Share This

What Happens When A Sharpie Lands in the Hands of Scott Davies?

Scott blew us away with his stunning Sharpie mural and we knew we wanted to chat further with this brilliant Brit. We also know you do too..

Just a fraction of what Scott created with only FIVE markers

Introducing Scott Davies:  

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves? Give us the good stuff!

Well where do I start! I’m a 17-year-old fine art and graphic design student, studying at Wyke Sixth Form College in Kingston upon Hull, England. Since I was very young I’d always been the ‘kid who did art’ my Dad is a painter and my Mother is a wizard with textiles. The artistic/ creative lives my parents live have definitely been influential on my interests and aspirations, and after maturing, art has become the driving force in how I go about living my life. As a school kid I’d spend countless maths lessons just doodling away, anything that didn’t interest me or I didn’t believe in I’d ignore and I’d just be doing my own thing in my own world, blasting a ballpoint pen with a chewed end or something. I’d often get in trouble, but I didn’t care because I knew what I wanted to do and that there was a place for me to make a contribution to the world if I worked hard enough.  Since then I’ve never stopped creating. I’m always drawing something and I feel certain that I want to study an arts-based-course at university (whether that be illustration or fine art) and to then attempt to make a freelance career out of art and illustration.

Wyke College

Off the topic of arts, I love the outdoors; hikes and such. I’d also like to make sure I do plenty of travelling; it’s humbling and inspiring. I need to see the world, and to make a little art along the way of course. [I am] very interested in music, too and it’s my main form of entertainment and I can’t seem to draw the same without tuning in, everything from Four Tet to Sigur Rós, if it matters. And if there’s anything I dislike, its people who just give up on art or show great skills but don’t believe it’s possible for them to make a career out of it, it fills me with pity. I just find it such a shame when people don’t have enough enthusiasm to just give something a shot regardless of what may get in the way. All art is beautiful in its own right and there will always be an audience for something.

What is inspires you to uncap what’s inside?
Things I see every day, personal experience which influences me to make work with relevance to society as it is today. I often find inspiration at the strangest of times so it’s always good to get things onto paper as they appear in your mind. I’m someone that’s probably blessed with a constantly imaginative and active mind which is great when it comes to having something to work from, however it does have its traits such as stressing yourself out over the littlest things and excessively over thinking yadda yadda.

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

Sharpie is a very iconic company, and I’ve been exposed to the products because of that. When I was little I used to draw on toy cars with them. But apart from my mural, ‘A warning’ I hadn’t used them in a piece of art before. Because I was aware that the pens would write on almost every surface I knew I needed some Sharpie markers to create an 8-and-a-half-foot illustrative drawing. A lot of my work is created with fine refillable pens and mechanical pencil when working [on a] small scale for the intricacy, so it seemed if I was working scale up I needed a broader tip that would have all the impact that comes with black ink (Sharpie fine point), but that would still be able to give me a delicate and highly detailed outcome. And they worked a treat!

Scott's pencil and pen work

Tell us how you got started with Sharpie?  
I had a voucher and I headed to my nearest stationary supplier and picked up three Sharpie Fine Point markers (these covered much of the whole mural) and I started on the board!

You created a HUGE mural using Sharpie, tell us what inspired you to take on a project of such magnum proportions! 

My art teacher Jon was aware I wanted to work on a large scale to create a drawing like my small scaled refined drawings, he was given the old photo board of students in 2011/ 12 which he then revealed to me, it left me in shock and perhaps fear. It’s around 8 and a half ft long and a good 3 ft tall, a massive blank canvas made of smooth plastic and I was going to be making a final piece out of it. I knew internally what I wanted to create, something that was an insight as that what I believe will become of the future of society as people become more media driven, brainwashed and subconsciously under control in a situation where there would be no such thing as freedom. The mural itself is titled ‘A warning’ because that’s its intentions.

In progress...

I didn’t make a single compositional plan for the mural, lots of people told me it was the wrong way to go about doing it and they seemed concerned that I would have problems down the line, but I carried on regardless just crossing my toes (hands too busy) that it would all just come together nicely. It started with a little pencil outline of a burnt out car and developed into a huge miserable inky dreamscape.

Still going...

It took a total for 5 Sharpie Fine markers with the assistance of a water based felt tipped grey pen for mid tones, which I’d smudge around the Sharpie lines (Sharpie ink unaffected). The Sharpie markers lasted for a very surprising amount of time; each one went a long way. Even pens that had run out I was using for grey tones. The pens never blued out, they stayed black, they were precise, stayed fine for as long as I needed them to be fine and they dried so quickly.

Almost there...

They allowed me to create the result of ‘A Warning’ I highly recommend them for anybody attempting to take on something of similar scale/surface. It took a total of 11 weeks to complete and 5 Sharpie markers (fine point) I’m unsure of hours and I neglected the board for a month to work on other things.
Favorite (or should I say favourite?) Sharpie?  Why?
Well so far I’ve only used the classic fine point Sharpie markers but I’ve only recently discovered that Ultra fine point markers actually exist, they’d be a joy to use amongst larger pens!

How would you describe your style?
I’d say something like contemporary illustration, traditional methods. Illustration for me is the bridge between graphic design and fine art; somewhere that seems appropriate for me to rest. I’m definitely a drawer but I would like to master it along with painting. Painting seems like another planet I’m yet to explore, and I’ve barely seen enough of drawing.

How do you decide what you want to tackle next, slash can you tell us what’s next for you!?

With me being a college student it’s all about university prep and I have to prioritize that work over everything else, my topic for my exam unit is ‘Body Language’ so expect some other large board filled based around that topic (potentially with the assistance of Sharpie ultra fine point) I’m currently working on my illustrative coursework final piece for graphics made with pencil, some progress images currently on my page. I’m also filling pages with sketches each day which I occasionally post on my little art page.

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

Hm, well I did once see someone answer a question like this with ‘The ability to shoot three cotton balls out of your hands every ten days’ I thought that was nice and quirky. But in all seriousness I’d love to be able to pick up any instrument and know the techniques so I could create some weird one man loop machined orchestra, people would so see that.

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who and why?

It’s definitely Rupert Murdoch, to give him a good slap with the mackerel I’d order.

