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Michael Hacker – Austrian artist extraordinaire!

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Hello Michael, who are you? What do you do?

My name’s Michael Hacker and I’m working as an illustrator and comic artist in Vienna, Austria.

You draw a lot of gig posters! Is this your favourite medium of artwork?

My favourite medium is definitely comics. I have deep respect for comic artists as it takes a lot of lot of effort, time and self comittment to finish a whole book. But I really love to do gig posters as well. First it’s great to visualize a band or their music (especially if it’s a band you really like) in your own distinctive way. Second you’ve got a deadline which helps you finish the job. And last but not least the gig poster scene involves many great artists and even greater individuals who I really grew fond of in the last couple of years.

Tell us five bands you have drawn posters for and five bands you’d love to draw posters for…

I’ve done gig posters for The Melvins, Queens of The Stone Age, Kvelertak, Mastodon and Green Day.
And I would love to design a poster for High On Fire, Sleep, Faith No More, Iron Maiden and definitely for Anthrax!

How do you create your artwork? Do you drink a couple of beers, dance with devil and see what happens? Or is there a more traditional process?

Concerning dancing, I rarely dance and I would be afraid to dance with the devil because of his clumsy hooves. Concerning my work process, it all starts with an idea and a very rough and small sketch. Often the size of a stamp (and sometimes years before a certain band comes to town to play a show). After blowing the sketch up and adding details I ink it with a brush pen by tracing the drawing on a light table (I like to have an original linework on paper). As I often try to integrate the typography into my artwork I do the lettering by hand as well. If the artwork is going to be a gig poster I draw the colour layers on transparent paper and put them together on the computer. Beers are optional but definitely helpful.

Lots of random animals come in to your artwork… are you a keen fan of nature? What’s your favourite creature to draw?

To be honest I’ve never thought about that. It’s definitely fun to draw animals and I guess they are a great way to show or even caricature humans and their behaviour.

You do a lot of gallery/installation stuff – tell us a bit about that?

I love to do installations because it’s great to see how my style works on three dimensional objects. And as I normally work with brush and black ink gallery shows are always a motivation to create paintings and work with techniques like water colours or acrylic paint. E.g. I just did a reinterpretation of Anthrax’ “Fistful Of Metal” album cover for a show at Gallery1988 in Los Angeles.

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You’re from Austria. Tell us the five best things about Austria! 

Schnitzel, Schwarzenegger, Schound of Music, Apple Schtrudel and Pungent Schtench.

We saw on your Facebook, that someone got a tattoo of your artwork – how does that feel? Would you get a tattoo of your own artwork?

It’s definitely a great sign of appreciation when somebody gets your art tattoed. I was pretty stoked when I saw a girl at a concert that had six of my illustrations tattooed on her forearms! I doubt that I will ever get a tattoo and it would definitely not be one of my own illustrations.

Do you screen print your own gig posters?

Yes, I print all my posters myself. It’s a love/hate thing. Sometimes it can be extremely rewarding. E.g. the moment when you lift the screen after printing the last colour of a poster for the first time. But it’s nerve-wracking when your screen is messed up at 2 a.m. and you have no idea what just happened. After about ten years of printing there are still lots of surprises and still lots to learn.

5 artists we should check out…

Nicolas Mahler
Shawn Knight    
Nychos 
Lauren YS 
Mark Rudolph 

3 bands we should check out?

Child Bite 
Black Cobra
Zu

If Austrian Airlines came to you and asked you to draw something to go on their plane (as a logo type thing)… what would you draw?

Winged wieners and flying Frankfurters.

Anything else you’d like to promote?

Posterkrauts – a German-speaking gig poster collective (not unlike the U.K. Poster Association).
If you ever visit Vienna, make sure to check out Rabbit Eye Movement  – a gallery and coffee shop run by weird dissection wizard Nychos. You can get some of my prints there as well. And last but not least I just did a reprint of my “Häcksler” comic zine which is available in my online store and I will release a comic book entitled “Steroid Max” (a homage full of body fluids to 80s and 90s action movies) in March 2015.

Check out Michael’s site right here.

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