Famous Instagramer Christianpsart – Interview
Full Name: Kevin Carden
Job Title: Photographer & Digital Artist
From: North Carolina
Firstly, thank you for agreeing to an interview. It’s great that you were so willing to share more about yourself and what you do. To start, could you introduce yourself, and explain how and when you got into the Photoshop game?
Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed! My name is Kevin Carden, and I am a full time photographer and digital artist. I am 36 years old, and was born and raised in North Carolina in the United States.
I am married with two young kids, and my family has been very influential to me in my artist career as well. I started out with my first digital camera back in 2001, which ended up with me taking pictures of everything in sight in a crisp 2.0 megapixel resolution.
I started out in nature photography for a while, and then expanded into family and wedding photography after college. However, my main passion was taking my own photographs and manipulating them into creative and unique pieces of art.
I used editing software ever since I had a camera, but I didn’t start using Photoshop until around 2010. For the past nine years I have been growing in my photo editing skills and using Photoshop and other software to make my photography in surreal pieces of art.
I am so blessed to be able to create art as my full-time income and I also get to work at home which means more time with my family!
Which artists do you use as references and why?
There are so many talented artists out there, I really don’t know where to start!
I would say Erik Johansson is probably one of my favorite digital artists to reference. For starters, he does all of the photography on his own. He doesn’t rely on stock websites for his composites. He has certainly encouraged me to take my own pictures as well, and that is something that has helped me become more creative and stretch my limits since I began digital artwork.
He also pays attention to detail and makes sure every pixel is exactly how it needs to be. But there are many artists on places like Instagram and ArtStation that are wonderful to follow and to watch them create masterpieces.
How would you define your artistic style? Where do you draw inspiration from for your edits?
I’ve never actually tried to sit down and define my artistic style.
I like to create surreal images (that would be impossible to happen in real life), but I also like for there to be a story or meaning buried deep within.
I am a Christian and much of my inspiration comes from my faith. I absolutely love taking stories and themes out of the Bible and trying to illustrate them in a unique way.
There are so many examples in Scripture of God moving and working in a supernatural way, and Photoshop allows me to visualize these supernatural events in a way that is impossible with traditional photography.
Furthermore, there are so many wonderful themes found in the pages of the Bible that I love to illustrate. Concepts like love, forgiveness, selflessness, sacrifice, and wisdom are all entangled within my artwork because they can be so powerful.
What would you consider to be your favourite Instagram moment?
Instagram, like other social media platforms, is a great place to share artwork with fellow artists. So every time that I post on Instagram and I am able to share a small part of myself with the world makes for a great day.
If I had to pick a favorite “moment”, it would be when I get encouraging comments or direct messages saying how my artwork has made an impact on people’s lives.
Nothing excites me more than to know people all around the world are inspired by my art. Also, of course, other favorite moments include getting to 100k followers. I didn’t think something like that was possible for someone like me, so that was a huge moment for me.
Describe a typical day in your life. What do you normally do?
A typical day for me is being a stay-at-home dad and watching over my three-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.
My wife works at a local school, and I have the privilege of staying home. My office is in my house, so I try to get as much work done as possible, although sometimes it’s hard when there are little kids running around. A typical day for me though would be trying to come up with sketches or ideas for my next project.
Sometimes the ideas come quickly, and sometimes it takes hours or days to come up with something worthwhile. Once I have the idea in mind, then I get to work by taking pictures of the elements I need (myself, my daughter, a book, a cell phone, grass, etc).
Sometimes I might have to get the kids in the car and take a road trip to the local park or garden to get some other nature pictures I need. Once I have all the pictures, I sit down at my computer and open Photoshop and bring everything together.
Once the photo is done, then I can upload it to Instagram and other social media and stock sites. Additionally I also record tutorials on my computer. And of course don’t forget about the other essentials as a photographer….which is all of the bill paying, the emails, culling photos, updating software, replying to Instagram messages, advertising, updating the website, and on and on.
In a typical 24-hour day, I am probably doing about five hours of photography related things, although those five hours may be spread throughout the day, depending on what’s going on with the kids that day.
If you had only one piece of advice to give someone who wants to get started on Photoshop, what would it be?
If you are an artist wanting to get started on Instagram, my main advice is to not look at the numbers!
Don’t look at likes, don’t look at the number of comments, don’t look at followers, etc.
Instagram makes it so easy to get swept up in the numbers game that you are constantly comparing yourself to other people. And you always feel that the number of likes you get is a judgment on the quality of your art. And that’s simply not true!
If you are an artist, you should create and post art that you are proud of and is meaningful to you. Some of my most personal and emotional artwork that I’ve ever created did not get that many likes. And likewise, some of my least personal and meaningless artworks were able to go viral.
But I honestly think that as an artist you have to ignore those numbers and just keep creating. Create the art that you like and don’t try to make something for the sole purpose of getting likes. Because then you are moving away from being an artist and just becoming someone who wants to please everyone else.
Many artists delete photos if they don’t get enough likes because they don’t want their engagement rate going down. I still disagree with that though, because creating art should never be about the numbers. It should be about you trying to express your inner thoughts and ideas in a creative way.
However, if you are really interested in growing your account and getting more traction with other artists, there can be a few things you could try. First of all, create unique content. Make something that people haven’t seen before. Secondly, use appropriate hashtags and descriptions to reach more people. And thirdly, post as often as you can. The more art you create, the more you’ll improve.
What are some websites you enjoy or find helpful for your creative endeavours?
When I was starting out with Photoshop, I went through many tutorial websites to watch the experts in action.
I used places like Lynda and Youtube, but my favorite was Phlearn. Aaron Nace is a great teacher and makes learning Photoshop so much fun. I highly recommend his training.
However, I also just like going to places like DeviantArt and 500px to see other talented artists. That often gives me inspiration and ideas for what to try next.
Instagram is great too, but there are many artists who don’t post there. Pinterest is also a great place to find a good amount of high quality artwork.
Thanks again for your time, it was a pleasure. Do you have a final message to inspire and motivate the Learn-Photoshop community? Impress us!
I love logging into Instagram and seeing what new creative art people have made that day. It’s always exciting because you never know what kind of picture you’ll see when you open it up.
Sometimes I get frustrated as I’m scrolling through the pictures because I feel like every picture is just a copy of other pictures I’ve already seen.
So I encourage other artists to come up with their own ideas and make some really unique stuff. I love to follow accounts that make stuff that is new and never been seen before. And more often than not, those pieces of art the “wow” me are those that are the most meaningful to the artist.
So I encourage to get out there and be vulnerable and express yourself in a way that is courageous and tells us more about who you are. Sometimes those are the most powerful pieces of art, and I look forward to seeing them!
Along with my own artwork, I am also busy creating high quality Photoshop tutorials. In these videos I walk through step by step on how to edit like I do in Photoshop, and how to take your photos to the next level.
They can all be access at GumRoad.com/KevinCarden
Thank you again for interviewing me, and keep up the great work!
Martin is an amateur photographer and digital marketer who has more than 15 years of experience with Adobe Photoshop. Register for his newsletter here and get a FREE Brush Pack!