MIKE GIANT
Interview with the US artist

Mike Giant is a wonderful artist

Acclaimed worldwide for his prolific work in graffiti, illustration, design and tattoo, Mike Giant is one of the most complete artists of his generation.
After four years studying architecture, Mike Giant started drawing graphics for Think Skateboard in San Francisco, where he spent ten years securing his place in the world of art. It wasn’t until 1998 that he began his inking career, quickly spreading his unique and recognizable style through some of the most reputable shops in USA. Who said Mike “Giant”?
More about Mike.

Mike Giant sexy girls with punk tattoos

Mike Giant sexy girls with punk tattoos

YOU HAVE AN IMPRESSIVE BACKGROUND IN THE GRAPHIC DESIGN INDUSTRY, SO WHY DID YOU WAIT THAT LONG BEFORE STARTING YOUR TATTOO CAREER?
I was just waiting for the right teacher. I had seen the ugly side of tattooing early on, so I knew it would have to be just the right situation for me to get involved. I had been getting tattooed by Nalla in San Francisco in the mid 90s. He was working at Tattoo City then. We got to be friends, and then he bought East Side in NYC, and offered to teach me how to tattoo so I could go to NY and work for him there. At the time I was doing Photoshop and web work for an animation company in SF. I was looking for a new direction in my life, and it seemed like a reasonable next step.

Mike Giant graffiti

Mike Giant graffiti

HOW DOES THE PERMANENT ESSENCE OF TATTOO AFFECT YOUR APPROACH TO DRAWING, COMPARED TO ILLUSTRATION AND (EVEN MORE) GRAFFITI, WHICH ARE REALLY TRANSIENT BY NATURE?
I approach illustration and tattoo design from basically the same point. There are more limitations in skin, but the way I execute the idea to fruition feels the same. To me, the tattoo will last the life of the wearer, maybe 90 years? I’ve seen illustrations that are a few hundred years old. So what’s more “permanent” really? Graffiti is something I just do on the spot these days. I do it when it feels right. I don’t draw much graffiti at all anymore.

Mike Giant Scissors sexy girl

Scissors sexy girl

AS AN ILLUSTRATOR, YOU ARE FAMOUS FOR WORKING ALMOST EXCLUSIVELY IN BLACK AND WHITE, SO IS YOUR REALLY COLORFUL TATTOO STYLE A MATTER OF MEDIUM?
Yes, I’d be quite happy to only do black and grey tattoos. I’ve got nothing against color though. I have tons of color on my own body. But, I’m red and green color-blind, so I don’t see subtlety in tone and hue. Somehow that has worked to my advantage in the modern commercial art market. Tattoos need high contrast color schemes to hold up over time. Luckily, that works well with my simplistic sense of color.

mike giant skateboard girl

Skateboard girl

AFTER MORE THAN TEN YEARS LIVING AROUND THE WORLD, YOU FINALLY CAME BACK TO YOUR NATIVE CITY ALBUQUERQUE WHERE YOU OPENED A TATTOO SHOP (STAY GOLD). WAS THIS NEW MEXICO ENVIRONMENT AN IMPORTANT PART OF YOUR GROWING IDENTITY AS AN ARTIST?
Well, since I’ve been back here for a few years, I can see just how much of my identity is from this place. I feel comfortable here.
I love the sky, the clean air, the seasons, the food, the women, and the cheap living. It’s a good life. It feels good to make art that pays homage to this wonderful place in the world. And at times, I still feel a real bond with the Bay Area. I spent 10 formative years there. It really set the stage for what’s happening right now. I also see my time in London and New York as really important times in developing my identity as an artist.

Mike Giant eagle and snake

Eagle and snake fighting

FOR A COUPLE OF YEARS, YOU DID ALL THE ARTWORK FOR A CLOTHING COMPANY CALLED REBEL8. DO YOU CONSIDER THIS WORK LIKE ANOTHER WAY TO GET YOUR ART ON PEOPLE’S BODIES?
I’ve been drawing graphics for t-shirts for many years. I love graphic t-shirts. Always have. A few years ago, I was approached by my friend Josh to start an exclusive label. I had been doing a lot of illustrations for various companies, and he thought I had enough of a fan base to go solo. So we got the ball rolling and it’s been great ever since. We’re growing fast, and having a lot of fun. We’ve got some ill shit lined up for 2007.

DID YOUR SUCCESS AS A WORLDWIDE COMMISSIONED ILLUSTRATOR CHANGE YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH TATTOOING, AS YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT FOR ECONOMIC REASONS ANYMORE?
Yes, things have changed. I never thought I could earn more money doing freelance illustrations than tattooing, but that’s the current state. And frankly, I enjoy the time alone in my studio more than the time I spend at the shop now. It’s something I’ll continue to do for the rest of my life, but only on a select group of old friends, almost as a favor. I have a lot of love for tattooing. I respect it. It kicked my ass. I’m almost suited, and I still get excited to feel the sting. It’s just something I don’t need to do for a job anymore.

