Adrian Balderrama: Altered State

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Somewhere between kick boxing class, band practice, and designing the next awesome Lock Up Shirt, Adrian Balderrama took the time to answer a few questions for MBA.  Napalm Death’s logo seems to pop up a lot on this site lately.  I guess they have great taste in artists.

How did you get your first paying art job?
Since I remember I’d always draw. Either on paper, walls, or on my skateboard.  But my first pay was when I was 11 or 12 years old.  I was in junior high (or education primaria. how they call it in Mexico).   Anyways I used to do homework for other kids when it was drawing or art related.  Then later in life in a more professional matter, when I work for a company which they had a bunch of licenses of bands and brands such of Metallica, Rage Against the Machine, Tool, Korn, ministry, Marylin Mason, etc.  I was payed a salary working weekly.  Then after that I start getting offers to do front covers for record albums and t-shirt designs.

Who are your artistic influences?
My father, Pushead, Bernie Wrightson, H.R.Giger, Derek Riggs, OG Abel.

Your work has a wide Range, from Dark images for Metal Bands, to Portraits of Presidents, Hot girls, and Hendrix. Are certain projects more challenging than others?
Yes.  It depends on how demanding the client is.  And sometimes working with licenses has a lot of limitations.  With bands it is different.  If they know exactly what they want is much easier in some cases, but if they don’t…it can be a real pain in the ass.

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Tell us about your studio space.
Ah..well is very small.  It is pretty much like a regular bathroom.  Full of toys (collectibles) and records a turn table system. Oh, and a drum set as well.
my writing space sounds similar to your work space. i am in a small room surrounded by toys with Guitar amps!

Take us through a typical day.
OK. I get up a 6:30 am in the morning, take my boy to high school, then comeback home, get breakfast, then get on my computer.  Read my emails and such.  Look at my favorites MMA and skate websites, and then start working on my daily work for the company i work for (Liquid Blue).  Then around 2pm i jump in the truck to go get my son and brig ‘em back home so he can eat and get his gear so i can take him to his jujitsu / kick boxing class.  This is around 4:00pm…Then I comeback home and work for (Liquid Blue) for about 3/4 hours…And then I go through my list of pending protects and work on it till midnight….Oh, sometimes I’d practice during the week with my band (Bumbklaatt).

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
Well, some times I spend more than an hour looking on the web or in books for references before I actually start drawing or illustrating a concept.  When is clear of what I’m shooting for then i go.  First very rough sketch.  Then clean it up a little.  Send it to the client…wait for approval. ..When approved I start finalizing the design…But sometimes some clients, they let me do all the process by myself, so I only show the final art.

What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
Pencils, paper, pens..But not lately.  I mostly do all in the computer..Even sketching.

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Do the bands give you any direction?
Some of them, sometimes.

Do you listen the band’s music when you work on their project?
Yes.  Mostly all the time, but sometimes it doesn’t work me..  He he.

Do you have any advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Well, just try to think like them (the band), but also don’t do similar stuff of what they already have.   Always try to come up with something different…I think that’s a good start.

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What are you currently working on?
I’m presenting a bunch of concepts for Pink Floyd,  Hendrix,  and The Who for the company I work for..Also
involved in 3 projects for The Mayhem Festival.…New shirt design for Lock Up & Napalm Death.

What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
Favorite bands in no specific order: Sepultura (old), Black Flag, Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Bad brains, Napalm Death,
Amebix, Motorhead, Poison Idea, Slayer, Testament, Rollins Band, Discharge…..And what I’m listening now: Amebix (sonic mass) yesterday Tragedy (darker days ahead).
I am a HUGE Sepultura fan, and whenever i think of great Album art, Sepultura’s ARISE album is probably the first thing that comes to mind.

Do you have any dream projects?
Yeah sort of..  I wish I can do artwork for Sepultura if the classic line up gets reunited and they come up with new stuff….Other than that I’m involved in some stuff toward on my dreams, but nothing to brag about yet.

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Who would you like to see featured on Metal Band Art?
Pushead!!! I know him. He’s a good guy.*

We are all big fans of Pushead here and it seems many people we interview are as well!    Thank you very much for your time Adrian.
Thanks for the interest on my persona! cheers from Tijuana Mexico!



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 *(V33 note: Let Pushead know we would love to interview him!!!)

About Undisputed Mattitude

Played guitar for multiple Thrash/Death/Hardcore bands around the NYC area. Worked for Wizards of the Coast. Currently working in Advertising. Can wear a different Slayer T Shirt every day for a month.