here is the beauty he finished for us, just two days ago, it is still at the printers here in Hollywood--Neil and I looked at it on the tour bus, rolling down the highways and byways of our country, just $25 on the presale--on Wednesday evening, it will go up to $38.00 so get yours early CLICK TO ORDER HERE.
David and I did a little interview together:
Q: We worked together before on a print, what brought you back to Neverwear?
A: The Words of Fire print that we did is how we got to know each other. It was a brand new poem written by Neil and then drawn by me… We specifically collaborated on it to be a new living art and text that was tattooed on the back of a mutual reader of ours. From that tattoo design, you turned it into a beautiful limited edition silkscreen print, that turned out to be very popular and I loved working with you on that.
From that, we became dear friends and continued working together on other exciting endeavers! One of which involves an exciting new media avenue for my KABUKI stories that I think you are issuing a press release about this week…
Here is a photo of David I took at a MELTDOWN COMICS signing:
Q: How did your journey to illustrate Neil’s GOLDFISH POOL progress? How did you come up with this image? You chose watercolor—why?
A: You and I were having sushi, discussing film & TV opportunities for KABUKI & my children's book THE SHY CREATURES. You suggested THE GOLDFISH POOL as a subject for a print we do together. The Words of Fire print was so linear, it being a tattoo design (I drew it in brush and ink).
The sticker version of it that we made had the color version I designed with color and texture, but still it was line art based… so I was very much looking forward to doing a print with you that featured full color, and possibly painted and mixed media. And with the subject matter of the golfish in the water, watercolor seemed like a natural approach.
Q: I can’t help but notice (& love) your signature chop—can you expand it a bit? Where it came from, what it means to you?
A: I've had different chops made when I was in Japan and in China. They were hand carved with different symbols and meanings that I had asked for. But the chop that I use most on my work, and which is on both of these prints, was a sentimental gift to me from Miss Fumiko of the First Zen Institude of America.
Her grandfather was the founder of the Zen Instititute in America, and she began writing to me in response to my Kabuki stories, and she sent me many sentimental artifacts of belongings of her grandfather and hallowed family heirlooms. Many of the gifts that she has sent me, I have collaged into my artwork, including her own handwriting on aged paper. This chop was one of those ancient artifacts that she sent me from her family of Zen. It translates to "Peace".
photo by the artist (love the meowsy!)
Q: you have a show coming up in LA, what will be the theme? Can you talk about it?
A: On July 27 in Los Angeles, Century Guild Gallery will have an art opening of my work. It will be brush and ink drawings from life that I have made of humans and cats, on exhibit with works of Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.
Click here for a link to the event. If you are at Comicon at San Diego, I will be signing at the gallery booth of Century Guild (booth #2845) where they will have works of mine and Dave McKean on display at the booth. I will have the new print at my table, as well as a 320 page hardcover artbook of my work & my KABUKI books.
Q: Daredevil! Tell me more about the hardcover coming out.
A: The new Hardcover collects all eight issues of our new story Daredevil: End of Days that I wrote with Brian Michael Bendis. (interviewer note: eeekkk! we love BMB!)
The hardcover collection has 24 pages of extras in it as well. Bill Sienkiewicz and Klaus Janson contribute the majority of the art work, and Alex Maleev and I contribute art and covers as well. So it is all creators that have devoted large eras of their careers to Daredevil, all working together on one story and we could not be happier with how it came together.
It is an exciting mystery story in which the template of the story is inspired by Citizen Kane. The story is about the final days of Daredevil and how he affected all of the people in his life and mysteries and surprises abound.
Most of all, the story has a lot of heart and is a labor of love and passion for us as creators, to be working with creators we love, on a character that we grew up with. Brian Bendis and I have been best friends for twenty years, working together at the beginning of our carreers, and now we get to write together on this project, working with Bill Sienkiewicz and Klaus Janson who are creators that we grew up reading and learning from. Now they are our dear friends and collaborators as well as our mentors. The book reflects all of that. It also includes some early versions of the script with some insights of how we shape the final script.
Kabuki photo by the amazing Allan Amato.
Q: The KABUKI movie/tv project. What do you hope to see happen here? Best case scenario? How do you see your characters coming to life?