JAMES JIRAT PATRADOON
Interview with the Australian artist

James Jirat Patradoon interview

Born in Thailand and raised in Sydney since the age of one, James Patradoon grew up exposed to the richness of both Asian and Aussie cultures.
Spending most of his childhood reading and drawing cartoons, he woke up one day as a teenager facing this terrible truth about his future: no matter the intensity of his passion for superheroes, he won’t ever become one of them. So what? Should he renounce without even trying? That’s not what a superhero would have done anyway, so James took his super pen, and decided to go further into his dream, helped along by his superpowers to create fantastic images.
More about James Jirat.

Double spread page interview

Double spread page interview of James Jirat Patradoon published in Acclaim magazine

SO, COMIC BOOKS LOOK LIKE AN OBVIOUS INSPIRATION FOR YOUR WORK…
I like to expose myself to a lot of imagery and stories. On top of reading a lot of comic books, I used to watch four movies a night. I would have insane dreams and my head would always be a swirl of lingering images that would inspire me to work. It is the way stories look and the way people interpret stories into images that interest me. I don’t know where I found the time to watch so many movies, screenprint, and write a thesis. I think I was tapping into some unknown dimension. I also read a lot of random books and so I’m always writing down quotes from movies and books to turn into artworks. I often come up with titles before I come up with images. I write a lot more than I draw.

James Jirat Patradoon photo portrait

James Jirat Patradoon photo portrait

WHERE DOES YOUR MASKED CHARACTER COME FROME?
It is an idea that snowballed that I haven’t really been able to articulate in a definitive way. The teenage vigilante you see in my work is a self-portrait. My work explores the idea of masculinity being made up of two halves: a normal, level-headed, nice side, and a violent, aggressive, dark side. Most of us are either one or the other, but a ‘real man’ can apparently balance both. I created this aggressive alter ego in my work that fights and bleeds so that together we can become a ‘real man’. I’m presenting the dark side of masculinity as a cartoon, because that is where young boys get most their ideas about definitions of masculinity. I’ve always been interested in how the fictional world can affect the real world, and in these works I look at how masculine identities we learn at a young age from fiction eventually get incorporated into our adult lives.

Mural huge painting

Mural huge painting by James Jirat Patradoon

NOW YOU’VE FINISHED YOUR ART DEGREE, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT FOR YOUR FUTURE?
I get waves upon waves of people telling me I’m destined for a future of unemployment and financial ruin now that I have a fine arts degree, but I wouldn’t have done things any other way. When you think about an era in time you think about the art/music/photography of that time – I want to be a part of that cultural timeline and carve my own niche into it – I want to contribute to our grand narrative, even if it is a very small part. I’m not sure what to expect for the future, but I’ve always hoped that I could work from anywhere in the world, like a park bench in New York of a café in Barcelona and just upload artwork to clients. That’s the freedom that internet gives us, we should exploit it by working outside of the home or office, not being hostage to a cubicle.

Drawing by the Thai and Australian artist

Drawing by the Thai and Australian artist James Jirat Patradoon

WHAT DO YOU USUALLY DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING?
I have a part time job at DVD Store, so I’m usually there trying to save up money for a ticket back to Japan or to go to New York. When I’m not there I’m either hanging out in bookstores flicking through art/design books for inspiration or spending my nights staying up wasting my time one way or another, I have a sleeping disorder, I’m awake at the strangest hours.

Street art by James Jirat Patradoon

Street art by James Jirat Patradoon

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
At the moment I’m working on a series of gang inspired drawings, which I will turn into screenprints. The work is based on the aesthetic of movies like The Outsiders, Rumble Fish, Clockwork Orange, Young Guns and The Warriors. I’m really interested in the group identity that gangs present through their members and the way they look. I’m taking the idea of a superhero team and trying to find a point where fiction and reality crossover, it is about being part of something and defining yourself through a group rather than as an individual.

James Jirat Patradoon black and white artwork

James Jirat Patradoon black and white artwork

JOSH FORD
Interview with the tattoo artist

Josh Ford interview about his experience in the tattoo industry

Josh used to be a bit of a knuckle head when he was a kid, never really fit into following rules and trying his best to piss off anyone that wasn’t like him. Here is an interview I did for Acclaim magazine.
Josh thought tattooing was for tough guys and rebels, which is what initially drew him in when he was a teenager. Ironically, getting into tattooing helped him to grow up and become a better person.
More about Josh.

