Okie Cody is an up-and-coming artist in Oklahoma City. He’s a friend of ours and a Pencil Pushers regular, meaning we’ve been lucky enough to see him get better and better up close. He proudly reps his born-and-raised Oklahoma heritage with the stately moniker, but none of the folksy horses, bison, or scissortail flycatchers of traditional, Great-Plainsy iconography oversaturate his work. Instead, he opts for a smorgasbord of bold lines, bold colors, horror, and pop culture. Read on for our interview, and catch his show next Friday, May 12th, beginning at 7PM.
Cody, thanks for doing this! You're an inspiration. I’ve coasted, gotten worse, gotten stuck, you name it…and then with you, it seems like you're always drawing and I’m like, “This guy…” and it pushes me. I think most people who usually mean really well say to artists, “Wow, you’re so talented!” And that may be – you’re a talented guy – but I think it undersells how much time you spend working on this. When did you start? And was there a moment when it became a bigger deal for you?
My dad taught me how to color, but I'd say I've been interested in art since my Grandpa introduced it to me at a young age. He liked to do pencil drawings of old cars like Model Ts and Corvettes. He would give me lessons on how to draw. After that I was always drawing or doodling, even to the point where in one high school class, I didn't even have to write my name on the paper. The teacher knew it was mine because of all the doodles.
I started getting more serious about my art after high school. Going to Drink & Draw (now known as Pencil Pushers) every Thursday, and being around other artists made me want to improve. With that improvement came much encouragement and people asking me to do commissions for them. Doing that made me think about possibly doing art for a living.
What do you like to draw? How would you describe your style and subject matter?
I normally gravitate towards darker themes in my art. Things like skulls, zombies, pop culture monsters, and other creepy and gross stuff. Things that my dad really likes, but things that make my mom say, "It's good, but it's not very pretty." I'm not sure where it comes from because I'm a pretty goofy guy, but it's what I like to do.
I mainly work in pen and ink, as well as digital drawings on my phone, but all of the pieces in this show were done in acrylic. I'd say that I have a graphic/illustrative style, with thick and thin lines and bold, solid, cell-shaded colors.
Who are some of your favorite artists and inspirations?
A lot of my inspiration and growth has come from the guys at Drink & Draw. When I first started going, I would really look up to them. They would inspire me to be a better artist as well find a style that is consistent and could be recognized as mine.
I also get inspiration from online. A lot of my time is spent watching art tutorials, speed-paints, and thumbing through artist profiles on Instagram. Some favorite artists that come to mind are Jerry Bennett, Edgardo George, Ashton Letton, Bailey Hart, Valerie Sisk, Josiah Brooks, Mary Doodles, Danica Sills, Sam Moore, Carrie South, and Nicholas Keiser. They all have very different styles, but each one has very specific things that I love about their art.
Are you a coffee shop draw-er? Do you lock yourself in a cave? Do you listen to music? What’s the process like for you when you're making art?
I'm more of a sit-at-home-with-no-pants-while-watching-TV kind of draw-er. Ha. Often times I will draw an image out on my phone before I put it on paper or canvas. That way I can get it just the way I want it. It makes it easier to test out and choose colors and highlights that way, too.
Tell me a little bit about this show, specifically. Is there a theme? I know you’re doing some new things with highlights and contrast in your colors. What can I expect? Why should I come out?
All of the pieces in this show are acrylic paintings of varying size, all on canvas. I wouldn't say that there is a theme, but all of the images are a consistent style, making up a cohesive body of work. I have been working on pushing the highlights and contrast in my art, and that can definitely be seen in each piece. As for the subject matter, there are skulls and other creepy things that are portrayed.
What can be expected? You can expect to see graphic, illustrative art with bright colors and bold lines. There is also a nod to tattooing, as that is something I would really like to do in the near future. I realize that my art is something that not everyone would want to hang on their wall, but if you like dark and quirky stuff, then you will like the pieces in this show. Prints and buttons will also be available.
If you're a cheapskate, buy a print or a button. Okay, Plug City, where can people find more of your work?
A lot of my stuff can be seen on my website, okiecodyart.com. On that website, there are works in multiple types of mediums.
Also, check out my Instagram, @okiecody. Instagram is updated more often than my website.