My World – Dillon Froelich – Ep 11
January 5, 2022
ON TODAY’S EPISODE
It can take decades to create a unified but unique direction in our art. Many artists will stick to one medium for a long time to develop consistency in their work. But my guest for this episode took an entirely different path and his art beautifully reflects that. Rather than zeroing in on one thing, he went wide…REALLY wide.
Dillon Froelich is a multidisciplinary artist based out of Sausalito, California with roots in the surf and skate culture of South Florida. The most amazing part of Dillon’s story for me is how early into his career he found himself as an artist…like, right out of college early! Dillon is creating an entire universe where his characters, colors, and ideas commingle in large paintings, animations, illustrations, sneakers, skateboard designs, and graphic novels. He not only makes art for himself, but Disney, Fox Animation, and Volcom, to name a few.
Everything Dillon Froelich does is so uniquely him. Much of that can be attributed to his main criteria for art-making: it has to be fun. It seems so simple, right? But it’s often the missing ingredient for many artists trying to break through, myself included. What would it be like to take ourselves less seriously? To be more open to all the possibilities for our creativity? Let’s find out in this week’s eye-opening and inspiring conversation!
Listen if you are interested in…
- How Dillon created a unique world with his art in record time [3:13]
- Making art with family [11:29]
- Why South Florida is a huge creative inspiration for Dillon [14:13]
- Dillon’s use of imagery in storytelling [15:57]
- Embracing collaboration in art-making [22:39]
- Reflecting on Dillon’s journey as an artist and the road ahead [23:53]
- How Dillon promoted his work during the pandemic [26:31]
- The role fun plays in Dillon’s art [34:41]
- Final thoughts [37:51]
The early rise of Dillon Froelich
It can take a lifetime for an artist to find their voice, which is why I HAD to talk with Dillon Froelich. Dillon was creating art with the confidence and style direction of someone who has been at it for 30 years before he even finished his degree. Working with Volcom as a teenager may have had something to do with that. But Dillon also gives a lot of credit to where he grew up. He describes South Florida as an absurdist melting pot of ideas and cultures. A vast playground of skyscrapers and condos resting on reclaimed swamplands. It’s a place where you can go get lunch from a delicious food truck, check out an art gallery, then immediately jump in the ocean and catch some waves.
Steeped in the surf and skate scenes of this multicultural Candyland, Dillon was able to gain the broad perspective needed to create his incredibly unique brand of art. His exaggerated characters and style are a perfect representation of his upbringing. The seamless integration art has with these extreme sports created an environment for Dillon to thrive in. Skateboard decks and sneakers became blank canvases waiting to showcase his creativity to the world.
It’s Dillon’s world and we’re just living in it
A powerful element of Dillon’s art is his use of imagery as a method of storytelling that can be boiled down to one word: juxtaposition. Dillon places things in a scene or on a canvas that shouldn’t work in the real world, yet in Dillon’s world, they oddly do. The contrast tells a story that’s bigger than the immediate narrative. It’s nonsensical, yet thought-provoking. Unsettling, but instantly familiar. It’s everything that abstract art should be, but with an obvious Froelich flavor.
Observation also plays a big role in bringing Dillon’s world to life. Having somewhat of a photographic memory, he recalls interesting images from lived experiences or films and then allows his subconscious to recreate them on paper. From real-life moments to the steady stream of new movies he enjoys, Dillon is always collecting little snapshots to fuel his creativity. He constantly considers what elements of these snapshots can lend themselves to a bigger story through animation or still art. It’s clear from our conversation that this is Dillon’s world and we’re just living in it. From the mundane to the miraculous, he is always looking for different ways to bring art to life.
Pivoting during the pandemic
The lockdowns that took place in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic were a dark time for many. In-person gatherings disappeared as the world hunkered down in their homes. Artists who drew creative inspiration from social interactions found that well was drying up quickly. As isolation set in, it seemingly did what it usually does: create more isolation. Yet Dillon defied those quarantine pitfalls by digitally doing the opposite. He started video calling all of his friends and drawing “Quarantine Virtual Portraits” which he posted to Instagram.
The project quickly picked up steam, opening the door for Dillon to work with other artists, athletes, and industry professionals. The best part about these portraits is that they’re not perfect. They’re not supposed to be! Dillon was recreating the essence of conversations he had with friends, colleagues, and personal heroes alike. Looking back, Dillon credits this time with helping him own who he is. “I love making this kind of work. It really is me,” he said with the kind of smile that only true self-discovery can bring.
Resources & People Mentioned
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the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.