NOW YOU’VE BEEN WORKING FOR A WHILE, WHAT ARE THE NEW BOUNDARIES YOU WANT TO REACH?
I don’t know about being accomplished… I feel like I get better every year, I think that’s really what I strive for. I look at guys like Grime, Horiyoshi III, Filip Leu, Adam Ciferri… more than I could list. I see those guys as accomplished, I see them as major contributors artistically to our art. I’m just constantly trying to get better, cleaner tattooing and furthering my art. I don’t know that I’ll ever feel accomplished, but I’m okay with that. I think it’s just fuel to push ahead. Right now, I’m really focusing a lot on my machine building as well. That has been going well, and I’m extremely grateful for all who have supported me in that endeavor.

Josh Ford interview published in Acclaim magazine

Josh Ford interview published in Acclaim magazine

WITH MORE AND MORE TATTOO ARTISTS EXHIBITED IN TRADITIONAL ART SPACES, DO YOU THINK THAT TATTOO TENDS TO BECOME ACCEPTED AS AN ENTIRE ART FORM BY THE GENERAL PUBLIC?
I definitely think it’s more accepted, that’s for sure. You see it in commercial ads, on sports players, actors. Lot’s of tattooers are also making successful crossovers into other artistic mediums, I think that’s amazing. It’s nice to not be immediately looked at as a scumbag these days, I can appreciate that.

Mix of Josh Ford's artworks

Mix of Josh Ford’s artworks

ON ANOTHER HAND WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE VERY COMMERCIAL STATUS OF TATTOO THOSE DAYS?
When I first got into tattooing 12 years ago, I NEVER would have imagined it going to where it is today. It’s unreal how much change has gone on in that time, unreal. I personally am not real hip on the whole commercialization of tattooing. It has it’s bonuses, like making more people accept it as art and less ridicule. At the same time, it has it’s downside. It’s making the art I love more of a business, that bums me out a little. I guess there always has to be a balance though. I think it’s cool that some tattooers are getting a chance to really make a comfortable living for themselves. I know that when I started tattooing, I didn’t really ever think about providing for a family, but I do. I’m a little concerned about the future of tattooing. There’s always the fear of government stepping in too much or oversaturation of tattooers (which is pretty much already the case). Tattooing is on a big climb right now, and it’s scary to know what that might lead to, good or bad.

Pistol tattoo by Josh Ford

Pistol tattoo by Josh Ford

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU DON’T WORK ON YOUR ART?
I’ve got my beautiful wife and two wonderful children, that’s always a good part of my life. Other than that, when not tattooing I’m either teaching and training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or I’m working on my tattoo machine company “Honorable Irons”.

Swiss knife inked by Josh

Swiss knife inked by Josh

ANY FUNNY TATTOO STORY TO FINISH?
Funny tattoo stories? I’ve got a ton of those. Here’s one of my favorites and pretty simple. I was tattooing in Arkansas for a year, and I had a guy come in to get his name tattooed on his arm. He was the stereotypical redneck hillbilly, straight out of the country. So, I get done tattooing him, and about 10 minutes later I get a call from the guy all pissed off. He says “Hey man, you did my tattoo back-ards (that’s hillbilly for backwards)”. So I say, “what do you mean it’s backwards?” He says “I’m looking at it right now and it’s f*****n backards!” I say “You’re looking at it right now? Are you looking in a mirror?” Then there’s a pause for a few seconds and he quickly says “sorry” and hangs up. That’s always been a pretty entertaining story.

Various arm tattoos by Josh Ford

Various arm tattoos by Josh Ford

JESSE SMITH
From walls to skin / Interview with the tattoo artist

Jesse Smith interview

I always had a problem dealing with tattoo art.
From tribal designs to Japanese goldfishes, to old school skulls, I always thought that most of the people involved in the business suffered a serious lack of inspiration, and a really poor sense of creativity.
Most of them are simply unable to show the beginning of a personal style, which led me to always maintain a certain distance from their so called “art”. Then you have people like Jesse Smith coming up to kick the shit out of the clichés, and to blow up all my stupid stereotyped ideas. Damn! This guy’s art is so rad it makes me feel like I want to take the next plane to the US, and get my skin inked from head to hands. Hey Jesse, how does your schedule look for next week?
More about Jesse.

Jesse Smith interview published in Acclaim magazine

Jesse Smith interview published in Acclaim magazine

WHERE ARE YOU FROM AND WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE GROWING UP?
I was born in Tacoma Park, Maryland and raised everywhere else. My father was in the Military so we traveled all over the world. I lived all up and down the east coast of the U.S. and spent about 8 years in Europe (Germany, Italy and England). Being that we moved around so much I had a lot of time to myself towards the beginning of every new place. So I spent a lot of that time drawing and hanging out with my brothers. I graduated High school in Heidelberg, Germany and that is where I feel I really started to lean towards a style. The Graff scene in Germany is overwhelming. You really can’t go anywhere without seeing an awesome production laced wall. I spent a great deal of my time in Germany doing graffiti up until I graduated high school.

