This is this first installment of a new series of artists interviews I’m conducting, so let’s not waste anytime here, let me introduce BenjaminMarra
Benjamin Marra is the creator of the acclaimed underground comic series Night Business. He’s the Publisher of American Tradition Comics which just put out Marra’s sophomore comic effort, Gangsta Rap Posse. Marra is also an accomplished illustrator for such clients as Rolling Stone, Playboy, Nylon, Vice and The New York Times. He’s received awards and recognition from The Society of Publication Designers, American Illustration and The Society of Illustrators. In 2006 he was named as one of the Art Directors Club’s “Young Guns
Ok, here we go-
SLAMXHYPE – Where are you from and what can you tell us about your hometown?
Benjamin Marra – I was born in Canada but was reared on the mean, suburban streets of bucolic Nyack, NY. Life was tough. The abundance of cavernous antique stores, trying to ignore the well-meaning, moral teachers at school, the harrowing trips to the mall and all those events at the local library. This was an unsung version of the school of hard knocks.
SXH – As a kid, what did you want to be growing up?
BM – A highly superstitious, religiously devout, underground cage fighter.
SXH – Who or what do you look at for inspiration?
BM – Dungeons & Dragons, Heavy Metal album art, Heavy Metal music, Giallo movies, Gangsta Rap, 80s movies, 80s Penthouse, Miami Vice, Charles Bronson, Philip K. Dick, Marc Laming, , , my insane, jetsetting, premium-drug-dependant, culture-shattering life and worldview and Myself.,
SXH – Where’s your studio?
BM – In my mind.
SXH – Describe a typical work day:
BM – Wake up among several beautiful, partially-clothed women in a strange room and slip out the front door. Drag race anyone willing in my matte-black Dodge Challenger back to my apartment. Don my Armani-Exchange robe (I only wear AX). Walk to the McDonald’s down the block and shovel an egg McMuffin and hashbrown into my mouth, wash them down with coffee, black. Sit on my couch back at my apartment and meditate on how awesome shit is. Catch up on episodes of The Hills online. Order a Ducati Monster online with money I haven’t made yet. Trade stocks and check my investments. Smoke cigarettes like mad to calm my nerves about the market volitility. Through my cigarettes out the window onto the hobos’ heads going through the trash and quit smoking forever. Reread my entire Verotik collection. Scour the internet for inked original pages of either The Incredible Hulk or Conan the Barbarian. Sit on the edge of my bed with my head down and worry that I’ll never be able to ink like Ernie Chan or Ethan Van Sciver. Accept my shortcomings as an artist, look at my drafting table and decide I need to buy some more art supplies. Get in the Challenger. Vroom. Drive up to the country and look at houses I fantasize buying one day. Nothing too big. Something comfortable by the water. Decide that I want to live on a giant compound, like an abandoned canning factory, and become a recluse like Howard Hughes and live only in one room. Hire a staff of Mormans to assist me. Build a giant complex around the one room I will live in the rest of my life drawing comics, not bothered by anyone. Actually … none of this is true. My typical work day is too boring to recount.
SXH – What materials do you usual work in?
BM – My imagination, 3H pencils, non-photo blue pencil, Copic MultiLiner pens, Strathmore Cold Press, Mac G5.
SXH – What is your all time favorite painting?
BM – Giotto‘s frescoes in the Cappella Scrovegni or “The Ambassadors” by Hans Holbein the Unger.
SXH – What do you do when you’re not making art?
BM – I read books about small business and personal finance. Or Epic Fantasy books with maps of imaginary lands in the front. Or I think about making art.
SXH – Is there any Artist or Illustrator you would like to collaborate with?
BM – Nathan Fox, Ethan Van Sciver, Marc Laming.
SXH – What are you working on now and what’s in the future for you?
BM – The next issue of Night Business … among other projects of which I hesitate to speak about.
SXH – Important non related question here: Sabbath or Zepplin?
BM – Sabbath. Holy Hell if there is even a goddamn question.
SXH – Coffee or tea?
BM – Coffee. Black.
SXH – Music, talk radio, books on tape or golden silence
BM – Television … or books on tape … or sports talk radio …