If you have been to a comic convention west of the Mississippi in the past 5 years then you have probably seen Daniel and Dawna Davis of Steam Crow and Monster Commute fame. With Daniel’s trademark handlebar mustache, their brand-savvy Steam Crow booth set-up and their eccentrically adorable original art and steampunk-themed merchandise, this dynamic-duo stands out and is hard to miss.
Not only has the locally-based Steam Crow team created one of the coolest collections of art and effects that you are likely to see at a pop culture convention or show, but as the founders of the valley’s Tiny Army, they share their marketing experience and skills with others in the local arts community by hosting workshops like “Convention Boot Camp,” where you can learn to prepare for the craziness of the convention season.
As part of Nerdvana’s Artist Profile series leading up to the 2012 Phoenix Comicon, Steam Crow’s Daniel m. Davis was kind enough to break away from his monster manufacturing for a minute to answer some questions about his art and artistic influences:
What is your secret origin?
I was found by a kind Hag, in a circus-stump, on the edge of a dark grove of trees. The Hag put me into her chicken-legged hut, and we traveled the Fey highways looking for fresh meats to eat. I escaped at age 8 and was raised by a Cabal of Vector Monks with really long names (who were really just civilized Sasquatches.) It was GREAT!
Pop monster candy. Vintage art from a monster world. Seventh level Vectormancy.
What is your goal/ambition with your art?
We’re trying to simply make people happy, through our monstery creations. We’re attempting to show you a monster world, and make evidence of its reality through our art.
We’re attempting to build a legacy of work that we can be proud of for the rest of our days, and for our Goblin Boy son to be proud of as well. There’s no time to watch reality TV anymore; there’s no reason to be good at that. We want to do something more with our lives.
What projects are you currently working on?
We’re always illustrating new art, but we’re also working on:
- The Steam Crow Show, our videos of monster-puppet lovin’ goodness/badness;
- Keen Halloween, our upcoming pop culture Halloween event on September 29th, 2012;
- The Monster Commute Roleplaying Game (an epic project)
- …and several more secret ways to make our Patriot Patrons wonder about our sanity.
Oh geeze… there are more than I can list. Here are just a few: Alphonse Mucha, Salvadore Dali, Rhode Montijo, Frank Black, Mike Mignola, whoever invented Halloween, Dungeons & Dragons, Ray Harryhausen films, classic cartoons, Japanese packaging mascots, toys, Kawaii character design and Raspuntin.
Who is your favorite local artist?
I have several, as we have a thriving scene here in Arizona: Mike Maas, Gary Ham, Benjamin Glendenning, Greg Ham, Ryan Cody, Eric Torres, Meredith McClaren and Tony Parker. Loads more…
What is your favorite music to listen to while working on your art?
Poppy guitar stuff – White Stripes, The Beatles, The Hives and movie soundtracks. Tom Waits, The Pixies, Ween, The Ramones, Deerhoof, Neutral Milk Hotel and Fountains of Wayne. I dunno… whatever I say here will be passé by Tuesday.
What is your favorite movie and how has it influenced your art?
I find that most Terry Gilliam movies move me on a core level, at least visually (Brazil specifically.) I ADORE the City of Lost Children by Jeunet and Caro. That could be my favorite film. These directors usually paint a world in a state of decay; a bygone era of rusted technology, dark shadows, and lost souls. Those textures tend to show up in my work.
What are you most looking forward to at Phoenix Comicon?
Seeing the huge crowds of people at the show. This will be our 7th consecutive show and we’ve seen it grow so much since we first exhibited there. It’s this huge and vital thing.
Dawna and I are doing a panel on Saturday morning (10:30) in the Art Room, showing folks how we draw our monsters. That should be fun (we’ve never done a panel together!) So that, meeting new folks, connecting with our friends, talking about art and monsters and hobos. The whole dang thing.
Sure we are! We’ve got an exclusive print based one of the most wicked Arizona monsters around: The Jackalope. We’ll only ever make 150 of these, so you’ll want to pick one up fast.
What is the craziest thing you’ve been asked to sketch?
I dunno… teeth? Kittens? Iron-guy? It’s funny when folks ask me to draw things that are not monsters.
If you had a superpower, what would it be and how did you acquire it?
I’d have a mechanical fist on a chain that was given to me by Mike Mignola (for saving his life in that swamp over there!) I’d swing the fist on a chain around my head three times, and then strike the ground and candy would spill out of the ground and it would create an INSTANT HALLOWEEN. It would be great, all the kids would all cheer and…something like that.
Steam Crow will be located in the heart of the Comicon convention floor at booths #720 and #722. Daniel says, “Our plan is for you to find us, so look for a striped banner. It should be large and mighty like a ship.” You can follow Steam Crow and their amazing art at their TWITTER or GOOGLE+ locations and by joining them on FACEBOOK at Steam Crow Army. See more great Steam Crow art on FLICKR and sign-up for their NEWSLETTER for new and Steam Crow specials!
Arizona catches a lot of heat in the media and from the nation as a whole, but nevertheless our crazy ‘Hellscape’ is proudly called “home” by some of the greatest pop culture artistic talent in the country. So leading up to the 2012 Phoenix Comicon (May 24 – 27), Nerdvana will showcase a series of posts profiling some of the amazing local artists that will be appearing at this year’s convention. Read ALL the Nerdvana’s Artist Profiles!