First and foremost, tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Roseville, CA, the oldest of four children. I always loved making up stories for my younger siblings and coming up with art projects to do with them. I took part in lots of different activities and in high school took to track and cross-country. Which eventually led me to Portland, Oregon after I graduated high school to run professionally with Nike. For most of my life my focus was on running but I’d always continued to do art when I wasn’t training just for fun. In 2010 I was struck by a hit and run driver and nearly lost my lower leg. During my recovery from the accident is when I started working as an artist and writer. The doctors told me I would never run again, but I think the fact that I had been a runner (being stubborn and used to that pain and hard work…haha) and that I was quite happy to live in the imaginary in creating my art, helped me stay focused and eventually prove the doctors wrong.
How did you get into doing art? School, driven by passion?
I shared a bit of that above, but I’d say being obsessed with Disney, and later Tim Burton, from my first VHS helped…haha. I was always drawing and art was a passion of mine.
You have a unique style, how did that come to be?
Thank you. I’d say my style is a bit of a ‘marriage’ between Disney and Tim Burton. I’m also very inspired by fashion photography. For so many years people would comment in a negative manner that my characters were ‘too skinny’, but then I saw fashion illustrators and thought, “Hey!! This is what I’m doing!! It’s okay to draw skinny if I want!” So I went even more dramatic with the long, willowy limbs, and got even more angular with my figures.
You’re a freelancer, who have you freelanced for?
I’ve done cards and character illustrations for individuals, businesses, and magazines. Be it for marketing purposes, website headers, logos, or a unique Christmas card or one-of-a-kind gift. As for writing, the majority of my work there has been running related for outlets such as Running Times, Competitor, and RunBlogRun.
Tell us about your writing, what do you write about and who is your audience?
Because of my background in running at a very high level I had both a personal knowledge and experience within the sport as well as contacts with other athletes, experts, and coaches. So I ventured down that avenue for my work there. I also do the ‘fun’ creative writing on my own, and wrote ‘And Then She Ate the Wolf’ (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010WKCQEA) which is a collection of short tales. Think an adult’s children’s book, giving stories to a few of my character illustrations.
Lastly, tell us about your passion for running, your running shirt line, and your comic strip:)?
I was always active in sports growing up, but have no coordination AT ALL! I won’t lie; I started running cross-country right before high school because I was cut from every other sport. BUT, once I got to the point where I wasn’t sore every day there was this moment when everything clicked and I thought, “THIS!! I LOVE THIS!!” Running gives you a special kind of high and I knew I’d always be a runner. I started my line of Ezzere shirts (www.ezzere.com) during my recovery from the car accident because it united both my passions for art and running and I hoped to inspire others to always dream BIG, just as I did when I refused to accept I’d never run again. And the cartoons…well, I’d say I’m probably about 99% sarcasm, so I had to find an outlet for that. 😉 My Adventures of Leo cartoon series on his Instagram page @leotheshihtz proves he is just as snarky and food-obsessed as his mom.