Welcome to “Artist Spotlight”, our regular feature where you get to know the artists we work with.
1. Talk us through your process for creating "They Live"
When asked by PopCultArt to create a piece for They Live the first thing I thought of was ‘that face’. Y’know, the one with the big shiny ominous eyes, blue skin, lipless mouth bearing its teeth. I tend to lean towards drawing faces at any opportunity so that’s essentially what I did. The aliens in that movie are so iconic and weird looking, I felt compelled to have that face dominate the composition. I originally intended to have an LA skyline with the billboards littered throughout the scene at the top of the page with a big Alien face looking up from below the city. However, I decided against the skyline idea in the end as I wanted to keep the composition as simple as possible.
2. How old were you when you started illustrating and what did you create?
Trying to pinpoint a time when I started drawing would almost be impossible. Sometime in the early 80’s probably. Growing up it was always guitars, drawing, painting and model making I guess. For a while, I took playing in bands quite seriously from around the age of 16 - 25. I also worked as a Graphic Designer for 2000AD Comics in Oxford for many years and this definitely inspired me to get back into drawing. Since then I’ve never looked back.
3. What is the coolest thing a fan has done for you?
Every so often people message me online sending me pictures of their artwork saying I’ve inspired them. That makes me feel great for sure.
4. What are your top three movies and what do you like about each of them?
It’s hard to pick a top 3 as there are so many but if I had to here goes...
It was the film that started it all for me personally.
Opened my mind to so many things growing up. Yeh, some would argue that Empire Strikes Back is the better film from the original trilogy but the first will always be my favorite. Plus, I think every kid identified with Luke Skywalker in some way when they saw that film.
The perfect film from start to finish. I watched this when I was way too young and
remember being absolutely terrified whilst also absolutely fascinated by what I was seeing. Obviously, now I’m older I have a greater understanding of the world and this film is perfection in my eyes. Everything from story, characters, art, design, production. James Cameron at his best.
Another James Cameron classic. I was 12 years old when this came out. Being a similar age to John Connor holds some sort of sentimentality I’m sure. I mean the kid had his own Terminator? What’s not to like? Like Aliens, this film is a masterpiece in every way. This came out around the time I was heavily invested in learning guitar too which meant I was listening to a lot of Guns N’ Roses. The fact that the video for the soundtrack ‘You Could Be Mine’ was shown on MTV all the time probably reinforced my love for the film.
5. What is your favorite pastime?
Spending time with my wife and kids, playing guitar, going to gigs when I can. I also like to go running. As I get older I’m starting to realize that sitting on my ass all day drawing is starting to take its toll. Exercise of any kind is kind of a must... It also helps me unwind and relieve stress.
6. What would be your one superpower and why?
The power of flight - It means I could fly to work in the morning avoiding all traffic. I don’t like traffic.
7. Which artist(s) inspire you?
Pushead, Jim Phillips, Pye Parr, Simon Davis, Richey Beckett, Dan Mumford, Justin Kamerer, Brian Ewing, Michael Whelan, John Baizley, Brian Bolland, Pitchgrim, Henry Flint, Jock, Steve Dillon plus so many more
8. What is the one thing that keeps you going?
It’s difficult to narrow it down to one thing. The fact that I enjoy creating I guess. If that aligns with a client that likes my work as well then that’s a bonus. The fact that I can make money from creating artwork is great too. My mortgage doesn’t pay itself.
9. If you were not an artist, what career would you have pursued and why?
It would have been music - which I did pursue for a while. In the end, art was the one thing I could always do. As long as I am creating stuff all is good in the world.
10. Do you have any words of wisdom for artists starting out?
Work hard, meet like-minded people, network, use social media to promote your work. Try and promote your work through galleries too. There are some great ones out there that are always looking for new artists to work with. I cannot stress how useful Instagram is for artists too. It’s a great platform for putting your work in front of the right people. You’d be surprised at the number of helpful individuals you’ll meet. And finally only show your best work and be patient. These things don’t happen in a few weeks. Good luck!