Scott is QUITE the jack-of-all trades

And THAT, ladies and gentlemen is Scott Davies! I hope you all read that interview in a British accent, ( No? just me?) and were as blown away with Scott’s work as we were!

Have another question for Scott? Comment and ask away!

Share This

Daniel Roberts is out of this world

We love Facebook, beyond the unlimited stalking opportunities it allows,  it ALSO introduces us to amazing, out-of-this-world artists like Daniel Roberts!

We had the amazing opportunity to chat with Daniel about his work and his unique Sharpie style. .

Check it.

1. Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Give us the good stuff!

First and foremost, hello, my name is Daniel Roberts from Las Cruces, but currently I’m now living in Albuquerque, NM. I am turning 22 in April, I obtained my associates degree in Business Management. I have completed/sold well over 50+ canvases as well as I’ve created custom art for a select few. I have participated in approximately 5 local art shows including two in downtown El Paso, TX. I have developed my portfolio over the past 8 years.  More than money, I want people to simply see my art and view it as they may. Enjoy it. Every single one of my canvases I have created is made 100% Sharpie products. People always ask me why I create my Sharpie Art, I tell them “because when I actually start creating with a blank canvas and my Sharpie markers, I forget about the rest of the world, forget about my problems and insecurities, about failures and an uncertain future, about everything, I lose myself in each canvas…”  Each one of them tells my story; you just have to use your own imagination to bring them to life. My work is unique, original, and overall expressive. My ideas, imagination, and creations become alive through Sharpie markers. ENJOY!!

2. What inspires you to uncap what’s inside? How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?

My inspirations and signature art twists, come from different parts of me which are influenced by the different beautiful images of life that surround me. A select few icons that are my muses include Alexander McQueen, Marco Mazzoni, Alex Pardee, High Fructose & GQ Magazines, Brandt Peters as well as other inspirational artists. Music has also been a huge part of my inspirations.

Each and every one of my canvases are made with 100% Sharpie markers. As a final touch and when I decide I’m finished with a final piece, I like to spray paint the boarders with black spray paint to create a perfect fitted frame. This also helps contrast perfectly against the vibrant Sharpie colors on the canvases.  I’m always keeping imagination, creativity and the arts alive!! These are only a few things what inspires me to uncap what’s inside!!

3. You create some amazing blended looks with the marker ink, any tips on how to achieve this?

I ALWAYS get asked how I am able to manipulate the Sharpie Ink into such a smooth coating. I would love the share my secrets with the world, but that is something I’m also very proud of. I enjoy knowing that it is such a mystery, kind of like chefs “top secret recipes.” I like having a unique medium that I truly enjoy creating with. This gives my art an interesting edge, as well as brilliant colors. My personal tip, black Sharpie markers are the key to bringing all of my major and minor details a life.

4. Favorite Sharpie?  Why? 

By far, my favorite Sharpie markers are the original Fine Point Sharpie. I love the outstanding variety of colors. I have different art supply boxes and bags FULL of black and colored Fine Point, Retractable Sharpie markers, Twin Tip, and of course the Chisel Tip. I use nothing else but 100% Sharpie for my pieces! I recently fell in love with the black Sharpie King Size marker; this truly helps me with a lot of my major detailing, considering my bigger sized canvases.

5. How would you describe your style of art? 

I would describe it as Nontraditional–Urban. New Age. Unique Art. I create and design beautiful images, but there is a darker, sicker twist to each piece. I create things that don’t exist, but I really wish they did. I like to incorporate elegance and beauty with a touch of obscenity and vulgarity. When I start to create a canvas, I like to find ways where imagination and creativity can be explored with images never seen.  [D.R.]

6. Your work is pretty whimsical and other-worldly, how did you get started?

All of my life I have found that different art comes from different minds. I remember creating my first few art pieces throughout school with acrylic, pastel, oils, and other art supplies, but I never found my true medium that inspired me to explore further. I was 13 when I started creating with my Sharpie markers. I was leaving my mark with Sharpie everywhere; it was around 14 when I discovered my ability to manipulate the Sharpie ink. That’s when my entire world and visions of art changed. I truthfully started to appreciate the colors and details in each piece. I already loved creating with my little monsters, box-headed figures and strange images, but my “Top Secret Art Recipe” was what brought each character to life and pushed me further to explore my limits as an artist.

7. What projects are you working on currently or can you tell us what you ARE working on next?

Currently, I am working as a barista for Satellite Café in Albuquerque, NM. I’ve been selected to participate in creating the marketing flyer for “Live in the Living Room”, which is different events that are featuring local artists, actors, and musicians that come to perform for in our café. I also have been searching for different art galleries in New Mexico and around the country to try and participate in a show or even just get help in pointing me in the right direction for my kind of art. And always, I’m continuously working on different canvases around my house, which accumulate all of my wall space!! My Sharpie Art is my passion, my inspiration is everywhere!

8. Do you have a soft spot for one of your pieces in particular?

Well, of course I have my favorites, but each canvas contains an emotion of me. My heart, mind, body and soul go into each piece, my life and experiences (good and bad) are what influence my art. There are both happy and very detrimental pieces in my art collection. The titles of each canvas can also usually say a lot, but overall, your imagination is what really shows me as an artist I am telling you a story. I want people to view my art and focus on something nontraditional and let their minds explore.

Want to more? Check out all of Daniel’s work by becoming a fan of his on Facebook and checking out his website!

Want to OWN one of these other worldly peices? Shoot him a note at bleepy00012@yahoo.com

Share This

California Wives Start With Sharpie

You’ve seen the music video, made the Mashup and crooned along with the music, NOW its time to spend a little QT with the four gents behind the Sharpie Music Video!

Introducing Joe, Jayson, Dan and Graham, also known as California Wives, the men behind the music!

From left to right- Graham, Joe, Jayson and Dan

Tell me about yourselves! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves? Give us the good stuff!

Three of us grew up in the suburbs around Chicago. Dan and I actually went to rival high schools, but we got over it. Graham moved to Chicago a few years ago, but he grew up in Florida.   We all like Science Fiction and are proud fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Judge us if you must, but Captain Picard is one our heroes. Not too many pet peeves, but Graham cannot stand ketchup, or catsup for that matter.

