Interview: Michael Shantz
To celebrate our partnership with Raw Riddim Records, we'll be speaking to some of the people behind the London based indie & revealing never before seen images and unreleased music.
Today we speak to Michael Shantz, an incredibly talented and multifaceted designer. Not only has Shantz produced work for Raw Riddim for years, but he's also been responsible for some of the BBOC's most iconic designs.
BBOC: Your style takes influence from American comics, Japanese manga & street art. Is there a particular style that you prefer over the others?
Michael Shantz: Yeah, for sure! Japanese woodblock prints will forever influence my work and my style. The subject matter, motion and lineweight all really helped build my style. Japanese calligraphy also was a big inspiration for my font styles, along with black metal and death metal imagery. And 80's skate rat art, like Pushead.
You’ve created clothing, canvas work & toys. Is there a medium you still want to try?
I love to see my style grow across multiple mediums, but animation and cartoons has been my fave so far & i definitely want to see more of my work come alive.
I'd also love to be a creative director for fashion runway shows because they have become bigger and bigger and have become a place to create characters within their own world. I think that would be a lot of fun.
What would be your dream project if money was no object?
If money was no object I'd make movies with Jack Black , Tim Burton and Niell Blomkamp [Laughs]. Or I'd pay Pauly shore to make part 2 of all his classic movies [Laughs again].
You’re very innovative with the formats you use (pins, figures, clothing), do you think it’s possible to keep designing new and interesting deluxe packaging for albums?
Yes definitely, the only issue is money and the fact that a lot of musicians seem to rather save dollars than actually see their visions come to life. As far as my end with the actual ideas and designs, the sky's the limit, I feel.
I already see a lot of amazing packaging being done, like the Stranger Things dvd set that looks like a VHS, I think that's perfection. Maybe I just need some more serious clients [Laughs].
Your father was in the comic book industry and even worked with the legendary Todd Mcfarlane. Have you ever been tempted to enter that industry?
Well my dad wasn't actually in the industry, but he is and was an artist and had some friends at the time who were striving to get into the industry, Todd being one of them.
I've always love the idea of creating comics, but seeing the troubles that some of my friends (who are currently with big comic brands) are having, I feel it's very similar issues as being a freelance artist, but with more work. So as much as I'd enjoy the finished product, I don't think I'm willing to deal with the rest of it. Plus honestly I don't feel my work has enough movement to fully work as a comic.
Your work rate is incredible and you’re constantly producing material. How do you stay inspired?
Honestly, I've never really had a problem coming up with ideas. The real issue is finding a way or a client to use them all with. I WISH I had enough clients or the dollars to make all my ideas a reality. Ultimately, I'm just happy that with this reality I'll definitely be doing art till I die!
If you were allowed to recreate any famous album cover from any artist, what would you pick?
KISS - Destroyer
Same question, but for a movie poster?
You can find more info about Michael on his blog.