Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Michael Bukowski interview

I have already been writing about Mike Bukowski and posting some of his work here. Here's the interview with him.

 Hey. I guess you are pretty busy these days with preparing the show in Philadelphia in March. What can you tell me about it?

-The show is going well, thanks! It's called Across the Haunted Sea and it's going to feature art based on sea lore. Either monsters, ghosts or myths. I've got 13 pieces done so far, 10 of them are pretty small though (about 5"x7"). I've been in love with world mythology/folklore for a really long time and I've ALWAYS been fascinated by monsters....which is why my shows and record cover work usually involves those things.
 How did you and Jeanne D'Angelo got to do a show together?

-We're actually dating and have been trying to do a show together for a while. I approached Hillary at Part Time Studios about a show and they almost exclusively do two person shows. I suggested Jeanne and they loved her work. (

  Besides the show, what have you been up to lately?
-Usual stuff...record covers (though that's somewhat on hold because of the show), traveling, cats, bikes and Madballs.

Your name and work have become really recognizable in the hardcore scene. How did you started?

-I knew Matt Summers when I was still a sophmore at University Of the Arts here in Philly. When he and the rest of the dudes were gettin ready to do the Shark Attack 7" they approached me about doing the cover. I did it for free but just asked that my contact info be put in the record. About that time I was starting to hang out with Tony Pointless and Andy Wheeler a lot. They eventually started R.A.M.B.O. together and I did a bunch of art for them. I soon weasled my way into being the only person that did art for them, and went on two U.S. tours, one to Australia/S.E.Asia and one to Europe. Both those relationships helped get my name out there and everything snowballed to what it is now.

What has influenced you the most in your work? Any specific artists?

-Horror movies....lots of horror movies. I have a huge library of them. I also read a lot of weird fiction (Lovecraft, Howard, Smith, Hodgson, etc). As far as artists are concerned there's a ton. Charles Burns and Geoff Darrow are the most obvious, but Dan Seagrave, Derek Riggs and Vincent Locke are three guys that got me excited about record cover art specifically.

Is there any work of which you are the most proud?

-Most recently the Drunk record cover, the Here's the Story record cover and the Occult Blood/Ivens tour poster. I find a lot of my old work hard to look at. I feel, and I hope other people do as well, that my work is constantly improving. Whether it's good or not is still up for debate haha, but it's definitely better than when I started.

How do you cooperate with bands who contact you? Do you accept most of the stuff or?

-I try to accept everything. Although I have a policy of not doing art for bands that have racist, sexist or homophobic lyrics. I'm sure some have slipped through the cracks, but I try.

Is it true that you usually don't listen to album at all when you are doing artwork for it?

-Yeah. A lot of the bands don't have the recordings done when they contact me.

Is it possible to make a living as a "hardcore artist"?

-It may be. I did it for a little while but I also wasn't making enough to travel and do other fun stuff I like. So, I work a part time job to supplement the money I make from art. I'm also really happy doing work for DIY bands and there's not much money there.

 What do you listen the most currently?
-I can give you my current top 10 if that will help.

1-Judas Priest-Ram It Down
2-Darkthrone-Circle the Wagons
3-Cauldron-Chained To the Night
4-Ghost-Opus Eponymous
5-Witchcraft-Years Of Blood
6-Ravencult-Temples Of Torment
7-Watain-Lawless Darkness
8-Tank-Filth Hounds Of Hades
10-Heavy Load-Death or Glory

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