First, a little background. This particular project is interesting in a number of ways. One, it is a series of 12 art prints, of various characters, that can be placed together to form one giant print. Or, if the one giant print isn't your thing, you can take characters in sets of three, and make a series of 4 triptychs. Or, if you're not digging the idea of twelve prints, you can just get a single print of your favorite character. This is a rather versatile concept, and I kinda dig it.
When Kevin contacted me, I checked out the project (Seen HERE) and was rather intrigued by his choice of characters. As such, I tried to fit my questions to his particular project. Really kinda winging it with the questions, as is my norm, but I honestly think that these may be the best I've come up with to date! As with all the other interviews, I don't edit these (except for formatting purposes) So everything you read is the artist's words verbatim.
ME: So, obviously you have a bit of love for Anime, if you were to try something like this with American toons... What would you choose?
KEVIN: That’s an awesome question! I would have to say Spiderman right off the back. Since Spiderman would be my headliner... my attention grabber, I would have to keep the scene to characters around his power level, so….it would have to be a sort of ninja fight. So to answer your question I would have to go with Spiderman, Scorpion, Night Crawler, and Captain America. Less people for more intense action scenes .
ME: Only three characters from each series, What made you choose those three characters?
KEVIN: Well, I wanted to keep the piece centered so that upon first glance it had a powerful focal point. And It turned out to be a good idea because every cartoon ….every tv show has a strong lead character, a character who rivals this lead (just as strong or witty), and a supporting third character for comic relief. This is the Hall of Warriors in a nut shell; a strong representation of individuality brought together by the similarities each character shares as a protector of their universe.
ME: The style of your picture is something rather unique, how did you decide to do the 12 inter-connected image idea?
KEVIN: This may seem a little weird but like most of my ideas, it came from a dream. I’ll try to help you understand a little before explaining. Throughout the day things happen to us, in the night time your brain collects all this information and then starts to store it. Our dreams are a part of the storage process, except my brain works a bit differently. When I’m asleep and my mind is in storage mode, I’m able to vividly visualize what it is being filed. In other words my ideas are a culmination of everything that’s happened to me that day, physical acts, things I seen on TV, personal feelings, concepts or thoughts... It’s all brought into the light before I wake up.
To further explain, I woke up one morning.. Eyes popped open. I spoke allowed “I have an idea”, from there I drafted the colorful explosions I saw in my mind. Just three large explosions, truthfully speaking this is one of the only pieces I’ve done when the background came first. That’s actually what gives the collection its vintage look. I tried to make it look like the characters were stickers on a painting, as if the character could be peeled off the canvas, mixing both the comic illustration and traditional water color Styles.
ME: As an artist, what inspires you the most?
KEVIN: That’s a question I hoped you would ask. I would love an opportunity to express my gratitude for the impression Dragon Ball Z (a creation of Akira Toriyama) has had on my life. I can’t say I wouldn’t be an artist but I would defiantly have a different style. His sharp edges, his usage of cell shading in cartoons, (this is before cell shading made it to video games) all things I represent in my work.
The Show is just amazing, captivating, and insightful. It just completely altered my perception on cartoons. Any creator who can invent something as monumental as this and still have time to become an ophthalmologist deserves my upmost respect.
FUN FACT: IT IS LITERALLY THE SECONND BEST SELLING MANGA SERIES IN HISTORY!! (>>In History<< )
ME: Are there any specific artists that you would cite as inspirations, or influences to your personal style?
KEVIN: As far as artist go I’m only going to pick two. It’s because these two artists whose work I emulate transcend a particular series or show, Akira Toriyama (Manga Artist), and Carol Carter (Water Color artist/instructor). For influences I would have to go with some of my favorite cartoons like, CowBoy Bebop, Akira, The Guyver and Batman. I like the manga more style because there so expressive, the artist who master this style known for not holding back when it comes to matters of the imagination.
ME: This is quite an ambitious project, why did you choose to go this route?
KEVIN: It’s because I’m ambitious, I had to learn the hard way the definition of Starving Artist. It sounded like just a title but when you spend all your time working on your craft you tend to not float toward the traditional way of living. A 9 -5 job was just not an option for me, I felt like I was just as capable if not better than my bosses at getting a job done. Being somewhat of a “Jack of all trades” I thought I should focus on one of the skill I had honed in on in the past and put it to use. I just feel like if you have a skill you should embrace it. Not every has these abilities, and there not easy to learn. Those blessed with these talents at birth are destined to be leaders.
ME: Do you already have a follow up project in mind, if so, can you tell us what it might be?
KEVIN: I’m glad you asked!! I have actually started on the second project, I’m drafting the third and I thought about the forth when I was working on the first one. Let’s take a peek at the third project for a second. Imagine a dark Smokey alley, beneath the street light flickering, a battle ensues. Through a purple cloud of smoke “NightCrawler” appears, simultaneously through a flaming cloud of smoke appears Scorpion. As the skirmish continues, the camera pans left to the alleys entry way where a car pulls up, lights glaring, Batman hops from the cockpit! Only to be distracted midair by Deadpool who has already started an aggressive offensive (a barrage of bullets). As the camera swings to the right, you notice a fight on the roof top, two ninjas battle for supremacy. The game titles come to life as Shinobi and Ninja Gaidens Ryūkenden clash it out.
I try to stay as random as possible. Adding character people have never seen on the same page, this keeps the art interesting and attractive. Truthfully speaking, as a kid, these are things I always wanted to see. I always wondered why people never did anything like it in a more serious since, on a larger scale. That’s pretty much what I’m going to be doing with these first 3 projects. They’re all going to be slightly similar, a part of a big collection I called “Dimension’s Unraveling”.
ME: Any Advice for the aspiring artists out there?
Be yourself!! Im talking about your pure self, the person you are when you’r alone at home or in the bathroom in front of the mirror. When we ignore our weaknesses our strengths are taken away, giving us no choice but to learn through our mistakes. So if we understand the key to Fortitude is acknowledgement, we learn how to create a better self. You perception changes and so does your work.
Also find someone in your field and study there path. What steps did this person take to get where you want to be? There is nothing wrong with idolizing someone, recreate the steps they took (using similar methods)to achieve this goal and go for it. You cant be afraid, there are only four things that will get you through this type of lifestyle… and that’s courage, confidence, skill and dedication!
ME: This space is all for you, anything else you would like to add?
KEVIN: I would just like to give a personal thanks to the friends and family who helped me through the rough times of this project. You know who you are and I appreciate you all being there. We as artist tend to be very critical of both ourselves and others. Our emotions fluctuate and sometimes we don’t fell like our work is worth it or even good enough to be compared to others. I had to understand that it’s not about better, it’s about different. That’s the thing that attracts attention and as long as you have confidence in your style & the courage to represent yourself through you work, you’ll be fine. They helped me remember this. For that, again, I say THANKYOU!!
I'd like to thank Kevin for his time. And I'd encourage people that are fans of anime to give a look at his project, and see what it is all about.
New Standard Disclaimer:
I have absolutely no stake in these projects, either personal or financial. I gain no monetary compensation from them, and promote them for no other reason than they piqued my interest. Images used in this post are obtained from the Kickstarter project itself, and are used only for promotional purposes.