Being Chicago natives, where did the name California Wives come from? ( Feel free to start with … “It came to me in a dream after a Real Housewives marathon”—we’d get it. We’ve had the same dream…)

California Wives as actually just something one of us said once. It was winter and it was super cold in Chicago and we happened to start making music that sounded sunnier. When we realized it, we all thought, “didn’t somebody say something about ‘California wives’ the other day?

What is inspires you to uncap what’s inside?

That moment when you start bobbing your head while playing a song, or beat, or melody. That inspires us to keep going. Once you’ve got a song that you really like to play, you want to write more.

Tell us how you got started with Sharpie! 

We used to burn a lot of CDs of demos that we made. We’d mark each one a Sharpie marker so we could tell them apart. There are piles of CD-Rs with odd song names on them hanging around someplace. If you run across some, let us know, they might be ours.

Favorite Sharpie?  Why? 

The 80′s Glam kind, for obvious reasons.

How would you describe your style? 

My mom describes us all as, “in need of a haircut.” I respectfully disagree.

Color really seemed to impact your upcoming album, Art History, what is about color that influences your writing?

Colors are something that are easy to associate with moods. You can use them to allude to a feeling without necessarily having to name it. I think that’s why they appear in so many of our songs.

(HEY Sharpie fans- don’t forget to download this AWESOME album on iTunes!) 

You crazy kids are about to head out on tour (with a full supply of Sharpie markers on hand!) What or where are you most pumped for?

Getting to see Stars and Diamond Rings live every night is pretty exciting. Besides that, it will pretty cool to drive through the Southwestern United States. Speaking of colors…

Do you have a soft spot for one of your songs in particular? (I know we do! Hint hint, Sharpie fans, check out “Purple,” which debuted in our first ever music video!)

Light Year. It was the last to come together, so it’s the newest to us. It’s like the band puppy.

 If each of you could have one super power what would it be and why?

I [Joe] would never get tired or have to sleep so that the band would not have to deal with my snoring. It would also be nice to not have objects thrown at me if I pass out in the back of the van. Seriously, though, if I didn’t have to sleep, I would have an extra third of my life to do stuff.

Jay would have an infinity stomach. He’s a pretty skinny guy so it would be funny to see him wipe the floor with some competitive eaters. They’d just stare at him and think, “where does it all go?”

Dan would be able to read 7 books at the same time. That way he might have time for a few other hobbies. Really, it only seems like’s he’s always reading because we spend so much time in the van.

Graham would be able to talk with dogs. He does all the time, anyways. It’s just usually a very one-sided conversation. I’m sure he’d like to know what the dogs think of what he’s saying.

If you could have dinner with one person, living or dead, who and why?

Ray Kurzweil seems to know a lot about what’s going to happen in the future. I wouldn’t mind having him drop some knowledge on me.

Dont you just feel closer to the coast already? Wanna check these guys out live?! Well you’re in luck they are heading out on tour with Stars and Diamond Rings

Share This

Gettin’ to the Good Stuff with Timothy Goodman

We love making friends, and friends of friends are our favorite… and that’s exactly how we came to chat with Timothy Goodman, New York City heart breaker and graphic designer. After interviewing his friend and fellow designer, Dan Cassaro, we got a little love letter, or rather a love marathon, from Mr. Goodman and decided that anyone with this much Sharpie love deserved to be more than just our valentine.

The heart breaker, in the flesh... or at least in black and white.

Lock up your hearts ladies, he already stole ours and we cant be held responsible for your newest raging crush.  

Let’s get to the good stuff… 

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves?

I jokingly like to call myself the “Kid from Cleveland.” In the 1930s, there was a group of teenage actors who were called the “Dead End Kids.” They were wisearse street kids who always wore newsboy hats, and usually had some dirt on their face. I was sort of a 1980s version of that. Growing up in Cleveland from a family a modest means, I learned how to be scrappy as a youngster. My friends and I were always up to no good: smoking cigs, playing street ball, stealing baseball cards, running from dogs, jumping neighbor’s fences, throwing eggs at cars. My sweet mother had her hands full! When I was a kid, I was proud to have bruises and scars on my body after playing outside. Having bruises and scars meant I was having fun.

What inspires you and your work?

I’ve watched Winnie-the-Pooh about 10 times in the last year. Christopher Robin says, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” What an idea! I’m currently trying to be more naive with my work. Graphic design books and blogs will only get me so far. We should be inspired by other mediums, but more importantly, we should be in touch with an openness in life that has nothing to do with information, language, “success,” or dollars.

How would you describe your style? 


I work hard to get my voice and my humor in my work. As my old boss Brian Collins says, we’re not in the ‘kind of nice business.’ Meaning, we’re here to be provocative, to be memorable, and to tell great stories. Even though I’ve adopted a drawing style, if you look at my body of work you’ll see that I generally work in many mediums across branding, identity, and editorial. I have no interest in making work for solely aesthetic reasons. If we ask questions, and think like storytellers, then we can have a larger dialogue with our clients and ourselves.

You seem to be quite the jack-of-all-trades; working as a designer, art director, and illustrator, what IS it about your work that gets you goin’?

I used to paint homes, hang wallpaper and drywall for 4 1/2 years before going to design school in NYC. I was a horrible high school student and I needed time to figure out what I wanted. In the beginning, I was a laborer, hauling buckets of wallpaper glue up ladders for 12-15 hours a day. That taught me an unruly work ethic. Later, it showed me how fortunate I am to be doing what I love, and how lucky I am to do it in New York. I try not to take any of it for granted. The way I see it right now, being a designer is a duty, not a career choice.

How did you get started? 


Having mentors and constantly making things. My old creative director, John Fulbrook, hired me right out of school as a book jacket designer for Simon & Schuster. Soon after that, he left the publishing world to become a creative director in branding, and he took me with him. I will forever be indebted to him for helping my career blossom. I think it’s paramount to find someone that will help guide you, beyond design, in a way that teaches you more about life. I remind my students about this often. As for the illustration stuff, it came as a result of wanting to explore different things, and to get my name in the Times so I could impress girls. Isn’t that what it’s all about, anyway?

Worked for us...


How did you come up with your Valentine’s Tweet-a-thon?


