Wednesday, July 24, 2024

INTERESTING FOLKS: Unveiling Artistry Through the Inspirations and Creations of SCCC’s Isaiah Vargas

Isaiah Vargas of Newton, a determined artist at 20. Photo by F. Strickland.

Twenty-year-old Newton resident, Isaiah Vargas is a budding artist with a passion for illustration. His creative spark was struck at a very early age when he was inspired by wrestler Jeff Hardy’s face paintings.

“He never wore the same paintings twice, it was always as colorful, weird, scary, detailed and fun as it needed to be to convey the mood/persona he was bringing to the ring that day. Jeff always pushed the boundaries of creativity so I knew I could do the same with my illustrations one day,” said Vargas.

This early influence inspired him at the tender age of 8 to begin his artistic journey where he created his own stick figure comics and trading cards.

Vargas believes that diversity and representation are crucial in comic book illustration, as it enhances relatability, inspiration, longevity and substance in his work. His story is a testament to the power of creativity, passion and hard work, he plans to nurture his talents further by obtaining his associate of applied science degree in graphic design with a concentration in illustration at Sussex Community Community College (SCCC) this fall.

In fact, it was an SCCC open house two years ago that helped set him on the road to working in this art form where he now plans to expand by teaching graphic design at local libraries and on weekends at a local jewelry shop on Main Street in Blairstown.

Vargas’ artistic style is rooted in the anime genre, where his works are now influenced by Japanese illustrator Akira Toriyama, the creator of Dragon Ball.

When asked about his primary tools or software of preference, he said he prefers to “…use good old traditional tools like sketch paper, charcoal pencils and an eraser. They offer an organic and raw element that contributes to a personal artistic experience.” 

All Might of My Hero Academia reimagined by Vargas (anime).

When developing a new illustration or character, Vargas’ creative process involves using various reference photos to capture the essence of the character while infusing a unique vibe, so he is able to keep a character true to its origin but recreate the mood around the character. He’s passionate about the cartoon art genre which is defined as a visual form drawn in an unrealistic or semi-realistic style (anime, comics, comic books, comic strips and manga).

Vargas shared that he has faced challenges with perfectionism earlier on this journey, but he’s since overcome and learned to embrace his unique style without comparisons. 

When asked if has a favorite project, he expressed the illustration of Ash Ketchum also known as Satoshi in Japan which is from the Pokémon franchise. This project marks the beginning of his artistic journey and holds sentimental value for him. His dream collaboration is to illustrate for Cartoon Network’s Ben 10 franchise, as its his favorite cartoon.

Ash Ketchum of the Pokemon franchise (anime), Vargas’ favorite illustration.

Vargas believes that diversity and representation are crucial in the world of illustration, as it enhances relatability, inspiration, longevity and substance in his work. By following his evolving artistry, readers can gain insights into his inspirations, challenges and unique style.

Vargas’ artistic journey is an inspiring tale of passion, perseverance and creativity. From his early beginnings as a stick figure comic artist to his current status as a budding illustrator, he has shown that with hard work and dedication, anyone can achieve their dreams.

Scooby Doo (cartoon), as drawn by Vargas.

Vargas’ creative process involves using various reference photos to capture the essence of the character while infusing his unique vibe. He’s passionate about the cartoon art genre, which allows him to express himself in an unrealistic or semi-realistic style.

Despite facing challenges with perfectionism, Vargas has learned to embrace his unique style without comparisons. He believes that a successful collaboration between an illustrator and a writer requires the illustrator to bring the writer’s words to life through detailed artwork.

Gon Freecss of Hunter x Hunter, reimagined by Vargas (anime).
Fantasia Strickland
Fantasia Strickland, Contributing Writer

Fantasia is a passionate fashion stylist with personalized wardrobe solutions. As a native of New York City, the stylist has extensive experience in the fashion industry and always stays up-to-date with the latest trends.

From her experience and interactions with industry experts, she has learned the importance of being organized and flexible in the fashion field. She believes fashion is not just about clothes but also about reflecting one’s personality.

She helps clients create a unique look that enhances their individuality. By taking the time to understand each person's specific needs and preferences, she provides a personalized wardrobe solution that goes beyond the closet. She specializes in designing versatile and functional looks that make clients feel good about themselves.

Ultimately, she aims to empower clients with the confidence to be comfortable in their own skin.

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