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Nerdlocker Artist Interview: Clint Wilson!

Neko Case

Neko Case at Antone's - Austin


I’m sure you’ve seen Clint Wilson’s work at some time or another. It may have been at the Spoke Art Quentin vs. Coen Exhibit, or you have seen one of his music artist prints in the Gig Posters Volume 2 book recently, or maybe you are going to be reading about one of Austin’s true-blue screen printers for the first time. Who knows? But what I do know is you will be getting to know enough of him to want to see more of his work. Clint shows no sign of slowing down when it comes to making new prints, which makes me pretty stoked about that. So without further adieu, let’s round off the third artist interview here in Austin, Texas, with Clint Wilson.

Nerdlocker (NL): Hey Clint, thanks for making time for me today to answer some questions so the fans at nerdlocker.com get to know a little bit more about you. You are not just another Austin screen print artist, but you are also the guy who pulls his own screens locally here in Austin. Where do you pull your own prints from?

Kill BIll - Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves

Clint Wilson (CW): Thanks a lot for having me. I’m excited to be featured on The Nerdlocker website. Well, I think it was about two years ago that I went to Tim Doyle’s wedding and we discussed building a screenprinting shop in his garage. Long story short we made a few trips to Home Depot and built it all from scratch and now we continue to print in his small garage. There are plans to expand very soon though.

NL: I was just reading somewhere that Tim Doyle was now expanding and is including some new automated printing presses; I imagine that’s good news for all. Do you see yourself expanding with Nakatomi in regards to how many prints you produce throughout the year now that Nakatomi is going to be more automated?

CW: Indeed, Nakatomi is expanding. I have some experience with auto presses so I’ll be very excited to use the new equipment whenever I can. Tim scored some amazing deals on these new presses and he (and I) can now print huge stuff so that is really awesome. I imagine I will most definitely be producing more prints this year than before with the expansion, not to mention a lull in work at my day job that will allow me more free time. So I would definitely expect more work to drop in 2012.

NL: When did you first become interested in drawing and designing gig posters, art prints and movie posters? And how did you get into it?

Cirque du Soleil’s Dralion

CW: I went to college in Nacogdoches, Texas, and studied graphic design and advertising. I was also in a band and on the marching band in college and always had an interest in music. I had been hoping to find some way to mix my interests in music and art in some perfect way and maybe find something that I enjoy doing and don’t incredibly suck at. In my senior year of college we had a guest speaker in my advertising class. He had graduated the same program that I was taking and was enjoying some success. His name was Todd Slater. When I saw his work and realized that people can do that sort of thing and can possibly do well I knew what I wanted to do. I interned at a couple of print shops in town and took a slew of classes then moved to Austin and got a job at a print shop. That’s where it all began.

NL: How do you go about creating a design for someone or a band? What goes through your mind from start to finish? And where do you find the inspiration?

CW: Typically, when creating a gig poster, I like to listen to the music of the band I am working for and hopefully draw inspiration from the lyrics or styling of that band. If I happen to know the band before hand, it can be easier for me to reach a concept that I think will portray the aesthetics of the band’s music and vibe.

NL: I can imagine knowing the band you are creating a gig poster helps in your creative process, just like with a movie print, it helps if someone asks you to make a print for the Lord of the Rings Trilogy; it would make things much easier because you have seen them so many times.

Get Up Kids

CW: Absolutely, and for the record I would be thrilled to do a movie print for that trilogy. I know a bit about the history of middle earth and would only like to print for such an epic story if I could do it justice. But, yes, I agree that being informed about the client/subject is immensely helpful.

NL: What’s your favorite medium to work with and why?

CW: When it comes to the initial stages of drawing I like to use a blue pencil for sketching and then ink over it that with my Pentel Brush Pen, that tool is absolutely amazing, I love it. I do a lot of digital work and photo manipulation as well. I’m always learning and always trying to do new things in my work. Sometimes that may be a downfall, since it’s hard to stick with just one graphic style when I like to experiment, but for the most part my want to create is selfish and I like to make art that I think I would like. Does that make sense? Either way, it all ends up being screenprinted and I really do like screenprints. Maybe screenprints is my short answer to that question.

