PDB: Can you pitch your latest project in 25 words or less?
SH: Collaborations are germinating , poster work, awesome odd jobs, daily new blog content and the dogged pursuit of new opportunities.
PDB: Which books, films or television shows have floated your boat recently?
Recently? I’d say straight off, without batting an eye, Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive” is a new classic and a film I have probably watched 5 times in the last 6 months. I am a NUT for his films, even going back to his Danish “Pusher” trilogy.
I recieved a copy of Frank Miller’s “The Dark Knight Returns” in the HUGELY oversized “Absolute” format as a gift this year. Even after 26 years it still hits me like a freight train.
I read a lot of trade paperback comic collections like Jack Kirby’s “Black Panther” and “Devil Dinosaur” that almost radiate heat from the page because of the vivid colors available with today’s printing methods.
I watch TV sparingly, but I have loved Futurama since 1999, was crushed when it was cancelled by Fox, overjoyed when Comedy Central picked it up for new episodes. But I generally watch movies on DVD if I’m in front of the tube.
PDB: Is it possible for an artist to be objective about other artists?
I can only speak for myself, I am unabashedly NOT objective, every day I see a piece by someone I know or even someone I don’t that just makes me nod my head and say “Yes. AWESOME”. there are dozens of artists that I know and even don’t know at all that have me lookingforward to what they are going to do next. I never down anyone’s attempts. Who am I to judge what you felt you had to create? But I am a HARDCORE cheerleader for art I like.
PDB: Do you have any interest in films, theatre or television?
I’d say of the three, 99.9% of my interest is in film. Some of my best experiences in life have taken place in movie theaters. From when I first saw John Milius’ “Conan” at age 9 (and more than a few other fantastic films in the year 1982 alone) to when I finally saw Vader unmasked at the end of “Jedi” in 1983.
Officer Alex Murphy’s painful transformation into “Robocop” in 1987 floored me. I wanted to know what the Secret Army of the “12 Monkeys” was about in 1996.
I left the theater boiling with righteous geek anger TWICE in 1998 after seeing “Godzilla” and “Batman and Robin”.
I rooted for The Bride to ultimately “Kill Bill” in 2003. I yelled at the screen with GLEE during”The Cabin The Woods” this year. I am a FOOL for film.
I have to kind of limit my answer to that because it s a VERY involved topic for me as I haven’t even mentioned films I didn’t see in theaters when they first came out, a number of which were made before I was born.
I wish I had more exposure to live theater but I just haven’t in life. It is a definite shortcoming.
TV? I can’t even scratch the surface of the surface on that. Let’s just say I am a rabid lover of everything from Battle of the Planets to Garth Marenghi’s “Darkplace“. I think that about covers what I’m about as far as TV goes.
PDB: How useful or important are social media for you as an artist?
Wow, I can’t describe to you what an equalizer social media has been for me in the last 8 years. I’d be in the weeds without it. POWERFUL tools if you realize that you have to use them without seeming like you’re using them, and the best way to do that is to not have any ulterior motives with people and be genuine. Deal above the boards at every level, in every situation.
Social media has put me in contact not only with people I would LOVE to work with, but more importantly, people who like what I do from all walks of life. I’ve been able to strike up lasting friendships with artists and non artists alike, people whose opinion carries ultimate weight with me.
I’ve also met a number of people further along in the art world than I am and without their mentorship, combined with the kind words and encouragement of self-professed fans, there is no way I would have grown, no way.
I was able to meet a longstanding artistic idol of mine, Aidan Hughes (BRUTE!), who ALWAYS has time to help me sort out professional issues. I have been a died in the wool MEGA FAN of his since I was 15 or 16 (I’m almost 39 now), and if you would have told the ME of back then that not only would I correspond with BRUTE! eventually, but he would over the course of five years give me expert insight into how an artist should hone his skill into a method that can be wielded with not only as much ferocity as you can muster but also the decisive calm of a master, the ME of then would have laughed in your face.
There are a whole cabal of folks that have steered me in the right direction; Geoff Boucher, founder of Hero Complex, hired me for a handful of gigs for him this year. Emmy winning artist Thomas N Perkins IV taught me a thing or two about valuing myself and my work.
Never say die artists like Kurt Belcher, Daniel Th1rte3n and JB Sapienza taught me to, well, never say die. All of this became possible when I decided to sign up for Facebook, twitter and the like back in 2008-ish, so yeah, social media is great for a guy like me.
PDB: What’s on the cards in 2012?
Whew, well, that is an ever shifting schedule that changes dramatically day-to-day. I try to make my work “a symbol of my individuality, and my belief in personal freedom” to quote Sailor Ripley. The rub is that everything comes in cycles. Crazy busy or not so crazy busy I still produce SOMETHING every single day; some for fun while projects that don’t require me at this stage percolate and become reality.
One of the most satisfying working relationships and friendships that has developed over the last year is with a Rhode Island film company called Scorpio Film Releasing. Those guys are GREAT. I talk to director Richard Griffin daily since they hired me to work on their film ‘Murder University” at the tail end of 2011. They absolutely have a sly 42nd street in the 1970’s appeal to their films that I am more than glad to be part of. They have 3 productions coming up, so there’s poster work for those as well as another film going into production soon that hired me based on my work for SFR.
I’m also involved with the “My Name Is…Jonah”documentary about real life warrior/harpman Jonah Washnis (yet another valued friend I have made because of art!) I do a lot of fill in commissions for companies and private people, some I can’t mention because, like I said earlier, they are percolating projects that don’t kinda involve me yet.
There are a few possible BIG projects that are just in their infancy that I am trying like hell not to over think or get antsy about.
In down times, I contribute to websites like Retroist or sites that have championed my work like The Cathode Ray Mission out of NY State, Super Punch out of LA or Cultural Compulsive Disorder out of Brooklyn will run something I posted on my blog, and that helps me keep my momentum going, no doubt. Actually the admins and fellow contributors to all of those sites have become personal friends that I talk to often and collaborate with.
I know I am forgetting things and people but I am not in the least bit shy about letting everyone know what I’m working on, so I guess we’ll all just see what transpires.
Sean Hartter’s magnificent blog is here.