Dan enjoying a #MatchaMoment with his thermos at Arches National Park, Utah
1) Describe your illustration journey. What does your work say about how far you’ve come, and what does your work bring from your past?
From a very young age, illustration is something that was just there. I can’t remember the exact moment I picked up a pencil, but I know it came naturally to draw. This was before the personal computer and the internet had really taken a grip on people’s day-to-day, and my parents definitely didn’t let me and my brothers play video games much. So drawing was an activity that was really interesting and exciting to me. It was to imagine and describe the world around me. The work I’m doing now says that I’ve really taken my old analog way of drawing and have sort of adapted it to the modern digital age. I purposely try to keep a bit of the roughness and hand-drawn look apparent even though I’ve fully brought my work into the digital workspace. I like playing with the balance between the hand-drawn and the many advantages of using the tools available through the use of the computer.
2) What excites you most about drawing about tea / working in the tea industry?
It brings together my appreciation for the delicious and complex beverage experience that is tea, and of course my love for illustration. I love the way I can draw a picture to help create an experience and tell a story. I think the story of tea is one that is little known to most of us in the west and especially America. It is a story full of adventure, mystery, and depth. And of course, tea can transform our daily lives by being a delicious experience that breaks up our day and helps us slow down and appreciate the moment.
3) What is your relationship with tea?
Well, I married into it partly. Haha. As many probably know, my wife Lauren founded and runs Mizuba Tea Co. so I am around tea constantly. The funny thing is, literally a couple of weeks before I met Lauren in 2013, I had basically sworn off drinking coffee for a bit and started experimenting with drinking oolong tea. I think it was a Tie Guan Yin; I would brew it up in a little glass teapot at my house and take it surfing with me. It was awesome. So when I met Lauren I told her I had been drinking this oolong tea, and I guess she was pretty impressed by that. Nowadays I would say I drink 90% tea and 10% coffee. I have continued to be intrigued and excited about learning the story of tea, and finding ways to bring that story to others in a modern context.
4) Can you describe your influences on your style?
I am influenced by specific cultures that interest me such as sports culture, Japanese culture, tea and coffee culture, etc. I am also influenced by nature. I love depicting mountains, forest, rivers; you’ll see a lot of those sorts of things in my work. As far as being influenced by specific artists or movements, I’m not really sure. I love the work of Van Gogh, but I don’t really know beyond that. I guess I need to dive back in art history. haha.
5) What do you hope a Dan Clinton thermos owner might enjoy? Might appreciate?
Functionality, efficiency, and a little bit of magic. I love taking thermoses with me into the wild. It’s so comforting to brew a little batch of your favorite drink, stick it in a thermos, and head out into the world knowing whenever you need a little sip it’s there for ya. I also want folks to appreciate the story of matcha that is depicted showing the transformation from leaf to mill to chawan (matcha bowl). I want our friends to appreciate the simplicity of the art and the colors.
Thanks for the interview, Dan! And if you want to pick up a special edition thermos for yourself, grab it at the button below!
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