Rob Schwager is a freelance illustrator and graphic designer. He lives in Florida where he has built a well-respected name for himself within the industry producing amazing artwork. Born and raised in Chicago, Schwager is now living his dream, working as an artist. Through hard work, “determination and a desire to do the best job possible, under any circumstances,” he continues to create art that people can’t get enough of! And he’s one of the coolest artists I’ve talked with. Not only is he super creative, he has a great personality and an awesome sense of humor! Rob Schwager is one artist you’ll definitely want to collect.
Rob’s art runs the gamut. He’s into all kinds of stuff like “lowbrow art, comic books, Fleischer cartoons, nose art, pickelhaubes, pin-up girls, vinyl art toys, cyanotypes, acrylics, oils, hot rods, kustom kulture, pinstripes, tattoos, tiki stuff, chicago gangsters, vintage metal signs, screen printing.” Rob says he likes fabricating stuff with his hands, listening to old school punk rock (the classic stuff, late 70′s early 80′s), making rock posters, ‘zines, digital painting, etc…
But I’ll let him tell it in his own words:
So how did you get started in art? Like most kids, I spent too much time watching cartoons and doodling. After being introduced to Punk Rock in the early 80′s, I started designing album covers, t-shirts and flyers for various punk bands I was friends with in Chicago. This led to abundant work as a silkscreen* concert poster artist, supplying hand crafted promotional posters to bands and venues across the country. I eventually fulfilled a childhood dream and became an artist working on mainstream comic books. I’ve spent the last 20 years working on such classic icons as Spiderman, Superman, Batman, and the X-Men. My work has helped shape comic book pop-culture as we know it today. I’ve often been credited as being a well-respected rising force in the art of color for the comic book industry. Most recently, I’ve been featured in the best selling book, The Art of Modern Rock, as well as, Kustom Graphics: Hot Rods, Burlesque and Rock ‘n’ Roll, from Korero Books.
*FYI: Silk Screening (or screen printing), is a printing method where ink is forced through areas of a silk screen that aren’t blocked out with an impermeable (water resistant) substance. A roller, squeegee or sponge is moved across the screen stencil, forcing ink into the open areas of the fabric (there’s a little bit of my Warhol knowledge for ya ).
What sets you apart from other artists? What makes you stand out in a room of artists?! My determination and desire to do the best job possible, under any circumstances.
I see that you liked to read comics as a kid? Favorite comic book? Would you ever start your own? Yep, I loved comics when I was a kid! I learned to read by reading Spider-man comics – That’s always been my favorite. I do have some ideas for a comic series of my own. Maybe someday, but for now, I’m quite content having built a nice career spanning 20 years working in the comic book industry as a digital colorist.
So you like old school punk rock, huh?! Favorite band? Have you made posters for any of your favorite groups? I grew up on the music of old school punk rock. A lot of Chicago stuff Naked Raygun, Effigies, etc… Also other bands like Social Distortion, Cro-mags, UK Subs, the Damned and Bad Brains… And yes, I’ve been fortunate enough to make posters for some of my favorite bands and meet them! I kinda geeked a bit when I met the Go-Go’s. Jane (Wiedlin) was such a sweetie when I asked her to sign my poster. I shot pool for a while with Mike Ness from Social D. I’ve hung with the DGeneration guys too! My favorite was that I had a series of long rambling messages on my answering machine from Joey Ramone when I did a poster for him. I wish I would’ve saved that.
Just out of curiosity…seriously, is SCHWAGER really your last name (I’m slightly jealous & want a cool last name too) ? Yep! It’s my real name. First generation American and damn proud of it too!
How do you incorporate Sharpie markers into your work? I started using Sharpie mostly for accent work on my paintings. A little line here or there…. But Sharpie water-based paint markers are my favorite! I started using them to paint custom toys for gallery shows. Sharpies are easy to use; there is a nice array of colors to choose from and variations in line weight. I just wish you guys made a flesh tone color (editor’s note: we make an almond color which is perfect for pale skin tones). It would work wonders for me with my pin-up nose-art work.
What does the creation process involve?
1)Planning out my graphic
2)Transferring the design to the substrate
3)Busting out the Sharpies and going to town!
You’ve done a lot of different types of work, poster art, designing apparel, cyanotypes..you name it, you’ve done it! What are your personal favorites? I really enjoy doing my faux nose-art inspired bomber panels. From the fabrication, to the painting to the distressing, an all-around good time. I just wish there were more hours in the day, because I’d love to make them non-stop if I could!
What has been your most well-received art? It’s a tie between my bomber panels and my cyanotypes. The cyanotypes are more affordable to most folks, but the bomber panels really leave most folks awestruck when they walk into a room and see them hanging on the wall.
What are you currently working on? Well, I’m in the process of setting up a print shop so I can start running my own art prints. It’s been over a decade since I pulled a screen printing squeegee, but I’m really looking forward to it!
What do you see for the future of your work? To be hanging on the walls in galleries and in people’s homes worldwide.
Where can I find Rob Schwager art?! In the store, at robschwager.com
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Need more SCHWAGER? No problem! A guy with this much talent needs to be seen and heard. Click on the links below to learn more about the artist, see more of his work, and then buy some art for yourself!
Rob’s Homepage is http://www.robschwager.com
Check out his blog too!! http://www.robschwager.blogspot.com
Take a look at Shwager’s photos here http://www.flickr.com/photos/robschwager
Follow him on Twtter! http://twitter.com/robschwager
And of course, hop on over to MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/robschwager
Rob Schwager knows how to Uncap What’s Inside!!
Want more Sharpie Artists? Click HERE to see the creative things people are doing with their Sharpies!