I met Tony in a cafe in downtown Chicago. A mutually beneficial opportunity brought us together–I needed an artist for my graphic novel, Fusion, and he wanted to expand his portfolio. He showed me his stuff–edgy, dark, Sin City-inspired. He agreed to draw my covers, and I knew I had seriously lucked out. It’s not every day you find an artist whose aesthetic syncs with the style you’ve been envisioning for your comic. Tony agreed to an interview as well. Heed this promising young artist’s advice. (And check out his website and Facebook page).
Convince us, in one sentence, that your comics are awesome.
My comics are awesome because I’m awesome! No, just kidding, I create sharp, gritty images of robots, superpowered beings, and men with a little sanity attached.
If your comics had a soundtrack, what songs/artists would it include?
A lot of Nine Inch Nails, that’s for sure! Anything with an ambient sound and good lyrics will do. Oh, and a lot of Hip-Hop too! That always gets me in the mood.
Tell us more about your current comic/creative endeavors.
I’m currently working on perfecting my craft, and I’ve always found Color Theory to be very interesting, so I’m also giving coloring comics a go!
What advice would you give students who want to get involved in the comic book world?
The only advice I can give is to keep doing what you do, and love what you do. You don’t want to find yourself stuck with something you’re not even passionate about. And also, don’t push yourself so much to the point where you’ll lose your mind! Sanity is the only thing that’ll keep you level in this insane comic book world!
What is your favorite comic or graphic novel?
My favorite graphic novel would have to be either Watchmen, or The Ultimates by Mark Millar. I’m a huge fan of both Millar and Alan Moore because their rich storytelling is a breath of fresh air every time I read them. And the artists on both of those novels are just as great!
What is your dream job?
I always liked drawing since I was a little kid, and as a kid you always believe your hobby will become your job when you’re older. But I didn’t seriously consider drawing until I was exactly that. So I’ve come to realize, any job that will allow me to draw things I like all the time would be incredibly awesome!
What (or who) inspired you to begin creating comics?
There are many writers and artists that inspired me to create comics. To name a few, Bryan Hitch, John Romita Jr, Mark Millar, Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Alan Moore, I could go on. They set the template for some of the best comics in history and I was always intrigued by their original approaches to comic books. You can’t beat ’em.
How has being a Chicagoan affected your writing? Are their any neighborhoods in Chicago that have had a particular effect on you or have played a role in your creative process?
Well, I’m not originally from Chicago so it wouldn’t be fair to call me a Chicagoan, but I do love the Windy City. The cool breeze in the atmosphere is always a must! It brings me into a peaceful state where I can just relax and ideas will come to me. And let’s not forget about Graham Crackers Comics in The Loop! Nothing beats inspiration for comics than a comic book store.
How do you think the experience of comic creating and publishing differs for men and women (if it does at all)?
I hope it doesn’t differ in any way…But I think women bring something entirely new to the table although men run most of the business. It sure never hurts to bring in some new ideas from a different perspective. After all, we all want to create comics.
What is your next project?
My next project is called, “Kings, Queens & Machines.” It will be a series of images inspired heavily by science fiction comic books and films. It’s sure to make me lose my mind! haha!
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I usually go by the name “Seed of Smiley,” pasting a smiley face icon on all my work, so if you ever hear it or see it then you’ll know who it is! And also, keep up the positive vibes and creative flow going, because when it’s all said and done, that’s a big part of what makes the World turn. Seriously. Adios!