I have been a big fan of illustrator Martin Ansin for some time now. For the uninitiated, Martin is a Monteviedo, Uruguay based illustrator who has been cranking out some amazing work for both commercial clients and the famed Alamo Drafthouse. His most recent print completes the Mondo director’s series for Guillermo del Toro depicting Ansin’s rendition of the director’s first film ‘Cronos’ and drops tomorrow morning. So it seemed like a perfect time to ask him a few questions about his life, inspirations, location and signature style that poster fans can’t quite seem to get enough of (myself included). It’s our first interview here at Changethethought and hopefully one of many. We have several of his prints hanging in our studio so we couldn’t wait to catch up with him and hear all about how he does the amazing thing he does.
Click more to read our full Q&A session about Martin’s life, times and work along with some images of his amazing work. Be sure to click the images as they are much larger than normal to see the amazing detail in his work.
Martin, first off I just wanted to say that I am a huge fan. I have been trying to collect your posters over the past several months and recently acquired your Alamo Drafthouse poster for Scott Pilgrim Vs The World. It’s amazing.
1. How did you come into the field of commercial illustration? Did you attend a university or are you self-taught?
My background is in graphic design, that’s what I studied and worked in for a number of years. But I’ve been drawing and painting since I was little, and was really into comics first as a reader and later as an artist. Actually, my first job was as a comics artist. Going into design was a more sensible choice for a job living here, and I really enjoyed it and learned a lot, but it as it turned into a serious career I wondered if design was what I wanted to invest myself in. So I just took the jump to what I’ve always loved, and hoped for the best.
2. Who and what inspires your work the most? Are you a big fan of movies and science fiction?
Absolutely, I really love movies and science fiction is a huge part of my movie diet. I’m very attracted visually to the overlap between fantasy and fact, and I really enjoy looking at scifi films to see what’s in the sandbox that the people who made the movie built for themselves at a certain point in time. I couldn’t really point at where inspiration does come from for me, but my storytelling tools usually come from the way movies and comics go about these things.
3. What is your process for creating an illustration? Do you start with pen on paper or do you work only in the digital space?
My process is quite straightforward, in that I don’t spend too much time detailing sketches or comps unless it’s needed. I like to jump into the final as soon as I can. A lot of my process is digital, I feel comfortable in that space and I don’t feel a need to bring an analog feel to the images or “texturize” them, for instance… I usually do sketches and thumbnails on paper, but it’s rare for me to scan things into the computer to continue them.
4. I recently got my hands on a Cintiq and have been pretty excited about what I can do with it so far. Have you ever used one? Or are you more a mouse click and drag kind of a guy?
I’ve got a trusty old Intuos 3, I got really used to it and a dual monitor setup. I don’t know if I’d change it for a Cintiq, honestly.
5. Are you still currently residing in Uruguay? What about living in Uruguay influences your work and have you considered a move to either the U.S. or Europe?
I always consider to move everytime I visit a nice place. It’s always a complex thing to move too, so I’ve ended up back home in the end. Montevideo is a really tranquil place compared to a big U.S. or European city, and it keeps out of your way when you have some work to do.
6. Are you married or do you have a family? My family is a big influence on my work and I am always curious about whether or not someone so talented as you has hitched up with someone or kept at it alone. It’s such a demanding field sometimes it can be hard to stay balanced.
I’m single right now, and I’m sure it would be difficult to balance work and family life working in this field. There’s no such thing as “office hours”. “Holiday” is a funny word I had to look up the other day.
7. Do you travel a lot? Where do you like to go to unwind or get inspired?
I don’t travel nearly as much as I’d like to. I’m not a seaside resort kind of person, not for more than a couple of days at best. I need a good bit of activity around and things to do to stay interested, so I usually choose a big city that can be navigated on foot (and coffee).
6. How did you hook up with the people at Mondo? Did they look you up or did you reach out to them yourself?
I had done a movie poster of THX-1138 ( http://www.martinansin.com/index.php?/thx-1138-poster/ ) just for kicks and posted it on my site, and Mitch from Mondo and omgposters.com saw it and contacted me to do something for them. I think our first poster was for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. The guys at Mondo, Mitch, Justin and Rob are awesome, I enjoy what we get to do so much I couldn’t call it work.
7. How does it make you feel watching the rampant collection of your poster work? Does it weird you out to see one of your posters listed on eBay for a 1,000 bucks?
I try not to look at eBay listings at all. Ever. To know that people like my stuff enough to go out of their way and buy it is great, and sometimes it’s a shock for me to consider that somebody has my work up on a wall in their home. That’s what I find valuable. I love when someone sends me a pic of their walls.
8. What is on your docket for 2011? Any tasty tidbits you can fill us in on? We are going crazy waiting for your next poster release!
There are quite a few posters coming up soon, and some are right at the gates. I always try to change things up a bit on every one of them, hopefully you’ll enjoy them!
9. Have you ever thought of self-publishing some of your work? Like printing some posters yourself, distributing and selling them through yourself instead of a 3rd party?
That’s something that I’ve had on the back burner for a while, I’d like to do a little art print series soon. I guess I just need to find the time…
10. What do you want to accomplish within the next few years as an illustrator and designer?
I’m just happy to be able to do this for a living. Maybe I’ll be able to keep it going long enough to be good at it.
Thanks so much Martin. Like I said, we are huge fans. We can’t tell you how appreciative we are for taking some time to answer a few questions for our readers. We realize how busy you must be and how valuable your time is. It’s always great to dig inside the mind of someone who inspires you and we will continue to cheer on your success.
Be sure to check out the rest of Martin’s inspiring work at his website.