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Q&A with Zak Smith
Questions on a few different topics from Jason
(showing 1-8 of 8)
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Apr 26, 2009 04:26AM
For clarity's sake--since none of this is about the Avengers, I re-posted this stuff in a new thread.
Jason wants to know:
Are there any comic book writers/illustrators who you talk with? Do you make drawings of what your reading as you read a book, or do you wait until after finishing the book? Do you have drawings for In Viriconium? Is there an artist who you admired for their illustrations of literature (for example Delacroix's illustrations of Faust)?
Do you ever make sculptures of the women you've drawn? Some of the scketches on your website are people having sex. Are those ideas for future paintings?
Sculptures of women? No, never did.
I recently got some sculpey and experimented with making tiny tiny heads--heads sculpted with sewing needles. So far, nothing, but maybe when I'm done with the painting I'm working on I'll have time to stretch out with it.
Are the people having sex ideas for future paintings? No. At least they weren't intended that way--they're just what happened to be happening at the time.
I feel like painting action in my ornate style creates a complicated set of problems. I've made a few steps in that direction though--like the triptych in my last show--two girls getting ready to shoot a movie.
I know a few of those guys, but most of the people I know well are indie comics people--like Jeff Lewis and the guys in Partyka. (
With GR and Blood Meridian, I read first and drew after.
I never drew "In Viriconium"--Ian Miler adapted some of Harrison's stuff and he is pretty tough to compete with.
Harry Clarke is probably the best classic literary illustrator for my money--he needs to be way more well known than he is. Runners up: Ralph Steadman, John Tenniel and Aubrey Beardsley.
Apr 26, 2009 07:57PM
Do you always carry a camera? Do you draw from photographs? If so, will you draw only from pics you’ve taken? How do you decide where you want color and black/white/grays in a drawing /painting? While working on a painting have you ever changed your mind as to what ‘object/s’ will have color?
In an interview you said you’re trying to make drawings that look good and different than what’s been done before. How does your new book hold up to that as a collection of drawings and as a book itself?
(last edited Apr 29, 2009 03:24PM)
Apr 29, 2009 03:23PM
Well everyone always carries a camera now--in their phone. Before digital photography I had a minox B 8mm spy camera and thought I was real clever.
I only draw from my own pics or life--the exception was some stuff in Gravity's Rainbow where i obviously needed some photo reference since i wasn't around for wwII. If the book said Franklin Roosevelt I had to go find a picture of Franklin Roosevelt.
How do I decide where I want color? The same way I decide I want anything else I suppose--I look at the picture and see what it needs.
Have I ever changed my mind about that? Yes, all the time.
As for the last question, I don't think that's for me to say--it's too fresh in my mind. I won't really be able to judge my own book until I've sort of left it alone and forgot about it for awhile.
I will say that I don't really think there's ever been a first-person autobiographical thing from anyone in the adult industry that tried to be "literary non-fiction" and the non-fiction-about-something-with-drawings-by-the-same-author format is not something you see every day--outside of like 19th century naturalist monographs on butterflies or crappy indie emo comic books.
Apr 30, 2009 10:31AM
With regards to the use of color in your work, I thought of De Kooning’s Excavation. I’m not saying your work is like his. But to me, his use of color in that painting was for balance. He didn’t draw the painting/composition first then add color. The colors are an necessary part of the composition. Your drawings on there own, without color, are terrific compositions. It seems that the bright, saturated colors are an ornate quality that balances it out too. My question is how are you using color different than other artists before you, and from those whom you admire?
Apr 30, 2009 05:16PM
I don't have a ready answer--I had to actually go look at my own website and go "How is this guy's use of color unlike anyone else's?" Since I usually just refine as I go along and end up with whatever I end up with.
After looking at my site just now I think I'll say this: I feel like I use color a lot more like a graphic designer than most painters do. Even hard-edge geometric painters and their recent gaggle of imitators tend to use flat color in a less grpaphic-designy way than me.
At least that's what I think this morning.
Apr 30, 2009 08:32PM
The contrast between Cecily Brown’s depiction of sex in paintings and your own always struck me. Yours are people within the industry, hers are anonymous people engaged in sex. There is a rhythm in your drawings. The figures are often captured at a particular moment (seated, in bed, etc) in apartments, studio sets, driving. Cecily Brown’s work has an element of motion. Some are like a porn movie put on pause. Sex plays a large role in your subject’s lives but you show other elements of them. Do you try to incorporate a loose narrative within a series of paintings of women? And when that narrative is established do you then draw that particular subject having sex, put a face behind the act?
Apr 30, 2009 09:21PM
No and no.
I feel like Cecily's paintings--of movement and action--are helped by the fact that her brushwork also obviously incorporates a lot of movement and action. My portraits are often obviously the work of someone sitting still trying very hard to get something p...re..cise...ly right, and so it can be hard to make action convincing in certain ways--so I gravitate toward a more static image in the larger paintings. You slowly look, the subject slowly looks at you.
May 12, 2009 08:31AM
So do you buy books new, used, go to library? How do you usually find out about authors?
You mentioned in an interview objects (a fan or cat)in some of your paintings relate to the subject. Like a dominatrix always had a fan in there apartment. I don't remember exactly. Do the stuffed animals (the giant anime looking cat) relate to specific subjects?
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Q&A with Zak Smith
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