Contamination St. Louis 2011 | Joel Robinson

Robinson has a distinguished career in horror art (he was a runner-up for the Rondo Hatton Award for artist of the year in 2009), but I was surprised to learn that he became a full-time artist only fairly recently and not entirely by design.

 

 

(Photo by Sarah Boslaugh)
If you attended any events connected with the recent Vincentennial you probably noticed the distinctive silver and violet logo featuring Vincent Price, the St. Louis Arch and art deco lettering (http://www.cinemastlouis.org/vincentennial). I had a chance to sit down and talk with the designer of that logo, Joel Robinson, at the recent Contamination St. Louis Horror, Sci-Fi and Pop Culture Convention.
 
First of all, I wanted to know more about how the Vincentennial logo came to be. Robinson said event director Tom Stockman had already decided on the lettering, so he decided to create a Price portrait in the same style and added in the Arch as well. He added that Stockman had worked with several artists whose designs emphasized horror too much, so he avoided that pitfall and developed the clean and classy design which was making the t-shirts jump right off the sales tables at Vincentennial events. Robinson has a good background in painting Vincent Price portraits because he created the covers, intros and outros (the frame story in which Price acts as host for the story in question) for the first eight issues of the comic book series Vincent Price Presents.
 
Robinson has a distinguished career in horror art (he was a runner-up for the Rondo Hatton Award for artist of the year in 2009), but I was surprised to learn that he became a full-time artist only fairly recently and not entirely by design. He worked as a special education teacher for 10 years, doing art on the side, before getting laid off about four years ago. He decided to use this turn of events as a chance to try making a go of it as an artist, something he admits he might not have had the courage to try otherwise. He answered an ad to do art for HorrorHound magazine, was asked to design a poster for their Pittsburgh convention, and "everything snowballed after that."
 
Now he’s a full-time artist, attending about 20 conventions a year in the U.S. and Canada and often designing the posters and other graphics for the conventions he attends. For Contamination St. Louis, this year his work includes the "gas mask" and "space girls" posters, the official t-shirt and bus, print and web ads. Robinson is also a staff member for HorrorHound and sells his art through his web site www.artpusher.net.
 
Robinson currently creates his art using a combination of traditional and digital techniques. He starts out the old-fashioned way, painting in watercolor on paper, then scans his designs into the computer and paints over them using a digital tablet. He said he used to paint with acrylics on canvas but felt the process was causing him to repeat himself (owing to the need to plan the painting in advance and the difficulty in making changes) while by working digitally he feels freer to take chances because anything he doesn’t like can be easily undone. He also said he used to have problems getting good photos of his work for reproduction while creating the final image digitally gives him better control over how his art appears.
 
If you’d like to Robinson’s artistic process in designing the cover for Vincent Price Presents #7, check out this link: http://www.comicmonsters.com/modules.php?name=Sections&op=viewarticle&artid=211. | Sarah Boslaugh

 

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