NL: Who is on Clint Wilson’s wall; what artist and prints?

CW: Let’s see here:

  • Living room – Aaron Horkey Flight of the Conchords over my couch
  • Shepard Fairey Tree print above my fireplace
  • Todd Slater Taking Back Sunday print near the dinner table
  • Guy Burwell Decemberists over my dinner table
  • Tara McPhearson Melvins over the dinner table
  • Kitchen – A set of framed Guy Burwell sushi prints above my counters
  • Hallway – Rhys Cooper Sesame Street set on the way to the bedroom and bathroom
  • My Girl with the Triforce Earring hanging over my bookshelf
  • Bedroom – my first screenprinted gig poster , Hellogoodbye
  • An art print by Guy Burwell
  • An art print by Travis
  • My Subcon Icon print above my drafting table
  • Still planning on framing a print from Daniel Danger, Jeral Tidwell and another Aaron Horkey Print

St. Vincent

NL: Do you enjoy doing gig posters, art prints, or do you enjoy doing movie prints? I mean you can easily get burnt doing just one type or the other so how do you  keep things fresh?

CW: It’s tough for me to say, really. I love music and am always excited to work on gig posters but I think I like art prints just a tad more. I love film as well but I think I don’t prefer movie posters over the other two. I’m not really sure I can’t explain why that is. The thing I really like about art prints is that I have free range over what I want to do. If I have an idea that I think is cool then I go with it. I definitely like to design art prints as often as I can in between doing gig posters and other related projects.

NL: I personally love the new art print Chinese zodiac calendars you have been creating. You have created them for the last two years. Can we expect that to continue for years to come?

CW: Thanks, I have a fascination with the Chinese zodiac and figured the idea would be something that is not only aesthetically appealing but serves a utilitarian purpose as well. I definitely plan on continuing the series each year and would like to at least do one for each of the associated animals, so 12 years total. I wonder where we will be in 12 years, by then I might live on Jupiter in my floating house, I bet shipping from there will be a pain.

NL: As an artist, do you prefer a steady dose of direction from a client, or do you just like to put pencil to paper and do what you feel and hope the client is happy with you have come up with in the long run?

Year of the Dragon 2012 Calendar

CW: I prefer to do my own thing if I can. I, of course, don’t mind direction and will take it when offered or given, but I do like to have as much artistic freedom as possible. When it comes to direction there has to be a point where you draw the line and compromise or else you could go back and forth over and over.

NL: How much of a role does the music of the performer play in designing a gig poster for a show? Feel free to cite a specific example.

CW: Quite a bit usually. I always do some amount of research before working on a gig poster. Many times I am already familiar with the music but other times I might have to give them a listen and find out some important information about the band itself. I am a big fan of music so I listen to a lot of different artists and like to have music playing while I work. I like to think that keeps my mojo going.

NL: I know this is not your full-time job, but given the opportunity do you believe you could produce enough work to support this as a full-time career? And would you?

CW: I believe I could and I did for a very short while. I really don’t like the unpredictability of the work as a full-time career. It takes a hell of a lot of work and a hell of a lot of risks to make it really work and I prefer to have something that brings in a nice check that is reliable and steady. I really admire all of my friends that do this full-time, it’s a really hard job. I am always incredibly humbled when people like my work enough to pay for it. I like to think of the work I create as my passion and creative outlet, if it generates any income then all the better. But I’m always learning and hopefully always improving so we shall see what the future holds for me…hopefully good things.

Band Signings 2011 ACL

NL: You have designed everything from gig posters for Green Day and Nine Inch Nails to your contribution to the Quentin vs. Coen Exhibit put together by Spoke Art in San Francisco and also New York. What were the deadlines like for these types of screen prints?

CW: I usually like to try and work with at least about a month before a project is due, it doesn’t always happen but that’s how I prefer to work if at all possible. I get pretty antsy when I have a week before it’s due and it’s not printed, signed and numbered and ready to ship out. I think that with all of the examples you listed here I had about a month to work. Some of the local events I have worked on have had less than a week deadline. I do not prefer that though. It requires a beer or two while I flop around like a fish getting things done.

NL: Trust me, by the quality of your work, it doesn’t show at all if you are under any kind of deadline pressure. Can you give me an example of a print with a super short deadline?

CW: Sure, let’s see. I have been printing posters for Waterloo Records for some time and I love working with those guys. Sometimes, due to the nature of their in-store performances, I have been given a week to design and print a poster for them in the past. It doesn’t happen often and those guys are always great about making it worth my while. I absolutely love all my friends at Waterloo so I do my best to give it my all for them.

NL: What is your favorite movie of all time, if you could only pick one?

CW: So tough. If I had to narrow it down to JUST one…The Return of the King. The whole Lord of the Rings Trilogy is my favorite set but I think I have seen The Return of the King more times than the others. I have read the books a couple of times through and have read The Hobbit and Silmarillion so I’m a bit of a Tolkien nerd and I still think the films were really well done. I have seen all three of the films AT LEAST 30 times if not many more.

Girl With the Triforce Earring

NL: What is your favorite video game and are you a console guy, handheld or old school stand up video games guy?

CW: Now this is an even harder question for me, I love video games. Every nerd has his/her vice and video games are mine. I am definitely a console guy. I love handhelds as well but I think the newer handhelds don’t hold up to anything past the Gameboy Advance.

Okay, for this one I think I would have to make a list. I have considered many times doing a set of prints based on my top five video games list and you will be the first to see the list so here we go:

1. Wonder Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap – Master System
2. Super Mario Bros. 3 – NES
3. Half-Life 2 – XBOX 360
4. Blaster Master – NES
5. Adventure Island III – NES

This changes sometimes, however, because there are so many games that I love. It’s hard for me not to put any Zelda games up there. Chrysalis for NES is also a favorite and I can’t forget the Portal series either. Megaman 2 is a favorite. All of these games or series hold a place in my nostalgia heart.

NL:  What is your favorite comic book or comic book character?

CW: I know I will get a lot of hate for this but I have never really been much for comic books. Never really one of my vices. That being said, I think my favorite is Batman. I love the villains in Batman…ALL of them. I think Ras al Goul has always been a favorite of mine, and Clayface, Scarecrow…so many good villains. The Animated Series will always be a favorite of mine. The new Arkham Asylum/Arkham City games are really good and I love that they use the voice actors from The Animated Series.

Planetary System CT7427

NL: Thank you, Clint, for letting us into your world even if for a brief moment of time.

CW: Thank you for having me.

For more of Clint’s work check out Clint’s website/blog http://www.clintprints.com/, he often writes about new pieces as they are released. You can subscribe to receive an email when new prints are released. You can always find Clint’s prints on the Nakatomi website. I Met Clint in person at the Flatstock 29 here in Austin last year but he tries to attend as many Flatstocks as possible. Also find his work at Signed and Numbered Gallery in Salt Lake City, UT, Poster Cabaret in Austin, TX, Parts and Labour in Austin, TX, Insound in New York City, and The Flood Gallery in London.

Clint Wilson has graciously offered up a couple of his prints for another artist interview social media contest including his newest print that is not even out for sale yet called Planetary System. He will also have a copy of the Quentin vs. Coen Exhibit Kill Bill – Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves. Stay tuned for those Print giveaways my fellow Nerds!

We hope you enjoyed this latest interview of another local Austin artist. In the next series of artist interviews we will be focusing on a few screen print shops here in Austin. Those are some interesting reads, trust me…

I grew up on Kung Fu theater movie weekends, a lot of Top Ramen Noodles, G.I. Joe's, Evil Knivels Stunt Cycle and Stretch Armstrong. My Movie reviews and Artist Interviews have been a regular around Nerdlocker.com. Follow me on Twitter @arainbolt. or email me aaron@nerdlocker.com

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