The Q&A: Sean Norvet

By Peggy Roalf   Monday August 25, 2014

Q: What do you like best about living and working in L.A.?

A: I was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA.  I’m still located in the LA area.  Some of my favorites things about living and working here are being around my friends and fellow artists. Also, the weather—and the tacos, of course.

Q: How and when did you first become interested in art and illustration?

I used to draw cartoons and copy my dad’s Zap Comics when I was young. I would copy pages and pages, and then make my own characters. I really didn’t start to think of it as a serious career until my high school art teacher told me I should look into going to art school. After being in art school I realized this is what I’m supposed to be doing.


Q: Do you keep a sketchbook? What is the balance between the art you create on paper versus In the computer?

A: Yes. Sketchbooks are always a great thing to have around. You can tell a lot about an artist by their sketchbook. With sketchbook drawings, I always feel less pressure, which usually creates stronger ideas and work. Nowadays, if you have a stylus tablet or some way to draw digitally, it can be just as helpful. I find myself creating compositions and making changes digitally all the time now.

Q: What do you like best about your workspace? Do you think it needs improvement, if so, what would you change?

A: My workspace switches between my desk inside for drawing, and my garage for painting and large scale projects. I enjoy the size and privacy I have. One thing I’d love to change is how hot my garage gets in the summer time. One of my main goals is to find a nice, cool studio space in the near future.

Q: What is the most important item in your studio?

A: Well, like a lot of people one of my most important items is my computer. Thanks to my computer I can listen to The Howard Stern Show, which has been my favorite thing while working lately.

Q: What is your favorite part of the creative process? 

A: One of my favorite parts of the creative process has to be when you’re stuck on a part that you truly hate, and then you finally figure out a way to fix it. Best feeling ever.

Q: What was the strangest or most unusual assignment you’ve taken? What made it a success or a failure?

A: I’ve done plenty of embarrassing and unusual assignments. From designs for head shops, to a crappy bands album cover. One that was unusual for my particular style was an illustration for a shampoo bottle. You would never know I did it. The best part is that it worked well.

Q: What was your favorite book as a child?

My favorite book as a child had to be the original Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. I read that book non-stop.

Q: What is the best book you’ve recently read?

Recently I’ve been reading a lot of artist biographies. One of my favorites has been FUCT: Erik Brunetti, about the founder of the pioneer street wear company FUCT, and his journey in the industry.

Q: You embrace the dark side in many of your illustrations; what were some of the art/narrative influences that moved you in that direction.

A: There is definitely an underlying dark humor in my work. It comes out on it’s own, which I enjoy. I feel a lot of it has to do with the art I was drawn to as a child. Cartoons like The Ren and Stimpy ShowBeavis and Butthead, and artists like Robert Crumb and Rick Griffin had a huge impact on me at a very young age. As I grew older, I found more artists whose work spoke to me.German expressionist Otto Dix, Ralph Steadman, Llyn Foulkes and Peter Saul to name a few. These early inspirations seemed to move me in the direction I’m in today.

Q: What was your first professional assignment and how did you get it?

A: My first truly professional assignment was very recent actually. I designed and illustrated some advertisements for the upcoming Oddball Comedy festival. I got this assignment from my talented friend Jeremy Shaun McDonald, who is an Art Director/Designer at Jetset Studios.

Q: What was the last art exhibition you saw and what did you take away from it?

A: The last art exhibition I saw was Mike Kelley’s retrospective at MOCA. I took away a lot of inspiration and a lot of admiration. The man explored everything, and was not afraid to try anything. Definitely worth checking out.

Q: What is/would be your karaoke song—and why?

My karaoke song would have to be any song by Van Halen. When you’re wasted at a karaoke bar someone’s got to sing an 80’s butt rock anthem.

Q: What is your hobby?

A: One of my main hobbies is riding my bike. I have to ride every day to clear my head and get outside. I also like trying new food spots, looking for the best food in the area.

Q: What would be your last supper?

A: Oh man, this is tough. Can I get like a combo of different restaurants? If so, this would be my list. One short rib burrito fromKogi. A chimichanga from Salsa and Beer. A bowl of miso ramen from Daikokuya. An animal-style burger from In-N-Out.  Some short rib sliders from Black Market Liquor. One pint of the finest whiskey. If I didn’t die from a heart attack before I was finished, that would be an awesome last supper. 

Sean Norvet is an Artist/Illustrator born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Working through a grotesque artistic language; Norvet has a quality that pulls the viewer in. His work is sometimes explosive, sometimes still, but often pulls from very different styles of depiction from glossy realism to cartoon buffoonery. Working through various mediums, Norvet depicts his figures with precision and humorous detail.



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