Saturday, 11 August 2012

Kevin Tong - Artist Interview

Ben has done it again, this is the second in our series of Breaking Gifs artist interviews.

Q - Mr. Jensen Karp is the mastermind behind Gallery 1988 and Breaking Gifs. When did he contact you about participating in the series? How much advance notice/working time did you have?

A - I wasn't originally in the series, Jensen already had a great line up, but something happened halfway through where he chose to bring me into the series. Perhaps someone dropped out or they added an extra moment.

Q - Did you choose the "water-cooler" moment or was it assigned? And if you had the chance to create another print in this series what moment would you have chosen?

A - The only thing I was given in the way of direction was SUPERLAB. From that point, the idea evolved into the print I ended up producing. The last scene of "Crawl space" is one of my favorite parts of the whole series. There's a lot that can be done conceptually there, I'd like to have taken a stab at it.

Q - Were you familiar with Breaking Bad? And did you re-watch episodes for inspiration for key details in the house? What are some of your favorite details about it?

A - Breaking Bad is the best thing on TV right now for me. I'm a huge fan of the show. In order to nail down all the ideas for the Superlab print, I re watched every episode involving the Superlab and furiously took notes.

What I really liked about the Superlab is how much the cast and crew liked it. Much like the RV, they treated the lab like it was a character, which is why it's just so incredible.


Q - Were you restricted/instructed in anyway?

A - Whenever you're doing a print, the main restriction is balancing what's true to the content/spirit of the show and what makes for an awesome poster. Often, they go hand in hand, but at times, compromise is needed. I don't feel like I was instructed too much. Mine was approved and printed without any revisions.

Q - 12x36 is not the "normal" 18x24 or 24x36 size for a print. Was this a decision you made as an artist ?

A - I felt like 18 x 24 wasn't the right size and 24 x 36 was too big. 12 x 36 is long and narrow and it really focuses the eyes up and down. That way, it truly reads like an instructional sign, but is still a poster.

Q - Are there sketches or preliminary drawings that we might see?

A - There aren't any sketches. I worked completely on the computer for this one, something I rarely do.

Q - How do you feel about having your work be at the center of people's lives? What's it like to watch a reveal drop from your end? Did anyone let you know just before your print was revealed, so you could witness the reveal?

A - No one told me anything. I think i was working late the night before to get ready for Comic Con International. I slept through my drop and woke up to emails and facebook posts galore. It's kind of great that way.

Q - Are you going to be releasing AP's? If so, a hint as to when they might drop? :D

A - I don't share the business practices of my clients. Ask Jensen.
Breaking Bad

Q - Are you a Breaking Bad fan? If so, how do you like to watch the show?

A - Huge fan of the show. Every week, I get the newest episode on iTunes, so I've made it a tradition with Jessica Deahl (she did the Pollos Hermanos Print) to get takeout food and we watch it at my place.

Q - Favorite BB character(s)?

A - Walt, Mike, and Saul are my top three favorite characters. With Walt, it's tough to have an opinion of him because he keeps changing (which is great). Hank is kind of a cool guy too. He's such a loveable douchebag.

Q - Any favorite quotes?

A - "Walt's a scientist, scientists love lasers" - Saul Goodman

Q - Do you have a favorite moment/episode?

A - The end of "Crawl Space" left me stunned. That's the moment I like the most from the show. There are MANY close contenders though.

Your Art

Q - Do you pull your own screens or use outside source?

A - I hire out. In the past, I printed my own stuff, but now I have guys for that.

Kevin Tong's own home made flat file that he recently
built and shared the details about online

Q - For those who are just getting into collecting art prints, what advice would you give to them regarding storage and upkeep that you wish you knew when you started?

A - Invest in a flat file, use plastic bags, take prints out of tubes.

Q - Are you a collector of prints yourself? If so, what are some of your favorite prints you own from other artists?

A - I'm a collector. Rich Kelly's (he did the BB shootout print) work is some of my favorite stuff.

Q - How did you get into print making? What was your first print you ever did?

A - The first poster i ever did was for a Built to Spill show. I just wanted to get into shows for free and I could draw. I had no idea it was turn into all this.

Q - Of all the prints you've done so far (and you've done a lot!,) what's been the one you've been most excited to drop?

A - Iron Giant at the Mondo Mystery Movies in Los Angeles.

Q - What would be your dream print to create for a gallery/studio (tv show, movie, band, or all three?)

A - X-Files, Blade Runner, and Arcade fire.

Q - What is craziest request you've had from a fan/client?

A - Usually the crazy stuff is people wanting a whole poster done in a day, which h I have done at times.

Q - You just had a booth at Comic Con. How many years have you been there as an artist? Did you ever
just go as just an attended? What's it like to have a booth at a huge convention like that?

A - I've been attending Comic Con as an artist for four years. This is the first year I had a booth. What's it like? What's it not like is more like it.

Q - Have any crazy fan stories?

A - Someone would have to be crazy to be a fan of mine, is that what you're saying?

(Editors note - Not every single one of us are crazy just ask my invisible three headed monkey)

Q - You participated in the LOST art project a few years back. Looking back at it, do you have anything you'd like to say about that experience? (Printvengers.com is formed from the people who used to run LOSTARGS.com which covered that series)

A - The LOST print series was great. The best part, for me, was instantly making dozens of friends aka the LOSTIES, many of whom I still talk to from time to time. They're such great people and they have such great times.

Q - Can you give us any hints of any prints you'll be dropping soon??

A - Haha, when does that ever happen. Everyone I work with acts like their project is national security.

As always with artist interviews we have to say a big thanks to Kevin Tong for taking the time to answer the questions.

You can read more about Kevin's work on his blog TragicSunshine.com and connect with him on Twitter @tragicunshine

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