Jesse Smith cat attack tattoo artwork

Jesse Smith cat attack tattoo artwork

SO, HOW DID YOU TURN FROM WALLS TO SKIN?
My family didn’t really have enough money to send me to college so I ended up joining the Army, which landed me in Ft. Eustis, Virginia. That is where I met this fella named Carlos who was tattooing out of his house. He taught me how to make a ghetto gun and I started lighting up some of my buddies. I initially only planned on doing a couple of tattoos, but the demand kept me rolling, and I eventually built up a pretty decent portfolio. When I got out of the Army I ventured up to Richmond, Virginia and started my freshman year at Virginia Commonwealth University to pursue a degree in Fine Arts. I rolled around to all the local tattoo shops with my portfolio and eventually landed a job in a production shop outside of a Military base (Ft. Lee) where I had tons of G.I.’s to practice on.

Jax artwork

Jax artwork by Jesse Smith

DID YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN ART BEFOREHAND?
Not much. I had taken a ton of art classes while in High school, but most of what I had to offer at that time came from drawing in my room. It wasn’t until a couple years of college that stuff really began to click.

Luchaman

Jesse Smith Luchaman

YOUR STYLE IS REALLY PERSONAL, HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT?
Man, I really don’t know. All my stuff looks pretty normal to me. I try and bend it as much as possible and pay as much respect to light source as possible. A lot of people describe my work as New School, but I think it leans more towards Low Brow.

Symbiotic Romance tattoo by Jesse Smith

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE SUCCESS OF TATTOO ARTISTS IN FINE ART GALLERIES?
I think it’s awesome. It’s definitely a direction that I’ve been trying to give more attention to lately. Although I love to tattoo, painting grants a lot more freedom. You’re not limited by your canvas or your client.

The Escape artwork

The Escape artwork

ANY PROJECTS GOING ON?
Got a bunch of stuff in the works. I’ve been working adamantly on a couple of body suits and a couple large paintings. Really can’t wait to finish those up!

Werewolf Sweat Ervest

Werewolf Sweat Ervest

HONET
Interview with the French street artist

Honet brings French street art at its best

According to me, Honet is simply the best French graffiti artist ever.
I did this interview in French back in the days for a magazine called BPM.
More about HNT.

Portrait of Honet painting live

Portrait of Honet painting live

Vers le milieu des années 80, les premières pierres du graffiti sont posées par des rockers, skins et autres punks dans un Paris aux accents sauvages. C’est dans ce contexte que débarque Cédric en 1989. Pour combler son ennui à l’école, ce jeune Parisien décide d’accompagner quelques amis dans les tunnels du métro pour y peindre ses premiers personnages, goûtant au plaisir de pouvoir “faire des conneries en groupe.” Un an plus tard, la Zulu Nation d’Afrika Bambataa arrive en France. Ce mouvement dont la philosophie est basée sur le respect prend position contre les tags. C’est justement à cette époque que Cédric commence à poser les siens, “histoire de faire chier et de pourrir les murs avec des trucs bien dégueulasses.” Il devient alors Honet, un nom choisi comme une provocation pleine d’humour à une époque où la tendance dans le milieu est aux noms hardcore, de Nique ta mère à Crime Time Kings.

Huge street painting by Honet

Huge street painting by Honet

DES TRAINS AUX MURS
Honet deviendra peu à peu un activiste respecté du “trainisme” hexagonal (l’art de peindre sur des trains, ndlr). Depuis ses premières armes sur la ligne du RER A avec les DKG jusqu’aux métros de Barcelone avec les SDK (crews de graffeurs français), il peindra tous les supports que les voies ferrées d’Europe auront à lui offrir.
Quelques années plus tard, le graffiti explose et de plus en plus d’artistes de la bombe passent leurs nuits à défoncer des wagons. Honet recherche l’originalité, mais sortir du lot devient alors plus difficile. “Lorsque ta peinture n’est jamais qu’une de plus au milieu de 500 000 autres, et que tu es noyé sous une masse de jeunes de douze ans qui peignent dix fois plus que toi et qui apprennent dix fois plus vite, c’est logique” explique l’artiste. En parallèle, il développe donc un nouveau style, plus personnel, plus simple et efficace en abandonnant les lettrages du métro au profit de formes figuratives épurées qu’il commence à peindre dans la rue. Honet devient alors HNT.

