I took a minute to find out more about Jose and his artwork.
• What do preferred to be called?
Jose is fine. My friends called me Joe and Red when I was growing up. I had red hair as a kid. It’s a little reddish gray now.
• When and where were you born?
I was born March 12, 1966 in a little town in Puerto Rico called Aibonito. I moved to the states to live with my mom who had remarried and moved to New York when I was 4 years old.
• Where do you currently live?
Brooklyn , New York. In the Brighton Beach area also known as Little Odessa because of it’s large Russian Community. I really like living in this neighborhood.
• What are your interests, hobbies or passions?
Well, there’s art, obviously. Has been my main passion since I could remember. I was so passionate about art as a kid that I came home crying one day because one of my classmates told me I couln’t draw. Made me SO angry to be told that. I am also a serious video gamer and an absolutely huge movie buff. I watch all kinds of films. Big budget, low budget, Direct to video stuff. I love movies. I still love comic books but don’t read them as much. They have gotten stagnant over the years and just seem to be recycling the same stories over and over again. I mean, really, how many times can you re-tell or re-interpret a characters origin ? I do read a lot of trades and still follow the work of some artists, though.
• Do you have a job other than producing your artwork?
Yeah, unfortunately, I have a “Day Job.” Not that I don’t count myself grateful to have a job in this economy. I just wish I could draw full time and not have to do something else. On the other hand, I work for some very cool people who give me a lot of freedom, so I am very lucky in that sense. Oh yeah, I work from home too, so that is a bonus !
• How long have you been an artist?
I think I was born an artist, so my whole life. Even as a kid, before I knew what I was doing, I gravitated towards images that caught my eye. Once I put pencil to paper, it was all over. That was all I ever wanted to do. And let me tell ya, I did that at a very early age . LOL.
• What inspired you to become an artist?
Comic Books. In a nutshell. Which is why I still love the medium even though I don’t really read them anymore.
• Do you have formal art training or education? Where?
I have a scattershot type of formal art education. I studied and took classes at various schools but never graduated from an art school. I went to high school at The High School Of Art And Design in NYC. I didn’t do so well there academically.
It was a very rigid environment. Not very conducive to being a creative person. It really felt more like military school to me. Also, I had a couple of teachers who were basically just collecting a check. They would tell you that you were making mistakes but when you asked for help, they would walk away. I got the feeling they were trying not to share their “secrets of the trade”. I was really unhappy at that school. I left there and basically dropped out for about a year or so and then went back to school at Fort Hamilton High School in Brooklyn. I did really well there, my head was in the right place and academically I did very well. I had some great teachers who “got” me and motivated me in a way that I never got from going to Art And Design. Through my whole high school career, I still took weekend and summer art classes at Parsons School Of Design and The School Of Visual Arts.
• What artists have influenced you?
Gil Kane. He did an issue of Spider-Man when I was a kid that absolutely, positively floored me. It wa an issue where Spider-Man was fighting Morbius, The Living Vampire and The Lizard both. Amazing work. Just so much energy and the anatomy on the figures was insane. Gil Kane just blew me away. Also, John Buscema, John Byrne, Frank Frazetta, Neal Adams, Jack Kirby, whom I didn’t really learn to appreciate until I was older. Nowadays, I love the work of Travis Charest, Frank Cho, Mike Mignola, Alex Ross, Ryan Ottley and Adam Hughes. From the “real” art world, I absolutely love Mucha, Tiepolo and Rockwell. Every artist who has done good work has inspired me at one point or another. I really think you need to be open minded to influences as a creative person. If you close yourself out to a variety of work, I think you short change yourself and your art. I met Marshall Rogers, who had made his name on some issues of Batman with Steve Englehart, and althoug he didn’t influence me in the way that the other artists I mentioned did, he influenced me by pointing me in the right direction. I met him at an old Creation Con back in 1981 and he took my sketchbook, full of scribbles with absolutely no direction and sat with me for nearly two hours, telling me what I was doing wrong, what I needed to learn and what books to use as resources. He didn’t ask for a damn thing in return and I went home with a sketchbook full of Marsshall Rogers’ sketches and roughs. It was one of the most helpful experiences in my life and for that I will always be grateful. I heard he passed away a couple of years ago. Well, for what it’s worth, he left a legacy. Seriously, a great guy.
• What type of artwork do you create
Straightforward comic book art. I dabble around with digital painting and such but I stick to what I know and believe I do well.
• What is your preferred medium?
Paper, a 4h pencil lead and either Pitt Artist Pens or Rapidographs. (Tech pens for those of you that don’t know what Rapidographs are :D ) I color on my PC with Photoshop and a tablet. I’ve dabbled with Corel Painter, which I think is awesome, but mostly use Photoshop to color.
