We discovered the art of Michael Dumontier and Neil Farber of the blog Personal Message and quickly became obsessed with their quirky painterly take on books, with hilariously offbeat titles and charming illustrations to match. We selected our favorite “self-help” titles (publishing insiders, take note!) and asked the artists a few questions in between.
How did you two begin working together?
We met in university and started working together as members of an art collective called the Royal Art Lodge.
What is your collaborative art process like?
We sit across from each other at a table and listen to music and make paintings together and talk about music and the paintings we are making.
Where does the inspiration for the text in your pieces come from? Do the ideas for the text and the images develop simultaneously?
Usually the images come first. The inspiration for the text could be from anything. The inspiration for the images usually come from books.
Your pieces are often witty but with darker, more serious undertones. What role does this juxtaposition play in your art?
That is the kind of stuff we like so a lot of the work will be some combination of dark and funny. The mood of the work changes sometimes and we will go through periods that are lighter or goofier. We can also be quite sentimental on occasion.
What are you inspired and influenced by?
We made a list of all the influences we could think of and there were many hundreds of people on it, a lot of them were musicians.
What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
Don’t be afraid to make bad art.