After leaving Apple (yes, THAT Apple) in October, I promised myself that I would make more time for personal projects. I started thinking about how much time I spend on Twitter, and how I don’t know most of the people I chat with. So I wondered how I could honor these virtual relationships? However, as many of us do, I beat myself up with doubt and fear: How could I possibly draw a valentine for every single one of my Twitter followers? Why would it matter? Who would care? Einstein famously said, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.” I tried convincing myself NOT to do it. Luckily, my good buddy Erik Marinovich encouraged me to follow through with it. In the end, it was extremely rewarding on many levels, and I was very touched to see how much it resonated with people.

One look, a flutter, and some eyelash batting/tweeting and we knew...

...this was a Sharpie match made in heaven.

You have been a part of some pretty incredible stuff; your work at Apple, the Ace Hotel, features in the New York Times, Wired and Time magazine, JUST to name a few, what accomplishment do you wish you could have unlimited bragging rights on about?


I’m proud of the work I’ve been able to do, and I feel fortunate to have so many inspiring and encouraging friends, mentors, and colleagues around me. Nothing is done without them. While I leave the bragging on the resume, I do pull out the Apple card a lot. They’re the most successful and innovative company in the world, everything they touch is a smash, the whole world watches them, and every client wants to be them. And besides the fact that my mother questions me at least once a week with that Are you sure you didn’t make the biggest mistake of your life by quitting? tone in her voice, I’m happy with my decision to quit and move back to NYC.

How did you come to contribute to the Art Director’s Club (ADC) bathroom ?


The wonderful people at the ADC asked four of us (Mikey Burton, Chris Rubino, Rich Tu, and myself) to create a mural in their ladies room. With only one Saturday to do it, we had to think fast and act quick—and luckily we came to an easy agreement on concept and execution. And let me tell you, there’s nothing like four dudes sweating in a bathroom all day! After some initial emails during the weeks before, we decided to shower the walls with compliments and an array of ‘lady etiquette.’ After all, shouldn’t all respectable ladies know that a beautiful dress can be ruined by wearing lumpy, baggy underwear?


(Funny story.. this is the same place that hosted the TED award ceremony for the Ads Worth Spreading, so  you may have seen a tweet or two from @Sharpie about this beauty–and that was BEFORE we knew Tim was the man behind the mirror err… bathroom! Some things are just meant to be)

 Any cool new projects you can tell us about?

I have a weird superstition when it comes to talking publicly about work that hasn’t happened yet. I will say that I have a great new rep/studio manager, and I’m very excited about the future.

Your designs have a cool edginess to them; how do you come up with new ideas?


Ideas are totally disposable and constantly in flux for me. I learned that while being in branding. Anything can spark an idea, and you better have at least 100 of them. However, some of my favorite ideas have come while I’m flying. Which is ironic, because I used to be horribly afraid to fly and I couldn’t step foot on an airplane for 3 years during college. I learned to overcome that fear, and I have flown over 25 times in the last year and a half. Now I absolutely love flying! I can’t wait to get in the air, put my headphones on, and get my sketchbook out.

Do you have a soft spot for one of your designs in particular?
My friend William Morrisey always says, “If you want to change your look, change your tool.” About 2 years ago I made a conscience effort to get my hand involved in my work more. I had the perfect opportunity to make that effort sing when I was asked to do a mural for the Ace Hotel. That project opened up an entirely different creative avenue for myself. A healthy amount of work I’m currently doing is hand-drawn, and it all stems from that project.

Where the magic happened... The ACE is what brought us all together!

The common thread between Tim, Dan and all this Sharpie love

 How do you use Sharpie markers in your work?
With immediacy and with mistakes! I’m a big NBA basketball fan. I love the New York Knicks, and I hate to miss a game. I like to drink a beer soda.. (right, Tim?) (note: mistakes), watch the Knicks, and draw draw draw.

 Favorite Sharpie?  Why?
The Sharpie paint markers! I love the way they spread, the way they adhere, the way they smell, the way you have to shake them to get the ink flowing. It’s a very sensual process, which is probably why I dig it so much.

 Best part of your “day job” and if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?
It’s been six months since I left Apple, and I’m very excited about my newfound self-employment. My favorite part is the flexibility. I can take a 3 hour lunch; I can skip town whenever I want; I can choose my clients, or work on personal stuff anytime. Right now I’m on the path of the unknown, doing everything I should be doing.

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?
I hate poverty, and I hate that so many kids have to grow up in poverty. There are over 16 million children living in poverty in the United States alone. I wish I could make poor kids live like rich kids and rich kids live like poor kids for one week.

 What trends do you see making it big in 2012/ what are you pumped about in 2012?
One of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco, Mission Chinese, is coming to NYC!

Want to pick up some Chinese with Tim? Well, we can’t promise that (heck, we are still working on our own date), BUT you can follow him on Twitter- you may even get your own Valentine out of the deal!  Check out more of his amazing accomplishments by visiting his website, and trust us, there is A LOT more where this came from. 

And as always, share the love and leave a comment– we want to know what you think! 

 

Share This

YoungJerks’ Dan Cassaro Shows Off His Sharpie Stuff

New Yorkers are just cool; especially when they can list designer, animator and illustrator on their resume, work from a camper while travelling across the country with their main squeeze and oh yeah, paint a mural in a New York hotel using none other than Sharpie Paint Markers. Oh, so maybe it’s not ALL New Yorkers (althoughhhhhh it is one sweet city) but Dan Cassaro is definitely one of the coolest guys I have had the chance to interview for this humble blog.

Keep on scrollin’ to see what Dan has to say about his life in the design world and his AWESOME Sharpie chart…( it may have been the best thing to happen to my week)

ENJOY!

Sharpie Artist Interview– Dan Cassaro

WHAT. A. STUD. Dan Cassaro, Sharpie world.

Tell me about yourself! Where are you from? Interests? Likes? Dislikes? Pet Peeves?

I’m a designer, animator and illustrator living and working in Brooklyn. I live in the adorable Italian section of Williamsburg and I love it. The area seems to have acclimated to the gentrification more organically than other parts of Williamsburg. There are tons of great old butcher shops and old neighborhood mainstays that seem to exist pretty harmoniously with the new restaurants and bad art school haircuts. I grew up in Long Island and still have complicated feelings about the mall because of that. 

