q)So, can you tell me a little about yourself? Full name, age, some background info, etc?
a)Neil Swaab. 28 years old. From Michigan, currently living in New York.
q)How did you get started making art?
a)I’ve always been drawing pretty much as far back as I can remember. It seemed like a no-brainer to make art my life.
q)How would you describe your art?
a)Warped cartoonish line drawings usually colored in. Sometimes combined with text (i.e. comics)
q)Where do you get the inspiration for your art?
a)From everywhere. Everything I see or experience somehow makes it into my art in some way or another.
q)What are you working on now?
a)Doing a lot of design work. Building a new website for my comic strip. Drawing some t-shirts. Working on a collaborative piece for an art show. Trying to work on some original book ideas. The occasional freelance illustration.
q)Are there some web sites that you would like to recomend? Artists, art communities,xxx,...!?
a)Illustrationmundo.com is one of the best artist sites around these days. And one of the guys behind it, Nate Williams, is a great illustrator. I’ve been art directing him on a book jacket for HarperCollins and he’s been kicking ass on it.
q)What's your favorite medium to work in, and why?
a)Right now it’s pen and ink and digital. It’s very immediate and I can make a lot of mistakes and try a lot of things. What you can do with digital these days is limitless.
q)What advice would you give to younger up and coming artist?
a)Do what you love. Art is supposed to be fun. If you’re not having fun doing it, them something’s wrong with the art you’re producing. It shows as an artist when you’re enjoying yourself. And vice versa.
q)What is your personal definition of life and art and everything else in between?
a)I think that question’s too deep for me to answer. Can’t you just ask me about my influences? Oh, wait, I see that’s coming up...
q)If your persona were immortalized as a cartoon character, who would it be?
a)Wile E. Coyote because I feel like I’m always chasing my own personal road runner but am never able to catch it. That, and I get hit with an anvil at least twice a day.
q)What are your artistic influences?
a)Dave McKean, Renee French, Dave Cooper, James Jean, and a million other artists. There’s so many excellent ones these days.
q)How are the reactions on your work in general?
a)Pretty good I guess.
q)What are you doing when you are not creating art?
a)I’m usually always creating art or writing. If I’m not doing that, I’m sleeping, eating, or absorbing media (an artsy way of saying “watching TV”)
q)Tell us about a recent dream you had.
a)I had a dream where I was waiting for some kind of a car and I knew that there would only be two choices of what would be in the car: either a bunch of monkeys or a person wearing this ghoulish mask. If it was the monkeys, I could deal with it, but if it was the mask person, it meant something really bad. It turned out it was the mask and as the car approached everything went into slow motion. I became terrified and paralyzed with fear. I tried to scream, but nothing would come out. Eventually I forced out a scream and woke myself up. I had been screaming in my sleep.
q)What is freedom to you as an artist?
a)To do whatever you feel like doing and be able to live off of it.
q)Are there any particular works you've done that stand out as your favorites?
a)I really like the CD cover I illustrated over the summer for Electric_02. That was the most involved piece I’ve ever done.
q)Last Books you read?
a)I read all the books I design so the last one I read was My Mother the Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow.
q)Last records you bought?
a)The new(ish) Fiona Apple.
q)Who are your favourite artists & Your favourite galleries?
a)Way too many to name. Even trying to narrow them down scares me.
q)Which do you think make good art good? originality, or style? And, why?
a)I think the best art is when the artist has something to say. Good art has substance. If it’s just style, that doesn’t really last. Substance is what stays with you.