Tuesday, June 29, 2010

James Flames Interviewed in Rock Sound Magazine

JAMES - I was recently interviewed for UK magazine Rock Sound, for their "Design Devils" feature. The issue just came out overseas and should be available here in the States in a couple of weeks (I'll keep you posted). I continue to get much love from the UK - it's pretty awesome.

If you're in Europe, it's issue #137 with the Gaslight Anthem on the cover - check it out! Here's a transcript of the interview:

India ink is a religion, and James Flames is its prophet. ROCK SOUND meets the North Carolina-based poster artist to discuss DIY printmaking, bad-ass skulls and his search for the Holy Grail: one perfect hand-drawn line.

How did you initially get interested in art as a career choice? “My mother is a painter, my father’s a musician, all my brothers and my sister have some kind of artistic ability. Art was always in the house – we didn’t watch TV, we sat at the table and we drew. So art’s just kind of an instinct for me. I’ve had many different professions over my life – none of them art related, mostly corporate stuff in New York City. Five years ago, I decided to make a go of this for real. It took a long time to take it from this natural thing that I do all the time, and always did without thinking, to understanding that I can actually make my living doing it. It’s funny, but that was a really weird decision – it wasn’t as much of a no-brainer as you would think.”

How comfortable are you putting your name and artwork to a band you don’t like musically? “Well, I think I have a pretty wide-ranging taste in music, so even if a band isn’t my total favorite in the world, I can generally find something about them that I can relate to. And that’s what music is all about, isn't it? Relating. But on the whole, I am fortunate that I mostly get to work with bands that I really, truly like.”

What effect, if any, has technology had on your working process? “About a year and a half ago, I was kinda having this conflict where I was having trouble seeing anything that wasn't completely hand-drawn as being ‘authentic.’ And I now realize how ridiculous that is, but for some reason I saw the computer as some kind of cheat. The reality is that it doesn’t have to be used all the time, but it is certainly something that can make my artwork better. Otherwise, it’s the same as me saying that a pencil isn’t authentic, that a pencil is like cheating – I should just use a piece of charred wood to draw with. There are a lot of advancements that make our lives easier, and it took awhile for me to come to terms with the fact that the computer is actually a very valuable tool.”

What elements are necessary for a truly striking design? “It all pertains to who you’re drawing for, what you’re drawing for, and all that kinda stuff. But you can never go wrong with a cool skull and a big swath of red! Red always does the trick.”

Your blog often contains a high level of detail about your projects and working process. Is instruction important as a designer? “I gear my blog specifically towards other artists, fans of artwork and people who are interested in the process. I feel like I need to do my share, to contribute and pay back, and hopefully inspire somebody else. When I think back to being a little boy, if I was into an artist who drew my favorite comic book, all I ever got to see was the finished, printed artwork. When I’d go draw my own pictures, I would try it in the way I imagined that the artist would do it – but I never knew for certain how they did it until I got older and learned about the process. I always think about that kid out there, who has all the potential in the world, but has no idea where to start. Getting some insight into somebody else's process can have a transformative effect.”

The linework, inks and comic panel framing of some of your pieces seems to reference Raymond Pettibon. Are there any designers or artists that influenced you? “The first Pettibon artwork I ever saw was the album cover for Sonic Youth’s Goo. And that, along with the album cover for Drive Like Jehu's Yank Crime, which was done by Rick Froberg, those two covers had a huge impact on me. For many years after that, I was chasing after that ideal of spare and simple ink drawings; as I got older, I learned to find my own voice to express it. Obviously, I was a huge comic book fan when I was growing up. There was an artist named Mike Allred, who did a comic called Madman. His brush lines were just so soft and sleek, and they were incredibly cool looking, and that was all I ever wanted to do. I would look at those lines, and at the time, I didn't know how to draw them that way, I just couldn’t understand how he did that. So that was a huge driving force that pushed me to love the brush. It's incredibly satisfying to lay down a smooth line with a brush. It's gotta be one of the most satisfying and therapeutic feelings in my whole life. Just one line, it literally feels good to my bones. There's no other way for me to explain it.”

Monday, June 28, 2010

Show At Salt Gallery!

TOM - Above is all the info for the group show I will be in this summer at Salt Gallery in Philadelphia. Really excited about this, I had so much fun creating the pieces for this and I'm excited to see all the other artists work in the show. If you're in the Philly area this Friday, stop by for the opening and say hi, it's a First Friday in Philly so it's gonna be a good time! If you can't make it for the opening, no worries, the show will be up until late August. Thanks for reading and have a great day!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Seeing Spots...

TOM - I've been SUPER busy lately working on a number of new projects at the same time. Really excited about all of them and can't wait to post some stuff soon! In the meantime, here are some recent spots I've done for both Nerve.com and New York Press's sex columns. Though I love illustrating all the sexy, dirty stories, I've been lucky to get a real range of stories lately that deal with conflict, regret, and first love's. Thanks for reading and stay sexy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

I Kicked A Boy

TOM - Well, this upcoming show is fast approaching, so here is another new one in the series. These words are taken from a song by The Sundays entitled 'I Kicked A Boy', one of my favorites by them. Details and info on the show coming soon! Happy Monday!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Art Prints

"I am impossible to replace."
Nine-color print, 25x19 on 110 lb Smart White paper.
Edition of 50.

"I wore it so you'd fuck me in it."
Six-color print, 25x19 on 110 lb Smart White paper.
Edition of 50.

JAMES - These are my two newest prints, and I'm psyched to show them off. They're now available in my store: www.jamesflames.com/store.html

I really decided to let loose on these two, in terms of style and technique. I created them directly on the films, with ink and brush, rather than scanning artwork into the computer first and then transferring it to films. The big brush strokes are clearly visible on these prints, and the colors are pretty ridiculously bright. It was the first time, for me, that the printing itself was part of the process of the creation of each piece - I've never had so much fun, and satisfaction, while printing.

detail shot

detail shot

They are $25 each, and they're available now through my store: www.jamesflames.com/store.html.

I Saw The Light

TOM- Still moving along with this music series. Here's Hank Williams', 'I Saw The Light'. I have to say, there is something very satisfying about putting ink on paper, it just feels good...Take care.

Monday, June 7, 2010

New Sketchbook Drawings

JAMES - Here's a bunch of new sketchbook drawings of mine - kinda the best of the latest batch. Just having a good time, switching it up, and trying new stuff.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Don't Get Me Wrong

TOM- Another from my song lyric series. This line comes from a song by The Pretenders entitled, 'Don't Get Me Wrong', one of my favorites by them. Although things have been real busy around here, this project is alowing me to have alot of fun and experiment. Listening to music has always sparked tons of imagery in my head, so this is a great way of finally getting some of that stuff out of my head and on to paper! Once again, these peices will all be included in an upcoming group show in Philadelphia in July, going to put up all the details once it starts getting closer. Have a great day!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Feelin' the heat...

TOM- Here's another one I did for Complex Magazine. It's a small spot about a sweating condition in which a person can't help but sweat heavily all the time. They wanted it to be totally over the top and gross, so this is what came out. Speaking of sweat, the weather here is beautiful, if you're in New York today, enjoy!