Instead of typing out a list of my likes/dislikes I decided to make a little chart for you (using a Sharpie, natch). 

 

 What inspires you and your work?

 Powerful rock and roll music, old train cars, Dads, the bric-a-brac section at the thrift store and various other ephemera. I think it’s important to try and pull from things that go deeper than a aesthetic level. Bruce Springsteen’s music is good because it sounds great and is fun to sing along to but there is something happening on a much more visceral level. I think it’s good to try to create work from that angle instead of just trying to make visually pleasing images. You don’t want to be making graphic design elevator music you know? 

How would you describe your style?

I don’t know, this is hard. As a designer I’d like to think that style is adapted and applied depending on the project. The illustrator part of me definitely has a common thread that runs through all my work though. I’ve been thinking that “clumsy modernism” is a pretty good way of explaining what I’d like to achieve with my work. I like the economy and boldness of modernism but all the pretentiousness surrounding it makes me want to barf a little. I want my work to be succinct but just “off” enough to give it charm and approachability. I spent a lot of time in college learning how to kern a headline and now I feel like maybe I’ll earned the right to intentionally UN-kern it. A little wonk goes a long way. 

 You seem to be quite the jack-of-all-trades; working as a designer, animator, and illustrator, what IS it about your work that gets you goin’?

 It’s a gift to be able to do this for a living. To be able to explore a bunch of different things and put them all under one roof. I’m kind of a poster child of a very non-committal ADD generation and it’s a real stroke of luck that I found a career that allows and often rewards that sort of eclecticism. Honestly, I am equal parts overachiever and lazy teenager. Doing something that I love for a living helps me bridge that gap I think and find a middle ground between the two. 

 How did you get started?

 I went to School of Visual Arts when I was a bit older (23) because as I mentioned before, I am a really non-committal person. I fell in love with design because it was so open ended. After school I started freelancing right away. I didn’t make a ton of “connections” at school (read: smooching your famous design teacher’s butt) but the Internet is the most democratic tool we have and I just tried to get a lot of my personal work out there. I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of that personal work eventually turn into a paycheck. That sounds too romantic though. I have also taken tons of s****ty ( gotta keep it PG, here folks) soul-sucking jobs and made tons of things I am not proud of just to pay the bills. A little bit of both.

How did you come to contribute to the ACE Hotel’s (NYC) décor?

That place is so cool. I had worked on a project called 50 and 50 and had been talking to some people there about having an opening to showcase all the pieces. They invited me to work on a piece for one of the rooms because of that. It was a really fun project for me. I got to stay at the hotel for a couple of nights and draw all over their walls with Sharpie Oil based paint markers. They last time I got to draw on someones wall was at my friend Dan Volpe’s house when I was 16. That was mostly inappropriate reference drawings though. (sorry for the edits… This is a family establishment!)

 

 Any cool new projects you can tell us about?

This is a dream project but I really want to do it. I want to put on a classic rock laser light show. Like rent out the planetarium and serve beer and blast some Zeppelin while watching some amazing animated horses or something. Wouldn’t that be great? I think that there are a lot of outdated but brilliant art forms out their that are just waiting to be brought into a more modern context. These are the kind of projects that I dream about. 

 Your designs are have a cool edginess to them; how do you come up with new ideas?

 I try to stay open to things just happening. Too many people treat design like an assembly line and it makes for a lot of visually acceptable, but flaccid design. I’d like to treat it more like an adventure, more like fine art. I don’t stay too married to the sketches that I do (if I sketch at all) and that lets me discover new ways of working. I like having that moment when you discover that you can create something that you didn’t know you were capable of before and have it happen almost by accident. My end results often looks very different from my original intentions. That system isn’t really conducive to the standard system of client approvals but it’s a very exciting way to work. Adventure! 

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work? Favorite Sharpie? Why?

I do a lot of my pen work and doodling with Sharpe Fine Point. I usually like using cheap paper and letting the ink pool up in the edges and bleed a bit. It’s nice to take those drawings that show a human hand and bring them into the computer and add that dimension. Using pen on paper helps keep me tied to the physical which is something I never want to lose touch with. I used Sharpie paint markers for the mural at the Ace Hotel. It was all kind of fancy type work so I wanted to keep the line work loose and fun. I made sure to only use really wide tip pens for this to keep myself from getting too fussy. 

Mural for the Ace Hotel... I know where I WILL be staying...

 Best part of your “day job” and if you weren’t doing this what would you be doing?

The best part of my day job is that I don’t have one. It’s more of this amorphous work blob that floats around and gloms onto other parts of my life infiltrating weekends and late nights. I mean that in a really good way. I’m sure I end up working a lot more than 40 hours a week but there is nothing better than fitting your work life into your regular life and not the other way around. This summer I spent three months driving around the country in an old camper with my girlfriend and a laptop, seeing America and doing design work. It really got me excited about work in a totally new way; driving across the country is like being in the most amazing graphic design inspiration blog. I feel like I am the luckiest guy in the world to be able to do my job in my basement or on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. 

If you could have one super power what would it be and why?

To have a magic playlist that plays the right song all the time, even when you don’t know what the right song is. I am willing to accept that 90% of that playlist would be Heart’s “Crazy on You.”

 What trends do you see making it big in 2012/ what are you pumped about in 2012?

More pizza parties, true love triumphing over evil, and a renewed interest in Brenden Fraiser’s “earlier, funny films.” 

 Umm who doesnt love a solid pizza party!?! Aka count me in for Dan’s 2012 plans, FO SHO! And that, ladies and gentleman, concludes one of my favorite interviews to date; to check out more on Dan, his work and his sparkly personality- pop on over and check out his website and follow him on Twitter and tumblr!

Share This

Media Connections

Connection connoisseur, James Schaffer

Fellow Sharpie employee and guest blogger, Stephanie Markadonatos, is back to chat with Sharpie artist, James Schaffer. James keeps it all connected through his art and we are excited to continue the link and share him with all of you.

As we all know, Social Media is the new driving force to keep us connected and up to date with our friends, family, and interests. With Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and all the many other social networks and blogs (even this one) floating around in cyberspace, we communicate to millions in seconds. The exposure of our thoughts, feelings, and ideas are put out there for all to see with a simple “Click”. The influence of internet media and how we connect has become a new chapter in the communication world.  What if the internet and the social media phenomenon weren’t around? Would we still be able to feel connected to people at the level we are able to now?

