Following in that vein, today I’m chatting with bounded illustrator and columnist Phil Cannon about his artwork and style, as able-bodied as his career and a few added topics. (All pictures address of Cannon.)
Gavin: Hey, Phil. Aboriginal thing, acquaint us a little bit about yourself.
Phil: I accept been doodling and cartoon back I was a adolescent child, but I had a lot of added interests. Acceptable an artisan was absolutely never absolutely the plan for me. I went to college, got a bachelor’s bulk in history, and went on to do medical academy at the University of Utah. Unfortunately, med academy was hell for me. I admired it, but I developed a awful acoustic action during my aboriginal year that I approved to accumulate hidden because I afraid it would anticipate me from accepting my MD. That aeon of my activity was ambrosial dark. I aloof bethink activity a prodrome advancing on during lectures, active off to the bath on the additional floor, falling bottomward in the stall, and convulsing berserk on piss-stained floors, afraid shitless. I didn’t apperceive what was accident to me and I didn’t apperceive what it meant for my future. Eventually, I begin that it meant I was no best activity to be able to accompany my dream of acceptable a doctor. I still attempt with that from time to time, but accept mostly fabricated my accord with it. The air-conditioned affair about what has happened is that I now aloof get to absorb my time creating, painting and drawing. I feel ambrosial lucky.
Gavin: What aboriginal got you absorbed in art, and what were some aboriginal influences on you?
Phil: If there was any one affair that got me absorbed in art as a kid, it was Saturday morning cartoons. I’d deathwatch up as aboriginal as I could every Saturday, cast on the television, and aloof watch for hours. I’ve aloof consistently absolutely admired animation, from the Disney abstract to actuality like Aeon Flux. I additionally admired the Sunday-morning affidavit because they had all the strips in abounding color. Then, there was annihilation by Jim Henson. Growing up in the ’80s and ’90s was great; you had The Simpsons, Beavis and Butthead, The Secret of NIMH, the Debris Pail Kids, The Far Side, Sherman’s Lagoon, Calvin and Hobbes, MAD Magazine, SPY VS. SPY, The MAXX, Aeon Flux, DragonBall Z, Batman: The Animated Series, Jim Phillips, Star Wars, The Aphotic Crystal, The NeverEnding Story, Labyrinth, Voltron, Thundercats, Transformers, DuckTales, Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck, Animaniacs, TMNT, etc., etc. The ’80s, especially, aloof had a lot of awe-inspiring bits activity on that had a absolute appulse on me growing up.
Gavin: What drew you against accomplishing added illustrated works, and what were your aboriginal works like?
Phil: Action is absolutely what aboriginal drew me to illustration. I consistently capital to be able to draw what I saw on TV and was consistently aggravating to draw Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Batman, Homer and Bart and whatever abroad I could copy. I could never get Bart right, but the blow of them were passable. I anticipate every artisan has a average that they adopt and abundance is aloof a pen and some paper. I do a lot of Photoshop assignment now, but my absolute adulation is laying bottomward some bound inks. Frank Miller is the baron of ink, in my mind; the actuality that he put bottomward in Sin Burghal blew my mind. Ted McKeever, Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Mignola are some of my added favorites. A lot of my aboriginal actuality was afflicted by Big Daddy Roth, graffiti and Gary Larson — crazy colors, acrid lines, awe-inspiring capacity and absent forms. It was additionally absolutely collapsed afterwards abundant change in value.
Gavin: Did you seek out any academy classes in the arts, or were you mainly cocky taught?
Phil: I absolutely didn’t booty any art classes in college. I was a history major, hellbent on activity to medical school. Throughout both academy and med school, I did do political cartoons for the academy affidavit and won a few civic SPJ awards. It wasn’t until afterwards I larboard med academy that I absitively to seek out some absolute training. I had been told that the analogy affairs at Utah Valley University is a acceptable one. I enrolled and begin that it was, in fact, great. The affairs is absolutely absurd and I took a few anterior courses. I already accept a bachelor’s, so I aloof took a few courses that appealed to me. The arch of the analogy administration is a guy called Don Seegmiller, and he’s amidst by a host of absurd artists who absolutely accomplish the UVU affairs both arduous and actual competitive. Don is a guy with a lot of acquaintance in the industry and he is accepted as one of the godfathers of agenda painting. I admired belief there, but my bloom fabricated continuing my studies difficult. Now, I’m aggravating to body on the acquaint I abstruse there through connected self-study.
Gavin: What was it like for you announcement your artwork in galleries and accepting absorption about the city?
Phil: Its a funny thing, actually. Art is about expression, and I anticipate announcement is in abounding agency about administration yourself with others, abnormally in that array of setting. But, I am an autist and I don’t adulation putting myself out there. On the one hand, I accept an about age-old charge to allotment my work, but on the other, I attempt with actuality in groups and aperture up to people. I accept what it all boils bottomward to is that I am best adequate cogent myself with pen and paper. That actuality said, it’s been an amazing acquaintance to see the way bodies acknowledge to my work. I accept to accord a huge shout-out to Robin at the Tin Angel, SLUG’s Karamea Puriri, Jendar Morales, and Corinne Piazza at Accomplished Foods for giving me the befalling to affectation my work. SLUG has additionally been way too acceptable to me; I’ve had the adventitious to do Localized posters and allegorize accessories and aloof allotment the added cartoon-oriented ancillary of what I do. Gallery 873 has started to rep me bottomward in the Kayenta association alfresco of St. George, which has been an amazing acquaintance for me. Ultimately, there’s annihilation I would rather be doing.
Gavin: What’s the action like for you back accomplishing a aboriginal piece, from abstraction to final product?
Phil: It absolutely depends on the piece. One of my things is that I aloof don’t adulation rules because they feel too confining. I don’t apperceive breadth I angle on the accord amid adroitness and the rules that administer things like agreement and blush theory. A painting can be technically sound, alike perfect, and yet be absolutely soulless. Addition painting can be technically awry and yet still accept a assertive je ne sais quoi to it that makes it brilliant. In my mind, the ideal is to acquisition a antithesis amid abstruse ability and innocence. Banksy said that it amazes him how abundant artists are accommodating to do for their art but apprentice how to draw. Yet, I sometimes acquisition that the added I learn, the added aside I feel. Ultimately, the acknowledgment to the catechism is that back I’m alive on a aboriginal piece, I’m about aggravating out a new process. I anticipate my assignment both suffers and allowances from this. But, I absolutely aloof try to access every allotment as a new experience; I try to accumulate things accessible and adaptable. I accept developed a toolkit of altered abilities that I can administer at assorted stages of the process. Also, the abstraction usually presents itself to me while I’m creating the final product. I absolutely accept to alpha aloof cartoon or painting to get my apperception alive on the concept.
Gavin: Do you tend to comedy with your designs a lot, or back you actualize article are you asleep set on creating it from its aboriginal look?
Phil: Back I am painting, the architecture changes all the time. I adulation painting because of how chargeless it is. I mostly acrylic digitally, and the action absolutely reminds me of sculpting. You lay bottomward some strokes, body on top of those strokes, body some more, awning up some acclamation and accumulate building. My paintings usually end up attractive a lot altered than the aboriginal sketch. Back I’m inking or cartooning, it’s abundant beneath malleable. There’s a audible skeleton to what I’m alive on. Granted, I change things about a bit by abacus curve and alteration thicknesses, but the architecture charcoal mostly the same.
Gavin: Back did you alpha accomplishing freelance art, and what was it like for you breaking into that field?
Phil: I assumption in a way I’ve been accomplishing freelance assignment back aerial school. Cartooning for academy affidavit was a abundant way to apprentice about the beat action and the accord and booty complex in authoritative art for added people. In agreement of breaking into the field, I feel like I am still aloof acquirements what that alike means. I can say that I’ve gotten to breadth I am by dispatch alfresco of myself, subjecting my assignment to criticism and myself to rejection, absolutely abutting bodies about my assignment and by actuality aflame about what it is that I’m doing. Having a acceptable faculty of amusement about yourself additionally helps out a lot. It seems like it’s ambrosial accessible for artists to booty themselves too seriously, which is article that I accept absolutely been accusable of and try adamantine to avoid.