Honet street art in Paris

Honet street art in Paris

POLITIQUE ET POLEMIQUES
Motivé par un revival visionnaire des années 80, il détourne l’esthétique communiste pour peindre des Redskins stylisés en noir et blanc, qui seront son premier véritable thème de prédilection. Skinheads proches de la classe ouvrière et du mouvement punk, les Redskins sont traditionnellement engagés dans des luttes anti-racistes. La motivation de Cédric est cependant liée à l’aspect graphique, et complètement apolitique. Il explique : “Mes grands-parents étaient communistes et j’ai baigné dans cet univers que j’ai retranscrit en jouant avec les faucilles et les marteaux à la manière de logos.” Mais si le grand public de l’époque ne comprend pas forcément toutes ces subtilités et se contente souvent de le prendre pour un fasciste vandale, cela ne lui pose pas de problème particulier. “Plus il y avait de vagues et de polémiques autour de mon travail, plus j’étais content” dit-il, “car le but reste avant tout de faire parler de soi.” Cela commence à le déranger davantage lorsqu’il réalise que la plupart de ses amis sont des Redskins qui ont été interpellés par son travail et qu’il est en train de s’enfermer dans une catégorie sociale et culturelle.
Quand quelques années plus tard les jeunes graffeurs arrivent à leur tour dans la rue avec de nouveaux supports d’expression comme les stickers ou les affiches, Honet retourne à ses premières amours et recommence à peindre dans le métro. “Je m’efforce d’être là où l’on ne m’attend pas et de surnager à contre-courant des modes et des tendances” confie-il. S’il lui arrive aujourd’hui d’exposer dans des galeries, cela ne change en rien le sens et la valeur de son travail. Exigeant sur le choix des lieux, il n’accepte les projets qu’au coup par coup, et ne voit dans ce nouveau médium de l’art qu’une prolongation de son activité dans la rue. “Que je peigne dans la rue ou dans une galerie, je ferai toujours du graffiti, l’art contemporain ne m’intéresse pas. Je suis simplement content de pouvoir m’ouvrir à un nouveau public.”

Honet graffiti

Honet graffiti

NEW WAVE ET ETHNOLOGIE
Plus que dans les musées ou dans l’art contemporain, Cédric puise l’essentiel de son inspiration dans la musique. Il se retrouve dans l’ambiance des années 80 “où écouter du punk et du rap revenait à la même chose et où les skins étaient encore des racailles de banlieue.” Dans les années 90, il découvre les premières raves et le mouvement hardcore. Et raconte : “Je suis fasciné par ce phénomène qui consiste à se regrouper autour d’une passion commune pour un genre musical et à essayer de retranscrire cela dans des codes vestimentaires particuliers. J’ai toujours été un véritable fétichiste du vêtement. Je me reconnaissais dans le mouvement des free parties avec ces gens qui étaient habillés comme moi en treillis et avec ce côté illégal dans les forêts la nuit. Je ne me retrouvais pas dans le hip-hop et les baggies XXL inconciliables avec la pratique du graffiti.” Aujourd’hui, même si Jean-Pascal a porté un jour un tee-shirt Honet sur le Prime Time de la Star Academy (véridique !), ses influences se situent dans la New Wave et dans l’électro influencée par les 80’s, avec des labels comme Gigolo ou Leitmotiv.
Il aime fréquenter le microcosme parisien branché des dj’s et des soirées pour mieux en comprendre les attitudes et les codes vestimentaires. “J’ai toujours aimé m’immiscer dans des petits groupes sociaux pour les étudier et les analyser. C’est chaque fois une nouvelle aventure, comme un voyage avec la frontière qu’il faut réussir à passer pour ensuite arriver chez l’habitant et découvrir ses us et coutumes. Ensuite je retranscris ces éléments dans ma peinture.

Honet wall painting for an exhibition

Honet wall painting for an exhibition

“NOUS SOMMES TOUS DES EUROPEENS”
Honet ne fait pas du graffiti français mais du graffiti européen. Il a toujours beaucoup voyagé, explorant les moindres recoins de l’Europe, arpentant les dépôts de trains ou les galeries de Barcelone à Bratislava. Les nouveaux acteurs de la discipline qui commencent à apparaître dans les pays de l’Est sont pour lui autant de sources d’inspiration et de motivation. “Chaque continent a une identité propre, des États-Unis qui représentent le passé jusqu’à l’Amérique du Sud qui possède sa propre culture et donc un style vraiment particulier. En Europe il y a énormément de styles et pourtant les frontières restent floues car les gens voyagent beaucoup et parfois il est difficile de savoir si quelqu’un vient de Hollande, d’Allemagne ou de Suisse.” Il découvre lors de ses expéditions une ouverture d’esprit et une acceptation qu’il ne trouve pas en France où les gens restent encore majoritairement fermés à la nouveauté. “Un de mes combats de toujours est d’essayer de faire chier ces gens sectaires qui ne croient que dans le passé. Une de ces personnes est d’ailleurs venue me voir un jour pour me dire que j’avais “détruit le graffiti à Paris avec mon style chelou”. Je crois que c’est un des meilleurs compliments que j’ai reçus…” Ne cherchez pas Honet là où vous l’attendez, il n’y sera pas !

Honet artwork printed on a bag

Honet artwork printed on a bag

JEREMYVILLE
Interview with the Australian artist

Jeremyville interview for Acclaim magazine.

