Every once in a while you come across, an artist that snags your attention, and makes you wonder more about their art, or about them as the person, behind the curtain making the art. I tend to seek out new art, music, etc. almost like a lifelong expedition to find new and obscure artist that are making really good stuff. Most of the things that perk my interest are older, and that I may have missed when created, and it is a new discovery to me some 15 or maybe even 30 years later! New or old I am always looking for the next thing to make me stop from my everyday groove, and say damn, that was dope! The internet is a Highway of these sorts being thrown at you, at every click, new bands new artist.blah blah blah, but what's is lost at the cost of that is pre fabricated so so stuff being created just to put it out there, because they can. On my internet voyages to different blogs, forums, sites. etc etc.. I came across an artist that made me stop and look closer at his art and look for more of his stuff, that would be of the same caliber, and damn skippy I found more, and indeed it was just as good. His paintings and drawings are dipped in humor, but not such as a comic strip, just enough to get a little chuckle out, but more so they capture what he intends to with such simpleness. The paintings aren't detail savy, but enough for you to recognize the intention, and get the point across, the presentation of this is topped of with classy color choices that paint the setting and give the final product and overall mood. I'm no art critic, but I know coolness when I see it! With no further a due. Ladies and gentleman..........Scott C.
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-Who are you? And were are you from?
My name is Scott Campbell, sometimes just Scott C., And I am originally from San Jose and San Francisco, recently relocated to New York.
-How young were you when you became interested in art, and what was it about what you saw that drew the attraction?
I have been interested in art since i was a small one. I knew I wanted to draw when I watched cartoons, and read comics, and watched Star Wars. My brother and I used to draw comics and pictures depicting my favorite characters from those shows. we often drew epic drawings of huge battles. I looked forward to drawing those because I would go on an adventure as I drew them. because the act of drawing them was the playing of the adventure. Like playing action figures.
-At what age did you realize you may have a knack for art? What did you like to draw and what inspired you to draw, or create?
Very young. When my brother and I listed out what activities we would like to play that day with our friends, I would often like to add “drawing contest” to the list. I would always win that contest, I knew, so I selfishly like dto add that. I liked to draw spiderman, hulk, and star wars characters the most. Oh, and gijoe. I liked to write gijoe stories. But in second grade I decided what I wanted to perfect: dragons. Because that was our school’s mascot. So I drew dragons quite a lot.
-Are there any artist in your family? if so, what type of painting, or drawing were they doing?
My mom has always done some sort of creative outlet. She painted for a long while and then moved on to quilts and making clothes and all kinds of things. My brother has always drawn with me, but he is more the musician. I remember my dad drew an amazing hulk when I was little, once, but I don’t see those skills anymore. So he really nailed one drawing once.
- Who were your influences growing up, not neccesserily an artist, but actors, sports stars, musicians..etc..etc..?
I really liked luke skywalker and darth vader early on. Then I started to really get into Michael Jackson a whole lot. Then I got really into Saturday Night Live and al those people. I had two movies that I would watch 5 times a day: Strange Brew and Buckaroo Bonzai.
- It seems you revisit a lot of pop culture icons in your work that I relate to in my youth, did these characters and people impact you growing up as well?
Very much so. In fact one of the pieces I did for the Gallry 1988 Crazy 4 Cult show was a big CULT TREE. Dudes from about 40-50 movies are chilling in that tree. Going back and looking at those movies felt amazing. it made me want to do a marathon rock block of all those movies. It would take a few days of nonstop movie watching, and I would probably need to sleep a bit, so I couldn’t actually do that. I think all thso emovies and toys and cartoons that I have experienced through my life have really influenced my art and why I do art. Even the pieces that don’t depict pop culture have a fun times vibe that I am always trying to capture from my youth. Those are great times, when you wake up in the morning and cannot wait to get back to that action figure adventure you set up in the backyard or watch ghostbusters a few times before lunch.
- I really like the nostalgic feel your paintings have, it makes me reflect on the days of yesteryear, but as an inspiration for today. i.e the clothing that your characters have, and the different technologies in your paintings. Are you into history? And if so what from the past drives you to paint.
I am very into history. My favorite thing is to imagine what normal average dudes did when they hung out back in those times. Like when they were working on the pyramids, what were they talking about? What were their concerns? When a dude took lunch break after a tough battle in the middle ages, I wonder what he discussed with the dude next to him. I like creating worlds where anything can happen. knights can hang with spacemen, mummies can hang with Victorian inventors, it’s all very funny to me to have everybody hanging together. And everyone can eat pizza in all times of history. I have no problem with that.
- Another thing I noticed is the made up names of the people and places written at the bottom of A painting, like an old time photo, that is a really dope little touch to finish off the trip down fantasy lane. To capture the look, did you study handwriting and script from different time periods?
For the inventor series of paintings, I tried to do like they did on old photographs. They would write the date and what the group was in the photograph in that script white ink. One of the things that fascinated me about the castles in Europe was seeing all the layers of graffiti dating back to the 1600’s! man, even back then people decided they needed to let people know they had been there. but the dudes in the 1600’s wrote their names in awesome script handwriting. They took a lot of care with it. I like handwriting a lot. It has a nice fancy feel to it. and there’s not much need for it anymore except to be fancy. ..which I dig.
- Another trait of your work that stands out to me is the humor that hovers around your work, Sometimes it is in your face, and other times it is very suttle, but it always seems to be there, Is that something that is done intentionally, to get a chuckle out of the viewer?
