It's been a while since we last received someone from Spain on the blog, and this is unfair as the spanish poster scene (carteles de rock) should really deserve a close look. When you will know that Leviathan work has been showed in ”Art of Modern Rock – The poster explosion” (Paul Grushkin y Dennis King) or ”Kustom Graphics II: Hot Rods, Burlesque and Rock ‘n’ Roll” (2010), among man y others, you will probably realize why I am today so proud to welcome him on the blog ! Multissimas gracias a Leviathan, un artisto de puta madre !!! (hope my spanish is still more or less OK ;)
Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Singles of Fox and The Law, Jake Starr and the Delicious Fullness, The Paybacks from Detroit and the soundtrack of “Legend of 1900” by Ennio Morricone.
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
I’m known as Manel Leviathan, I live near Valencia in a small village by the Mediterranean Sea. I have an atelier and studio place where I do drawing and design, some advertisement work and silkscreen for my clothing brand Leviathan©. I have been around 18 years working and especially on the Rock scene for different festivals and bands.
I think I had always drawn since I remember… I grown up in a family related to arts and creativity. My parents are painters; pencils and brushes stud at the same table where we eat. I was surrounded by this ambience so it was significant. When I was a kid I learnt from everything I saw at home, I read comics like Creepy, Cimoc, Vibora, Torpedo, Tales from the Cript… and I stole Star and Playboy from my dad. I draw everything that I found and I really liked it.
One day was crucial when I saw Elvis for the very first time on tv. I asked If we have records at home and I started to listening lot of music that I found that is sounded like Rock n';Roll: Creedence, Hendrix, Beatles, Stones, Jerry Lee… Also I toke my dad’s guitar dancing around the house and I made myself a hairstyle copying Eddie Cochran, hahaha, very funny, it was such a discovery! So as a kid I started making versions and covers for different records, something cracked on my head and I am still like that.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I think it was crucial starting to work at my dad’s design studio when I was young. We did lots of lettering and sign writing. At that time the work was done old school way all by hand. That’s how I learned drawing. Some time after computers appeared and started using vectors. After six years I gained my own clients so I established myself as a freelance designer (no one can stand working with his dad for so long). It was hard being on my own by I pursuit my goal: working on the music and Rock&Roll scene, making posters, record covers, t-shirts, band logos…
Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
I’m so lucky because I can live exclusively from my art.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like,
what are your influences?
I like C. Burns, F.Kozik, J. Hewlett, J. Alderete, Guido, F. Frazzetta, Crepax, Coop… but there are many others and of course I’m also interested in lots of classic painters!
What are the principal steps in your work ?
I try to set up a maximum time to finish a work where I don’t stay too long drawing, avoiding over elaborating the design, so the result is still fresh and not too ornate. To find that balance is difficult for me.
Besides, some works came so fast and clear to my head that I just have to translate it to my hand. Sometimes instead I have to think many days until I get some idea that I like.
I do both. I draw rough drafts on paper, then I use the scanner and bring it to my computer to finish it or I do directly computer work to vectorize…
How long does it take you to do a poster?
I could take one day or few weeks… it depends on many things. Usually I finish faster if I have total freedom on the work.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
Horses could be bleeding with skulls and thunders? Hahahaha. No, seriously, I design many things that are not exactly on my taste and I don’t think it should be a problem. It is true that mostly people demand my art because they like a concrete style but I also adapt it depending on the work.
Which band have you already worked for?
Whoa, there are about two hundred! Some of them are: Little Richard, Stray Cats, Misfits, The Sonics, Reverend Horton Heat, Zen Guerrilla, Willy DeVille, Buddy Guy, Andre Williams, Dickey Betts, The Lords of the New Church, The Dictators, The Fuzztones, Iggy and the Stooges, Royal Crown Revue, Electric Frankenstein, Dick Dale, Héroes del Silencio, Raimundo Amador...
Which band would you love to work for?
Danzig, Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, The Cult, Led Zeppelin, The Smiths, Rob Zombie, Metallica, Rolling Stones...
Do you choose the artists yourself?
No, usually the band or the managers choose me.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
I don’t know. I just do my work that I like.
A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work, on the web or in real life?
You can visit my web www.leviathan.es. Individually you can buy my t-shirts and posters trough the online shop http://shop.leviathan13.com and I also do wholesales for stores and distributors.
The best praise you received lately?
Gerry Roslie from The Sonics came to me personally to congratulate me for the tour poster design.