Interview of the Australian artist Jeremyville. Life is a fairy tale.
I did this interview a while ago for Acclaim magazine.
More about Jeremyville.

Jeremyville vinyl toy

Jeremyville vinyl toy

Before becoming one of the most recognized Australian artists, the man behind Jeremyville spent a wonderful childhood growing up in Wonderland Avenue, near Bondi in Sydney. The beach boy used to spend a lot of time playing with Lego, Smurfs, sea monkeys, toy soldiers, and reading heaps of Tin Tin, Richard Scary, and Mr Men books. This led him naturally to think that making a career out of drawing stuff would be a pretty fun option. So, a couple of sketch-books later, he studied architecture at Sydney Uni, began drawing at the Sydney Morning Herald, and simply became one of today’s freshest illustrators. Well, who said life wasn’t easy?

Jeremyville interview for Shift magazine

Jeremyville for Shift magazine

WHAT IS THE CONCEPT BEHIND YOUR NAME JEREMYVILLE?
Jeremyville is a project-based concept; it’s a place where projects and collaborations happen. Like Vinyl Will Kill, the first book in the world on designer toys, that I wrote, or a sketchel bag for Beck, or a collab’ comic with Geoff McFetridge, or a shoe design for Converse. It can be anything interesting and exciting to me, I don’t limit myself to just one medium, like just apparel. I feel comfortable doing lots of things, sometimes at once! I also like trying new things, new mediums, this keeps me excited. For example right now I’m doing some animation with a company in Argentina, a snowboard design for Rossignol in Utah, a toy with Super Rad toys in LA, preparing for a solo art show in Paris, an animation for a UK company, a group art show in Rome, t-shirt designs for Graniph in Japan, a comic book for a French publishing company. I like mixing it up.

Jeremyville street artwork

Jeremyville street artwork

WHAT ABOUT THIS WORK YOU HAD AS A CARTOONIST FOR THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD?
It was a great learning experience, as I had to come up with ideas for the paper on a daily basis, and quickly. You have no time to wait for the angel of inspiration to come down and gently whisper into your ear. You have to grab the angel by the neck and squeeze an idea out. I like working fast, and thinking fast. I don’t like to over-think a project, usually my first instinct for a solution is the best.

Jeremyville Sessions book cover

Jeremyville Sessions book cover

YOU DEVELOP YOUR WORK ON VARIOUS MEDIUMS FROM FINE ART, TO PUBLISHING, TO APPAREL, ETC. WHAT IS THE PHILOSOPHY BEHIND YOUR APPROACH TO A NEW PROJECT?
Each medium is different, and requires a new set of principles to work with. But I keep a general aesthetic running through my work, this makes everything I do very recognizable as Jeremyville, from a t-shirt, to a book, to an animation. Whatever you do, you need to do it very well, as if that is all you do. Because there are people out there who only do one thing, so I never just dabble in something, I try and become expert at it, to do it the best I can, and add something to the medium.

Artwork by Jeremyville

Artwork by Jeremyville

HOW DID YOU MANAGE TO BLEND YOUR ARTISTIC INTEGRITY WITH COMMERCIAL SUCCESS?
I’m a very harsh critic of my work, so only when I feel something is really good, does it leave my studio. Also, for commercial work I generally choose images I have already drawn for personal reasons in my sketchbook, so there is an authenticity to my commercial work also, I’m not like a gun for hire. Clients come to me for what I do, and I generally choose something appropriate for them. Like for Rossignol snowboards, they just asked me to draw whatever I thought would work, and to just write Rossignol on there somewhere, it was a very open brief. Clients seem to trust me, and let me do my own thing.

DO YOU RECKON THAT THE RECOGNITION OVERSEAS OF PEOPLE LIKE YOU OR NATHAN JUREVICIUS IS OPENING SOME DOORS FOR A NEXT GENERATION OF AUSSIES ARTISTS?
I hope it is helping open some doors for Aussies, I don’t generally push the obvious Australian angle in my work, simply because I’m influenced by lots of things globally, and I’m probably mentally more at my studio in New York than my Sydney studio. Also, my work is more from a place called Jeremyville than any other city on earth. The colours of Australia I’m sure have influenced my work, and I grew up in a beach side suburb in Sydney, and that has to have had an influence, but I can’t isolate it, or put it into words, It’s just a part of me.

JESSE FILLINGHAM
Interview with the US artist

Jesse Fillingham interview.

Jesse Fillingham loves burgers, mythology… and unicorns.
He also graduated with honors from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena with a BFA in Illustration.
He did a lot of shows in California since then.
More about the US artist Jesse Fillingham.

Jesse Fillingham artwork

Jesse Fillingham artwork

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
My name is Jesse Fillingham. I was born and raised in San Diego, California, I now reside in Pasadena, California. I graduated from Art Center College of Design in 2010. I enjoy drawing, comics, bound media, zines, burgers, beer, and unicorns.

