have been living in Japan for about 14 years now. I speak English and Japanese.
Q: Do you have any formal art training? Did you ever take any art classes in high school or university?
A: I took art classes as my electives in high school, but the teacher didn’t really teach me anything… She just provided art supplies and just encouraged me to explore. At the University of Hawaii, I took Art 101 (art history), a design class (color theory), and one figure drawing class. The color theory class was the most useful. Other than that, I’m pretty much self taught, drawing favorite comic book characters.
Q: What is your profession outside of art? Are you ever able to incorporate your talents into your daily job?
A: My current profession is English instructor in Japan. As Kids Coordinator, I sometimes make custom flashcards or other materials for special holiday lessons. I also make custom “good job” stamps from erasers. When I lived in Hawaii, I was a graphic artist at a toy marketing company and at the US Marine Corps Community Services marketing department.
Q: How many years have you been practicing your artistic skills?
A: I drew a lot from my late elementary school days till like my first year in college. Since then I had drawn things very intermittently. For example, from 2002 to 2009, I may have drawn like three pictures. But after that I tried to draw a little more frequently, The big change came last year when I participated in Drawlloween and Inktober on Instagram, where I started drawing almost daily. I think my artistic skills have improved quite a bit because of these activities.
Q: How would you categorize your artistic style?
A: I think recently, my art style has been changing. Due to the challenges on Instagram, I’ve been a little more creative with my pieces. Perhaps less serious, perhaps more whimsical. Some of my art Instagram friends have nicknamed me the “King of Mashups” as I often incorporate different characters to certain themes. In those cases, I try to be humorous with my drawings. I think my art style may be evolving, and I still have yet to solidify my new art style.
Q: What type of art media do you work in?
A: Pencil is the easiest for me. I tried oils and acrylics, and I like pastel… But it’s a bit messy with the dust. And I dislike cleaning brushes, so I tried to go digital. I also did things with Design and Copic markers. Recently though, I’ve been experimenting a lot with watercolor, which evolved from using watercolor pencils, which were gifts from some former students who knew I liked art. I also invested in a set of Copic markers again.
Q: Do you have a favorite medium?
A: Pencil … Watercolor… Digital… Copic markers… I think I am in a period of flux and am learning to try various mediums. So I don’t really have a favorite at the moment.
Q: I know you like to work in both fine art and digital art forms, but do you have a preference to one over the other?
A: Inherently, it does seem much easier to do things with traditional mediums. As I had recently upgraded my software to brand-new versions of Photoshop and Corel Painter, I have yet to get adjusted to their new brushes and interfaces. The great thing about digital, is of course the ability to undo mistakes, experiment by using different layers, and having a vibrant color set.
I think depending on the subject matter and what kind of look I want, I may choose either a traditional method or digital.
Q: What programs do you use when you create digital art?
A: Adobe Photoshop CC and Corel Painter 2016
Q: How long have you been working in digital art?
A: Maybe since 1998
Q: Do you sell your works?
A: Not yet, though I have done some commissions, and I am considering putting up some of my works since Drawlloween on an Etsy shop.
Q: Have you participated in any art fairs, conventions or gallery shows? If not, would you ever want to?
A: No, I don’t think my works are “artistic” enough, but it would be a great honor if one day I could.
I cannot say I agree with that last statement from WRex because I believe he is a very talented artist and I really adore his work. If you would like to check out some of WRex’s speedpainting videos, check out his Youtube Channel.
You can also follow him on his Instagram page or his Deviant Art page. And so I leave you on this note with a digital speedpainting of Sailor Pluto by WRex. Enjoy!
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