Today’s featured artist, James A. Schaffer, feels that we are all connected and the internet is one major media influence that can never fully be deleted. Get ready to learn how James uses both print and digital art to express our connectedness….

FEATURED SHARPIE ARTIST: JAMES A SCHAFFER

Can you give us a little background about yourself? I grew up in Pittsburgh, PA, where I currently reside and work. I am a recent graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, with a bachelor in Fine Arts with a concentration in painting. I have been interested in art since I was around 5 years old. When I was young I often got sick, so I always had a sketchbook nearby to keep me busy. My mother always took me to art classes as I grew up which kept me interested in the Arts.

What attracts to the fine arts? Other than being exposed early in life, I suppose I like the idea of creating something, and then allowing viewers to experience that thing. Instead of expressing myself in front of a live audience, I do enjoy being “behind the scenes” in a sense.

Can you tell me your thoughts on being an Artist?
I am an artist in every aspect of my life. To me, there is no separation. Therefore, this is the life that I was determined to live. I paint in order to live. It provides a relief and gives a fulfillment that nothing else can.

Where does your inspiration to create come from? A lot of my inspiration comes from abstract expressionist artists such as: Rauschenberg, De Kooning, Kline, Pollock, Motherwell, and Basquiat. My ultimate go to are two documentaries on Jean Michel Basquiat: “The Radiant Child” and “Basquiat”. Any time I see Jeans work ethic and the way he paints, it always forces me up and creating. I also like to travel and visit art museums.

How long does it take you to create your art?           
The time it takes to create a painting varies from piece to piece. I generally work on mine for over a span of several weeks, dedicating a few hours each day until I am complete. It typically takes an average of about 25 hours to fully complete a piece of art.

Tell me about your favorite museums you visited and why they stood out from others? Two that I truly enjoy are The Warhol Museum, which is in my hometown and the Whitney Museum in New York. I always had a liking for Andy Warhol and it always has interesting contemporary artists. Whitney Museum is not overwhelming like many of the other institutions in New York. I do hope to make it back to New York soon to visit the Museum of Modern Art for the De Kooning show. 

What attracted you to use Sharpie products in your works of art? There are several reasons why Sharpie markers are a favorite tool of mine. Most importantly, I feel quite comfortable and familiar with markers. Secondly, the ink and color of the ink drew me in. The colors are so bold and vivid, making it an easy choice for me as an artist.

What is your top Sharpie product?
I would say my favorite Sharpie product is the traditional blue Sharpie.

Feels good to be number 1

Can you explain how you feel everything is connected? I feel that nowadays, people’s interests and lives are multi faceted. As well as with the mega presence of things like the internet, we are more aware of what is going on with other people’s lives and other topics which before we may have not been exposed to.

What are your thoughts on communication, Internet and art – how are they linked?
We are all culturally closer than we have ever been before. Social interactions have been expanded in a way that would be impossible without the technology that we have at our fingertips. The goal of the internet is communication just like art. The two aren’t so far apart as people might think.  Both are used as tools to communicate a message.

How do you portray the media and connectedness in your art? By creating chaotic scenes. Media and our lives are all intertwined creating chaos.  Once my art is complete, I will review and decide if any marks need to be deleted or pushed back into the background. I make these decisions based on my reaction to the visual and various aesthetic qualities. The internet comes into effect again on the idea “things are always present even if you try to cover them up”. If a person posts a message, photo, or post, there’s no telling on who will see it and where it will end up. Even if we try to delete something, search engines and other tools still can dig up old information. We are connected through the media in ways in which sometimes we are not even made aware of.

Any advice you would like to pass along? I believe as it was taught to me, that each painting (or whatever art you choose) should be better than the previous one. This supports the idea of growth as an artist.

 Thank you to James A. Schaffer. For more on James and samples of his art visit his website at http://jamesaschaffer.com/ or follow him on Twitter at: twitter.com/jschaffer

Share This

Monster Mash

Monsters! MONSTERS, EVERYWHERE!!  Wait! Before you run and hide under your bed,  you might want to stop and  get to know these classically feared beasts. What if,  just like our irrational fear of robot world domination, these frightening lookin’ fellas wanted nothing more than to make your day?   

Today’s Sharpie artist, Allie Kelley, is breaking the monster mold and proving there is more behind these fiendish looks than gnashing teeth. Prepare yourself for one frighteningly great interview, we are so glad you’re here…      

Featured Sharpie Artist: Allie Kelley

Tell me about yourself!  Is this the part where I try to sound brilliant and interesting?  Well, I’m not great at that. The truth is I am a 20-something, self-taught artist who loves to laugh and wants to create quirky things that make other people smile and think. I am currently a Massage Therapist, which I love, but I dream of one day having a career where I get paid to create.   

Ms. Allie Kelly, Monster momma

How did you get started as an artist? I think I’ve been creative since I could hold a crayon. When I was little my mother and I moved into a house where my bedroom had been painted yellow and my Mom hated it. She gave me some crayons and told me to draw all over the walls, when they were full- she was painting the room another color.    

How would you describe your personal style?  Uh… clothing wise? I like vintage, I like scarves, and I like threadless.com t-shirts. 

Artistically? I’m still trying to figure that out, to be honest.   I try to make interesting, whimsical pieces that I’m going to want to look at 5 years from now… it’s like if Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton somehow had a child and that child was obsessed with vivid colors.   

 

Where do you draw inspiration from? A handy method is to stay up crazy late, chug a Red bull or two and sketch till I can’t keep my eyes open. I will take inspiration anyway I can get it. Spring trees in bloom, Discovery channel, city museums, and my trusted friends saying: “DRAW THIS!” are all ways that I’ve found a subject or a theme for my work. (Specific to this interview: my friend Amanda said: “you should draw monsters” and so I did.)   

How do you use Sharpie markers in your work? I use Sharpie markers at many levels. If I’m working on a painting, I use Sharpie markers for the pre-draw or I use Sharpie to doodle and try to gain inspiration. Other times (and more often lately) I just like to sit down with some great paper and a 24 pack of the Ultra Fine Point Sharpie markers and create from there. I love how the color combinations really mesh on the page and how the small tip allows for a lot of tiny wonderful details.   