Jesse Fillingham Fatalist Palmistry

Jesse Fillingham Fatalist Palmistry

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
Two things that seem to be present in a lot of my work is an emphasis on nature/natural phenomena and mythology/fantasy. Rendering is also a process that I put myself through in most of my work, which I find to be extremely rewarding.

Jesse Fillingham Limit Break

Jesse Fillingham Limit Break

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
It varies quite a bit depending on the application of the image. I generally make a sketch of some sort figuring out the main components of the piece I am working on. That sketch either gets blown up and traced or I re-draw it to scale. Then a variety of media is thrown around until I am happy with the image.

Jesse Fillingham Miner

Jesse Fillingham Miner

HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
I couldn’t really say, I have lived in Southern California my whole life so I guess it would be interesting to see if there was a change in my work living in a different part of the country/world.
But in terms of my work space, my roommate James Chong, and I don’t have a living room because we turned it into our studio, which makes for a great working environment.

Jesse Fillingham Tree Spirit

Jesse Fillingham Tree Spirit

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
John James Audubon, Kuniyoshi, C.F., Stanley Kubrick, Tadanori Yokoo, and a host of amazing artists on my favorite website: flickr.

ANY LAST WORD?
Check out Never Press! It is a small press that two of my friends and I started. We are producing zines and comics and all kinds of eyegasm-inducing products!

MATEO DINEEN
Interview with the US artist

Mateo Dineen interview

Mateo takes snapshots of a parallel universe.
He is also an handsome artist. Learn that and more in this nice interview.
More about Mateo.

Mateo Dineen inbread drawing

Mateo Dineen inbread drawing

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
If you don’t already know me, I can tell you that I am extremely handsome and charming. However if you DO know me, please don’t tell the others otherwise.
I am an artist living and working in Berlin. I grew up in California, near San Francisco.
Here are some random things about me:

  • I carry a pen and a stack of small notecards wherever I go.
  • I don’t like mornings.
  • I once had a job making balloon animals.
  • I used to catch tadpoles and watch them grow legs.
  • I love antique shops.
  • My middle name is NOT Mud.
Mateo Dineen painting

Mateo Dineen painting

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
Snapshots from a parallel universe. That pretty well captures what it’s about. It’s everyday moments in a world very similar to our own, with characters oddly familiar. They have the same emotions and problems we have, but they are often rather furry, or made of metal.

Mateo Dineen monster character

Mateo Dineen monster character

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
For me it all begins with a sketch. Sometimes it’s a doodle drawn without much direction. Other times it’s a constructed drawing coming from a direct idea. I have pages and pages of these drawings. Before I begin a painting, I usually flip through my stack of drawing and try to feel a connection to one of them. It needs to make me laugh or feel something, as if I’ve seen it for the first time. If it does, then I know it’s probably an image that others will connect to as well. I then dig through my collection of old boxes and wooden desk drawers. I look for the piece that connects best with the sketch. Once I’ve chosen the piece of wood, I often cover it with collage and do my best to enhance whatever patina the wood already has. Lastly I bring the main figure elements in and marry it all together into the final painting.

Mateo Dineen surreal art

Mateo Dineen surreal art

HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
My environment plays a big role in my work. If you see my work up close, you’ll see that I’m never painting on fresh canvas. My paintings are made on worn-out box lids, wooden suitcases, and rusty tin signs (to name a few examples). These objects come directly from flea markets here in Berlin. These old relics are very inspiring to me. The collage I use for the background is collected from flea markets too. I’m often entranced by the discarded letters, blueprints, and maps that I find. They tell a story of another time. These items enrich my work, and sometimes inform it.

Mateo Dineen artwork

Mateo Dineen artwork

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
I have many. Here are few in order of appearance…Van Gogh, N.C. Wyeth, Ray Harryhausen, Edward Gorey, Dr. Seuss, Shel Silverstein, The Muppets, Bugs Bunny, Star Wars, Tim Burton, Brad Holland, Peter De Sève, Joe Sorren, Mark Ryden, Jeff Soto. The list goes on.

ANY LAST WORD?
I think it is important to point out that the creative process is what brings me the most satisfaction. By that I mean to say that the end result is not the primary goal. The finished painting is just the evidence of creation. The main goal is the act of creation itself. It is these moments of creation that I yearn for. I love to lose myself in the process. It’s like magic.

EBOY
Interview with the godfathers of pixel

eboy draw your word in pixels.

A lil’ interview with the godfathers of pixel, I mean of course the artists trio eBoy.
Undisputed sovereigns of pixel art, The graphic collective Eboy has developed throughout the years a sophisticated artwork where you can see rampaging robots climbing big buildings next to tanned bikini girls, all of it in a complex and fun looking 3D world. With their shiny style, Steffen Sauerteig, Svend Smital and kai Vermehr have quickly earned worldwide recognition, and caught the eye of companies as big as MTV, Honda, or Coca-Cola. Kai brings us beyond the screen and explains to ACCLAIM how Eboy became one of today’s finest art crews.
More about Acclaim magazine.
More about the godfathers of pixel.

