Illustrator, filmmaker, cartoonist — Greg White is a local artist on the rise.
A Bethany resident from the age of two, White graduated from Putnam City West High School in 2000. He continued his education at Southern Nazarene University and received his Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Theater and a minor in Graphic Design in 2006. However, White did not enter college with the goal of becoming an artist. “I honestly fell into art as my career,” he said. “I’d gone to school to pursue film, but have always been an artist at heart. When I graduated, the opportunity kind of found me.”
The opportunity found him in the form of a local publishing company where White was hired to be a children’s book illustrator. He began with the publisher in 2007. “We were on a rigorous schedule, doing three, sometimes four books per month. So [over nearly six years] I illustrated over two hundred books.”
In his personal time, White pursed other ventures that took him away from the fluffy world of children’s books into his own personal tastes. “I’m inspired by a lot of things, but particularly art that tells a story,” he commented. “That’s why I’m captivated by artists like Frank Frazetta, Drew Struzan and Norman Rockwell, who in their paintings seem to capture brief moments of much larger stories. A lot of my work is inspired by film and theater, classic poster design and animation.”
Not only did White delve into artwork that allowed him more creative freedom, he also began a film production company with a few friends under the moniker of Good Day Jorge. The group has released eleven short films via their website and is currently in pre-production for series two.
White has also begun to sink his teeth into another artistic venture, spending over a year planning an epic fantasy comic series that is both tongue-and-cheek and heartfelt. He and co-writer, Colin Ingersol, hope to begin production on the comic series before 2014.
Earlier this year, White left his job at the publishing company with the focus to make it as an artist on his own steam. “I’ve learned so much over the last six years, but I’d become stagnant and wasn’t really taking any chances with my work anymore,” he said. “I had to bet on myself for once, to believe that I have what it takes to make it on my own.”
“My goal as an artist, at least on a daily basis, is to find something that excites me about every project I do,” White continued. “I discovered from illustration that not every book is going to be something that I respond to immediately, but the trick is to look deeper and find something in each project that resonates with you. As far as larger life goals, I want to branch out, to do a better job of getting my stuff out there, and to find the audience that will respond to my work. My ultimate goal is to constantly push myself to be better and to continue to hone my craft. If I can manage that without starving to death or getting evicted from my house, I’ll be happy.”
White is currently working as a freelance artist designing several children’s books, book covers, paintings and posters. He is also preparing to do more gallery work and considering starting an art and design-related business.
This column was originally published in July 5, 2013 edition of The Tribune.