For years, Awesome Art We’ve Found Around The Net has been about two things only – awesome art and the artists that create it. With that in mind, we thought why not take the first week of the month to showcase these awesome artists even more? Welcome to “Awesome Artist We’ve Found Around The Net.” In this column, we are focusing on one artist and the awesome art that they create, whether they be amateur, up and coming, or well established. The goal is to uncover these artists so even more people become familiar with them. We ask these artists a few questions to see their origins, influences, and more. If you are an awesome artist or know someone that should be featured, feel free to contact me at any time at [email protected].This month we are very pleased to bring you the awesome art of…
Robert Sammelin is a Concept Art Director, Illustrator, and Comics Creator living in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife and son. During the day he makes video games at Embark Studios and previously at DICE where he made concept art and designed the iconic Battlefield key art. At night he makes album covers, posters, illustrations, and comic books, simply because he can’t stop drawing. He has worked for high profile clients such as Apple, Nike, New York Times, Mondo, Waxwork, Entertainment Weekly, GQ, Esquire, Variety, Arrow Video, Image, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Beatball Records.
JoBlo: What got you started as an artist?
Sammelin: I’ve always had a need to have an outlet for my imagination and was drawing and making up stories all the time growing up. Professionally I only started making a living out of it at age 27, some 15 years ago when I had struggled for years, half-assedly I might add, trying to break into graphic design and illustration while holding odd jobs like a subway train driver, IT consultant, record store clerk, data registry. I think I had something like eleven jobs under my belt before my wife had me mustering up the courage to quit a solid day job. plunge into financial uncertainty and put the effort in to focus on building a portfolio. Within a few weeks, I landed a concept art contractor job at Avalanche, a video games studio here in Stockholm and have been part of that industry since; I stayed about a year with them, followed by twelve glorious years at DICE making Battlefield into the FPS juggernaut it is, and now since late 2018 at Embark Studios mapping out the future of video games.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?
I think my first obsession at a very young age (I was probably seven or eight) was Derek Riggs, the artist behind Iron Maiden’s album covers. A little time later it was all about comic book artists; Alfonso Font, Mick McMahon, Brian Bolland, Kevin O’Neill, Liberatore, Steve Yeowell, Tony Salmons, Frank Miller, Jose Ortiz, Hugo Pratt, Sergio Toppi, Ruben Pellejero, etc., basically a who’s who of the Euro comics scene in the ’80s. I started really appreciating the classic poster illustrators of the ’60s in my teens when I took up painting and to this day, decades later I’m still all about album covers, comic books, and poster art.
Who do you really dig these days, who do you follow on Instagram?
A lot of insanely skilled artists I’m proud to know, like Mack Chater, Theodora Daniela Capât, Ash Thorp, Daniel Taylor, Debbie Tsoi. Then there’s all these amazing comic book artists and illustrators; James Harvey, James Edward Clark, Dilraj Mann, Tula Lotay, Paul Pope, Ugo Bienvenu, Ralph Meyer, Denis Rodier, Jeff Dekal, Ben Oliver, Vanessa Del Rey, Bruno Selig, Tony Stella, Francesco Francavilla – I could probably go on for a while as the majority of the 1500+ accounts I follow are art-related.
What advice would you have for budding artists today?
Practice, commit, and accept – the work on improving never ends, but soon enough with a lot of practice, you’ll come to accept your failures and like, even love, your own work. If you do someone, else definitely will. Work up a drive like a crazy person, be stubborn and keep going when you fail or want to quit, but above all – be kind.
What should we be looking out for from you in the future?
Aside from my normal job-making games (stay tuned for news on what we’re up to at Embark Studios), I’m working on YT Savior, a comic book with Aleš Kot for Upshot Studios and another called Kali with Daniel Freedman. A lot of my other work is currently under wraps, but there’s a steady stream of LP art, posters, and comic book covers coming.
Being a fansite, we have to ask you… What are some of your favorite movies/TV shows of all time?
I’m sure it’s quite obvious from my work I’m really into horror and campy cinema, But films I rewatch a lot are Leone’s westerns, David Lynch’s work, True Romance, most Tarantino movies, Danger: Diabolik, The Thing, Buckaroo Banzai, Zardoz, Wonder Boys, Weird Science, Profondo Rosso, Death Walks at Midnight, The Beyond, Bullit, Hana-Bi, Dr. Phibes and The Fist of the North Star. I don’t watch all that much of TV or series anymore, but some all-time favorite ones include Twin Peaks, The Green Hornet, Batman (the ’60s one), Hawaii Five-0 (the original run with Jack Lord), Sex and the City, Vice Principals, Elementary, Battle Star Galactica, the initial run of Arrested Development, IT Crowd, Parks And Recreation, Cowboy Bebop. Recent gems would be The Kominsky Method, The Fall, The Outsider, and Silicon Valley.
Escape From New York
The Fifth Element
Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter
Mad Max: Fury Road
Night Of The Living Dead
Over The Top
Power Rangers Turbo
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me