We sat down with Brooklyn- based artist Mike Ocasio as he gives us an inside look into his world of sketch art. The artist focuses on erotic male form, Capturing the subjects natural essence. We asked him a couple of questions to go a bit deeper into his process. Check out the Q&A bellow:

​( Photographs by Andrew Madrid, for © 2017 MINIMO HOMME )

MH: Thank you for meeting with us. How did you get started with drawing? Mike Ocasio: I was born to a non-artsy family. I innately loved drawing since I could hold a crayon. The expectation was that I’d be an incredible baseball player like my grandfather, a Hall of Famer in Puerto Rico. After a lot of failed attempts at getting me into sports, my parents put me in formal art classes with Andy Bueso, a notable Puerto Rican painter. He and his wife Tere Benitez gave me a great foundation and were like family to me as a kid. They didn’t have figure models though - so at 16 I started taking a figure courses at La Escuela de Artes Plásticas in gorgeous Old San Juan. After that I got a big scholarship to study Illustration at Ringling College of Art and Design. I was lucky to secure a job in my senior year in Manhattan as an illustrator for a production company that creates art and animation for ad agencies. Six years later I’m the creative director at that same company - drawing nudes in my spare time.

MH: What most often inspires your work? Mike Ocasio: Life drawing is a weekly exercise for me. I force myself to do it. Once a model is posing, I feel an adrenaline rush to try to capture that fleeting, candid moment of beauty. I tend to imagine a story around the pose, especially when there are two models posing together. I started my @mikedrawslife Instagram when I joined a gay figure drawing group, so most of my work is very athletic men right now. I’m risking sounding pretentious here, but considering the “toxic” masculinity that is still very prevalent today, I think depicting a physically powerful man being gentle and tender is powerful. It inspires me because it goes beyond gay or straight.

CL: What materials do you use?

Mike Ocasio: Charcoal and pastels for life drawings. I want to get back into acrylic painting more though - its just more time consuming. I paint digitally for my illustration projects, which are usually very stylized. If you’re curious to see, is my illustration portfolio. Much more family friendly content.

CL: So how do you go about choosing a subject? Mike Ocasio: So I lucked out and got into Mark Beard’s private figure studio, so he picks the models. However, I’ve been getting private DM’s on Instagram for the past few months with models that want to pose for me privately. I was very shy about it at first but now I’m really welcoming the opportunity to draw more people. My goal this year with models I can draw a diverse range of models: different body types, ethnicities, ages, genders, etc. I truly believe there is beauty in everyone.

CL: What artists influence your work most?

Mike Ocasio: Henry Yan is probably my #1 figure drawing idol, his drawings feel like they effortlessly emerge from smoke. I’m big on atmosphere - that definitely comes from impressionists like Edgar Degas. Drawing alongside Mark Beard almost every week you can’t help but learn from such a master - and he’s very generous giving advice. Some of my artist friends have remarked on my “economy of shapes” and I think that simplification comes from my love of animation and the legendary Glenn Keane.

( Photographs by Andrew Madrid, for © 2017 MINIMO HOMME )

See his full portfolio of work here and in the gallery bellow: