I emailed Sean and he graciously agreed to do the interview. So here it is
When did you realize that you were going to be an artist?
According to my mother I told her at age 5 I was going to be an artist, and haven't looked back since. I always knew what I wanted to do and all throughout my youth, adolescence and adulthood nothing else has pulled my attention away from that.
What was your first paid gig?
I believe my first paid gig was for a family friend who ran an advertising agency when I was 16. I was commissioned to draw a political cartoon for a client. My first major paying gig was for Sony Playstation as a concept artist on an unreleased 'Twisted Metal' game.
I noticed that you do some black and whites. What makes you decide what will be black and white and what will be in color?
At this point 95% of my work is in color. I do the inside of my comics in black and white and I'll upload some of the black and whites for paintings to show the process. Everything starts the same way, even my paintings, with the pencils, then inks and then acrylic paint for color. I don't color digitally because you can't get that gritty, true feel to a piece of art.
I didn’t see any on your site but was wondering if you ever do a black and white and recreate it as a color painting or vice versa?
Usually if I have a black and white sketch on my site it is almost always used to figure out a color painting. I have been commissioned to do black and white illustrations for books that eventually I would like to see colored, but that's very far down the road.
Do you draw your inspiration from any particular place?
Like any artist will tell you inspirations come from all over whether you like it or not, or whether you are looking in that particular direction or not. Mine are heavily influenced by war, the effects of war on children, pin up girls, music, and old movies. I look to the past quite frequently to draw upon the honest and raw pictures that history has painted for us of humanity. I'm a firm believer of remembering the past to prevent the same failures in the future, although humanity at this point is succeeding in that concept about as much as a crack addict succeeds at saving to pay their rent.
What is your goal for your art, or are you already where you want to be?
I'm definitely not where I want to be, but at the same time, I know I'll never achieve that goal. If I'm to continue to work as an artist, and use it as a craft that helps me work though frustration or capture the peace in my life, then the only time I could conceivably 'be' where I want to be would be in my grave. I enjoy what I do too much to see some sort of finite end, and all I can wish for is to keep being a part of amazing projects and achieving my personal goals one by one. There's a sense of having a world worth of ideas on my shoulders, and just like Atlas, I have to spend my time holding them up until I am able to accomplish them. As far as some specific goals, I'm releasing a new kid's book now called 'The Fruits of Our Labor' and going on a 10, 000 mile U.S. Live Art Tour to promote it. I'm also looking forward to putting out another new book 'The Nazi and the Rabbit' with award winning journalist Richard A. Webster. There might be some animation or movies in the future, but that is a ways off.
I noticed that you have done comics. I published an indie comic a few – years – back. I had a lot of fun doing it. Was this venue exciting to you?
Yes, I love the combination of words and art in one format, and it gives me a chance to work in black and white, which is definitely something I miss being a full color painter most of the time. I'm experimenting with format for my new book 'The Nazi and the Rabbit'. It'll be a hybrid between a novel a comic and some full 2 page spread paintings. There's a definite claustrophobic feeling working within traditional panels in the comic realm, so Rich (the writer) and I are working on a layout that allows the book to look as messed up as the story is. I hate hearing from the comic world that you “have to be able to tell what is going on by just looking at the pictures alone.” Why? Comics are the perfect marriage between art and word, so with my books I tend to make sure one relies on the other. I think that nonsense is just the battle cry of those artists who can't write and writers who can't draw. It's been a few years since I have put out a comic so I'm excited to see the end result of the new book.
Of all the different venues you have done, live art, colors, black and whites, comics, book covers, movies, games, etc, etc… which to you find the most exciting to do?
Definitely the live painting. In all honesty painting in front of hundreds, or even thousands, of people is quite relaxing to me. It's what I was put here to do, and if I can do it in front of a wondering and excited crowd it makes it all the sweeter. It's also something that is very personal to me in that when I moved to San Diego, I was the only artist doing live painting on a regular basis that I knew of. I knew quite a few artists that did the occasional event, but I was out a few times a month, and then at one point I was out 6 nights a week for almost 2.5 years straight. The live art offers so much more than a way to promote my books as it started out to be. I'm now educating and inspiring other artists to push their art on their own and not to waste money on art school, when what they really need is a business course.
Which of those do you find more tedious?
The tedium is definitely found in the comic work. After years between books, live painting on large canvas, it's tough to then sit with this small piece of bristol board and work out several panels on a page. I enjoy it, but it drives me to fidget and then to the wonders of drinking!
Do you have any advice for up and coming artists out there?
Yes, know that art school and conventional paths are not necessarily the way to go. There's about as much definite in going to school and being guaranteed a job in the industry, as there is a definite answer to 'What is art?' It is going to be a mixture of knowing the right people and getting your art in front of them, good business sense, and of course learning your craft and making sure you execute it honestly and with thought put into it. Not every piece you do will turn heads, but just make sure the ones it does go away with an understanding that you put an actual effort into your piece.
Again I want to thank you for taking time out of your day to answer some questions for my readers.
Is there anything else that you would like to say to my readers?
Thanks for reading and I hope my artwork brings you some sort of enjoyment. If I know that I'm enriching your lives with my art, then my art is definitely going in the right direction.
I noticed that you have a Kickstart project going. Tell us about what you are trying to accomplish.
Yes, our kickstarter project can be found at http://kck.st/lsrexT. We are raising enough money to cover the publishing costs of the book and handle some of the tour costs as well. Most of our own money will fund the tour, but if the public helps with the publishing, then the more time I can spend out on the road teaching kids, doing up some killer live art at the clubs and conventions, and spreading the word of art. You can pledge a buck or $5000, and for each level starting at $10.00 you'll get art, prints, books, original paintings and more! I'm also accepting sponsorship from companies which will include having your logo on the side of my tour trailer—a logo that will be seen across the 10,000 miles that I am driving. For more info on corporate sponsorship or any other questions please email Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more info on the tour, art, books, and more log onto www.industriacide.com.
And there you have it. I hope you find this interview as informative and entertaining as I did. Remember that Sean's artistic talent can be commissioned. For more information check out his website above.