What do ukuleles and Sharpie markers have in common? Until my interview with Sharpie marker artist Cody Swaggerty, I assumed nothing. Now, Sharpies and ukuleles are forever linked based on the dual interests of our featured artist.
Working on the railroad as a clerk and carry all driver by day and on his artwork at night, Cody has tuned his skills as an artist. Graduating with a degree in graphic design, this 25 year-old intended to pursue an art related career. He realized being told what to create was not as much fun as having the freedom to pursue his own ideas. He now creates artwork in his free time using his own interests for his projects.
Cody is different than a lot of Sharpie marker artists. He doesn’t create just one design, but puts layers and layers of designs into his intricate Sharpie marker collages. Sometimes the designs jump right out at you, other times Cody puts more thought into hiding the messages within his designs. His drawings are done without borders. Cody’s different interests begin layering on top of one another. Whether it is the guitar, 90’s music or the Tennessee Vols Cody keeps has his art packed with what he likes.
Now it’s time to hear from Cody:
When did this all start: In elementary school, I became interested in art because of an older kid who lived in my neighborhood. He was about 6 years older than me and was an excellent artist. He was big into portraits and more abstract stuff. His art influenced me to start doing art myself. Soon after that, my Mom bought me my first sketchbook, which I still have. I am very grateful because my Mom always encouraged me and allowed me to go after whatever I wanted.
Personal Style: I don’t know if I really have a set style. I basically draw whenever I feel inspired to do so. I try to be consistent with it because I always want to get better and progress. When I am working on something, I try to work on it for a set number of hours each night until it’s completed.
A lot of your work, labels, e-mails all use SWAGG on them. Is that because you have an awesome last name or is there an ulterior motive behind SWAGG: Swagg has been a nickname in my family for a long time. I remember being around my Dad and Papaw at the golf course as a kid and hearing guys calling them Swagg. The nickname started for me when I was playing high school sports. I thought the nickname was something different and original, so I started signing all of my artwork with it. I may have done differently had I known the word “swagg” would explode like it has today. I think you can have “swagg” when it comes to anything now.
So do you have “Swagger?” Do your friends think you have “Swagger?”: I guess I’ve had swagger since birth. My friends are on those jokes, so they’d probably say my swagger is pretty weak! Haha!
Have you ever just totally messed up a design: I always pencil in all the different objects first. I mess up a lot and have to erase and redraw things throughout the process. If I ever mess up after that, I usually try my best to fix the mistake or hide it with something else.
What makes you stand out from other Sharpie marker artists: I would say the Sharpie marker collage is what makes me stand out the most. The variety of objects and colors I use in each one is different from other collage work. My goal is to make people spend more time looking at my collage than they would spend looking at a normal picture
Your inspirations: I am able to draw inspiration from just about everything in life. Music, especially new music, definitely inspires me to want to create art. Sports are also a big inspiration. I enjoy seeing athletes excel in their sports and being the best at what they do. People that doubt me and don’t understand art are very inspiring to me. I find inspiration from the ups and downs of life. I also find inspiration in the abilities of other artists.Working on the railroad, I get to see a good amount of graffiti. Seeing the different styles and color schemes people use on their graffiti is also inspiring to me.
Current projects: Right now, I’m working on getting 10 different Sharpie marker collages that I can hopefully enter into some art shows this summer. In Knoxville, we have an event called First Friday. First Friday is when the galleries of downtown Knoxville bring in new exhibits on the first Friday of every month. Knoxville doesn’t have the biggest art community, but it is a lot better than people may expect. I really enjoy meeting different artists and trying to network in my city. I have also been working on some pencil portraits of celebrities and athletes. I’m trying to get some of them autographed. I’d like to get Ellen’s autograph next!
If you could drop everything today and start doing one thing for the rest of your life what would it be: Since I have so many different interests, it would be hard for me to just do one thing. If I could do anything I’d spend all my time doing artwork, hanging out at the lake, playing the guitar, and playing sports. I’ve always wanted to learn how to blow glass and paint. I’d also like to have my own t-shirt company as well. I would basically want live life without restrictions and enjoy every day doing whatever made me happy.
Anything else we should know: If there are any Sharpie marker artists that come across this post and would like to trade, buy, or talk about art feel free to message me on Facebook or email at Swagg14@yahoo.com I like to meet different artist.
Everyone doodles in their notebooks while sitting through some note-taking sessions, but sometimes a few special people realize that their work is more than just doodling. It is a talent. What to do with the realization is the next question. Twenty-one-year-old Jackie Cottrel took her talents to Indiana University where she is pursuing a degree in arts administration and a certificate in fashion design.
Deciding to make the leap from designing purely as hobby to making it a career path was not easy. It took Jackie a year of pursuing a journalism degree to realize that for her to be happy and successful her career needed to include her passion for design. This lifelong desire to create has led her to an internship with Chico’s and one step closer to a career.
Jackie is inspired by the spirit of the early 1900’s and uses fabric patterns from this era to create her brave designs; making them truly original and different. The rich and vibrant colors that Prismacolor colored pencils and markers are known for allow her to bring her designs to life.
“Fashion is another means of expressing one’s self and my insides are dripping with color. The colors I use need to be bold, rich, and set the tone for a design line. If you don’t have the right color, you might as well forget it.”
Jackie’s creative spirit doesn’t stop with design, as she dreams of one day not only having her own studio, but a design label as well.
If her do-it-all attitude, married with her penchant for a life filled with bold and bright colors, are any indication for her future success, then we haven’t even seen the beginning.
Now in Jackie’s own words:
A: I absolutely love old movies! Movies created in the early 20th century have some of the best uses of fabric patterns and interesting seaming. Besides the physical costuming, the mood and spirit of old movies, like “Singing in the Rain,” are truly inspiring.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about prismacolor markers?
The colors! Fashion is another means of expressing ones self and my insides are dripping with color. The colors I use need to be bold, rich, and set the tone for a design line. If you don’t have the right color, you might as well forget it.
Q: When did you decide that fashion design was something you were good at or wanted to do?
Fashion design is something I’ve always wanted to do, even though I considered just about every other field before seriously pursuing it. It took a lack luster year and a half of pursuing a journalism degree for me to realize that if I have to work every day, for the rest of my life then I’m going to make a career out of my passion. I’ve been creating clothes and accessories since I was seven; I never thought it’d get me a college degree and a great internship.
Q: What types of products do you use to make your pieces?
You can make just about anything into a garment. I’ve created a garment completely from refashioned garments. It wasn’t the most attractive thing I’ve created, but it got my creative wheels turning. For my semester wearable art piece, it inspired me to use an air duct vent tube in my design.
Q: How many of your sketches have you made into final products?
I’ve probably only transformed a handful of sketches and ideas into wearable garments, I’m still very young in my career. Give me a year or two and my own studio and that number will go up.
Q: What’ are your goals, dreams, ambitions
I suffer from this incredible desire to do everything. At times this is great, because I’m a very motivated and organized person, and any opportunity that comes my way, I’m likely to take it and I will put my whole heart into it. As you can imagine, this makes relaxing difficult, I’d rather be doing something. I want to do it all; I would be sincerely happy working my way up in a great company or creating my own line. As long as I’m sewing and creating, I’ll be one of the happiest people alive.