Monday, June 23, 2008

Penis Tattoo's and Arkangels of Death

So it's been awhile since my first blog was launched. My intentions are to keep this updated monthly and I have a real treat for everyone this month. I was able to hunt down my terribly busy buddy Dick Starr for an exclusive interview. Also this month I have a review of the H8000 Belgium hardcore band Arkangel which includes a download to their newest album. If that isn't enough I am also gonna start by showing you guys a sneak peak of what I am illustrating for Black Ink Horror XXX. So I bet your asking yourself what is so special about BIH XXX that isn't in every other issue. Well it's simple the stories are grittier then they have ever been. This issue is intended to be more extreme then any of the issues out to date. Not to mention this issue will be limited in print and include color illustrations. That's right "Color"..... I've decided to work with Pen, Ink, and some really expensive watercolors. The great thing about watercolor is that it works really well with india ink.. You can even layer ink wash in with the pigment. I have to tell you I've used low grade watercolors in the past and they can't even begin to compare what quality pigment does. I am currently using a set from Winsor & Newton since I really enjoy their high end Oil and Acrylic line but I've also heard positive remarks about Grumbacher as well.
So in this months interview I mentioned that I was going to interview the infamous Dick Starr. I have been ever so lucky to call this guy a friend but not only is he a friend I've also had the opportunity to share space with Mr. Starr in a handful of publications like Potter's Field and Black Ink Horror. Dick and I also participated in a four way collaboration with Peter Brown and Dr Twistid to come up with the now popular Morbid Lisa. So without further delay here is how my interview went with Mr. Starr.

So Mr. Starr I'm sure everybody has the same question for you and that's how in the hell did you come up with your name?

When I was eighteen, I wanted to get a cool tattoo...a star on the head of my dick. It'd be my magic wand of sorts. However, I didn't want to get the tattoo in a shop full of random people and my johnson out in the hands of some guy. I had a friend at the time that was several years older than me that tattooed. He said he'd do it at home for $50 and a 6-pack. When I got to his place, he chickened out and began coming up with all of these "reasons" why I shouldn't get it done. Long story short, he didn't want to accidentally destroy my "junk". He ended up calling me Dick Starr after that, and it stuck. I performed hip hop under that name for a couple of years in college as well. Nowadays, my best friend is a licensed tattoo artist and he's going to do the tattoo as soon as he's ready. My wife can't wait.

Your work tends to turn heads and sometimes even causes some backlash, especially your celebrity massacre work. Does the negative feedback motivate you even more or has it caused you to step back a bit?

I kinda like the negative feedback. If nobody ever gave me grief about some of my stuff, I think I'd be doing something wrong. My stuff isn't supposed to appeal to everyone. I'll put it this way, my grandmother claims that she spent several minutes throwing up after she saw my website. That could not have tickled me any pinker!

So I think most everybody knows you from the pages of early Black Ink Horror. Since then you've branched out and have been involved in some other amazing projects, would you care to tell about some of the projects you've been working on?

Totally. I've been busy with a couple of big projects lately, including one for MTV2 Headbanger's Ball. I've got another feature coming up in the next issue of Girls and Corpses Magazine showcasing a couple of Super Secret (exclusive) Celebrity Death Polls. I think you'll really enjoy Carrot Top's demise.

What are the primary tools of your trade?

Mechanical Pencil, Uni-ball Jetstream pens, Wacom Tablet, PhotoShop. Add a little herbage, a bloody slasher flick, some good tunes, a thermos full of strong coffee, a little touch of insanity, and you've got the recipe for a nasty masterpiece.

You often mix digital coloring with hand drawn work. How do you feel about digital work and the direction it is heading? Do you feel that traditional illustration is becoming a dying bread because of it?

Well, I personally enjoy classic ink works the most, but the digital aspect has really broadened the horizon for a lot of artists including myself. If you look back at the beginning of my gallery, EVERYTHING is pencil or ink. Nowadays, I've gotten pretty comfortable in PhotoShop, and I think it's the way the mainstream side of the art industry is heading. Just like the practical effects (make up, props, guts, etc.) in movies, they aren't dead and gone, Digital Effects just hog all of the mainstream spotlight. People like Tom Savini, the Weta Workshop, and Stan Winston Studios are all still very much in business and will hopefully stay that way for a long time. Physical art will never die, I'm talking to one of the current/future greats right now.

If you could give advice to somebody who wishes to get involved in freelance work what would you say to them and what would you tell them to watch out for?

I'd say don't be afraid to approach somebody about an art gig. If you like a certain site or magazine, spend some time on a piece JUST for them. It could be an ad for them, a portrait of the site's owner, or anything you think they might enjoy. Send it to them and see what they do. They may simply say "thanks" or not reply at all...but they might just have something for you OR know somebody that does. Also, I know it can be very time consuming, but make yourself present online. Join communities like Deviant Art and be active. I get most of my tattoo gigs from people on SuicideGirls, and most of my album cover jobs from bands on MySpace. Guerilla marketing baby! The only thing I'd warn people about is payment. If you get asked to provide art for somebody in exchange for money, GET A DEPOSIT!! Even if it's only a small percentage, it will at least insure that you get something for your work. You'd be surprised at how many people will try to skip out on payment, it isn't very hard to do. I ask for %50 up front and %50 upon completion. PayPal is easy and all you need is a bank account, look into it.

And one last question here, have you had any formal training or have you learned pretty much everything on your own?

My mother still has decapitated Superman drawings of mine from when I was 4 and 5yrs old. I learned a lot on my own growing up, but I went to the Savannah College of Art & Design studying sequential art after high school. I've been teaching myself PhotoShop over the last couple of years.

Well Dick it's been a real pleasure interviewing you. You had some really informative answers and I think the people reading this will really get some much needed Starr knowledge.. So thanks again..

To view more of Dick Starr's work please visit him on Deviant Art ,Myspace, or his very own page at the following links.

Now in this months music section I wanted to let you all in on the Belgium Hardcore scene. The market is truly flooding with awful overrated Metalcore jargon and Europe is one of the few places that still holds brutal hardcore. A buddy of mine Dwid Hellion (Lead singer of Integrity) moved to Belgium quite a few years ago in need of some change in his life. Well after hearing how awesome Belgium was I decided to do some research myself. Who would have thought that Belgium was hiding some amazingly talented bands and had started there own movement called H8000 which stands for "hate thousand". The movement includes bands like Congress, Rise and Fall, and Arkangel. Arkangel has to be one of my favorite acts from that area and they deliver a sound like no other. Abrasive understandable vocals that crawl deep into your skin. The riffs that are nothing less then brutal. Arkangel just released their third full length album and it truly sets the standards for brutal hardcore. I highly recommend that you download the new full length then listen to it. If you enjoy as much as I do you'll certainly run to the store and purchase them all.

Artist - ArkangelAlbum - Is Your EnemyGenre - Metal / HardcoreWebsite -
Country - Belgium
Tracklist1. Damned Forever
2. Enduring Violence
3. Slow But Heavy
4. 13ThHour
5. I Believe In Danger
6. Ugly It Is
7. Killing To Keep The World Turning
8. Scarred
9. On The Blacklist...

Link for download
P.S. uncheck the check box on the download screen before downloading. Download is courtesy of Death Core is Sexy v3.