Rafal Wechterowicz has a detailed crushing style with impeccable line work which works very well with metal merch. His work has very narrative style with copious amounts of details. Although he may be older than some of the newer wave of shirt designers, I think this guy will stand out and has the chance to become a big name.
How did you get your first paying art job?
To be honest, I don’t remember. You have to know I’m quite old, so my memory isn’t perfect these days I started to work for bands, cause I was involved in hard core and punk scene. I made at that time some designs for friends playing in bands – so typical situation. Simultaneously I started small business doing vegan straight edge t-shirts, we called it “The Might Clothing”. Thanks to “The Might” I gained more and more international contacts. My pal from Hungary recommend me to his friend from Switzerland, the singer in Cataract. I’m not sure, but Cataract was probably the first band actually paying me for my work. I’m still in touch with them and I love to work for. One more thing: I used to be a teacher (literature). It wasn’t my dream job and now look at me-I’m freelancer drawing skulls. I like it so much better:)
Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
I like to draw different things, from funny animals to bloody zombies. When I started I was inspired by old school tattoos and Dave Quiggle style. Fortunatelly I found my own way of artistic expression. I hope:) I mean, I do my own thing trying to be better and better. I think this is quite typical answer on this kind of question:)
Who are your artistic influences?
I couldn’t name artists inspiring me directly. My main inspiration is the idea of hard work and being better and better in drawing. There are a lot of artists better than me, so all of them are motivation to focus on my work. Art isn’t the contest, but progress is very important word here. I’m enough old to know the best way of artistic progression is to walk your own way.
What words best describe your artistic style?
It’s really a hard question. I suppose people might say something like “I’m not right person to do it, let’s ask the viewers”. I like skulls, I like dark and and even darker atmosphere, I like a little dose of irony, I think I like to stand against typical meaning of the beauty.
Tell us about your studio space?
I don’t need too much space to work. You know, more space means more mess I have 21″ monitor, not so new PC and A5 Wacom. I need good paper, good pens, good pencils. Behind me there is my collection of vinyls. Yeah, I have to listen to music when I work. And I like to have cup of tea on my desk.
Take us through a typical day work day.
Usually I sleep too long-it always ruins my plans:) First step: I start my computer to check e-mails, facebook etc., then I eat something- some good vegan food. Yes, I’m vegan. Than I try to start to work, but everything is more important, so I spent another few hours doing “nothing”. After this I eventually start to work. I don’t know why but I prefer to work when is dark and calm outside. Sometimes I organize my day better. I have time to draw, to spent some time on bike (I love it!) or talking to my girlfriend (she seems to be my biggest fan) or friends.
How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
I try to talk with the client to figure out the best concept. Next step is my horrible bad sketch. If the client likes the sketch, I go with the final work. I draw the outlines by hands on paper, than I scan it and I add some colors using Photoshop. No secrets here.
What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
Good paper (“Canson”), penicls and pens, Wacom tablet. I wrote about this above. My work always starts on paper with this good old-fashioned way of drawing. I dind’t try to draw 100 % digitally. On the other hand I think computer is a really good and useful tool.
Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
Yep,I use reference materials. I’m not good enough at anatomy, I didn’t spent years in artistic school to be good in it. The idea goes straight from my head. You can draw monkey with crocodile head, but still you have to know how both animals looks like, right?
Do the bands give you any direction?
Yeah, that’s obvious. Some bands give me (almost) free hand, some bands send me their detailed ideas. I like both ways of working. J
Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Hmmm, nothing special… Work hard, be active on the Internet, think positive. And listen to good music.
What merch companies do you work for? And is it difficult to get in touch with them?
I’m in touch with Bravado, Warner/Universal or Global Merchandise. I work for smaller companies too. I had a lot of luck, cause I know it’s not so easy to be in touch with them. First of all you have to have a lot of luck or just to know the right person. I had both:) But I think Internet will help them to find you if you are good enough. So be patient.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on artwork for World Eater – good hard core band from Germany. It will be 7″ ep vinyl,so I’m really excited. I love vinyls! I’ve just finished next work for Harley Davidson dealer. And tomorrow I’ll work on the design with Popeye. I’m pretty excited.
Do you have any dream projects?
I’d love to do something for legendary HC bands like Judge or Minor Threat. The problem is the fact they broke up ages ago:) Many years ago when I was a teacher I couldn’t expect I’ll do the designs for Michael Jackson or Slayer. I did it,so everything’s possible:) Hmm… I’d love to work for Red Hot Chili Peppers. Once I even drew 2 designs for them,but eventually both of them were rejected, damn!
What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
I love questions about music! As I wrote before my background is hard core punk scene. I love Cro Mags, Judge, Dag Nast, Negative Approach, Dead Kennedys or Adolescents. I could spent hours mentioning my favorite bands. But I’m fan of metal too. Slayer is definitely the best metal band ever. I love Bathory, Immortal, Death, Immolation or… Danzig. I’m not interested only in loud and angry music. Now I’m listening to Charles Bradley-he’s soul singer and he rules. Lately I spent time listening to: OFF!, new Earth Crisis, Urban Waste, No Means No, Social Circkle, Wiccans, No Problem, Soul Swallower, Pale Creation… hmmm, I’m afraid this list will not end…
Check out more of his work at: facebook.com/raf.the.might