Lots of people draw characters. Lots of people copy this man right here. When we were first setting up the magazine, over four years ago, I wanted to feature this amazing American artist I kept seeing the work of. He drew his cats, having adventures, dipped hard in fantasy. Time has now passed, we are still here, as is Mr Deth P Sun, and I am a happy man. In these wierd times of ‘referencing’ and direct copying, its a skill to spot authentic work, and heartfelt style. Ladies and gentlemen, use your eyes. This is real.
What got you started as an artist?
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t draw. I think I kept on doing it ’cause I wasn’t allowed to watch TV growing up. But what made me think I could do it professionally was this art camp I went to at CalArts when I was in high school.
Can you describe the process of starting a new piece? Where does that initial spark come from?
When I start a piece, I’ll start about 20 at the same time, ’cause some things aren’t as awesome as other things, and sometimes they’re just random stupid drawings I come up with. Most of the stuff comes from things I watch or read, and they’re all very different – either comics, or paintings, or history documentaries, or travel shows, or just actual real experiences.
What tools (physical or digital) do you use regularly and what’s your favourite?
While painting I like to use high viscosity fluid acrylics, matte acrylics, and some medium viscosity acrylics from tubes. I only use three types of brushes right now ’cause everything I paint is pretty small. Two of them are these Kolinsky sable brushes that come from Germany that you can get for $4, and the other is a W&N Watercolor brush called Cirrus 660 ¼” One Stroke they discontinued a few years ago that I stocked-piled and now have five left of. They still exist. They’re just called something else, and have a slightly longer stem and cost twice as much.
When drawing I like to use Rives BFK or paper from a Bristol pad. The pencils I use are Mirado Black Warriors. They also got discontinued so I bought about 200 of those, so that will probably last me 20 years. The pens I like to use are either a Pilot V5 or a Pilot Hi-Tec C, but in the UK the Hi-Tec C is called a G-Tec 4.
How do you spend your days?
I spend my days drawing and painting. Some days I have to go the post office, so I’ll try making a trip to the library or the art supply store as well. I listen to various science and history podcasts, or the radio via the net, or movies on Netflix.
Which of your most recent pieces have you enjoyed making the most?
They all just feel like a continuation of one story to me.
What are you working on at the moment?
I have a dual show with a friend in Oakland, California. That opens in a few weeks, and I’m in a group show in LA at the Japanese American National Museum, and that’s in September.
What other artistic media have had an effect on your art?
I like comics, I guess.
Have you made any more zines recently?
No, I’m really slow on them. When I’m painting I can’t really do anything else so I only end up making one or two zines a year. I am making a travel zine of my trip to the UK. I have an outline, and the drawings of everything I ate while I was out there. I also have drawings for a maze zine, but I only have 3 drawings and I’d like more than that. But I don’t have time to draw ’cause I have to paint.
How has your art changed in recent years?
Everything changes, but very slowly. I get illustration jobs and they all want me to remake old things but often I can’t ’cause I don’t even use the same paints.
Any tips on how to survive making money from your art?
Uh, take a business class? I really don’t know how I survive. And that is a pretty broad question. The only really good advice is to always make art, to always have it out there and to never give it away.
What do you like and dislike in art?
I don’t like the fact I’m always by myself all day, everyday, but I like being friends with other creative people and having a purpose when travelling.
Good advice you wish you’d been told earlier?
I don’t know about that one. I think I’m okay with the mistakes I’ve made.