If there is one place where Babylon is falling down, at the moment, it is definitly Greece. Thanx to ADMC07 we already had the opportunity to draw an overview of the economic situation. Of course the blog is dedicated to Rock Poster Art but is this a reason not to enlarge it to Reggae posters ? ;) Definitly not, and this is really a breath of fresh air that Kostas brings us today thanx to his work for Groundation and other reggae artists. Jah ?!? Rastafari …
Growing up, I have come to build a very big musical background. From rock to punk, reggae and ska up to disco and greek rempetika. As music usually goes with the mood, I try to listen to “positive” stuff, things that make me feel better and optimistic. I also listen a lot to Wfmu, which I think is an example of what radio stations should be!
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
My name is Kostas Bartsokas and I am a freelance illustrator/designer under the label Intelligent Design. I grew up in Thessaloniki, Greece, where I still live and work. I am self-taught. On my way to becoming a designer I have worked as a juggler and a croupier in a casino (and some other minor jobs) and I also owned a juggling store for some years. However I always liked design, and I took my time and studied a lot and became who I am now.
The first time someone gave me a pencil…I guess around 2 or 3 years old, haha! Seriously, I did do a lot of drawing as a kid. And a lot more drawing and doodling as in high school.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I tried taking a course on freehand drawing during my high school years, but I dropped it pretty quickly. But, I did continue to draw a lot in the margins of my schoolbooks. I still draw on my books, small staff… usually with no meaning (or full of meaning!).
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I manage to live from my art, although being a freelancer, this is subject to change any given moment (hopefully it won’t). But it’s true that in order to make a living I have to make some (or sometimes a lot) of stuff that I am not so proud of. And I mean designing things that I hate and working for customers whom I hate. Apart from that, having worked as a stilltwalker in the past, I do have the virus, and I do sometimes work as a stilltwalker still – if the offer is good.
No, but I would like to! So all magazine/fanzine owners/art directors out there, please consider me available for any collaboration! I am a good guy and I am always on time for a meeting!
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
It depends on the project I work on. I usually look around a lot, walk in the city a bit and of course google some 50 keywords relevant to the project. In general, I prefer a minimal design and a good use of white space when illustrating. My all time favorite artist would be Reiser, the great comics creator. Firstly for his ability to capture the essence of a scene with his doodle – lines, setting free the readers’ imagination to add the details. And secondly for his sense of humor. Of course there are many others who have significantly influenced my work. Artists, painters, designers such as Phillipe Vuillemin, Salvator Dali, Alberto Giacommeti, Neville Brody, Stefan Sagmeister and more.
Hmmm… I usually try to start by setting up a list of questions in my mind. Questions that have to do with the project I am about to start working on. This process is being done while drinking coffee, driving the car, going to the toilet or whatever gives me the time to think. I have come to believe that my inspiration works on delay and I often find myself having to drop thinking on a project to finally come up with a good idea. Having settled up with an idea and a general route, I start drawing it, usually on paper, just an overview, doodles on paper, very little detail. If I am happy I scan it and then depending on the kind of work I use either Illustrator or Photoshop or both.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
I do some itchy bitchy stuff by hand and all the others by hand again (on the computer). But I like using my hands whenever possible, and I mean not only drawing. I like paper crafting and using whatever other material might be suitable to get the idea running, be it play-doh, food or dirt or whatever. But always the final step is done on the computer.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
From the idea to the final poster it might be just a couple of hours if I am lucky, but on other occasions it might even take a whole week to be satisfied by the outcome. There is no general rule.
That’s a good question. I guess if someone came up and asked me to do the oil painting I would first warn him to take a look at my work and then be prepared to get what he demands but interpreted through the Kostas Bartsokas compiler. Surely I don’t do only what I feel like, but whatever I do, I try to feel it the way I like. Of course, as I mentioned before, that doesn’t always happen and having to survive, I’ve done some stuff which I deny having done from the minute I finished them.
For which band have you already worked for?
I have worked a lot for Groundation in Greece. In fact I did the promotion for their Greek concerts, as well. They are great guys, awesome musicians and their music is truly inspiring and positive!
I cannot think of a specific band I would like to draw posters for.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
The answer on this question would be to achieve to communicate the feeling of a concert of a specific group of people (the band) in a specific place (the venue). To capture the idea of the experience, show what the band is and what to expect of the concert, and all this on a single piece of paper. BUT, in Greece I guess the most difficult part is to have to follow some specific “guides” or “rules”, which are mostly associated with the layout of the poster, and customers perceive them as essential; “people are not going to understand the poster” is their usual excuse. These rules include the placement and size of the name of the band, the usage of photo, the placement and size of the f*cking sponsors etc. This, of course, has nothing to do with design, it’s practically bullshit.
You can check me out at my behance profile http://be.net/kostasbartsokas and on my page http://www.intelligentdesign.gr/
What can we wish you for the future?
Wish me prosperity in order to stay a freelancer and luck in order to be discovered by some big and hopefully good customers
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!