If you guys think that being a poster artist is really a life full of fun, this interview should help you reconsidering your point of view: "considering the exciting career of Postal Worker" seems to be the usual dream of a talented artist, especially a self described asshole one :) Of course, I'm joking but what else could I write regarding Johnny Sampson as everything is already said just looking at his art ?
Currently I am listening to a lot of Bloodshot Bill, JD McPherson, this Pakistani folk and pop instrumentals compilation I got recently, and the Downtown Soulville podcast from WFMU.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
My name is Johnny Sampson, I live Chicago, IL with my wife and two small children. I am a freelance illustrator/designer/printmaker. I also like to play fingerstyle guitar.
When did you start drawing?
I started drawing as a little kid and pretty much kept at it ever since.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I went to college for painting, but the only thing I learned was how to be an asshole. I taught myself how to draw and paint since then. Unfortunately, I'm still an asshole.
I am making a modest living off of my art, though I am considering the exciting career of Postal Worker.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Not really, though I do an illustration about once a month for the Chicago Reader, our weekly newspaper
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
Mad magazine, Wacky Packs, Norman Saunders, Al Jaffee, old movie posters, horror and sci-fi films, men in ape-suits to name a few.
Everything starts with a pencil sketch. When the concept gets approval, I do a more finished pencil rendering, then finish it with brush and ink. Then scan it in and color in photoshop. Sometimes I do the color seps by hand as well. It all depends on what the design calls for.
Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
Everything is by hand most of the time. Even on the computer, I'm drawing with the Wacom tablet, so that's by hand, too, ain't it?
How long does it take you to do a poster?
Usually the turnaround is about 5 days. What takes the most time is the communication back and forth between artist and band in the beginning concept stage. After that, it's smooth sailing.
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 am up for anything. This is a job for me. Being able to adapt to someone's aesthetic, no matter how different it might be from mine, is part of the job description. I would have no problem doing that oil painting, but I would prefer to airbrush it on the side of a van.
King Khan and BBQ Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, CoCoComa, Killdozer, Supersuckers, The Ponys, Detroit Cobras, Gossip, King Khan and the Shrines among others.
For which band would you love to work?
Bloodshot Bill, Deke Dickerson, Thee Cormans, Black Lips, Turbonegro, The Kongsmen
Do you choose the artists yourself?
That will be the day.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
For me, it's making it special, not just something I farted out.
gigposters 2 book, how did you find yourself involved in it ?
I was graciously asked by Clay Hayes, founder of gigposters.com. Thrilled to be a part of it.
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Maybe in name I am, but mostly I feel like I'm on my own. Boo fucking hoo.
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.johnnysampson.com/ has links to all my internet incarnations.
"Thanks for taking out the garbage."
What can we wish you for the future?
More ups, less downs