Once again, I will never be able to thanks Clay (from Gigposters.com) enough for all the work he did and all the artists he helped me to discover. Anville is one of them and, once again, I am really impressed by the quality of his drawing and when he refers to Gustave Doré and Spawn (along with other artists) it is not just a pose, but you can really find both those inspirations in the same drawing which, finally, is just 100% Anville style....
Most of the time I am rotating between some chaotic, heavy stuff, contemporary classical, hip hop and chill indie rock thrown in for good measure. Lately it has been Volumes, Cloudkicker, Daughters, Structures, Jesu and Cave-In. Mixed in there is more chill stuff like Jogger, Max Richter, James Blackshaw, Pinback, Drake, Gucci Mane, Kanye West, Hecq, Ital Tek...its always a whirlwind of different styles.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I am known as Anville and I have an obsessive compulsive problem when it comes to artwork, along with a large dose of hyperfocus. I have lived in Texas all my life. Apart from going to school, buying comics, building computers and class , I was always drawing. After dropping out of high school, I didn't draw for a few years, until eventually it found me again. I developed a portfolio, and went to art school. I am currently doing the non art day-job thing, which is excellent for me creatively right now. It keeps me in reality, pays the bills, and allows me complete freedom in my spare time.
When did you start drawing?
I don't have any memories where I wasn't holding a pencil. I remember sitting on the living room floor as a child, busting my ass trying to draw a VW Bug. I have a box of stuff from when I was 6, all I drew for a year were '57 Chevys. Then it was Lamborghinis, Ninja Turtles and dinosaurs all thorough middle school. After that it was Spawn, Judge Dredd, The Crow, Matrix, etc.....
I always drew what I wanted to in my free time, though I did enjoy art class more than most. I did indeed draw in the margins of all of my books, even in Art School. My mother would get calls from the teachers when I was young, complaining I was drawing too much. My grades were good then, so I never got in trouble.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
Currently I am not living from my art, even reasonable deadlines wreck my life as I try to get a project out in-between being at the office all week. Art prints do provide some excellent supplemental income, and eventually would like to transition completely to drawing full time. At the moment I am doing art for me, and taking a break from anything that has to be done by a certain time. My current day-job is not art related, which is fantastic for my creative side. Most days, I come home, and sit right down at the drawing table, anxious to sketch out new ideas that were brewing at work.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
With the level of detail I work at, collaborations don't really go too smoothly. If I decide how something looks, I have usually sketched it out in great detail, and therefore it would be too time-consuming to change. I have done small pieces for magazines, but I don't see much of it in the foreseeable future.
There were several key moments where I was awakened at various levels of growing up, and certain things spoke to me and I reacted. When I was 10 I found a Spawn comic, penciled by Greg Capullo and inked by Todd McFarlane, which rocked my world at the time. This was the first big kick, several other moments were discovering Micron Pens, having access to the internet with endless reference, and lately its just discovering other artists work and being inspired by their technique. I found Aaron Horkey's work in 2005 and that was one of the biggest jolts of inspiration, to get cracking and start taking art seriously. Since then I have found Roger Dean, Gustave Dore, James Jean, Vania Zouravliov and lately Arthur Rackham and Paul Laurenzi.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
The beginning actually is the hardest part. Having an idea and adding to it, removing things from it, and even when you put it down on paper correctly, most times it still doesn't look right without some further modification. Sometimes I'll spend a week without drawing, just slamming ideas into each other in my head, then when I sit down to draw it spills out perfectly. The ISIS poster was like that; I spent 3 days just pondering, thinking and daydreaming and when I got the idea, I drew it in 2 hours and was ready to ink it. Sometimes I will be in the mood to try out a new technique I have recently discovered, like using 3 colors on a print, and seeing how far you can take it. The Circa Survive print is a good example of my attempt at minimalist color use.
