Cole Blotcky: Within Destruction

The About section on his website states: I Drink. I Draw. I Smoke. I sell Prints. After checking out his work, I think he drinks a lot, certainly draws a lot, smokes something or other a lot and here’s hoping he sells a lot of prints too.

How did you get your first paying art job?
My first paid gig was actually in High School. I was a little shithead that just got a hold of adobe illustrator and thought I was top shit. My cousin hooked me up with some dudes in Florida he used to party with that were starting a surf clothing line. For whatever reason they entrusted me with a majority of the designs they printed.  With little surprise the gig only lasted about a year before they went defunct due to all their profits going up their noses.

Who are your artistic influences?
I battled this for a long time. Trying to decipher influence from imitation is a hard thing for designers to get a grasp on. Michael Shantz, Godmachine, Derek Deal, Richard Minino (Horsebites), and Mike Yardley (Skullwithhair) were all huge influences on my style and definitely coached me and taught me how to manage my work ethic with business sense. All dudes I would definitely call great friends.

What words best describe your artistic style?
My style has not totally been set in stone yet. I take aspects of my life and personality and try to get them to show through in my work. Beer, Weed, Pentagrams, and Titties. I’ve also become much more selective with the type of freelance work I take on. For years I was doing work for pop punk bands and shit I literally despised. Only working with bands and companies I can totally get behind is much more rewarding and the work just comes more naturally.

How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
Believe it or not, most of my ideas come from getting fucked up in bars or around the bong. I jot down some of the most ridiculous shit in my phone and try to make sense of it in the morning. Most of them are inside jokes or something that made my crew laugh the night before. Somethings I still haven’t out where they came from. Like “Jesse Ventura brushing his teeth in polka-dot boxer shorts,” Sounds awesome, but I’ll never get a band to go for it.  Most of the time I’m lucky enough to just have clients trust me and I’ll show them a preliminary sketch of some crazy shit and they just okay it right there. I’ve got a lot of buddies I have been designing for since their creation so they just let me do whatever. Newer clients you’ve got to earn their trust and do a design or two based on their direction, which is usually retarded, but HEY WHAT DO I KNOW!?

What materials do you use? How much if any is done on the computer?
I’m running a pretty janky setup over here. I work on PC’s now. I’ve worked on Apple computers in the past. Owned Apple computers in the past. But when it comes down to it  the desktop PC just does the trick for me. I scan sketches, bring them into Manga Studio EX3 to redraw, and then to photoshop  to select my colors and distress.

Do you use reference materials or does all of it come from your head?
There’s this dude I work with when I’ve got a big budget for a project or I’m just completely stumped. His name is Andy Cox. We’re starting a side project together called Hot Candy (our names put together and ‘hot’ because we are really extremely good-looking). He’s insane. Twisted comic book style. I can’t even explain it. We do really good work together. He’ll give me a sheet of newsprint pencil sketches and I try to make sense of them. Sometimes I’ll give the direction straight to him and take his pencil drawings and rework them. It’s different every time.

What bands have you done work for?
As far as metal and punk bands I’ve done work for Carnifex, Aiden, Converge, The Muzzler, The Swellers, The Night Brigade, and so on. I got hooked up with a production company in chicago that puts on almost all of the shows here. They pretty much give me free reign to draw whatever I want and get screen printed posters made up for it and sell them at the show. Totally awesome. I just finished one up for HEWHOCORRUPTS and 7000 dying rats dual reunion show. Should be a killer show. Rumor has it I get to do a poster for the ANVIL show coming up, and I’m a total fanboy, so I’m real pumped.

What is your favorite project that you have done?
I recently finished a snowboard design for NIGHTMARE development. Somehow we came to agreement that we would just do the most disgusting board ever. So what we came up with was a giant orgy Where’s Waldo-Style. It came out insane. So many small details that unless you sat down with the board on your lap and studied every inch, you’d never understand and the tiny nuances and inside jokes he gave me to throw in there.

Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Don’t work for bands you don’t like or listen to.

What are you currently working on?
Currently I’m working on a collaboration with Mike Shantz that’s shaping up to be pretty gruesome. I’ve got a long list of stuff I’ve been slacking on. A new threadless submission. Some album art for this Aussie Pop-Punk band (I know I know, don’t work for bands you don’t listen to… But the direction is pretty cool and the pay is nice) Most of the other stuff doesn’t have a home yet. Just ideas and sketches I need to get around to inking.

Do you have any dream projects?
Hey Godmachine, wanna do a collab? Unicorns in Space?

Who are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
I’ve been on a flux in music lately. Lots of grind, mathrock, and the punk/hardcore that’s going on right now. Magrudergrind, Coliseum, Sweet Cobra, Cancer Bats, Pentagram, Don Cabellero, As I Lay Dying, Dillinger. Lots of that stuff.

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About Vertebrae33

Through hard work and dedication, Vertebrae33 has established himself as one of the most prolific and exciting illustrators on the scene today.  He has received much acclaim as of late for his innovative designs, attention to detail, and wholly unique, raw style.