Favorite Sharpie?  Why? I love using the Ultra Fine Point in pastel and light colors.  People don’t expect those tiny details in pink lemonade.  I think the one I gravitate to the most is the Blue Ice in the Ultra Fine Point.  I love the way it pops off my paper.   

   

 

What is it about monsters that you love so much? I love that monsters surprise you. People usually place anything very unfamiliar in their “monster” category.  Unfortunately it’s a natural response to feel that if it’s different, it’s scary. Once you get past your discomfort you can often be surprised that your “monster” is interesting, or funny, or kind.   My monsters look the part, but they say nice things to you. They remind you that you are loved and that you make others happy.   They tell you things your friends and neighbors should say to you every day.   

If you came face to face with one of your monster doodles in real life what would you say to him/her? Well, I would hope the Doodle monster would be my size and not teeny-tiny. I would also hope they would be down for going to have tea and a chat!!! Oh, I would have so many questions!! What do you eat? Do you have pets?  How old are you?! Do doodle monsters have jobs to work at? I guess I should be exploring all this with my art- and I will probably touch on some of it- but I would LOVE to just ask them!   

What is the strangest monster you’ve ever created? Prettiest? Ugliest? Funniest? This is the hardest question for me. I don’t think of my monsters in those terms.  So, I listed a few and told you what I think they would be like if one was behind you in a coffee shop:  

"To me, this is the supportive mom of the Doodle monster family"

"This guy might be the class clown"

"And this guy, He’s my favorite. If I look at him with the paper one way I see a proud water Buffalo thing, and if I flip the paper the other way I see a tiny terrier puppy with tentacles."

"I think of this one as my compassionate little sister of the monster doodle family"

 

Monster names?  How do I come up with them?  I only have one doodle named: BLOAT MONSTER.  I think it’s a name so easy to relate to and sympathize. He is the exception. 

Bloat Monster!

I think the neatest thing about my monsters is that different people see them as different things.  I think if I named them, it would influence what people saw- so I try to stay away from giving them names.   

Current work?  I am always trying to create and explore.  I doodle, sketch and collage a lot- but mostly I consider myself a painter.  Recently I have been obsessed with painting Dinos and Doodle Monsters and 2-headed creatures.   I’ve also started carrying around the largest sketch pad I can, trying to fill it with Sharpie drawings, paint, and hodgepodge, occasionally all 3 on one page! 

Advice for other young artists?  The best “arty” advice I ever received was:

 “Create every day.” 

 My attempt to follow that advice has made all the difference in my work and my artistic style.

What am I going to do with my monster doodles?  I’m going to start with creating more.  To me, each is unique and has a different feeling to them. Later this year, I have a few shows in Virginia coming up to feature them in.  Eventually though, I would like to create a children’s book with and for them. To teach kids about judging at first glance and why that’s not the best way to go through the world.  Maybe what seems like a weird blobby monster is a friend you’ve been looking for.

Thank you so much to Allie for uncapping her Monster gang with us! For more on Allie and her posse check her out on her blog, Facebook page, or, if you want a Monster friend all your own, on Etsy!

Share This

The Character Behind Character Design

mp picture

Meet Character Designer and new favorite Sharpie artist, Marc Perry!  I hunted down this amazing artist and all around great guy through good ‘ol Google a while back.  When I came across his blog, I found that he draws TONS of Sharpie doodles and posts them write to his own site www.studio5.blogspot.com.  This immediatley sparked my interest and I had to know who was the character behind such creativity!

Marc’s passion for style in design and exploring new and different ideas keeps things new and fresh in terms of animation, personal art and personal projects.  You may recognize this artist’s work from several popular animated television series including Ren & Stimpy, Johnny Bravo and Tiny Toon Adventures. 

Get to know Marc Perry, the person and the artist, and take a closer look at a collection his Sharpie renderings, right here on the Sharpie blog!  Here’s some background info on MP to get things rollin’…

Born and raised in North Carolina, Marc Perry started drawing at a young age, right around 3 or 4. Influenced by many different artists and styles, very much so by cartoon and animation, Perry uprooted to Southern California to work as a Character Designer in animation. 

boyWhen did you first realize you were an artist? I guess the first time was back in early elementary school.  I was always drawing and creating characters, cars, jets, spaceships and creatures from my imagination or getting inspiration from magazines and books.  I even started selling some of my drawings to classmates and making special pieces for my friends.

Many years later, while working in retail before my animation career, I discovered that one of my coworkers, an old classmate, had bought one of my drawings and still had it after so many years! *Just a bit of trivia here, one of my tattoos is a character from a major influence of mine and is a tribute to him and the inspiration his work gave me.

When was your first big break?  My first big break, I think was an opportunity offered to me by Paul Strickland (which I will always appreciate and never forget).  Briefly, the story goes like this…Once Upon a Time… No really, it was like this –-  I was working in a completely unrelated field, yet had always been drawing and tried on numerous occasions to get into animation unsuccessfully.  I made a call to Warner Bros. looking for the animation department and was connected to Paul Strickland with whom I spoke about my dream of working in animation since I was a kid.  Paul was attached as a line producer to a new show called Tiny Toon Adventures and said a new director was coming on and in need of an assistant.  To make a long story short, I made the trip to LA on the possibility of this job, was hired started that very day, which looking back now was some 20 years ago.

red

I want to know all about how you started using Sharpie markers as one of your primary sketching and drawing mediums!  For many years now, Sharpie markers have been one of my primary drawing and sketching tools in character design, concept and development sketching.  The story of how I first started using Sharpie goes something like this…

When my daughter was born I found it difficult to use my usual medium, Prismacolor colored pencils or Tombo pencils, both of which require sharpening.  Since I wasn’t able to use my sharpener due to the noise, I needed to find a quiet replacement.  I found that a black Sharpie marker and heavy laser print quality paper were the ideal combination.  The Sharpie was great for line quality and the paper wouldn’t cause the ink to bleed (*Sounds like he could’ve used a Sharpie Pen, it doesn’t bleed through paper!).  The Sharpie helped me to improve my drawing technique as it’s lack of erasability made me plan ahead to what and how I was going to draw.  The permanent ink aspect was great because I was able to do colored marker comps. directly on the drawings without bleeding or smudging.

