Biafrah Winfrey: What is your studio setup like?
Kevin Tong: I usually work on art at a coffee shop (I go to various ones around LA to keep it fresh, though I like Peet’s.) At home I have a computer, scanner, and Wacom tablet that I use to finish things up. The print studio where most of my stuff gets printed is at my friend Danny’s place, though I am currently searching for a studio space to set up my own digs.
BW: How does an average day in the life of Kevin Tong start? How does it end?
KT: Like everyone else, it begins and ends in bed.
The first thing I do when I wake up, which is usually around noon is I roll out of bed and into my desk. I check emails, check the forums, check a few blogs that I have bookmarked, and then go shower. The last thing I do before I go to bed, which is usually around 3 AM, is exactly what I did when I woke up, except in reverse, no shower though.
BW: Just how much of your life is spent shipping things, or do you have an assistant?
KT: Occasionally, I have an assistant for when I get a flood or orders or I am working on eight things at once.
I spend about six hours a week shipping posters and I have been doing it for two years. The amount of orders has been steadily going up, so a full time assistant (Megan Fox, please Megan fox) might be required.
BW: Can you explain a little bit about what Flatstock is and your relation to it?
KT: Flatstock is a quarterly event that brings together some of the finest poster artists from all over. It takes place in different cities and it put together by the sexy people at the American Poster Institute. The artists all get to sell their work at their own individual booths and it’s very impressive and more so each year. They always coincide with music festivals, as much of what is being sold are band posters.
As for my relation to it, I love Flatstock. Flatstock 20 in Austin, TX was my first Flatstock and I plan to do all the ones on American soil every year. For me, it’s a great way to get my name out there and meet up with friends who live far far away and/or make new friends. I also love going to different places and soaking it in. The fact that they take place during music festivals is boss plus because I can see some awesome bands live.
BW: I loves me some Camera Obscura. How did that poster in your portfolio come about? Did you work with the venue or the band directly?
KT: That particular poster was a job commissioned by Bill Graham Presents via LiveNation at the Fillmore in San Francisco. I am not sure if the band approved the image beforehand, but I am certain they were given at least some of those posters. I have worked with that venue before and it was really their art director that gave me a chance to do some band art and get my feet wet when I first started.
BW: What were the logistics of coloring the Sea Also Rises poster with Tim Doyle?
KT: Well, Doyle sent me the line art over the internet. He had scanned it and I converted it to line art, then created color fills underneath those lines. I used Adobe Photoshop the whole time. When I was done, I sent him a file with detailed instructions, using the Pantone Matching System to accurately communicate colors. Color was critical, because this particular print involved lots of overprinting (color on color to create a third color), so I was on the phone a lot making suggestions.
BW: I heard a rumor you’re going to be in Austin this coming weekend. Why?
KT: That sounds hostile (LOL). Why the F are you comin’ to this town?
I have a number of things I want to take care of, namely I am working with a local printer on a huge art print edition. Also working with a local artist on a separate art project. I will be printing with Tim in his studio, to assist him with the Nakatomi project, as well as signing tons of prints, like about a thousand, literally.
Also, I have lots of friends that live in Austin and it’s a great little town. I hope to catch a movie at the Alamo while I am there.