James Rheem Davis (US)

James Rheem Davis (US)

With his artwork included in The Art of Modern Rock, Panda Meat: Source Book 1, Gig Posters Volume 1: Rock Show Art of the 21st Century, "Print" Magazine, Classic Rock Magazine and many other publications, you could expect James to consider himself as a giant but, as explained on his website, James is not a GIANT nor a SUMO, despite his company name. Let's try to find out where this strange name may come from...

What are we listening to when we come to visit you?

Wow, what a great and tough question to answer. I used to collect a lot of cd's, but now i'm obsessed with itunes. I try to just put singles on my ipod, but with some bands, it's hard to do. I recently bought songs from Mastodon, Sleeper Agent, The Death Set, Zola Jesus, DJ Shadow, Mona, Little Dragon, Fucked Up and Lowline.

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

My name is James Rheem Davis and I was born in San Francisco and raised in the Bay Area. I know reside in Phoenix, AZ. I'm a part-time Graphic Designer. I love film and music. I eat a granny smith green apple once a day and I love peanut butter chocolate chip cookies.

When did you start drawing?

I remember drawing from an early age. My older brother was always drawing and was a big influence on me growing up.

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

I took art classes in school. In junior high I was obsessed with drawing Apocalyptic Motley Crue looking dudes shooting people. It was always a guy shooting another guy and his insides or brains being blown out of his body. I wish I could find some of those to look at it. Pretty disturbing my mother would say.

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

I work a 50hr a week non-art job that keeps me very busy. Any spare time goes into freelancing. I don't sleep a lot.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

No, but if anyone wants to contact me, please feel free.

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

As cliche as this sounds, just about everywhere. Film, music, books and everyday life. Just look around, inspiration is everywhere.

There are so many talented people out there. My main inspiration was Andy Warhol, H.R. Giger, Frank Kozik, David Carson, etc. I love what Tyler Stout is doing. Great style!

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

I went to a design school where we drew, painted and learned the basic computer programs. For me, I was drawn to Photoshop and I usually do everything in it. Before that, I used to draw and paint a lot, but i'm lazy now and the computer makes it easier for me.

I know there's a lot of discussion on hand drawn vs computer art, but i'm a fan of both. I think it just depends on the final product. I don't like when people make a big deal out of it. I think it's the end result that counts.

How long does it take you to do a poster?

It depends on the complexity of it. Usually, it's around 1 - 2 weeks. My least favorite is sepping my posters. I tend to be a perfectionist, but there are flaws on all my posters.

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 ?

I'm very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work on projects that I enjoy. If I know I can't do something, I admit it and then try to find another artist that I think could do it. It's no fun working on something you're not into. You usually don't get good results.

For which band have you already worked for?

Please see my website http://www.giantsumo.com/ and http://www.gigposters.com/.

For which band would you love to work?

I would love to do something for Neko Case. She's probably my favorite female singer. I know some may say my style wouldn't work for her, but I like challenges and trying to come up with something people don't expect. Also, Soundgarden is one of my favorites.

Do you choose the artists yourself?

Some bands contact me and I pursue other bands. I try to work for bands I really like.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

Trying to come up with something that hasn't been done before. There are so many talented artist out there and so much art that's been done. Trying to get a new take on a band that has a lot of posters or a lot of visual reference can have it's challenges.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?

I think the music gigposter has peaked and now there is a lot of interest on interpretations of movie posters like what Mondo / The Alamo is doing. I'm currently doing stuff for Cinema Overdrive.

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?

http://www.giantsumo.com/ is my site. I know it needs an update and hopefully I'll get around to it in 2012.

The best praise you received lately?

I was recently asked to submit some of my posters to the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame and Museum archives in Cleveland, OH. It was a great honor to even be considered, let alone submit work that I created. I sent a pretty good chunk of my work to them. I thought that was really cool!

What can we wish you for the future?

Good health! I hope to continue to produce quality art and inspire anyone who's a fan of mine to take that step into creativity. I don't want to look back on my life and say I should of done certain things. I want to be able to say that I made an attempt even if I succeed or fail.

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