• Do you have a favorite subject matter?
Women in genre settings. Always strong female characters in either a sc-fi, horror, sword and sorcery, fantasy or action type of setting. I love drawing that tye of stuff. I love drawing women.
• Describe your artistic style:
I have a comic book, illustrative style with some graphic design sense. It’s bold, with strong lines and a heavy graphic bent. I always try to create the best design I can with a character as a central focus. I guess that’s the best I can do to describe it. I think other folks do a better job of describing it, actually.
• Is there something that makes your artwork special?
Visually, I can’t say. I don’t think it’s any more special than work created by other artists but it is special to me in that people like seeing it and have been supportive of me doing it. That makes it really special for me.
• Who or what are your inspirations?
The artists I mentioned in response to an earlier question of course. But movies, music, video games and books all influence me in the way I work. I listen to movie soundtracks all the time while drawing, and there are plenty of times where a game influences me to a point that I need to pick up a pen and draw something I saw in the game.
• Can you describe your creation process and technique:
Yeah, definitely. I usually don’t do any layouts, because they ruin the flow for me and make me bored with a project before I even get halfway through it . LOL. I prefer to just go ahead and draw whatever I’m supposed to be working on. It allows for more spontenaity and freedom. I normally sketch out the image in 4h pencil lead, tighten it up a wee bit with the same 4h lead and then whip out the inking materials. I use Pitt Pens, Tech pens and a Pentel Artist Brush for heavy black areas. That’s it. Oh yeah…I wear headphones and have Itunes playing my music. That’s really a part of the process. Who knew Itunes could be an art tool ?! LOL
• Was there one artwork or event that was a turning point in your career? Why?
Yeah. The issue of Spider-man I mentioned being drawn by Gil Kane. Also, Buscema’s Conan and John Byrne on just about anything he did in the 80′s. These guys were just the best at what they did. Seriously. Other guys have come along who are doing terrific work now, LIke Jim Lee for example, but when I was growing up, these guys were just awesome to me.
• Have you received any awards, prizes or other fame for your work?
I actually graduated high school having won a Mark Rothko art scholarship. It was an award that was given to 10 art students in NYC high schools every year. The best part for me the year that I was a recipient was that no one from The High School Of Art And Design won. I kind of felt vindicated after having left that school in a miserable state. Here was some kid from some local, neighborhood high school winning the award and no one from the big, high falutin art high school won.
Awesome. I know it sounds petty. Just let me have that one, okay ? LOL.
• Is there one of your own works that’s a personal favorite? Why?
Nah, not really. I have images that I like. But I always find things wrong with my images after the fact and I just move on to the next image. I just like drawing.
• Do you have any future plans or ideas you can tell us about?
Well, I am supposed to be doing some work for an adult oriented web site, which if all goes to plan, I should be getting some script pages for either today or within a day or so. I also have a friend on Deviant Art that I work really well with, who is an amazing colorist and I am working with him on a series of prints and some other things. We have discussed doing a muscle girl inspired web comic and some other ideas but something always keeps popping up. Fortunately, it is art related so I can’t complain. I would like to establish myself enough so that I could do some comic conventions and genre shows and just meet fans and shoot the breeze with them. I would love to do everything from Comic Con to the Chiller convention. I love all these genres and don’t want to be or allow myself to be pigeon holed as just one type of artist.
I’m doing a lot of muscle girl work. I sort of just fell into that. I was hired by someone on Deviant Art to do some muscle girl commissions and the rest is history. Next thing I knew, the visits to my Deviant Art page started increasing and I started picking up a lot of Watchers who were muscle girl fans. It’s been the best thing that has happened to my work as far as exposure in years. The muscle girl fans have been the most supportive and loyal fans I have met and they have been great for my work. I am really grateful for that. The cool thing for me was that when I was younger, I was a fan of female bodybuilders like Raye Hollitt, Corey Everson, Rachel Mclish and Lisa Lyon. So these folks were just bringing me back to something I enjoyed when I was a teenager. I am definitely going to keep doing muscle girl related work.
• Anything else you would like to add?
Ummm….2 plus 2 equals 4 ? Oh wait…that’s not what you meant. Sorry. Yeah, I just want to say Thanks to my wife, Rebecca. She’s been the best thing that ever happened to me and the most supportive of my work since I first met her. So yeah.. Thanks sweety :D
• Where can people find out more about you?
I pretty much just stick to my Deviant Art account, which is badattitudeink.deviantart.com I don’t have a Myspace or Facebook page as I already spend an inordinate amount of time on Deviantart and would probably never get anything done if I had pages on those other sites. I do have a blog at badattitudecomics.net