Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Damian King Interview

Sometimes great creativity can just not be seen cuz its something that is done purely for the love and folks don't put it all up in your face, like "check out what I can do." Case in point is Mr. King. I have known Damian for a decent chunk of time and had no idea he was such a kick ass artist. Recently the photo business I am part of was doing an engagement session with Damian and his fiance Erin. We all wound up at his apartment and some of his work was lying about. BAM!!! here we are. Read and look and definitely mark your calender for his up coming show.


C: Name, age, location, occupation
D: Damian King, 35, Berkeley, CA., Freelance Illustrator/Graphic Designer, and Fine Artist

C: How long have you been doing illustration/design?
D: Been drawing forever.
Doing it professionally since my first gig in 1992 or so.
As a career since 2005.

C: Formal training or self taught?
D: Both, I graduated from CCA in 2006 with a BA in Illustration.

C: Can you chop it up a bit about your methods when it comes to your painting?
D: I try to keep it simple, to me, less is more. Most of my paintings come from random sketches that come about organically, without any intention of becoming a fully rendered painting. I will enlarge a sketch and transfer that onto a large surface, usually wood. I then go in with ink and do the line work. After the inking is finished I will go in with layers of Acrylic paint washes, very similar to watercolor. Sometimes I will go back over the line work with ink because the layers of acrylic have dulled the black to grey.

C: Anybody doing work out there currently or past that give you inspiration?
D: Too many to list.
Deth P. Sun, Travis Millard, Jim Phillips, Mike Giant, ESPO, Craig Robson, Mr. Gauky, John Kricfalusi, Gregg Abbot, I could keep going but I won't...

C: What would be the dream gig?
D: I would love to do a logo/branding package for someone like Independent Trucks or Levis.

C: You have a client list. Can you share with us some of your more memorable pieces and who they were for?
D: There have been a lot of memorable pieces. My first paid commissioned piece was for the cover of a textbook about 'Antisocial Boys'. I was really into graffiti at the time so the cover was essentially a photo of a 'piece' I did depicting some hoodlum smoking a joint.
Some more recent pieces have been things like covers for the SF Bay Guardian, poster designs for the Vapor Room and Audiodub, design work for TOMS, and Choke on Color.

C: Have you ever collaborated with other artists before?
D: Me and this guy Jimmy used to collaborate on tshirt designs via computer. Someone would start a sketch, scan it and send it to the other guy. When he was done he would scan it and send it back. Then we would take the sketch into Photoshop and do the same thing, take turns tracing the sketch and adding color. Those were fun to do.

C: Can you tell us a bit about the show you have coming up?
D: I have a solo show at the D-Structure SF (DSSF) shop on Height street in Sf in November. I can't say too much about it other than it will be roughly based on the SF hipster/skater/cool guy scene.

C: How do you prep for something like this?
D: First I brainstorm on the concept. I try to pick a topic or idea that is rife with imagery, something personal. Then I do lots and lots of sketches, and then I do some more. Then I sift through those and pick the best, often combining two sketches into one. Narrowing and condensing sketches till I have a collection that I feel are worthy of painting. Sometimes I have random sketches lying around that fit into a theme, and sometime a them can come from a random sketch.
From there it is all about time management, painting for 10-12 hours a day.
A couple days before the show I go in and Prep the site for my installation. Paint the walls, do window displays, smoke a fatty and open up shop!

C: How much stuff is done digitally, and is this a preferred medium?
D: I do a lot of digital work for things like T-shirt designs, poster designs, stickers, fliers, postcards, logo work, etc. Basically anything graphic in nature gets finished on the computer with Photoshop and/or Illustrator. This part of my work seems to be getting larger all the time. Currently I spend about half my time doing computer based work. But, almost all of my work starts with a pencil sketch.

C: Well that just about does it, thanks for your time and if you wanna give any shout outs now would be the time.
D: Shout out to my wifey to be Erin, the Vapor Room, E&B photography, and my Moms and Pops.

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