Smack Illustrations Dot Com Launches! x Smack! Interview

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You’ve seen Smack!’s material all over this blog: whether it’s the “Maybach Music 2” piece, various Identical Variant clothing posts, the back cover of G.O.O.D. Music artist Big Sean’s Finally Famous Vol. 1 mixtape, or other miscellaneous piff he’s completed. Smack!’s clientele is quickly growing, and with his incredible new web site SmackIllustrations.com launching on his birthday last week, he’s only got more on the way. In this interview, Smack! talks about his various projects, what prompted his interest in art in the first place, and what he plans to do in the future.

SpeechIsMyHammer: Well first off, how did you initially get into art? How did you know that this was what you wanted to do?

Smack!: It was basically when I was mad young, I just started drawing out of the blue. You know, during kindergarten where you had that free time? I would just doodle random junk. Ghostbusters. Ninja Turtles. Whatever. But it was around the time when I was older and started REALLY reading comics was when I was, “Yo, I wanna draw THAT!”

SpeechIsMyHammer: There’s a lot of different kinds of art, though: fine art, there’s sculpted art, etc. What makes you identify with comics specifically?

Smack!: Because with comics, you can tell a story. I mean you can tell a story with any kind of art but it’s with comics that you can tell a story like you’re directing a movie. You set the pace. You place the characters. You basically run the way the entire thing is put together. I liked that idea because I had all these insane ideas that just kept running in my head and with comics I could finally put them on a page.

scshewantstomoveSpeechIsMyHammer:  Now talk about both of your comics, both Smack Chronicles and Revolutionary Times. Describe what each comic is about, and talk about how each of them capture different sides of your creativity.

Smack!: Smack Chronicles basically started out as a little sketches I did of me and my friends during high school. Nothing official just sketchbook drawings of certain situations and whatnot. It wasn’t until college that I made it official. At first it was called “Sagnasty Blues” (since I was raised there) but as it went on I changed to it what it’s called now. It’s basically about…me, basically. My life, the crazy thoughts that wander in my mind, moments that are of course tweaked for humor purposes, and the people around me. That basically captures my sparatic random humor side of my art.

Revolutionary Times started up as an idea between my long time friend Brandon Howard who had recently moved to North Carolina. We called each other up and he dropped the idea of doing a comic together basically about two young black teens who run a newspaper basically dealing with the conspiracies of the government. Now, when I first heard it, I was like, “Naaah, we can’t do it like that. People will think it’s basically the Boondocks.” But as we started the strips, they came into their own life and style, ya know? We’ve really tried to go over some things that are basically in the world right now. Michael Vick. Kwame Kilpatrick. Obama. That’s what makes it different from Smack Chronicles. This is a collaboration. He writes it and I draw it (and sometimes write it), instead of me doing both the writing and art jobs. He’s the DJ and I’m rapper. So it’s all about teamwork and input, ya know?

SpeechIsMyHammer: Now what about your Art of Noise series? What made you decide to start it up?

Smack!: To be honest, it just happened. I mean, the one thing that helps me gets through this life aside from art is music. If I’m not drawing I’m most likely listening to music. When I’m doing art there’s always music blasting as I do it. I think it was around the time I started getting serious with my art blog that I made a mixtape just full of songs that I loved and that I listened to while creating art. And down the line I just started doing these random sketches in my book. One was based on “Mickey Rocks” by the Cool Kids. Another was “Devil’s Pie” by D’Angelo. And another was “Heartless” by Kanye West. I thought to myself, “Shoot, why don’t I just make this into a finished piece.” So I designed the Kanye joint and thought it was dope. And then I just up and designed the “Love Lockdown” joint as well. You know, now that I think about it, 808s & Heartbreaks was kinda the album that supercharged that idea.

SpeechIsMyHammer: What about 808s & Heartbreaks charged it?

Smack!: Just the passion behind everything on that album and how Kanye used the autotune feature to showcase that emotion to another level. Around that time you had cats who used it to just hype up a party song but Kanye used that as a way to emphasize his words and I always thought was one of the doper aspect of it. Plus the storytelling aspect in the songs. How I could picture each song as a little mini movie in full Hype Willams presentation sans Nas and shiny people. I was just feeling that album like crazy when everyone else was kind of like, “Man…HORRIBLE album.” I think I actually drew more while I listened to it more than I ever did before that time.

n91000004_30232951_1411094SpeechIsMyHammer: Your blog has had pics of your book. When will that see a commercial release?

Smack!: Um, Neveruary Never3rd. I kid, but nah I’m still in the process of figuring out how I can get those sold AND get some revenue in the process. Because they were first basically made as something to send out for internships but people saying, “Oh man, that’s ill. I want one.” and I would always give them the sad face like, “Man, I…I…I gotta save this copy. I’m sorry.” But don’t worry, I’m WORKING on it. They’ll be sold sooner or late. Even if I have to sell ’em out of my car.

SpeechIsMyHammer: Did you help start Identical Variant with Randall, Or did you get aboard later?

Smack!: Yeah and no. See, me and Randall’s were roommates (still are) and he basically started I.V in our dorm. While he was doing this he kept hinting to me like, “Yo, you know you gonna help design some stuff for IV, right.” and I was nodded and proceeded to say, “Yes.” But I didn’t OFFICIALLY become apart of it until the first tank tops got released. So I’d say I was basically behind the scenes mostly before that

SpeechIsMyHammer: You’ve done comics, pictures, clothing…are there any other areas of art that you’d like to look into?

Smack!: Rapper. Emcee. Definitely. Writing songs for that “Booty and a Burger” mixtape. Nah, but I definitely would love to convert my comics to movies sometime in the future. I can already imagine and Smack Chronicles series with NERD’s “Anti-Matter” as the theme song. It’s planned out in my head. It’s gonna happen. I will do a movie somehow someway.

For more of Smack!’s work:

  • Umm… yeah…Anywho…

    Go head Sean!! I’m so proud of you!! Keep doin ur thang!! I got ur back in prayer most def!!