Eboy artwork Berlin

Pixel drawing of Berlin

LET’S GO BACK TO THE EARLY DAYS. HOW DID YOU ALL MEET?
Svend and Steffen knew each other for a long time. I met Steffen at MetaDesign around 1996. After we left there we started gaming together. Soon we decided to start a website with fun pixel stuff on it and registered eBoy.com. Soon Svend joined and from there it just evolved.

WHAT IS THE INFLUENCE OF THE INTERNET ON YOUR WORK?
At the beginning we only wanted to work for the screen. We were not using the internet yet. All the stuff was distributed on diskettes on a viral basis. But as soon we got connected it was obvious that our work for the screen was perfect for the internet playground. So from there on we focused on it as our main medium.
We also use the internet extensively as a communication and research tool between us. We use txt, audio and video chat, flickr, etc. etc. So it is just everywhere.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST DIFFICULTY IN USING PIXELS AS A DESIGN TECHNIQUE?
I’d say it’s restriction to a square which makes organic shapes difficult. But this difficulty is what makes this technique so much fun to work with. It makes you work hard but guides you to a level of abstraction that we enjoy very much.

eboy animated gif

WHERE DOES YOUR OBSESSION WITH BIG CITIES COME FROM?
Well, it’s the place where life condenses and we do probably prefer to live – it’s where we actually are. But there are many cool places, it does not have to be a city probably…

eboy animated gif

Flying Taiwan Dragon artwork

WAS THE BERLIN ENVIRONMENT AN INFLUENCE IN THIS CHOICE?
Only because we live here and that influences us. We love Berlin, it’s a city of change and electric energy with many many faces. It’s something you sure see in our work.

iPad cool design case

iPad cool design case

WITH INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FROM THE DESIGN COMMUNITY, AND AN ENDLESS LIST OF MAJOR CLIENTS FROM NIKE TO COCA-COLA, WHAT KIND OF CHALLENGES STILL KEEP YOU MOTIVATED?
We are currently working on a new hot toy series with Kidrobot coming out in September. This is the major project at the moment. We’re also doing a Los Angeles poster for Honda, and I‘m personally working on my drumming skills. We’ll see what’s next.

CHI BIRMINGHAM
Interview with the US artist

Chi Birmingham interview.

Chi Birmingham is an illustrator living and working in Brooklyn, NY.
He received a BFA in Painting and Drawing from the California College of the Arts and recently receuved an MFA in Illustration at the School of Visual Arts.
More about the US artist.

Chi Birmingham Riot Gear history illustration

Chi Birmingham illustration of the Riot Gear history

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
I’m an artist and illustrator with a studio in Brooklyn, NY. I grew up in California, and moved out to the east coast about four years ago.

Chi Birmingham Magic Mirror drawing

Chi Birmingham Magic Mirror drawing

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
Graphic, Direct, Playful.

Chi Birmingham taser illustration

Chi Birmingham taser illustration

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
Most of the work I have been doing lately has been for newspaper and magazine articles. When I get an assignment, I read the text that my illustration will accompany and start to make a list of ideas. Once I am finished I do a rough drawing of all the ideas I have written down. Once I have three or more that I think could work, I do a tighter sketch of each and send it to my Art Director.
For my final illustrations I work in Flash. I import the sketch and do my draw over it on another layer. I use a stylus and build up the images in layers in the way that I would with a painting. (I used to do all of my work with Gouache, and I think I still work with the same approach.) The software allows me to change individual colors very easily, so I typically start with a grayscale version so that I can make sure that the value relationships are working.

Caveman artwork

Caveman artwork by Chi Birmingham

HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
I work in a studio with four of my closest friends. During the day we take a lot of time to talk about or work, or just play cards, and it is a big help in keeping me sane.

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
I grew up looking at a lot of painters. Richard Diebenkorn, Luc Tuymans, Jenny Saville, Euen Uglow and of course Lucian Freud were my favorites. I wasn’t interested so much in their subject matter, but was very impressed by the way they rendered forms. For the first few years that I painted I was really only interested in draftsmanship and creating a compelling illusion of a light source.
In college I became more interested in using art to tell stories and started looking at a lot of different narrative painters. I started to look more closely at the children’s books I had grown up with and began to cobble together a world for myself that was based very much on the aesthetic of 60’s era Golden Books.

Chi Birmingham book cover

Cover of the book Life In This Old Bones Yet by Chi Birmingham

ANY LAST WORD?
I couldn’t do any of this (and wouldn’t want to) without the support of my incredible wife, Lorissa Rinehart.