I also found that the use of a whiteout pen would allow me to make line corrections without changing the overall drawing, its look or its feel, which sometimes happens when cleaning up a drawing. 

What is your work environment like?  My work environment usually is at an animation desk, with an animation disc or at a large art table where I have access to paper, markers, paint and inspirational sources, such as books, art, and drawings.

3 things that must be within an arms length at work:

  1. Paper (laser print quality or newsprint sketch paper).
  2. Sharpie fine point markers, wide chisel tip markers, Tombo markers and my whiteout pen.
  3. Basic colored markers and pencils for working up quick doodle colors or comp. ideas.

manI read that you designed a character after your daughter.  Have you modeled any others after people in your life? How do you come up with them?

The best way I could describe how I come up with characters is by doodling with shapes, playing with different postures and adding features that help to represent the type, size, shape, attitude among other incidental features that give the character personality.  Most of the time, when I work on shows, it usually calls for creating characters for a special scene or episode based on a set style.  It is fun and challenging to create memorable characters that stand out.

With the new technology that’s out there today, what has been the most difficult part of keeping up with changes in animation?

Technology, software programs and new drawing mediums, such as the Wacom Tablet and Cintiq have changed how a great deal of production is done.  The addition of these tools and software has, for the most part, made things cleaner to work with and less wasteful, as far as materials go.  Changes and Effects, for instance, can be done very quickly and with fewer staff. 

On the other side, things have become more specialized or technical, especially with the creation of CG where people are experts of specific areas.  CG has been a boom to the entertainment industry and has allowed characters and worlds to take on a whole new reality.  With the advancement continuing and now the popularity of 3D in theaters, it appears that the old artistry of hand creation has been lost and the new generation will know nothing of traditional animation or that what they see now is only advancement do in thanks to computers and technological developments.

monsters girls

boys rob

 I imagine there are hundreds, if not thousands of elements that go into TV/Film. What specifics are you involved in? As a Character Designer, I am responsible for the creation of characters, both main and incidental, that will be used in the animation.  Sometimes the Character Designer will create the props that will be used in the animation as well.

In my last few productions, I have been involved with Visual and Concept Development, and following that through into Art Direction.

What are the best/worst parts about your job? I would honestly say that there really isn’t a worst part, it’s more the nature of the Television and Film Entertainment industry.  Those in “The Industry” know first hand that it isn’t your usual steady 9-5 job.  There are those lucky times where you can get connected with a show/series that has a long run with little to no down time, but that’s usually not the standard.  More often than not, you work on a show or series for a specified number of episodes; once those are completed there’s usually some down time or a hopefully brief layoff period until there is a decision regarding additional pickup. 

Sometimes, when multiple shows are in production you can be reassigned to another series if needed and could fit the style.  Most of the time, however, towards the end of a series you begin scrambling and searching for a new a new show to be a part of.  So, I suppose the feeling of instability, then, would be the “worst” part of my job, or the industry as a whole. 

cowboys

Now, the best part of my job – It’s a lot of fun and satisfying to be able to use specific talents and abilities and to have a career in entertaining yourself and others.  Whatever parts of the industry you work in, I think there is a certain pride you take in your work, both as an individuals and part of a collaborative team, bringing fun and entertainment to an audience.

 As a Character Designer, I have fun creating new and different characters all the time from my imagination and seeing them come to life.  As a Visual Concept Designer and Art Director, the enjoyment is creating new and imaginative characters and environments and then overseeing the visual creative process through to completion.

 

Can you tell me about what you’re working on now?  Currently, I am working on personal projects and development for my own show and series ideas.  I’m also working on ways to branch off into areas where I can produce and sell my non-animation art commercially through products, merchandise, books, or through selected galleries.

Do you have any goals that you’re working toward? I think the biggest goal for most of us in animation or as artists, for that matter, is just working and making a living.  You always have goals; it’s part of human nature, yet for artists it is usually not easy to obtain many of the ones you dream of unless everything just happens to fall into place.  I have always had big dreams and the desire to work at obtaining them, many, I can happily say, have come true and are not even art related. 

Basic CMYKLooking back, knowing what you know now, what would you want to 10 yr old Marc Perry to know?  This may come as a surprise, but….I would probably tell him to choose another career path other than art!  Being an athlete my whole life, I would probably suggest picking a sport where I could become a professional or at least use that talent to get a scholarship to a University for something in the medical field, such as becoming a surgeon, where I could use my hands and eyes for something greater!

Favorite Sharpie: The one I wrote the draft to answer these questions, a black Sharpie Fine Point Permanent Marker.  I have used these for so many character designs and concept designs, I can’t even recall.

Favorite Characters: Good question, hard to answer.  My style influence is classically based on the designers of the ’50s (stylistic and disgnee) and Retro, as it is referred to as now (flat and stylistic).  So, I would say my favorites are characters, yes, but more importantly are my favorite designers of character design.  Most of these people have been and continue to be my inspiration for many and different reasons.  Here are a few:

  • Ed Benedict
  • Tom Oreb
  • Ward Kimball
  • Mary Blair
  • Hawley Pratt
  • Bill Hurt
  • John Hubley
  • Gene Deitch
  • Jack Cole
  • Eric Sokol
  • Eldon Dedini
  • Miroslav Sasek
  • Aurelius Battaglia
  • Ed “Big Daddy” Roth

The last thing I’d Like to share is… To be able to do what I do, turning something you love and would do for free into a career is great!  To bring that fun and entertainment to others is something I think a lot of people in the industry enjoy.  I’d also like to add a word of thanks to the people who have enjoyed some of the work I’ve done and hopefully will continue doing for a long time.  I thank you all.  It’s all appreciated.  A special Thanks to Whitney Kelly who found my work and invited me to share. Best! MPerry.

***

Thank YOU Marc, for this incredible interview and all the great art you produce!  Be sure to visit Mr. MP at his very own site for more of his work and info!  www.studio5.blogspot.com.

*Uploaded your favorite Sharpie pics onto the Sharpie Uncapped Gallery.

*Become a Fan of Sharpie on Facebook!