Blake Armstrong is a god amongst men. A modern-day Zeus who has descended upon this Earth to dabble with what we know as “art” and instead takes our paltry ideas and shapes them into the objects of Legend. I had the good fortune to speak with the man, the myth, the modern day muse, about his works and it’s impact on shaping the very fabric of time and space. Be warned fellow readers, this interview is not for the faint of heart, but with courage in your chest and a fire in your belly; you may just come out of this article a stronger person.
If you don’t know Blake Armstrong‘s name, that’s okay. Being a huge fan of pop culture like myself, you will most likely recognize his work like I did, and be transfixed by the images that he creates. He makes the kind of pieces that you want to hang up on your wall and have your friends come over and gawk by saying “Dude, where did you GET THAT!?” Be it Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Wars, Ghosbusters and more! Yes, it’s that kind of stuff; but I’m talking too much, let’s get to the interview.
Casey: First off, thanks for agreeing to this interview for Dontforgetatowel.com. I got into your stuff because my cousin had just purchased your Guardians print and I was like I GOTTA talk to this guy. Very amazing stuff.
Blake Armstrong: Aw, thanks so much man! It was my pleasure.
Casey: I’m guessing you were a fan then?
Blake Armstrong: I was a fan of James Gunn. I hadn’t read the comics but knew of them — obviously like everyone else with blood in their veins, I was smitten after seeing the trailer. The poster actually came about because Arclight Cinemas was doing a poster contest — the winner got 2 free tickets. So that poster was my entry.
Casey Bowker: I’m a pretty huge fan of Gunn myself, I’ve loved him since his work with Troma. Have you seen any of that stuff? Also, I really hope that you won those tickets.
Blake Armstrong: I didn’t!! Some kid won. Of course all of my friends were like, “dude, you’re mad about losing 25 bucks worth of tickets? Just sell the poster and buy lots of tickets!” I was WAY into Troma when I was younger. Definitely a fan.
Casey Bowker: Hahaha, that’s true. I’m sure you’ve made enough to get pay for the two tickets and then some.
Blake Armstrong: The sales were pretty good.
Casey Bowker: I could see you doing a pretty amazing Toxic Avenger print
Blake Armstrong: Oh man, thats a genius idea. I’d really like to make posters for Troma. Doubt I’d get paid, but it would be fun.
Casey Bowker: Well, I’ve worked with Lloyd on many occasions, and no you wouldn’t get paid, but your work would be seen that’s for sure.
Blake Armstrong: Absolutley. That was really the goal this past year — being seen. But thanks to the In Flames stuff and some of my pieces going viral, things are getting a bit easier with my stuff being out there. And Lloyd Kaufman is a gentleman. I love that guy.
Casey Bowker: Yeah, I saw those In Flames covers. I used to be a pretty big fan back in the day. That’s amazing work as well. How was it working with a metal band?
Blake Armstrong: Beyond a dream. They’ve been my favorite band for years. I met them at a signing and I ended up making their comic book and later their album art for Siren Charms. That was a huge deal for me.
Casey Bowker: Wow, that is HUGE. Are you still in contact with them? Any plans for future work?
Blake Armstrong: Oh absolutely. I’ve got some things lined up for them before the year is out. I basically have an open door where I can make work for them and they will put it out. I’m taking a little break now while people digest the record, but some posters and t-shirts are on the horizon.
Casey Bowker: That is just epic. It has to be so fulfilling to be working with one of your favorite bands. “Dude, I’m wearing YOUR t-shirt” I can imagine it makes one pretty happy!
Blake Armstrong: It was insane to walk into a music store and see my art on their record– and as you say, seeing my work on t-shirts and merch. It’s madness. I’m a really lucky fan.
Casey Bowker: That’s fantastic. So, your work reminds me a lot of the legendary Drew Struzan. Was he a big influence on you growing up?
Blake Armstrong: SUCH a big influence. Movie posters in general had a big impact, but his work in particular was just universe-bending to me. It’s hard not to let a little of his work creep into my stuff.
Casey Bowker: A lot of the way your character posters are set up is very reminiscent of his work. What are some of your favorite movie posters by Drew?
Blake Armstrong: That is the ten-million dollar question. So tough to pick a favorite. The Hook poster was really staggering to see in person — they just had a gallery show here in LA and had his original work — Hook just melted my brain. The portraiture and composition is crazy and rendered so beautifully. I’m also very partial to the Masters of the Universe poster. I hope to one day have enough cash so that I can buy that piece.
Casey Bowker: I think that if you bribed Dolph Lundgren enough he may give it to you.
Blake Armstrong: Haha!
Casey Bowker: But yes, Struzan is a god amongst men for sure. I recently saw an Akira style poster that had Ruffio walking up to his weird skate/windboard thing that said ‘Bangarang’ It brought me back.
Blake Armstrong: Oh my god, thats such a cool idea for a poster.
Casey Bowker: I’m giving you too many good ideas man
Blake Armstrong: I’ll take them!! Papa needs a new pair of shoes!
Casey Bowker: How do you come up with what to do?
Blake Armstrong: Thats the easy part really — I usually just regurgitate what I like. Movie TV or whatever. I’m juggling (on top of commissions) a Samurai Cop and Silence of the Lambs poster right now. I typically watch something, get inspired and start laying out a cool image based on the flick.
Casey Bowker: I feel like I’m a horrible person by not seeing Samurai Cop, I love Robert Z’Dar in Maniac Cop and whatever other films his chin is allowed to be in.
Blake Armstrong: Dude, Samurai Cop will make you pregnant. His chins get extra billing. You MUST see it.