I do all sketching, planning and inking by hand. When it comes to scanning, colors, trapping, pantone, DPI and all that, I rely on photoshop. I will always try to do lettering by hand, but when a deadline is looming, I will use the computer. At the very least, I have an original piece of art, even if there are a dozen or so layers in the computer, there is always an original.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Depending on the interest and budget, 2-3 weeks is my turnaround with the 50 hr workweek. If I am particularly exited about a project and have a whole month or longer, then I'll go all out and add all kinds of unnecessary detail. This can be seen in the Coheed and Cambria print, I relaxed and enjoyed inking it over the course of a month.
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 ?
Right now I am pretty selective on what projects I will take on. In the past I have done some pretty banal illustration work (though I would love to try painting some horses...it would be something new). The last couple of commissions were from people with ideas that were interesting to manifest, and I had freedom to go about making it interesting in my own way.
I have done posters for Mastodon, Electric Wizard, Coheed and Cambria, The Black Dahlia Murder, Animal Collective, August Burns Red and Circa Survive.
For which band would you love to work?
I haven't done a hip-hop poster, so right now I'd love to do a Gucci Mane or Drake poster for a change of pace. A few I would love to take a crack at are Chevelle, Deftones, Atari Teenage Riot, Tool, Kylesa, Trail of Dead, a dozen more I can't think of. Preferably something with a completely unique sound.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Yes, Ill turn down a job if I am not inspired by the music in some way. For example; I would not do a Pearl Jam poster. I believe they are dedicated and talented musicians, their music just does not speak to me. Almost all of the rock posters I have done were a result of me chasing down the band and showing them my work and asking if they were interested. Being pro-active in this aspect helps a lot.
Trying to visually capture the sound of the music with imagery / mood / color theory of the poster. I got some negative feedback on my Animal Collective poster because it was a woman surrounded by animals (how original right?), but with the colors I felt pretty confident. I was listening to the album a lot, and the pastel shades kept reappearing in my head. Most of the time it is deciding the subject matter, and you want to do something that hasn't been done before, to make it stand out from the bands' other posters. It would have been a quick choice to do a viking warrior on a dragon for the dethklok poster, which is awesome if that's what works for you, but I wanted to try something that would strike people from a different angle. I have randomly meet people around Houston who know my work and say "Oh you did that train poster! I bought it at the show!"
You feature in the new gigposters 2 book, how did you find yourself involved in it ?
Clay invited me to be a part of the book, and I sent in everything early and to spec and kind of went on to other projects and forgot about it. When the book arrived, it completely took me by surprise. It was incredible to see my work alongside a lot of fellow talented people.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
In my head, I feel like a small part of a turn-of-the-century pen &ink revival with a few other contemporaries. Whenever I meet a fellow ink aficionado, we talk about the same people. Bernie Wrightson, Virgil Finlay, Alphonse Mucha, Jeff Jones and Franklin Booth among others. I am a big fan of artists who follow this aesthetic; attention to detail, lavishly rendering animals and foliage, classical elements and graphic design of decades past. Jeremy Hush, John Dyer Baizley, AngryBlue, Vania Zouravliov, Glyn Smith, Ken Taylor, Aaron Horkey and Daniel Danger are some artists who are good examples of this. The fact they they are doing something similar in spirit, yet making it their own, inspires me to do my own work.
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..anville.net/ is my site, and I have a mailing list which is sent out before all print releases. The next print release is an 8 color Barn Owl print, with 2 metallics and a split fountain, the most complicated print yet, which will be released through Pedal Printing in a month or so. I also have a facebook page, where I post sketches and paintings in progress.
I am not showing in galleries much lately, almost all of the art hangs out in my living room after I scan it, or occasionally gets bought by some close friends.
The best praise you received lately?
I usually show my girlfriend the latest piece in progress, and its always from her.
What can we wish you for the future?
That the human race continues to farm coffee beans, and honestly that things keep going how they are going. I am grateful for all of the people who have given me opportunities and supported me by buying art that I spend long hours creating. Looking from 5 years back, I never would have imagined that the work would be in a book, or even to have done some posters for bands that are very influential to me. Success in any amount is a huge bonus to doing what you love. There are no real expectations of things I wish would happen in the future, doing the art is fulfilling enough.