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? ( is formed from the people who used to run 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 and connect with him on Twitter @tragicunshine

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