A: I've long imagined how wonderful it could be to have KABUKI in a long form TV series and feature film. There are seven volumes of KABUKI, and each chapter has an episodic rythm to it that would translate well to an episodic TV series… or the first volume as the first film. HBO was interested in it as a TV show and then that producer took it to FOX and FOX bought it four times to develop it as a live action film.
Eventually I didn't renew with FOX and then Quentin Tarantino's producer Lawrence Bender discussed with me some great ideas for him producing the film. They were all great experiences, but the timing wasn't just right for one reason or another, at that time.
Now with you, your partner Rod, and Neil Gaiman as Executive Producer… I feel like the landscape is right for a very story-oriented character-driven film and TV oppertunity. I'd love to see the characters and story brought to life in a way that is true to the spirit of the characters and story, and vision of my books, but that also takes advantage of all the oppertunities of the medium of film and live action and what a talented director, talented cinematographer, and talented actors can bring to it.
Q: Which one of your Kabuki characters would you most like to meet in real life? Dream casting to portray them in the movie?
A: The Akemi character would be an interesting real life meeting… as you never know what form she will meet you in. There are so many strong roles in the story, that could be played by so many good actors and actresses… Kabuki, Akemi, Scarab, Siamese, Ryuichi Kai… Cowboy… M.C. Square… Rinko Kikuchi comes to mind as a great actor. You've seen her in Babel and Pacific Rim. And Hiroyuki Sanada as Ryuichi Kai would be a masterstroke. Perhaps Ken Watanabe inhabiting a very striking change in form to portray The General?
Q: Kabuki clothing line! How did that come about? Where can we get this? What do you see happening in your retail future?
A: A company in the UK called Gawakoto asked me if they could license KABUKI images for their line of women's & men's sportswear. Rashgaurds for MMA, Jiu-Jitsu, yoga, running, biking, or just enjoying the wear of it and looking good in it. They have created some amazing new KABUKI T-shirts, rashgards, martial arts gi, and more.
You can see a link to their work here on the albums of my face book page: HERE.
They will have the very first prototypes of these available at my booth #2845 at San Diego Comicon and they will be taking orders on their website.
Q: I saw this little snippet of you drawing a brush and ink piece of Death— What is your preferred medium? Tell me about how you perfected your technique? A: That was me drawing directly in brush and ink. This is something that I do a lot for my own enjoyment. In a story, I try to create a different look, or use a media that is right for the story. But for fun, I love drawing people from life directly in brush and ink. That is what the Los Angles gallery exhibit on July 27 will focus on. When people ask for drawings at conventions I do very quick brush and ink drawings like that drawing of Sandman's Death.
In any story that I write, or in a book, or other medium, I try to create a new style and look for each project that I do, based on what I think the story calls for.
As a writer, I begin with the story first, and then I use the art as another tool of the storyteliing. I try to think of the best way to visually communicate that particular story… or event , or a particular scene, and then I make an effort to cultivate a specific look, pace, rythm, and feel that organically grows out of the nature of the story, or the character, or the psychology of that character.
Often the style and media change from page to page and from scene to scene, and more broadly from project to project.
With my story KABUKI, there are seven volumes, and each volume is like a different era of the characters life… so it is written from an evolving perspective over the course of each volume, and therefore each volume has a very different contrasting look and feel that I tried to create for that particular story. Often I use different media for each volume.
The Kabuki volume that I would most recommend is KABUKI: THE ALCHEMY. I think it is the best example of my work in one book as that volume has the most diversity of work spanning an array of media and themes and visual storytelling experiments. And it has a wonderful introduction by Fight Club author Chuck Palahniuk, and the story perhaps represents my most evolved and diverse writing and storytelling.
Q: what is something you wish I had asked you about?
A: I've spent a lot of time since 2003 being involved with a gallery and art studio for challenged and disabled artists called Visionaries & Voices. And Thunder-Sky gallery. Often artists with autism and other challenges, it's an effort close to my heart, and it gives the artists an opportunity to be seen for what they can do, rather than labeled for what they can't do or are challenged with.
Creating art helps them actually evolve their personal interaction skill set as well. I've seen so many of the artists come out of their shells and grow their personality as a result of creating and then presenting their creations to the world, and I relate to that quite a bit.
Here is a little four page story that I made about the death of my father that gives insight to some ways in which I relate to that in terms of my father and my own childhood... Thanks so much David, I learned many new things from this little interview-- can't wait to see you down in San Diego! CLICK HERE