Claudia Bartoli-McKinney, known as Phatpuppy, is a mom to four children and a digital artist by night - specializing in book covers for best selling authors including, Amanda Hocking, JL Bryan, Courtney Milan, and others. Her clients include: Random House Books, Flux Publishing and Monalis360 Entertainment, to name a few.
- Tell us about your artwork.
I discovered it rather later in years at the age of around 41. For me, my art is like keeping a journal - each art piece represents a time in my life, whether good or bad; and it's clearly reflected, for me anyways, in my work.
- What led you to become an artist?
After the birth of my 4th child at 37, even though busy with being a wife and mom, I wanted to do something to fulfil something inside of me personally; and I literally fell into it, when having to help my daughter with something on one of her photographs used for her singing career.
- How do you define your art, and what do you hope to achieve with it?
I am a mixed media artist; and I hope to just continue what I'm doing - hopefully it's uplifting to people.
- What’s your strongest memory of your childhood, and how has it helped you develop as an artist?
My strongest memory is always, probably, of one of my heroes - my grandfather who raised me like a daughter. His love and sacrifice envelops me to this very day.
|My Bestest Friend|
- Is there an underlying theme or message in your work?
Always hope. I have very strong faith, and even though I may at times do darker images, I always try to put the element of light to leave a glimmer of hope. For me, especially in today's times, this is sorely lacking. I find that so many young people seem to gravitate towards the dark, seemingly gloomy and hopeless images. Although they may be emotional pieces I see out there - they still lack hope.
- How is creating fantasy art different from creating other genres?
Fantasy art is just another type; and I usually, with the help of Danny Elfman’s music, can get transported there mentally rather easily. It's different for me, in that it's colder - not necessarily what I prefer to do, but often what authors want when commissioning me for covers. Yet, I still LOVE making them.
- What do you find most rewarding in the creative process?
A happy client rewards me the most - someone who flips over the moon for their pic. That always makes me so happy.
- What do you find most challenging, and how do you overcome it?
Most challenging is how to introduce new styles of art to my watcher base. People have a harder time accepting a new style if they really like you for one type. But to be honest, the dark gothic stuff is wildly popular, but also, in my opinion, totally overdone.
|Blind to Beauty|
- Of the images you’ve created, do you have a favourite? If so, why this particular work?
My favourite, and I do have a few, is "Blind to Beauty", because it represents a time in my life when I did feel hopeless, and the miracle that came from it. To sum it up, I had been suddenly struck blind, told I would not live by doctors, scheduled for a surgery to try to abate the progress of the disease, and less than 8 hours before surgery, had a bona fide miracle. That's the condensed version.
- What have you done to promote and market your artwork, and what advice would you give to other artists?
- What memorable responses have you had, regarding your work?
Just happy customers referring me; and that's the best of all.
- Evolution seems an inherent facet of digital art. What new developments are you aware of, with regards to the application of technology in this genre?
I stay fairly up to date - but don't go too crazy. I have a mind-blowing computer with 16 gigs of Ram and a monitor that is 22 inches that I actually paint directly on - so my monitor is my canvas. I have an electric desk that goes up and down, so I sit or stand while working.
- What aspirations, or reservations, do you have with regards to your art being used in film and television?
I have been blessed in that I do work in film now, doing storyboarding for films in production. I love the creative process. My daughter is now in film and television makeup so it's fun to work with her on projects.
- What do you do when you’re not being artistic?
I have fun with my children - a LOT of fun!
|Here I am Lord|
- Describe your art in one sentence.
A Light in the Dark.
- Where can we find you and your art?