Casey Bowker: Oh man, impregnated by The Z’Dar is something I hoped would never happen in this young adult life
Blake Armstrong: New movie idea: Z’Dar’s Baby: The Reckoning
Casey Bowker: Hahahaha, it’s happening! We can EASILY make that movie I know he’s on a new abstinence campaign. “I Z’Dare you to have safe sex!”
Blake Armstrong: Dude, we could corner the market on a Z’Dar merchandise. Bob Z’Darth Vader. Z’dare to keep your kids off drugs
Casey Bowker: Hahaha he would be one fudged up Vader. Definitely the crusty white dude that’s OUT of the suit. So, what’s the craziest commission piece you’ve been asked to do
Blake Armstrong: Hmm. I haven’t been asked to do anything that crazy. I had a bunch of people on my Instagram asking me to do a piece based on Cool Runnings.
Casey Bowker: Did you do that Cool Runnings piece?
Blake Armstrong: I did not.
Casey Bowker: I remember that Cool Runnings had a horrid poster. All you could do is improve it, but I understand not taking that, even for money. What’s the best commission piece that you had fun doing?
Blake Armstrong: I did two posters for an indie film called Revelation Trail — it was a zombie western that I had a hand in getting started several years back. Once it was off and running and got distribution, I was asked by the filmmakers to do two posters for it. They came out really well I thought.
Casey Bowker: I was going to ask you about that. I was like “whatever this is, it looks badass.” How did the movie turn out?
Blake Armstrong: The movie was great. Made even more impressive by its minuscule budget (less than 50K). Those guys did an amazing job. You can check it out on iTunes or on the Playstation Network.
Casey Bowker: I will do that. I love indie movies, even without Z’Dar in them. That sounds like a pretty great piece to work on though and it turned out great. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but just haven’t had the chance to yet.
Blake Armstrong: Oh, so much. As far as artwork I’m just trying to get better and push myself. One big plan of mine is in the works but I can’t reveal it just yet — but I’ll be directing a documentary within the next year if things go right. Just can’t say what it is.
Casey Bowker: Hmmm, most intriguing. I hope it’s about the works of Roddy McDowell, but either way, please keep us in the loop so that we can let The Towelites know about it when it can be fully revealed.
Blake Armstrong: Absolutely, will do! I think your fanbase will go absolutely bananas for it.
Casey Bowker: Is that a clue? Is it about a Teenage Ape?
Blake Armstrong: You got me. It’s about teenage monkey people. I’ll cancel the kickstarter.
Casey Bowker: Man you were about to make thousands, of hundreds, of tens of dollars!
Blake Armstrong: I’ll definitely get a pity lunch out of it. As an artist, it’s all I can hope for.
Casey Bowker: I’ll keep the secret safe…for now. So, Spaceboy Comics, where did the name come from?
Blake Armstrong: The main story behind it is one of my favorite movies, Honey I shrunk the Kids — Ron calls Nick Szalinski “Space boy” as an insult and I always thought the line and delivery was really funny. I was a pretty big nerd growing up so could sympathize with Nick. So I stole that line and used it. I think it sums up both my work and myself pretty well.
Casey Bowker: I love it. I saw those movies in the theatre when I was a kid and Rick Moranis continues to speak to me throughout my life. That’s fantastic!
Blake Armstrong: Oh I know. Come back to us Rick!
Casey Bowker: You’ve had a lot of experience making comics right?
Blake Armstrong: I have — the company started because my first major “professional” project was In Flames’ comic book The Jester’s Curse, which I created along with Scott Bramble. The thought in the beginning was that we would make a big series of books. So I built the name based on that assumption. Now it really encompasses all of my work. Which at the moment is primarily art.
Casey Bowker: That’s great stuff, now I gotta check out this comic as well. Other than a secret project that could involve Z’Dar or McDowell. What do you have coming up? Do you hit up the convention scene?
Blake Armstrong: The convention scene is on my list of things to take up next year. This year was all about getting work out there and making a bit of a splash. Now that I have a fairly decent breadth of work, I think you’ll be seeing more of me on the convention floors.
Casey Bowker: Well if you ever make it to the East Coast, please let us know because I know you’d make a killing at some of the cons out here. Especially New York Comic Con
Blake Armstrong: I would love that. I’ve been itching to get to NYCC for years. Maybe next year we’ll run into each other!
Casey Bowker: I think it’s a plan mon frere!
Blake Armstrong: Hells yes!
Casey Bowker: One last thing, Henry Cavill or Jon Hamm for Superman?
Blake Armstrong: JON HAMM. I did a piece based on that very casting thought. I’ve maintained for years that Superman should be set in the 30’s and Jon Hamm should play him.
Casey Bowker: I saw that, and loved it. I’m a huge Don Draper fan, though slightly more of a fan of his Sergio character. But either one could be Supes
Blake Armstrong: THE SAX
Casey Bowker: Yeah man, you don’t mess with that Sax. It worked in Lost Boys and it could work for Superman
Blake Armstrong: Tim Capello could be Superman. I believe this with all of my being. I STILL BELIEVEEEEEE
Casey Bowker: We’ll never STOP believing
Blake Armstrong: We gotta mash-up Tim Capello and Journey. TODAY.
Casey Bowker: Music wise or art wise?
Blake Armstrong: hahahah BOTH!
Casey Bowker: Oh, and Steve Perry Journey or there is no journey
Blake Armstrong: Agreed. Steve Perry or bust.
Casey Bowker: Thank you. Seriously
Blake Armstrong: Thank you man! Hit me up any time you need some internet filler.
If you’d like to see more of Blake’s great work, visit his website and follow his Tumblr and Instagram. I have to thank him again for being able to talk to us about his fantastic art and his love for obscure 80s actors! Make sure you visit his pages and send many good vibes to him throughout the universe!