Interview: Kevin Dart

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Die Retro-Illustrationen von Kevin Dart greifen das Feeling klassischer Filmplakate der 60er Jahre auf, um deren Stil und Look in die Moderne zu übertragen. In letzter Zeit ganz zentriert auf seine Actionheldin Yuki 7, schafft Dart eine wunderbar vollständig imaginierte Welt — bunt, sexy und cool, wie wir uns die Sixties eben vorstellen.

Der Bildband Seductive Espionage, the world of Yuki 7 erscheint am 6.Juli.

The Past

It wasn’t the right place for me, and I decided to go back to something I had enjoyed my whole life.

Diskursdisko: Hi Kevin. To start things off, what’s your background? When did you start  
illustrating?

Kevin Dart: I’ve been drawing since I was very young, but didn’t start seriously illustrating until I found myself stuck in a computer programming major in college. It wasn’t the right place for me, and I decided to go back to something I had enjoyed my whole life. So I began drawing and experimenting with computer illustration in my spare time, and soon transferred to an art major.

The Art

So long as you’re always moving forward, it’s hard to fail.

002_largeDiskursdisko: How do you mainly produce your art? Do you have a system or method that you adhere to?

Kevin Dart: I like to let each new drawing happen in its own way. It keeps things more lively when you don’t do it the same way every time. But when I’m on a deadline and it’s tough to get the creative juices flowing, I have a few methods I can fall back on to get things done in a timely fashion. Usually the most important thing is to keep drawing. You don’t want to get stuck in a situation where you’re just staring at a blank screen or piece of paper. So long as you’re always moving forward, it’s hard to fail.

Diskursdisko: What inspires you?

Kevin Dart: I’m inspired by lots of mid-century illustration, design, and architecture, but also the people and things in my everyday life. I find myself observing light and shapes everywhere I go, and making mental notes of things to use in the future.

Diskursdisko: Your artwork is in a very colourful, retro pop-art style, reminiscent of film posters from the fifties and sixties – how did you develop this style?

Kevin Dart: One of the things I’ve always wanted to capture in my work is a grand scale and sense of adventure, and no one was better at capturing that than the poster artists of the 50s and 60s. I’ve spent a lot of time studying vintage posters and watching old movies to try and pinpoint what key elements create that exciting and adventurous feeling. Then I try to figure out how to transfer that feeling into a drawing.

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Diskursdisko: Can you tell us a bit about your recurring character, Yuki 7, soon to be featured in the book “Seductive Espionage, the world of Yuki 7″ — what was the inspiration? Is there a grand back story?

028_largeKevin Dart: Yuki 7 lives in a world that I’ve always wished I could live in. It’s filled with globe-trotting escapades, high fashion, mid-century architecture, and amazing gadgets. She’s a character that’s been running around in my imagination for many years, but didn’t metabolize until about a year ago.

Diskursdisko: When working for clients like Disney, Pixar or Cartoon Network, how do you keep up the balance between clients’ wishes and concepts and your own need to produce art? Do you feel there actually is any difference between “commercial” artwork and other art?

Kevin Dart: Typically my professional work takes first priority over personal work, especially on tight deadlines. I hate being late. But there are times where I’ll be struck with an idea for a personal project I’m working on, and it consumes my brain so completely that I don’t have any choice but to draw it out before working on anything else. My personal work is completely driven by the passion for an idea, and that’s what allows me to make time for it.

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The Web

It’s really a fantastic time to be an illustrator because of the online community of artists sharing their work with each other.

013_largeDiskursdisko: You’ve obviously got the website at kevindart.com, any other presences on the web you’d like to publicize? Social networking?

Kevin Dart: You can follow me on Twitter, and you can also become a fan of Yuki 7 on Facebook.

Diskursdisko: As you use the internet to showcase your art, are there any other websites you feel have influenced you, opened your mind or shown you new ways of creating art?

Kevin Dart: The huge number of artist’s blogs out there have been a tremendous influence on me and probably everyone else working in the business today. It’s amazing how quickly you can see some of the world’s top illustrators’ most recent work, see what kinds of new techniques people are experimenting with, and find all of the latest and greatest projects being produced around the world. It’s really a fantastic time to be an illustrator because of the online community of artists sharing their work with each other.

Diskursdisko: Of all the work you’ve created, or at least the ones showcased on your website, can you name a couple that you have a special love for or connection to?

Kevin Dart: I definitely feel the most strongly connected to all of the Yuki 7 work I’ve done. I’ve put more of myself into that project than any single other thing I’ve ever worked on. As far as my older work, I still have a special connection to the “Bikini Girls of Shark Island” poster. I think that piece was a breakthrough for me at the time.

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The Future

I’m always trying to improve myself, learn new techniques, and adapt new inspirations.

Diskursdisko: Do you have any specific plans for the future direction of your artwork?

Kevin Dart: It’s hard to plan out exactly where my artwork will go, since it’s influenced so heavily by the random things I encounter and projects that I work on. I’m always trying to improve myself, learn new techniques, and adapt new inspirations. Mainly I will keep developing stories and ideas, in particular Yuki 7. She will definitely be popping up again in the future.

Diskursdisko: Kevin, many thanks for the interview – is there anything you’d like to add?

Kevin Dart: Thanks for giving me the opportunity – it’s been a pleasure!

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Dieses Interview erscheint als Diskursdisko/Spreeblick-Crossposting.

Vincent Wilkie hat diesen tollen Beitrag verfasst. In seiner Freizeit ist er Musiker, Webdesigner und DJ.

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