I met Dustin at EBABZ. I overheard him talking about how he was doing portraits of people facing their fears and I was curious. So after I spoke to him about my life with OCD and anxiety I walked away with new art and more reassurance that the creation is a form of therapy no matter what you create.
How long have you been into art?
day one. I have always had an interest since birth. I can still
remember watching flashes of cartoons on screen from my youth. Cartoons
were a way of bonding with my folks. In a classic nuclear family
setting, Mom watched Disney, and Dad watched Looney Toons. Both just
were imprinted in my brain early and became a strong presence in my
artwork as far back as I can remember. Also, I liked the Looney Toons so
How long have you been into doing comics?
have always had a presence in my life, and luckily I was born during
the huge comic industry boom of the 90s. I think one of the first comic I
ever read was a Batman or Spiderman comic. Ever since I discovered
them, I started drawing my own. I think I Was about 4 years old at the
Where do you find inspiration?
for me comes from everything. All art forms, all great master artist of
the past, but I think most importantly life is what inspires me. What
drives me is love, and love life and people very much. I feel we can
learn so much from each other. Especially from those who we love,
and also can't stand. Shadows tend to be ignored, but sometimes I feel
those are the greatest teachers in our lives.
Where did the inspiration for doing portraits of people facing their fears come from?
I child, I was terrified of the world. I was in constant anxiety, but
somehow found solace in expressing the strange shadows that lurked in my
youthful angst. During my life, I feel into a deep darkness and
mental disarray. This in turn caused me to question everything I thought
about myself, and why I feared what I feared. One of those things was
mental illness, and since at that point in my life I had began to brush
the edges of mental illness, I knew I had to face them in some way.
the stories, and fears of what others had been through that were close
to me and seeing how they survived them gave me a drive to somehow find a
way to encompass that visually. I have always been a supporter
of therapy having personally benefiting tremendously from it.
taught me that its important to experience fear, accept it, but do not
allow it to remain within you. It was all about perspective, and
changing the perspective of how we saw fear, despite its strong
challenges. So I thought, why not illustrate the worse that could happen
rather than thinking about it?
feel in a way, it helps the mind see it for what it is in a way that
is separate from reality, and I hope in some way it inspires the soul to
see it not as intimidating as the mind perceives it.
How do you personally face your fears?
myself 100%, loving my fears 100% but allowing them in my mind to
control me. I have learned that we are not our thoughts ,and if we were
to draw them, like Iam occasionally, we can see that they are a part of
us, but not us. I guess in short, I tend to face them head on in
whatever rhythm or way that seems tangible and or compatible in the
moment. Sometimes though, it takes me time and from there I will have
to allow myself to gradually face them by making steps or little changes
everyday. The mind works that way sometimes, we can't always allow
ourselves to think that somethings can change overnight, but we can
allow ourselves to believe overnight that we can change and face our
fears. I feel that fear will always be with us, and instead of resisting
it, like many of us do including myself, it simply better to just
accept it, face it and stop running from it.
a very wise monkey had said about fear and the past, which go hand in
hand quite well: "The past can hurt, but you can either run from it, or
learn from it!"
More of Dustin's work can be found here: