Anthony aka Tony: Artist
Lonely Artist Club had the pleasure of chatting with artist Anthony, aka Tony, to discuss his craft and creative passions. Let’s jump in…
First and foremost, let's talk art! What mediums do you work with and how did you come to find them?
Most of my drawings are Ink. After drawing them, I scan them into my tablet and do some digital touch ups and add color. I love the strong contrast that you can achieve from the hard blacks that come out of ink. Up until college I was exclusively using pencils. I was afraid of how permanent ink was. That is until I took a couple of art classes that required pen and ink projects. I realized I was trippin, I actually took to ink easily and it gave me the contrasted heavy punch that I saw in all my comics and Manga that I’d been trying to recreate for so long.
"I love the strong contrast that you can achieve from the hard blacks that come out of ink."
Your detailed ink work is insane and we want to hear more about it, but first can you tell us a bit about who you are outside of your creative work?
I'm from Southern California and currently 28 years of age. Outside of art I fuck with all sorts of ‘science-y’ things, especially when associated with animals and what not. I dabble in bass guitar and collect both comics and various lil monster figures - mostly turtle-like ones at that. I also love video games. They’re just as inspirational for my art as comics, anime, and movies. Additionally, one thing I gotta do every day is walk, I feel like I have to get the blood flowing to my brain or it doesn’t work right and I can’t come up with any interesting ideas.
"[Video Games] are just as inspirational for my art as comics, anime, and movies."
Almost every artist, at one point or another, experiences a creative block, right? Would you mind sharing your personal experience with managing and overcoming creative blocks or ruts?
Who the fuck is out here not having art block?! I always know when I’m in an artistic rut because nothing I make looks good to me. Every pose is awkward, every design I make is weak and uninspired - at least from my perspective.
Usually, my way of getting out of it is to just relax on making new art, consume inspiring media, and go have some nice experiences. Going for a walk always helps my brain get going. I’ll read some comics, watch an anime, maybe watch a new movie, discuss them with friends, etc. Sometimes it takes weeks, but at some point I’ll have a new idea or image in my head that I want to get down on paper, and once I get that image out, it usually helps “release” a bunch of new ideas that I’m even more happy with than before.
"Sometimes it takes weeks, but at some point I’ll have a new idea or image in my head that I want to get down on paper."
Creative blocks are challenging to overcome. Is there another aspect of your work as an artist that is equally, if not more, difficult to manage?
I think the hardest part is starting. Getting the idea to actually materialize on the paper can be a daunting task, but it’s also my favorite part of the process. It can be hard pulling an image that didn’t exist previously out of thin air using only an artistic medium and some reference photos. However, once the flow starts and all the scribbles start lining up correctly and they build what you imagined in your head - on a piece of paper for everyone to see - it is extremely rewarding. With that said, I know how it feels to go weeks without being able to make those scribbles line up no matter how hard you try. The more I’ve practiced with intention through my life however, the more often those scribbles line up the way I want them to. So I’d absolutely say this process has made me a better artist.
"I think the hardest part is starting."
That is so true! Starting can feel so daunting at times. In the same vein, do you have any fears surrounding your art?
Of course! Every time I make anything, no matter how proud I am, there’s always some part of me that thinks “what if everyone thinks this is shit” and “what if everyone notices the issues I see in it.” I have to stop myself from spiraling into hyper focusing on all the imperfections of my work. I think this is a relatively normal response, your art is most likely very personal to you in some way, and to show everyone is to put yourself in a very vulnerable position. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you showed someone something you’ve made, and their reaction is to laugh, pick at it, question it etc. without giving some kind of positive feedback, it can be pretty disheartening, especially when you’re still a developing artist.
"Every time I make anything, no matter how proud I am, there’s always some part of me that thinks 'what if everyone thinks this is shit.'"
Speaking of sharing your work with others...What are your thoughts on social media and its effects on art and artists?
I think social media is a double edged blade for sure. It’s absolutely a treasure trove of inspiration, it’s an ever expanding pool of artistic expression. We get the privilege of seeing art from not only professionals or in galleries like in the past, but the everyday artists who haven’t yet reached that level of recognition - these are oftentimes my favorite artists. It’s allowed those same everyday artists, like me, to have a platform to show their art to literally millions of people and even create streams of income with their art. There’s also a ton of interest based communities on social media that give you an outlet to talk to people with the same niche interests you may have that your friends and family may not share.
For example, I love all sorts of sci-fi, horror, fantasy things and I have plenty of people to talk to about them, but I have a real aggressive obsession with Kaiju, and no one I know in real life really has the same level of interest in giant monsters like me, but social media has provided me with plenty of people who do! On top of that, those communities are my best and most consistent customers.
On the other hand, social media can be a hellscape of judgment and hate. People seem to be very bold with their opinions online, no matter how uninformed or mean they sound. Even when they’re not directly hating on you, it can feel that way when you post something you feel is some of your best work, yet for some reason no one seems to notice the time and effort you put into it.
"[social media] is a treasure trove of inspiration, it’s an ever expanding pool of artistic expression... on the other hand, social media can be a hellscape of judgement and hate."
Have you ever created something by accident that you ended up loving? Can you tell us about the process of how this happy accident occurred?
Absolutely! My “DESTROY ALL PLANETS” piece, based on one of my favorite movies Gamera vs. Viras aka DESTROY ALL PLANETS, is to this day my favorite of all my art pieces. I drew it a couple of years ago, and my love for it hasn’t changed at all. I was feeling particularly inspired by HP Lovecraft and cosmic horror in general as well as psychedelic and fractal imagery. I had always wanted to make a truly unique design for my favorite character of all time - Gamera. I started sketching and ended up spending a full 36 hours perfecting the drawing, longer than I’ve spent on any piece of art in my life. I never intended to spend so much time on it and I didn’t draw it thinking it would be my favorite thing I’ve ever done, it just happened. On top of that, I learned so much about my own art style spending so much time and effort on that piece.
Okay, time to drop some plugs... If people were interested in learning more about your artistic medium, whose work would you recommend they look at and research?
Starting with my favorite artists I’ve found online that have been inspirational and influential to me: @dan_douglas_art @dimitri_draw @momopich @bill.b.cotour @kiracuriee @kaijuzilla98 @zacroane @rjpalmerartist @erwinpapa @salvadorsanz_oficial @connorricks @witnesstheabsurd @strange_house @mattzilla85 @peterhanstyle @kaijuartist @kaneder4 @__Paulkomoda__ @erno_juhasz @lezations @nendoseizin @tony_the_hero
In terms of people I’ve found from reading comics and Manga or looking through concept art for movies and games that were also inspirational and influential: Junji Ito, Katsuhiro Otomo, Kentaro Miura, Q Hayashida, Katsuya Terada, Kenji Watanabe, Jae Lee, Simon Bisley, @michael_vincent_art @jamesharrenart Mike Mignola, Alan Kupperberg, Frank Fosco, Bill Sienkiewicz, @spiderzero
And there’s a ton more, too many to list!
We, sadly, are on our final question... What advice would you give to other artists out there?
I’m not sure I have anything particularly unique in terms of advice, but I always think the best art is made by people who make what they themselves want to see. The art I make is geared almost entirely toward my own tastes, rather than what I think other people would wanna see or what might do well on Instagram. If I think it’s cool, I know someone else out there is gonna think it’s cool.
"The best art is made by people who make what they themselves want to see."
Thanks again Anthony for sharing your work, your story, and your thoughts on the current digital landscape. It was truly a pleasure meeting with you.
If you want to learn more about Anthony, aka Tony, check out his socials: