100 Creatives 2014: Mason Sweeney, Drawing Away the Pain

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What He Does: When Mason Sweeney's parents were going through a divorce, he sought solace in comic books. He was an imaginative kid, always trying to build replicas of Godzilla out of tin foil, and he realized that art could be used to escape from reality. Trading in crayons for a mechanical pencil, he started to create.

"The 'style' is genuinely my own," says Sweeney. "I don't see much else that looks like it, for better or worse. I was initially really influenced by Marvel, DC and then Image comics as a kid, then later really influenced by Japanese animation. Manga is probably often still my biggest influence today. I have always liked the way Japanese artists draw the face and body, as well as their willingness to distort or deform it for the sake of making a character unique. I also am a big fan of how susceptible the human mind is to the power of symbols, and the Japanese integrate kanji with their wild wardrobes beautifully. I just wish I was better so I could really capture the stuff that comes into my mind after an anime binge."

Why He Likes It: "How little money I make. Seriously, though, I don't even know I've ever gotten anything out of it to make me 'like' being an artist. I do it compulsively because it's either cathartic or the best coping mechanism I have available for stress."

What Inspires Him: "Everything nowadays. You know, the best purchase I've made in my life was when I got this Galaxy Note 10.1. I had stopped drawing while in school completely, until I had this thing for about a week. Now, after having it for almost two years, I've gotten comfortable enough with it that I am closer to being able to draw whatever pops up into my head than I've ever been previously. When I see a cluster of bushes, I see a monster made out of shrubbery or a den for goblins, and now I can kind of realize that through my hands, it's really a pretty good feeling.

If Not This, Then What: Sweeney is currently in school for behavioral neuroscience, focusing on criminal/abnormal psychology. He originally moved toward this as a field because he wanted to understand himself and why some of the people he'd come across behave the way they do. He hopes to finish his PhD and eventually help make the world a safer place.

If Not Here, Then Where: "Ireland, because I love Guinness. Oh yeah, and the view, too."

What's Next: Since he attends such a strenuous education program, Sweeney's art is somewhat catch-as-catch-can. Currently his work is viewable only on DeviantArt, but he does hope to branch out once his schooling is completed.

More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

K.J. Russell, sci-fi author and writing teacher Emily Robison, choreographer and filmmaker John Cramer, violinist and concertmaster Shipra Mehrotra, Odissi dancer and choreographer Winston Williams, comics artist Octavio Moreno, opera singer Dylan Godwin, actor, storyteller and teacher McKenna Jordan, independent bookstore owner Steven Trimble, mixed media artist Sandria Hu, visual artist and professor of art Robert Gouner AKA Goon73, photographer Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer

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