Congrats to this week’s “Artist of the Week”: Sean Anthony Mack! (aka: SMACK!)
Aaron: So for those unfamiliar with you, you’re a comic artist/illustrator, correct?
SMACK: Yes, I am.
Aaron: Co-Creator of The Revolutionary Times and head of design for Identical Variant Clothing Co.?
SMACK: Yes sir
Aaron: Well then I’ve got the right guy! And I must say I’m a fan of your work. I first took notice back in ’07 when you did the back cover for my homie Big Sean’s first mixtape, Finally Famous Vol. 1. And then again for Cold Men Young’s Champagne Nights/Red Stripe Budget.
SMACK: Ah, yeah. I think that was one of the first jobs I ever did; that was a fun joint. CMY, them cats are mad cool. I’m supposed to working on the next album, hopefully, so we’ll see about that.
Aaron: Brent (aka: BlakSmith — CMY member) is actually my cousin.
SMACK: I didn’t know Brent was your cousin, that’s wassup!
Aaron: Yah man, he threw up some old pics on Facebook from back in the day that made me do the facepalm, haha. Anyway, let’s get into a little background: how old are you? Where are you from?
SMACK: I’m the ripe age of 24. And I hail from Saginaw, MI, born and raised. There were no playgrounds, unfortunately…
Aaron: Haha rough life. How long have you been practicing your craft?
SMACK: I’d say for the better part of my life. I’ve been drawing ever since I could hold a crayon; from doodles of Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles to now creating comics of my own. But I got serious about it around the time I got into high school.
Aaron: Nice. Have you studied at any institutions? If so, where?
SMACK: Yeah, I went to College for Creative Studies in Detroit where I majored in illustration.
Aaron: Oh, nice! My brother almost studied there. How was that experience for you?
SMACK: It was rough, haha. Long hours, hardly any sleep, and expensive as hell, but I’d certainly do it over again if I had the chance. The things I learned there and the other artists I connected with have been valuable to me ever since I graduated.
Aaron: Haha nice. That’s definitely a great institution so congrats on graduating. But back to the art — what tools/software do you use to create?
SMACK: For the most part, I use the old fashion paper and pencil. I prefer mechanical pencils for the most part and blue pencils for rough sketches for my comics. As far as software I use an mix of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign (for when I’m putting together a book).
Aaron: Right on. Nothing like a good old pencil and paper to get the creative process started.
SMACK: Haha exactly
Aaron: What inspires you?
SMACK: My main inspirations come from my life and the people around me. My friends, my family, random strangers, the life experiences, all of them. Also music, mainly hip-hop, plays a big factor to my art as well. It’s what I listen to when I create, it’s something that helps me give my art the flow that it has right now.
Aaron: Nice, you actually led into one of my next questions. So since we’re on the topic, who’s your favorite music artist out right now?
SMACK: Right now, I’m really feeling what Childish Gambino has been bringing to the table as well as that Phonte album, “Charity Starts At Home” – although I’ve been a fan of him and Little Brother for years. Also this grimey cat from New York called Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, and I just got put on these cats called Phony Ppl.
Aaron: Yeah man Gambino is ill. I can’t say I’m up on the rest of those dudes but I’ll have to check ‘em out. What about non-music artists, who are some of your favorites?
SMACK: Well, for the longest my favorite comic artists were J. Scott Campbell, Joe Mad, Chris Bachalo, and Adam Warren. When I got to high school and started learning more about art history and whatnot, I grew to love the art from Norman Rockwell, Basquiat, and Keith Haring.
Aaron: What is your favorite project that you’ve done?
SMACK: My favorite job? Ah, I’d have to be bias and say the work I’ve done for my comic series, “The Revolutionary Times,” with my friend Brandon who writes the comic. Just having the experience to work on my own comic series has been a learning experience that I’m still working out as we speak.
Aaron: Haha, shameless plug. Nah I’m kiddin’, that’s cool. Mad respect.
SMACK: Yeah, yeah I know haha. But I had to!
Aaron: What was the hardest thing/technique for you to learn? And in the same respect, what’s one area you desire to improve upon?
SMACK: The hardest thing right is definitely trying to learn Flash animation. I wanted to minor in it when I was school but never had the chance. But now that I have some time in my hand I’ve been trying to slowly teach myself it because I hope to bring my characters to life one day and that’s definitely one of the best tools in the game to make that happen.
Aaron: I would definitely have to agree. Lastly, any advice for aspiring artists?
SMACK: The most important thing I can say is to never give up. The life of an artist is one of the hardest jobs in the industry right now, but persistence, the right grind, connections, and steadily improving yourself is what gets the results. It’s gonna look bleek at some points but you always have to remember to never give up. It’s your dream and only you can make it happen.
Aaron: Stamp that! Well I think that’s about all have. I know you have a few projects going on so I appreciate your time.
SMACK: Haha, no problem man. I appreciate you even asking me to do it.
Aaron: It was my pleasure. Michigan/Detroit is full of a lot of young talent outside of the music industry so I just aim to showcase some of it.
Sean: Definitely! Be easy bro.
For commission rates and inquiries, you can contact Sean by phone or e-mail:
firstname.lastname@example.org | 989.274.3298
For inquiries about The Revolutionary Times contact Sean by email: