Art is a subjective and experiential sort of affair, an unspoken social contract entered into by the artist and the viewer. Moss Point artist Qin Mobley remains acutely aware of this agreement, and it shows through his work — from his outright references to popular culture to the more nuanced aspects like his religious use of flat colors.
Qin is no stranger to the artistic game. He’s been creating art and drawing since the second grade. But it wasn’t until third grade when art took over his life.
“In the third grade, I entered my very first art contest, and I won,” he said.
The art piece, an elephant in a forest, was seen across theUnited States. He hasn’t seen the piece since the day it left his Hawaii classroom.
“From that point on, I became too shy to show my artwork to anyone who wasn’t close to me,” he admitted.
A military brat and a child of the late 1980s, Qin’s work is influenced by cartoons from the 70s, 80s and 90s — the likes of The Simpsons, Rocko’s Modern Life and early 90s anime — as well as Greek, Roman, Japanese and Hawaiian mythology and culture.
“I would describe my style as a mixture of watching different cartoons growing up and finding inspiration from living down South and in Hawaii,” Qin said.
Following his passion, Qin took up Graphic Design while enrolled at Mississippi College in Clinton from 2009 to 2013. Unlike many fellow artists, he didn’t know much about other artists besides Pablo Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci and Vincent van Gogh. That changed during his college years, when his artistic canon was expanded to include the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Katsushika Hokusai and Banksy — an American pop artist, a Japanese printmaker and a graffiti artist, respectively.
“All throughout college, those three artists became the people I looked up to,” he said. “After college, I added one more artist to the list — Miya Bailey,” he said, referring to an Atlanta-based tattoo artist.
Qin does a lot with the simplest of tools. He uses a basic mechanical pencil, Copic Markers and PrismaColor Markers to create most of his work. Recently, he’s ventured out to discover a new art tool, a Japanese-style outliner, the Bimoji brush pen.
“I’ve also found a love for painting and have been using acrylic paints for about 8 months now,” he said.
Some of those paintings, along with countless sketches are showcased on his Instagram feed, which also links to his website featuring a sticker pack and several 8 x 10 prints, one of which, entitled “King,” depicts a young Martin Luther King standing before a stained glass window with hands raised, and a quote, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
“A lot of my artwork is jovial because I like to reminisce on the way things used to be in a world with fewer worries, whereas now, there is so much to worry about,” Qin explained.
That being said, the thread that ties his work together is happiness.
“With my art, people will always find a positive message, and it will spark great emotions,” he said.
“The other day I saw an artist post a picture of a person drawing a triangle along with two squares with a red crayon. The image ended up being a house (the type of house someone would draw in kindergarten). At the bottom of the image, it said, ‘It’s The Fun Of Doing It That’s Important.’ And that’s why all of this matters so much – because it’s fun, and it brings me happiness.”
As for how he goes about forming his thoughts into tangible pieces, he says there is no real process. He simply thinks of something, picks up his utensils and creates, drawing creative sustenance from a variety of outlets, current events, different artists and even things as simple as straight lines on paper.
“When I create, it’s my escape from reality and that inspires me.”
That escape is facilitated by spending alone time in his art room, where he frequently comes face to face with the simple reality that “there are not enough hours in a day to create.”