Marco Almera (French Version)
I discovered the work of Marco Almera thanx to the wonderful Kustom Graphics of Korero Books. With his unique mix of kustom culture, latina flavoured and psychobilly mood, you can say that a picture his its at first sight. The "Art of Modern Rock”, published in 2004, also included both an interview and a series of Almera rock posters.
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Country, rock, metal, punk, new wave & occasionally reggae. Depends on what time of day you come visit me....hahaha
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
My name is Marco Almera, I was born in the Long Beach area, raised in La Habra , and now live in Newport Beach. I create art & graphics for a living. I'm just a surfer who doesn't want to work for anyone that I have to suck up to. I love God, my country, my mom, family & girlfriend. I come from an early Californio Spanish ranching family with the family name of Esparza.
When did you start drawing?
Probably when I was young. I always remember being creative, even when I was just building cities out of little play blocks.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I was a marginal kid drawing on the margins....hahaha
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I make a living from my art because I try my best to get people to pay me to create it. It's not always easy getting paid for my work: that is an art in itself!
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Not really. I have been featured in Juxtapoz and a bunch of other magazines here, in Japan and in Germany, but not regularly.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
Original influences were the stained glass window scenes from the inside of my catholic church when I was growing up. My religious art still sometimes has a similar feel. But later, skateboarding magazines and surf/skate/punk rock culture.
As for modern artists, I like Frank Kozik, Art Chantry, J.G. Posada & Ron English. Classic artists, probably Michelangelo, M.C. Escher and Leonardo Da Vinci. My biggest graphic influence would be German graphics from the early 20th century, and other european film, travel & leisure posters from the same era. I also like classic Japanese art & nature scenes.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
Either sketch&manipulate in Photoshop, or take photo>scan photo>manipulate in Photoshop. To finish a graphics job I turn my clients in a finished Photoshop file. For my fine art I do one of those processes, but then I either paint or print the final image.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
Mostly computer, but I use a stylus, so it is like drawing on a pad that the computer reads. Here it is called a Wacom Tablet. It's totally awesome. I take a lot of my own study photographs as well.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Depends on how big the project is, how much they are paying me, and what it's going to be used for. That determines how much time I put into it........I try to charge by-the-hour. I've done paintings as fast as 10 hours and as long as 40 hours. I've done computer graphics as fast as 2 hours and as long as 15 hours.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
For my custom graphics I do my take on what my client wants to see, or needs, for their specific market or customer. On album covers or rock posters I come up with an image that fits with the band and the scene. On my own fine art I paint what I think the people at the galleries would like, according to who the gallery promotes to.
Some people really like the art that I do for myself, some don't. Honestly I would love to do only the kind of stuff like the horses running in the water. I know that must sound ironic and boring to you, but it is true. I really enjoy nature, animals and oil painting, especially with a traditional Japanese or American Western style. I could do that style all day long and die a happy man. Creating oil paintings of natural scenes with only animals and no people is very soothing for me to work on. Probably not what you wanted to hear from a rock poster artist! ha
For which band have you already worked for?
Sublime, Reverend Horton Heat, Supersuckers, Turbonegro, Voodoo Glow Skulls.
For which band would you love to work?
I would love to work with Motorhead or Metallica, and maybe someone big like Kid Rock, Pearl Jam, White Stripes or No Doubt. My all time dream project though would be to do a country-and-western style piece for Frank Black, Eddie Spaghetti , Wille Nelson or Merle Haggard. I love classic country music and that dusty old rugged art style is also very close to my heart.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Mostly they come to me, but the bigger artists I would have to pursue. Smaller artists are fun to work with, but they have no money. The bigger artists have more money but they are really hard to work with.
Can you tell us which is the greatest band to work with for posters and.... the worst ?
Sublime. Those guys are cool and the old Sublime is my favorite band ever, but they are always afraid someone is ripping them off or trying to take advantage of them so it was a real hassle to work with them.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
Connecting your image or sketch to the buyer or the art director. Painting, drawing or designing it is the easy and fun part.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Maybe "lowbrow" or "underground", but I don't like it much. I'd honestly rather be a part of a "Christian Nature" scene where I can paint my ocean views, Japanese graphics and country-and-western nature scenes. But there isn't one that I know of that welcomes my kind of undergound art.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
The best praise you received lately?
My girlfriend Michelle recently told me that our relationship has been the best one that she has ever been in. And we both have been in long-term relationships before.
What are you working on at the moment and what s next ?
I have an oil painting of a 1960's-era Playboy Bunny for a show coming up at the Copro Gallery in L.A. The vintage kind with the outfit on, with the bunny ears and tail. Pretty cool show, and I don't have to paint her nude so my church friends won't frown. hahaha
What can we wish you for the future?
A big graphic design, packaging & branding job for a French organic product line to be sold in the USA. In addition I'm hoping to get a full-time job with this graphics company that I have been working freelance for lately.
Last question; Do you know anything about french rock posters scene ?
No, only the early 1900's French film, travel and leisure posters. I love that stuff. I know rock posters and the underground scene is big in Germany, and it is growing in Italy, so I don't know why there wouldn't be a good underground scene in France.
How would you explain that rock posters have spread so heavily over america s culture, it is quite difficult to understand for us in france where this art is nearly unknown.
There are punk, rock, metal & country bands everywhere here, even in smaller cities, so there are tons of venues that host concerts and gigs. There are a lot of artists doing posters now, so it is relatively easy to connect one to the other. Plus a lot of bands have discovered the value of having t-shirts and merchandise on tour, so if you can sell them a poster, usually you can pay for the printing and have some for yourself.
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!
OK cool, thanks a lot.