How did you get your first paying art job?
Friend of a friend who knew someone in a band that needed art.. very much a word of mouth thing and it still is.
Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
My illustration style has varied over the years, evolving into what it is today….i’ve graduated from the loungeroom couch to a desk and realized one of the realities of drawing for a living is to be able to draw anything anyway …and quickly
Who are your artistic influences?
Punk and metal music and associated artists…this is a hard question to answer because I spend just as much time seeking influence as drawing…the internet and all it holds would be a great generalization…I’m a bit pre-occupied by conspiracy theories and esoteric culture.
Tell us about your studio space?
It’s too fucking small…a little room in my house with a desk and computer surrounded by so much shit, sometimes it’s impossible to move…I just kicked my cat out for both our sakes.
Take us through a typical day.
Wake up…shower coffee…stare at the massive list of to-dos and attack the worst one while I’m still half asleep…ring or email people that owe me money…find a doco online about nazi occult secret societies…realize I haven’t eaten…eat….write a riff, then some lyrics…sometime after all these distractions, I manage to get some actual drawing done….have dinner…watch cooking shows with my wife…get hungry again..eat…
How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
I have a sketchbook on the go all the time…inspiration comes at weird times so you have to capture it to refer to later…I take a lot of photos and google images helps out as well…I usually do a few rough layouts and then get a3 paper and flesh out the design with pencil….once I get the logic done, I can have fun with the inking…it’s the best part.
What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
Artline pens and paper…I colour up stuff generally on the computer using corel draw
Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
It’s a combination of both. Photographs give you a good grounding in reality without losing the magic that comes when you just draw freely
Do the bands give you any direction?
Yes…they seem to direct my designs more and more as time goes on. This shits me sometimes but sometimes, it’s better to get some specific ideas because, at the end of the process….they’ve got to be happy with it. I feel like a tradesman in this sense and it’s their dollar that pays my rent so I have to suck it up and feel grateful that I’m not working in a factory for some fat fuckwit I have no respect for who sees me as expendable. Freelancing at least gives you the delusion that you are special enough to make a living autonomously….The best stuff I do, in my opinion of course, is when bands just trust that I’ll sort them out with something directly out of my head.
Do you listen the band’s music when you work on their project?
Yes. The connection has to be made between the visual and the audable. I go through periods of weeks when music in general is disappointing and doesn’t work it’s magic…
Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Do not begin work for anyone until you know budget, then you use psychology and work out the alpha brain of the group and get assurances that what you are attempting is understood…I’m going to write a book one day about pitfalls…it’s comedy and tragedy somedays.
What are you currently working on?
A t-shirt design for my friend Danny Buzzard’s band FAST ASLEEP. Brutal punk from San Diego, San something…. Somewhere in the U.S. I also have an exhibition soon so I have to pull my finger out and work on some stuff for that. I usually have a dozen things on the boil at all times.
Have you ever turned down a project?
Heaps….some bands and companies are totally unacceptable to me…sexist or racist or just plain fucked. Sometimes indecisive people will ask me to do something and alarm bells ring. Time-waster and I pass them to someone who is desperate for work or I have no respect for or just tell them straight out that they should seek therapy.
Do you have any dream projects?
Just did a t-shirt for Napalm Death. That gave me a thrill. If I thought long enough about dream projects, I’d hatch some great scenarios but it doesn’t work like that. I REALLY JUST WANT TO DRAW WHATEVER I LIKE. I would love just to have the peace of mind that the rent is always paid . The greatest punk band in the world (and I’m talking about Hickey here) once sang…life is cheap but living is expensive….especially in Sydney!
What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
My band Chinese Burns Unit is my favourite band…I’ve been listening to a lot of Guns n Wankers of late because I am backing Duncan redmonds for a one-off gig. I have mountains of music but I could never go a week without listening to the Hard-Ons, Ramones or some carefully chosen Metal.
Any advice for artists that want to work with bands?
That question needs a bookload of answers and advice. Most artists that do what I do have always wanted to so it’s not really a choice but a must-do thing…my advice is stay organized…chain yourself to the desk…don’t let the little jobs and chores mount up until you are swamped….If you are not driven and self-reliant, forget it.
Who would you like to see featured on MBA?
Steve “Mongo” Cohen or Ray Ahn (Hard-ons)…I’m sure I could think of others but my cat just spewed on a t-shirt and I have to deal with that before this office is hellish.