Interview with Philippines artist Uzi Emperado
Uzi Emperado is from Cebu, Philippines and draws things that upsets his mom.
HMAW: Your resume is really impressive. How did you get started in designing and creating artwork for Heavy Metal bands?
Uzi Emperado: Thank you. I was introduced to the band merch business through a website/community of shirt design enthusiasts. It wasn’t my intention to become a designer exclusively for Heavy Metal bands. I just did my own thing and, somehow, my art just fit the image most heavy music bands are portraying. A match made in Heaven (or Hell), so to speak.
HMAW: How did you get involved in the music industry?
Uzi Emperado: I made some artwork and posted them online. I politely approached bands and record labels and, eventually, I got the attention of a few. It Dies Today, a metalcore band from Buffalo NY, was my first client.
HMAW: In your artwork there is a vast amount of symbolism i.e. occult, mythology, science fiction, etc., do you have any personal interests in these kind of literature? And how does it influence/inspire you work?
Uzi Emperado: I love fantasy art. I enjoy drawing and reading about stuff that doesn’t exist in this world. Things I was exposed to when I was younger directly influence the fantasy/sci-fi themes in my work. As a kid, I collected old issues of Heavy Metal (adult illustrated fantasy magazine) since comic books were expensive and hard to come by where I’m from. I haven’t bought illustrated magazines/comics recently, but I still read books in the fantasy genre.
HMAW: Do you often get direction from the bands?
Uzi Emperado: About 90% of the time, I ask my clients what they want or have in mind – nothing too specific, just a general idea. It helps me know where to start with the artwork. After that, I direct everything else in the creative process, but I keep myself open to whatever suggestions or ideas the client might have along the way.
HMAW: What is your artistic vision and philosophy?
Uzi Emperado: I used to have an artistic vision. Now, I try not to think about the direction I want my art follow and instead allow my art to take me where it wants to go.
HMAW: In terms of style and techniques what are your inspirations and why?
Uzi Emperado: The works of the old masters are an inspiration to me. Albrecht Duhrer, Francisco Goya, Caravaggio, to name a few. My work is far from theirs, but they obviously loved drawing, and so do I.
HMAW: Are you involved in any art group or organization?
Uzi Emperado: It’s nothing official, but just recently my friends and I started a small movement to introduce, cultivate, and celebrate the lowbrow art & culture here in my city. The group is mostly composed of local graffiti artists and young painters who love to draw and just have fun.
HMAW: What are your immediate artistic goals, in terms of style and perfecting even further your talent?
Uzi Emperado: At the moment, I am in the process of unlearning everything I know about art. I’ve been trying not to think too much or put pressure on myself and just let the art do its own thing. Through this, I aim to repossess the sincerity towards creating art that I once had as a kid. I am to gain back that great love and passion for drawing.
HMAW: What is your set up i.e. software, computer, live drawing, studio, etc.
Uzi Emperado: Digitally, I work in Photoshop using a Large-size Wacom Intuos4. Acrylic paint is my material of choice for wet media.
HMAW: Do you have any exhibitions or special events programmed for the future?
Uzi Emperado: Nothing that’s set in stone. Right now I’m just focusing on just creating the artwork. Eventually, I’ll do a solo show when I’ve collected enough work.
HMAW: Words of wisdom?
Uzi Emperado: Hail Satan!
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