John Santos (US)

John Santos (US)

OK Guyz, if you think this is fun everyday to run this blog, just go to John Facebook picture page and try to make a proper selection of works to illustrate the interview. You will quickly see that this is not as simple as you may have thought !Of course, John is not only drawing gigposters but also a lot of album artworks and TShirts. The reason why question/ answers typo is not the same as for any other interview ? None, just a way to welcome John on the blog !

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

 Right now, a mix of Ash Ra Temple, Fungal Abyss,  Gravitar, Popul Vuh, and Madlib.

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

I'm a regular guy from Pueblo, Colorado who enjoys art, music, and hockey. I also like drawing detailed pieces for bands, tour managing, and slinging merch, too.

When did you start drawing? 

I've been drawing for as long as I can remember.

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

Not really. I took the mandatory art classes in school, but never took any specific courses of training. It was more of just drawing on notebooks, desks, and random scraps of paper.  All of my notebooks were covered in band logos and images from different record covers. I even had a few early opportunities to draw up fliers for shows in high school, which led to doing more in the years that followed. I went to college for a few years and left after I decided that I was an artist and that's what I wanted to do.

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

I finally reached the point where a job was interfering with my art a few years ago. It's been so nice to get up and be able to work on art under my own conditions and i've been able to keep busy as hell. I would like to get a p/t job just to get me out of the house, though.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly? 

No, not really collaborating with any at the moment. Maybe in the future when things slow down.

Where does your influence come from? 

I was into comic books and record covers as a kid. I'd spend a ton of time going through my dad and aunt's collection of records and just stare at them. When I work on a design for a band, I'm influenced by their music, lyrics, and even their personalities.

Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences? 

John Byrne, Bernie Wrightson, and Art Adams were favorites of mine in the comic book world. Derek Riggs was a major influence on me, as I drew his Eddie Maiden character over and over while in school. I found Pushead in high school and Gustave Doré blew me away with his illustrations from Dante's Inferno. Nowadays, Im influenced by the drive and talent around me.

What are the principal steps in your work ? 

If I'm working with a band or client, I email or call them and talk about any ideas or concepts that they might have. I go through a few sketches and we go back and forth until a final sketch is okayed. Then I ink the outline and continue on with the heavy detail. When I finish the inking process, I scan the image and clean it up in photoshop. From there I do the separations in the computer and send it off to the client. I love it when the process runs smoothly, too.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer? 

All of the sketches and inking is done completely by hand. I use the computer to clean up the designs and color separations, but am looking to back to painting the colors in for cover and private commission work.

How long does it take you to do a poster? 

A full design usually takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks, depending on the amount of detail.

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 ? 

The only problem that I would have with subject matter like that is that I would probably get bored with a design that was so normal.  I love the detailed pieces.

For which band have you already worked for? 

I've been able to work with Kylesa, High On Fire, Sleep, Torche, Lamb Of God, Noisear, Yob, and Shrinebuilder to name a few.

For which band would you love to work? 

Neurosis first and foremost, but I'd also like to work with Crippled Black Phoenix, Graveyard, Grails, and Madlib.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

Nothing that I can think of as particularly difficult except for when I get to the computer work. Not much into that.

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

I just think of it as having artistic colleagues and friends. People like Brian Mercer, Mike Fisher, Alison Lilly, Konstantinos Pschias, Alexandros Pyromallis, Tom Denney, Arik Roper, Casey McKinley, John Baizley, and David D'Andrea are a few out of many that I'm glad that I get to talk to, work with, and keep in touch with. I think that we all as artists keep one another going and are there to support and lend a hand when needed.

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? 

You can see my art at or under SantosIllustration on FB. You can also follow me on Twitter SantosIllustration@eyebleedink.

The best praise you received lately? 

Having Mike Schiedt tell me that he vibed hard off of their back drop of my "Catharsis" re-issue art at Roadburn . That and getting a random email from Shane Embury telling me how much he likes my artwork.

What can we wish you for the future? 

I'm still going to be working with bands, but will also be working on starting up an online store for new shirts, prints, and merch type items. The store will be carrying some older designs reprinted, but I want to work on original art for the new items. I'm also working on the second installment of the Thick As Thieves mini print packs that started last year. I'm trying to get as many known and unknown artists to be represented in each pack so that all of these bad ass artists can be seen. The third installment has already been filled but I'm always looking out to fill future editions.
Thank you and thanks to everyone for their continued support.

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