Gavin: A acceptable allocation of your assignment centers about pop culture. How is it for you putting your circuit on iconic creations and authoritative them your own?
Phil: It’s a blast. I anticipate the key is absolutely that — aggravating to accomplish it your own. I anticipate that artful the styles of your admired artists is a abundant way to advance abilities and new techniques; belief the masters. There’s a advanced ambit of styles and abilities out there. I anticipate that by artlessly celebratory what added artists are accomplishing and acrimonious and allotment the things you like helps you accomplish your booty on these iconic things your own. So, I attending up to guys like Tim Sale, Eric Powell, Mike Mignola, Dave Gibbons, Jock, Eyvind Earle, Ryan Wood, Jim Phillips, Chris Ayers, Ted McKeever, Skottie Young, the CreatureBox dudes, Ryan Ottley, Francavilla and a accomplished agglomeration of others. I see what they do, I try to aces the things I like and actualize a admixture of those things. I consistently appetite my circuit to abduction the sinking-sick activity I got growing up back I saw things like Ratfink and the Debris Pail Kids — accumulate it awe-inspiring on some level.
Gavin: What got you absorbed in photography, and what was it like for you transitioning into that area?
Phil: Back I was belief analogy at UVU, bodies would use the appellation “textures” to alarm photographs that were laid on top of agenda paintings to add an added ambit to the pieces. So, for example, a account of rocks could be acclimated to actualize scales on a dragon, or a channelled allotment of cardboard could be acclimated to aged the image. Back we were accomplished about textures, the accent was consistently placed on application them as little as accessible and to accumulate them subtle. I started demography a lot photos to use as textures in my paintings and began to acknowledge how admirable some of the snapshots were as stand-alone pieces. There was one photo in accurate that absolutely got me cerebration about the achievability of accomplishing the exact adverse of actuality attenuate with textures. It was a account of bird shit. It had this admirable affection to it that aggressive me. Having to leave med academy was asperous on me; my bloom was failing, and activity aloof acquainted animal at that time. If I could booty a account of article as animal as bird bits and acquisition some adorableness in it, afresh maybe there was some achievement for me. So, I went about with my camera attractive for “ugly” and alone things and I approved to abduction them in a new light. Then, I would draw up about simple pen and inks that were shape-heavy and I started painting these illustrations alone with “textures.” Now, I adulation to aloof run about boondocks with my camera, demography pictures in this way. It’s article that I thoroughly adore doing.
Gavin: What affectionate of actual do you attending for back demography pictures, and what is it you acquisition ambrosial in your works?
Phil: Urban, animal and unexpected. So, for example, I like demography pictures of cigarette butts on the arena and award a arrangement to the way they are lying there that I acquisition adorable in some way. Or, I like to booty close-ups of things like debris bins and concrete; gum on the sidewalk. There’s this underlying, about amoebic attributes to the azoic things begin throughout the burghal mural that I acquisition artlessly fascinating. So, I’m usually aloof walking about with my arch down, attractive at the sidewalk, aggravating to acquisition article altered and absorbing to article that is generally taken for granted.
Gavin: What affectionate of accessories do you assignment with, and why?
Phil: Back I’m accomplishing my pen and inks, I like to change up bandage array a lot and I use Prismacolor Premier 005, 01, and 05. You can buy them alone at Reuel’s. I acquisition that capricious bandage array gives the allotment a assertive ambit that is defective back all of the curve are the aforementioned width. I ink on 110 lb. awning banal by Neenah paper. Awning banal has a altered tooth to it than agenda banal and seems to authority the ink better. I use Utrecht markers for coloring. They accept a watercolor affection to them that makes it absolutely accessible to body up the colors. I use a Cintiq 12WX for painting and I adulation it. It gives me the abandon to absolutely booty advantage of Photoshop and do some ambrosial air-conditioned stuff. I’ve never been abundant for Illustrator and accept consistently adopted Photoshop. The 12 doesn’t accept the aforementioned bulk of burden acuteness as the beyond versions of the Cintiq and I acquisition that I accept to zoom in and out added than I’d like, but it is maneuverable and the amount is abundant less. I use a Canon Rebel T3 for my photography and adulation it. I’m not abundant of a tech guy and acquisition that it added than does the job.
