It is hard to believe that it is no more than one year that Dave Berns is designing gigposters. With an average of one poster a month he is not the most "producive" artist you may dream of. But, guys, those Dave Berns posters are really wonderful, this is maybe the reason why "big" bands had already asked him to work for them. Why such a success ? the reason is pretty obvious, just because Dave is full of talent and his art is covering far more than just gigposters. If you need evidences, just check out his sketches site ( sketchhunter.com) or his illustration work. His art is refleting his passion for what he is doing and you can also feel it when you see how detailled is the sites he runs for his posters: posters by steps, with explainations for each of them, this is truly a paradize for any rock poster fan ! But I'll let you see by yourself.
Roky Erickson's The Evil One for now, was a Doug Stanhope standup routine when I was drawing a bit ago.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I'm Dave Berns, I create cool stuff, mostly from my home studio in Deerfield Beach, Florida. I'm primarily a freelance illustrator, though I've worn many different creative hats in the past. In 2010, I was invited by a friend from way back, Chuck Loose, to consider creating some Gig Posters for his shop Iron Forge Press. I'd already been dabbling in creating my own art and prints to sell directly to fans, and once I looked into it the opportunity, it was a no brainer as it would keep me churning work out by deadlines (rather than noodling indefinitely as I'm want to do on my own) and creating work that was fun!
I was always into art as a kid. It wasn't until my teens, when I started reading comic books (borrowed from a friend during a high school study hall) that I got the bug to make my own, that led to a big push to draw often and learn how to draw well (still learning).
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
Yeah, I spent a year skipping classes at a FAU in favor of making my own photocopied minicomics, then shifted academic gears to study at the Joe Kubert School in Dover, NJ, where I didn't have to cut class to draw my own comics, as that was our homework! A few years after graduating from there, I spent a while as an assistant artist to a syndicated comic strip artist, ghosting on cartoon illustration for educational publishers (Scholastic, Oxford University Press, etc...) and drawing backgrounds for and coloring the comic strip. This obviously wasn't a course or school, but was one of the most educational experiences I've had.
I do, but in addition to my rock poster art (hotdamnarts.com) and my sketch blog (sketchhunter.com), my "art" also includes freelance illustration, graphic design, caricature, etc. (see daveberns.com for samples). Creative work, the lot of it, though some gigs are sexier than others.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
I have had a few interview requests of late and am beginning to ramp up the promotion of my art. I have some ideas that are formulating into column and art pitches to shop to magazines and papers in the near future. I was Managing Editor and a contributing creator to Cracked Magazine for a stretch, also, I used to design, write, draw and photograph for the Weekly World News.
I think mostly, my influences come from comic book world. I've been creating Gig Posters for about a year or so now, and have only really immersed myself in the rock art genre for about as long, so I'm not sure I've had enough exposure to and study of others working in the genre to be too heavily influenced by them. Looking at the Gig Posters I've drawn in the past year, it's safe to say that I've been designing them, for the most part, as if they were comic book covers, and I'm thinking, as an approach, it "works". Some of my favorite cartoonists and illustrators are Kyle Baker, Frank Cho, Jack Davis, Bruce Timm, Joe Kubert, Mort Drucker, Frank Frazetta, Jeffrey Jones and Adam Hughes.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
Most start as a physical sketch, and from there, I scan then do the rest by hand in the computer. I should be doing finished ink illustrations for most of my pieces, for my own sake, so I have an original to exhibit and sell, but I'm spoiled with all of the additional options and efficiencies i have when drawing digitally. Hell, when I draw in my sketchbook, my right hand does phantom "Command-S" and "Command-Z" movements all the fucking time.
Anywhere from one to three days time, depending on how complex the design is.
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 ?
Eh, I'm not a big fan of oils, I'm too heavy handed and impatient for them, but I'd bang those stallions out in watercolors or acrylics for the right person and price.
For which band have you already worked for?
I've been creating posters for about a year now, and have done so for the following: GWAR, NOFX, Reel Big Fish vs. Aquabats, Flogging Molly, Bad Brains, The Script, Matisyahu, Designer Drugs, Volbeat, Clutch, Nashville Pussy, Arctic Monkeys and Reverend Horton Heat.
For which band would you love to work?
I would love to create posters for Danzig (3 for a Legacy gig would be amazing), Motörhead, Willie Nelson and a half-dozen comedians immediately spring to mind... I'd like to keep doing as I've done, a poster or three for fairly high profile tours at iconic venues every month.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. About half of the ones I've done so far are for bands I'm partial to and requested specifically, but truth be told, I'm generally open to drawing for most shows I'm tapped on, so long as I'm free to draw what I want (half-naked women, most times) and the act is on a level where fans will likely buy enough prints to make the effort worthwhile.
Anticipating the way the variables will interact when ink is applied to the surface. Not that I want to anticipate all of them, as I love the surprises that happen when ink is squished through a screen of my work onto a surface.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else?
Well, given that my Gig Poster work has all been created for Chuck Loose and Ian Rowan's Iron Forge Press, the closest circle of my graphic "scene" would be those two and the rest of their freakishly talented stable of creators. Beyond that, I've conversed a bit with other rock artists on gigposters.com, facebook and twitter. Now that I've established a solid body of work to sell, I'll be setting up art showings and exhibiting at events to get to know and grow my fanbase and mix it up more with my peers.
Hotdamnarts.com is where the Gig Posters I create live. My illustration portfolio is live at daveberns.com. I also have a great sketchbook project running at sketchhunter.com. There's links to all of the corresponding Facebook and Twitter profiles on the sites. Please, friend, like or follow me however works best for you.
The best praise you received lately?
I got a stalker-ish (in a good way) phone call a few weeks ago. A fan somehow found my number and called to blow a little smoke (from the sound of her slow, giggly speech, it wasn't tobacco) up my ass about my work before ordering one of my Volbeat prints. Every purchase of my work is a great praise, but when she sought me out to tell me, in a flurry of thoughtful stoner impulsivity that my "art is just so fucking awesome", I was especially flattered. Sadly, the telephone doesn't allow for a puff-puff-pass scenario (yet), as I'd totally toke to her sentiment!
What can we wish you for the future?
Wish a fast-growing, supportive fanbase for me, my artwork and ideas, allowing me what comes with such success, the freedom to be, comfortably.
|The party’s only just begun with this firecracker in this wonderfully raunchy Gig Poster for the wonderfully raunchy Nashville Pussy’s June 8th, 2011 gig with the Koffin Kats at the Culture Room in Fort Lauderdale, FL. |