Interview from goblinhaus.com
Comic Book Artist / Rocker, Don Marquez, has been producing
an absolutely incredible series of Horror and Science Fiction paintings
of late. Goblinhaus was lucky enough to have Mr. Marquez answer a few questions.
GOBLINHAUS: First off, thank you very much for taking
the time to discuss your horror and science fiction series of paintings.
How did you become an artist, are you self taught?
DON MARQUEZ: I am, for the most part, self taught. When
I was about fifteen years old, many years ago, I enrolled in the Famous
Artists correspondence course (as advertised on the back covers of comic
books). The course focuses on commercial art techniques, but touches on
just about all facets of graphic art. I didn't complete the course. I think
I was too young to be self motivated enough to work on my own and keep
up with the lessons. Later, I was an art major in college, but dropped
out after a couple years. The art classes were OK, but the rest of the
experience was not to my liking. Eventually, I found that I hand to un-learn
most of what was taught in school, in order to pursue comic book related,
and fantastic illustration art.
GH: Who/what are your main influences?
DM: My main influence is by far and away Frank Frazetta.
Other artists like N. C. Wyeth, Howard Pyle and the others of the "Great
American Illustrators" also employ all of same techniques as Frazetta,
but he combines the classic illustration approach with a comic book sensibility,
that sets him apart from everyone else. Jack Kirby, and Wally Wood are
my other two favorite artists. Another huge influence on my art was the
Harvey comics like Casper, Hot Stuff, Stumbo, Wendy The Witch and the rest.
I used to love to draw all of those characters when I was very young.
GH: Give a bit of history on this series of paintings,
and what your plans are for it.
DM: The monster portrait series of paintings that I'm
working on is inspired by the covers of the magazine Famous Monsters Of
Filmland. I bought a stack of back issues at a flea market and was hugely
impressed by the cover art. What impressed me was the way that Basil Gogos
could take a photograph and while staying true to it in most ways, use
it as a springboard for creating a unique work of art. I'll never be able
to meet and get pointers from artists like Gogos and Frazetta, so the next
best thing for me is to study and emulate some of what they've done, to
learn what I can. I initially planned to do a dozen or so paintings of
some of my favorite movie monsters and genre actors, but by now, I think
I've done probably about three or four dozen paintings, and my enthusiasm
for the project is growing. Besides the better known monsters from Universal,
Hammer and American International, I'm also doing paintings of many of
the more obscure creatures. I'm always trying to improve as an artist by
bettering my command of technique. Since I'm using photographs as reference
material on this series, most of the problems of composition such as line,
tone, and form are already figured out, so it gives me the opportunity
to concentrate on color and the simple mechanics of applying paint.
GH: What process goes into selecting your subjects for
this series, and can you give us a hint on some we might be seeing in the
DM: I like to vary the subject matter as much as I can,
within the genre. For instance, I'll do a couple paintings based on Universal
Studios creatures, then a couple from Hammer Studios, a couple aliens,
a werewolf, a female horror figure or a giant-monster. In my mind, there
are a lot of different sub-genres of monsters and horror movie figures
that I like to jump around in for variety. I have about three or four hundred
old monster movie magazines and a stack of books on the subject that I
like to look through for ideas. Sometimes I'll make a note about a picture
that grabs me. I suppose that the main thing is, I like to paint what ever
subject I naturally feel like doing at any given time. I do my best work
when I'm spontaneously prompted by whatever creepy muse it is that inspires
GH: Do you have an all time favorite character and/or
DM: My all time favorite movie and movie monster is King
Kong. For me, that film succeeds on just about every level.
GH: I couldn't help but notice that your subjects are
all "classics". What is your opinion on modern horror and sci-fi, and would
you ever include anything modern in the series?
DM: The "classic" movies are all lodged in my imagination
because I watched them at such a young age- back in the 1950s and 60s on
TV and at theaters. I like a lot of modern horror and sci-fi movies. "Alien,"
"Predator," "Pumpkin Head," "Evil Dead," and "Near Dark" are a few the
come to mind, right off the bat. For me the "classic" monsters just seem
better defined as characters, and the stories centered around the monsters
instead of the personal problems of the human characters. An example is
the big budget remake of "Godzilla." In that one, Godzilla's depredations
seem like a sub-plot in the story of Matthew Brodrick's failed marriage.
Also, I prefer the original Godzilla, even though it's obviously a guy
in a rubber suit. The original just has more personality. I do plan to
eventually get around to painting some of the modern and more recent film
monsters, but every time I think about doing so, I remember another old
one that pushes the new guy out of the way.
GH: Do you do commissioned work if someone had their own
idea they'd like to see you do?
DM: As a rule, I don't accept any commission work. It's
difficult enough to satisfy myself that I've done the best job that I can
on a given piece of artwork. Figuring out what a client wants to see, or
complying with their instructions can be exponentially more taxing.