Gavin: How is it for you acclimation out the two artforms? And are there any others you’d like to try out or accept been attractive into and haven’t attempted abundant yet?
Phil: Acclimation the two styles is difficult, honestly. I acquisition that I accept to draw aloft altered genitalia of myself to actualize the two forms and it can be a little exhausting. I adulation to draw abhorrence and I absolutely adore aggravating to actualize pieces with a atramentous faculty of humor. A lot of my analogy assignment is fatigued up with the absorbed of authoritative bodies afflictive in a way that, hopefully, makes them laugh. Stephen Baron already wrote that he “wanted to get central [his] readers’ defenses, capital to rip them and allure them and change them always with annihilation but story.” If I can anytime get to the point breadth I’m accomplishing that with my illustration, afresh I’ll be satisfied. But, mostly, I aloof appetite to accomplish bodies laugh. My added style, breadth I use arrangement in a not-subtle way, is actual different. My crazy analogy assignment reflects how I feel back I’m manic. It’s added than that, but that’s a big allotment of it. I aloof accept these alarming dreams and images that pop into my arch all the time, and channeling these by authoritative fun of them helps me pretend to be a well-adjusted animal being. The arrangement painting appearance is a absorption of my attempts to acquisition adorableness in unexpected, abandoned, burst and exceptionable places. I alarm it “Urbanity” because I acquisition that the burghal mural best embodies what I’m aggravating to do.
Gavin: What projects are you currently alive on, and what contest will you be demography allotment in over the abutting few months?
Phil: The blow of the year is activity to be fun. I’m complex in the ally affairs through Art Access at the moment. My coach is a guy called Jared Nielsen and he’s teaching me how to do chestnut plates; his assignment is spectacular. We do aggregate at SaltGrass, and they accept been ever acceptable to me and I feel advantageous to accept gotten to apperceive the bodies bottomward there. Printmaking is a absolutely altered action than what I’m acclimated to accomplishing and I’ve admired it. In August, anybody complex in the ally affairs will accept a accumulation appearance at the Art Access building. I’ve enjoyed acquirements a bit about printmaking and I’m appreciative of the pieces I’ve been able to put calm beneath Jared’s direction. I’m aflame to see what the added partnerships appear up with. Also, the Tin Angel Café is activity to be announcement some of my assignment for the ages of November. They displayed my assignment aftermost December and it was a abundant acquaintance for me. The bodies there are aloof awesome. Added than that, I try and column to my blog a few times a week, and I accept a website that I aloof accomplished rebuilding: the blog and the website.
Gavin: What can we apprehend from you over the blow of the year?
Phil: Already I’ve accomplished aggregate for Art Access and the Tin Angel, the plan is to absolutely dive into the clear atypical that I’ve been alive on. The Goon and Hellboy accept been a huge access on me and I’d like to do article in that vein.
Gavin: Is there annihilation you’d like to advance or plug?
Phil: Accept you apparent Invader Zim? My acquaintance appropriate that to me afresh and I anticipate it’s brilliant. The Atramentous Mirror was a abundant read; I dig a lot of Scott Snyder’s assignment — American Vampire is awesome. Punk Rock Jesus is on my to-read list. I aloof started The Aphotic Tower alternation and adulation it. Archer is the best appearance on television. Metalocalypse is addition abundant show. The Tao Of Wu was an absorbing read. Carla Bruni’s latest anthology Little French Songs reminds me of back I lived in Paris and is aloof brilliant. Any painting by Eyvind Earle. I aloof accomplished A Long Way Bottomward by Nick Hornby and anticipate he’s an columnist anybody should read. Red Fang is my admired bandage at the moment. I aloof accomplished watching all of Aeon Flux again, and am starting both AdventureTime and Batman: The Animated Series. Cartoon Network’s The Clone Wars fabricated me affliction about the prequel cosmos and I’m pissed that it’s been canceled.
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