Back in the 90s, they were not so many drawing gigposters. Kent was one of them and, even if he is now more focused on creation of interactive design services, the way he is working is finally globaly the same he used for posters if you refer to his website: "I think of each project as a blank canvas. I develop ideas with pencil &paper, I start designs from a blank file, and start web sites from a blank text document. Each project is custom-built to the client's needs, and optimized for final delivery."
MC5 - Kick out the jams
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan in the 60s, among some great moments in art history like silver age and underground comics, psychedelic posters, TV animation, hotrod & pop art. That stuff has always influenced my work as a comic book and poster artist. I moved to San Francisco after college, started 'Detroit! Murder City Comix' and progressively tried to make a living from my illustration.
When did you start drawing?
As young as I can remember… kids draw and scribble… I got into it right off the bat. My older brothers could draw great and I copied them. As early as the 4th grade I was pretty active and remember giving drawing lessons in school, selling work to my teachers, and painting murals in the library.
Definitely self taught. I never put much faith in career art at school… I studied mechanical engineering and just preferred to draw for fun at my own pace. I was cartoonist for the college newspaper, loved to spark a friendly controversy yet never took an art class.
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I'm lucky to make a living from my art, but now it's mostly commercial web design. My illustration is still mostly for the fun of it and sometimes pays too. My personal art takes a lot of energy. When I work all day on commercial stuff I develop skills, gain inspiration, etc., then it can be relaxing to apply that to my own creative projects.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
I do still contribute although it's pretty infrequent. I have been in several issues of Specious Species published annually by Joe Donohoe (available at lastgasp.com) and I'm currently working on a cover illustration for the 2012 issue. I contributed art to most issues of Filth magazine from San Francisco in the 90s and I'm always threatening to make a Detroit! Murder City Comix comeback with my partner/writer Rick Metcalf. Together we created 7 issues of our comic book.
I have so many influences, here's a few… from Detroit, Glenn Barr and Niagara, Stanley Mouse, Gary Grimshaw and Mark Arminski. Comics/cartoons from R. Crumb, Ed Roth, Robert Williams, Jack 'King' Kirby, Wally Wood, Jack Davis, Walt Disney, Jay Ward, Tex Avery. On a broader scale Sailor Jerry and Ed Hardy, sideshow art, circus posters, designers Paul Rand, Erik Spiekermann, Tschichold, Warhol, the French impressionists Toulouse Lautrec, Gauguin, Monet, the Renaissance's Michelangelo and Da Vinci… it goes on and on.
What are the principal steps in your work ?
3) Detail studies
4) Final pencils
6) Scan and digital design
8) Package and deliver
All my drawing is by hand, ink on paper, brushes & pens, then colored on the computer now. I used to color my drawings by painting with "cell vinyl cartoon colors" on the back of a black line art transparency film, but those solid mechanical colors of old comics are much easier on the computer. I do some color paintings with oil on canvas for fun--they look like cartoons too.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
It takes me forever, like 50-60 hours for a detailed one.
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 do everything and unusual requests are fine with me… I always have fun with it. For my commercial work I think I'm still finding my style--it's hard to tell from the inside at this point. However my illustration has a distinctive style and like it or not, everything I do has that look. Clients for illustration generally want that kent myers urban underground patina when they contact me.
For my friends I worked for the Detroit Cobras, Hysteric Narcotics, Demolition Doll Rods, Bootsey X and the Lovemasters and with the Fillmore Posters I have done Iggy and the Stooges, Dave Matthews, House of Pain, George Thorogood, Stephen Marley, and Gov't Mule.
For which band would you love to work?
Iggy & the Stooges. I'm lucky to have already done a poster for them and a comic book (D!MCC #6) and they're still at the top of my list for whom I would like to do more work.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Mostly it's a personal connection or the client approaches me.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Yes, absolutely I feel part of the graphic scene, in San Francisco and nationwide. Art tends to drive my entertainment and social activities. My artist friends include Matso?!, Scott Reed, Jeff Roysden, Chuck Sperry, Ron Donovan, Scott Williams, Luther Thie, Amy Jenkins, Terry Murphy, Rae Douglass, my brothers Brian & Dale Myers, as well as local dignitaries Ron Turner, Spain and Winston Smith.
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?
commercial web design at http://www.papaya.net/
The best praise you received lately?
Lately I'm been doing swim event posters for the Dolphin Club in San Francisco, an even smaller niche market than the underground Detroit fan scene. I recently put a lot of effort into an Alcatraz swim poster I had envisioned for a while and it was very well-received. I guess the real joy comes from the public's reaction to my work. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I complete a drawing… then another bounce seeing the human reaction.
What can we wish you for the future?
Wish me luck, I hope to continue doing more and more art as time goes on.
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!