Boneface for Altamont
The work of Liverpool-based artist Boneface is deeply steeped in the decade he came of age in: the bold, outrageous aesthetic of the 90’s (think Beavis and Butthead, Tank Girl, Pokemon, and especially the comics of the time) informs his work, which features a mixture of original creations and pop culture references, all bloodied, beat-up, and a tough grotesque.
The angst-inspired illustrator has also done animation work, creating a music video for Queens of the Stone age song “…Like Clockwork” (as well as the accompanying album art). The band found him in a magazine and they were taken with his gripping, fierce illustration style. They’re not the only ones: Boneface’s unique take on the world around him speaks to Altamont’s own, making him an ideal contributor to the brand.
What is the genesis and meaning behind the name “Boneface”?
A supervillain has to have a cool name, right? I figured Boneface was as good as any other.
Where do you currently reside?
The barren wastelands of Liverpool, UK.
What was your first influence creatively?
I guess it would be from reading comics when i was a kid. I used to pick up whatever my local post office had (usually X-men or Spiderman) and try drawing the characters. I guess I still haven’t stopped drawing Superheros and crap. Cartoons and movies were big influence too, Saturday mornings used to consist of Iron Man, Fantastic 4 , The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman and X-Men cartoons. I sued to love stuff like Power Rangers and WWF too.
Can you talk a little about your process? Is is a combination of pen and ink, as well as digital coloring?
I prefer to use good ol’ pen and paper, then scan that in and color it digitally. I’ve not worked out a way that I like coloring on paper yet, but I’d like to. Occasionally I’ll just draw digitally, usually because I think it’ll get the job done faster. Usually doesnt work out that way though, as it just gives the opportunity to focus on details.
What themes are you fascinated by?
I like the idea people facing overwhelming odds, people who’ve been completely fucking destroyed by some force they’re trying to battle against, but they keep on fighting anyway, because they have nowhere else to go, and nothing to lose. On the flipside of that, I also like to show the bad guy victorious, because, let’s face it, that’s always more interesting. Obviously, I like to cover that in a sheen of monster masks and punks and motorbikes and stuff.
How do you approach commercial work differently than your personal work?
I actually dont try and approach them any differently. I wanna create stuff that I think is cool, that I wanna see. I’ll usually try and bend any brief to the breaking point if I think I’m gonna be stifled by it and it’ll end up as something I’m not proud of. You can’t always win with clients though, and some of ’em are assholes. My best commercial work is when I’m given a basic idea or theme and left to run with it.
Were you familiar with the brand Altamont prior to this?
I used to skate quite a bit (i sucked), so sure, I was familiar with Altamont. The project was just too rad to pass up. I’ve always been a fan of that ‘Neo-Toyko’ vibe, so it was cool to bring some of those elements into my work.
What books or movies have you been into lately?
This has been a super disappointing year for movies for me. The Robocop & Godzilla ‘reboots’ fucking sucked, and the recent Sin City sequel was just as bad. Im not really big movie guy, and I don’t read tha many books. Much prefer to sit down and play a good videogame.
Who are some of your astistic heroes?
There are way too many to mention ’em all, but Raymond Pettibon recently followed me on Twitter. That was pretty mind blowing.
Do you keep a sketchbook?
I do, mainly just to take quick notes or quickly sketch out ideas or compositions if something springs to mind. I prefer to just jump straight into a piece though, rather than working out all the possibilities, or exactly how everything is going to look. I like to add little toughes as I’m working: things seem to turn out better that way.
What do you think is the most important to develop and grow as an artist? Also, how necessary is art school?
I always used to say I was done with education when I finished with college (that’s at age 18 in the UK) but I ended up studying illustration in University somehow anyway. I think more than anything it teaches you how to think creatively, to come up with solutions to a piece that you want to conceive that you might not have thought of. Also, how to work to a client brief, and not just for yourself. It’s a super helpful thing to do, but I don’t think it’s “necessary”.
As far as developing as an artist, I guess it’s always a good idea to try and change up what you’re doing, to try new things, even if people never see any of that stuff. Stagnating doing one thing, because that’s what’s worked in the past, or you think that’s what people expect from you, is a bad idea.