My main objective is to have the viewer enjoy looking at my art and smile and laugh and point at it. my favorite thing at a gallery is to see them stand around a painting and point things out to their friends and laugh. I definitely believe in subtle things that people can discover and feel clever for discovering. But I don’t want to ever ostracize anyone from enjoying my work. I want everyone to look at it and instantly have a good times party with their eyes and brains.
- Themes also seems to be another common throughout your work, some silly, and some more with an underlined message, but I like the approach of a theme, and then capturing it with minimalist drawing? What spawns up these themes?
Well , many of my paintings deal with the themes set forth by the shows that I paint them for. I like themes because they focus my thoughts. I find I have problems getting in the zone when I have no theme to focus one. So if I paint for a show without a theme, I have to create one for myself. One that leaves me plenty of room to try various takes on it..
- Who do you think is doing solid artwork today, and Why?
My favorite artist on earth right now is my bro, Jon Klassen. He has an amazing sense of design, texture and color. I love how he simplifies things graphically and his use of type. He also has a playful humor to his work that I dig like crazy. but there are many that I love: Nathan Stapley, Tadahiro Uesugi, Travis Louie, Brandon Bird, Robert Valley to name a few..
- What else in your daily life inspires you to be creative, and want to paint?
My surroundings inspire me a lot. I like to walk around and see bustling people. The is an awesome dog park in Thompkins Square that I visit everyday.. watch those little dudes go nuts. I like to eves drop on conversations between people I know nothing about. I have not context with which to judge what they are saying. I also like to visit galleries and see movies regularly and visit book shops. Book shops are my favorite places on earth I might think.
- At the end of the day, what is your sense of self accomplishment in the art that you have released to the world? What do you feel you have given the world from the paintings that you have done?
When I look at a finished painting, or even as I am making it, I think about people enjoying it. I know one should paint for themselves and I do, if I chuckle to myself and mutter “oh, man”, then I know others will do the same. Maybe they will mutter something else. But I hope that, overall, my paintings make people happy. And they can feel clever and good when looking at my stuff. get nostalgic at times and identify with the trials and tribulations my characters are experiencing.
- What do you want to convey to someone when they look at your art? What was the greatest compliment you have received about a painting?
I really am just trying to make things that everyone can enjoy, no matter what they do or who they are. Some of my favorite compliments have ranged across the board. A sister of a fellow going off to Iraq as a tank driver was very excited about this series of paintings I did of crazy tanks and she asked for a bunch of them for her family as he went off to war. Another guy had been sending my comics to his brother in prison who very much enjoyed them with his prison mates. But I also like hearing about parents laughing at the paintings along with their kids! I like imagining that whole group sitting together enjoying one of my paintings. That would be a cool looking group.
- What was the worst criticism you have ever received about your work?
This is tough because I try to sweep those under the rug of my mind.. Once, I heard someone say “I can draw that.” and I assume this person is not a drawer and that he was saying that my style was quite juvenile. I would like to encourage that dude to go and draw a serpent crawling up the side of a castle with ninjas in his mouth and umbrellas for hair. I think he would probably enjoy it. That awesome idea is free! No charge for that awesome idea!
- What is your favorite piece, and why?
I would say it is a tie between the Cult Tree and Ninjas All Over The Place. Those were the most fun to do. I like doing paintings filled with many characters doing various things. I get lost in those ones the most.
- If you never painted agian, and had to walk away from this forever, where would you find yourself?
Making films and doing live shows of some sort. I like to create characters and act them out and perform for people. I used to play in bands and I iked that feeling of playing for people very much. If not that, then I would find myself as a chef in a kitchen, even though I do not cook very much, I think I could get into that quite a lot.
- If there had to be a soundtrack played to your artwork, what would it be?
The globe trotters theme or the Moon Patrol theme. And then maybe some Dave Brubeck, Desmond Dekker, and Black Sabbath.
- Is your art an outlet for you? What else are you into?
It’s what I do most of the time, I work in Video Games and make comics. I am working on a children’s book for Simon and Schuster also. Other than that I need to hang with friends and see the city.
- Seeing the historical portal in your art do you collect anything? I am big into vintage collecting of all kinds, and these things that I come across, definetly inspire my creative life, is this true for you as well?
I collect books mostly. Books of all kinds, but mostly art books and old paperbacks like Ray Bradbury. Besides that, I like to fantasize about owning more old stuff when I go into antique stores and museums, but I am trying this new thing out called minimalism. I was quite the packrat in San Francisco and I need to chill the eff on that.
- Is there anything else we should know about you, future plans, carzy stories, wierd habits..etc. etc..
I have a solo exhibition in LA at Gallery Nucleus on March 7th. It is a cutaway house exhibit called HOME SLICE. The video game I am working on, Brutal Legend, will be out in the fall. It is a heavy metal hot rod game starring Jack Black. I also have a book coming out, collecting all my daily comics called Double Fine Action Comics. That should be out any day now, I am hoping. Besides that, I am just working on the kids book. It is about dragons.
- You know in your high school yearbook you could have a saying or phrase you would want to be remembered as, Well, this is part 2 of that. What would you want to be remembered as, any phrases, lyrics or own personal words.
--Thanks for your time, and I hope to see some more cool stuff from you down the road!
Thank you! You ask good questions.
Check Scott's blog for more updates, and upcoming shows!
Interested in buying some of his work?