Artist Spotlight: an Interview with Danny Cruz

Nothing seems to catch my attention faster than a good piece of artwork. Art that is done well tells an entire story which is communicated in just a few seconds. The skill required to accomplish this takes years to acquire — and a lifetime to perfect. Some artists sit down, create their art, and think nothing of it — others, like the one I interviewed earlier this week, study and hone their craft for an entire lifetime.

This past week I was fortunate enough to speak with the very talented artist, Danny Cruz. You may have seen his work on the game Kingdom Death: Monster. Danny shared some insights about his experience as an artist and what types of projects he enjoys working on.

Danny---Lanista-3

*Art by Danny Cruz

I asked Danny how he got his start as an artist and what were his early inspirations. Like many others, Danny started drawing at a young age and realized he had a talent for it. Listen to what he shared with me about his early years and which artists caught his eye. 

 

I think everyone loves a “big break” story. Danny tells me how he got a couple of big breaks that he still benefits from to this day. He says he no longer has to go out and find work, rather the work seems to find him as a result of previous success.

 

What I found interesting is that although Danny has had such a great response to his art, he sets the bar for himself almost impossibly high. He tells me he is constantly trying to improve on his skills — trying to “level up” enough to impress his most harsh critic — himself. 

 

Danny---Hoarder*Art by Danny Cruz

Being new to the tabletop gaming world, I wouldn’t know who Danny Cruz is if it wasn’t for his current work with D-Verse Publishing and their game Nexus. I was curious to see what he had to say about the lore in Nexus and how he brought the characters in the game to life.

 

Getting a glimpse into the mind of an incredibly talented artist such as Danny Cruz was a great experience. Danny’s never-ending quest to perfect his craft is nothing short of motivational. He is a great example of someone who was given an ability and rather than squander it, he has turned it into something that will move and inspire people for generations to come.

If you would like to see more of Danny’s art, you can visit his DeviantArt page at http://dannycruz4.deviantart.com/

Next time I will be sharing the interview I did with the artist Michael Rechlin — also known as Viking Myke. It will be interesting to see Myke’s perspective on being an artist in the world of tabletop gaming.

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share! Comments are always nice too!

Artist Spotlight: Michael Rechlin aka Viking Myke

There’s a certain image that pops in your head when you are told someone calls themselves “Viking Myke.” Then I saw his artwork for the first time — and the image became more pronounced. Finally, I got to interview him over Skype and the full picture came into focus. Michael Rechlin, aka Viking Myke is as dynamic as his artwork. A driven guy who knows what he wants and — like a Viking — doesn’t mind fighting hard for something he believes in.

When looking at a piece of his art, I can’t help but get a sense that there is some deeper meaning behind it all. It is humorous, dark, and sometimes twisted. If you look closely, it seems possible there is something to be learned about humanity in each piece. For example, one of his pieces depicts a rich fat guy getting his toenails clipped by people of a lower socioeconomic status which could symbolize how disgusting and twisted our world can be towards those that are not as fortunate in life. Needless to say, his art is nothing short of breathtaking and I couldn’t wait to dive right in and learn more about his influences.

Myke---Lanista-Life*Art by Michael Rechlin

 

Myke tells me about his need for independence and how early on he knew he wanted to pursue art for a living. Listen to what he says about his early influences and how they helped shape his work today.

 

There is little doubt that Myke enjoys what he does. Several years ago, his desire to continue doing art would be tested. Listen how an unforeseen event almost ended his ability to draw and how his determination to find a way to keep doing what he loves pulled him through.

 

I’m finding that some artists like to warm up a while and have a ritual of sorts before working on commissioned pieces. Viking Myke seems to have a different take when it comes to starting on a piece of art. Listen to Myke explain why he thinks of himself as an “Artistic Sniper.”

 

Myke-FloorSawsFinal*Art by Michael Rechlin

 

While Myke works with all types of mediums and enjoys paint as well as black and white work — he explains to me there is something pure about black and white. There seems to be a fan base out there that enjoys black and white and how it hearkens back to our younger days and brings back a sort of magical nostalgia. Listen to what Myke has to say about the tabletop gaming industry and black and white art.

 

When it comes to deciding who Myke will do business with, he tells me he likes to feel out the person to make sure they will be a good fit before taking on a project. When Scott Rumptz and Jay Goike of D-Verse Publishing reached out to Myke to work on their new game Nexus, Myke was not sure he would be a good fit at first. Listen to what factors helped him make up his mind on the project.

 

Myke--SKURN-Death-Saws*Art by Michael Rechlin

 

Sometimes in life you meet someone that you can just tell will be a really big deal once they get that one big break. Myke is one of these people. It’s almost like he is a hidden gem just waiting to be scooped up once his work is brought to the surface in the sunlight. I foresee a day real soon where Myke will be busy beyond his dreams and people will be fighting to commission his work.

It seems the universe always finds a way to test you the most when you feel you have found the thing you want to do in life — almost as a way to say “are you sure you want to do that? You are going to have to work twice as hard for it!?” Myke’s tenacity and determination to keep going when times get tough and sticking to his beliefs should resonate with anyone who has tried to do something on their own. From now on, I will always remember my inner “Viking” when those tough times hit and urge myself to push on through towards victory.

If you are interested in seeing more of  Michael Rechlin, aka Viking Myke’s work, you can check out his website here: https://michaelrechlin.carbonmade.com/

Next week I will be attending Origins 2018 in Columbus, Ohio for the very first time. I am very excited and look forward to bringing you some stories about the people I meet there. The blog may be delayed a week or so depending on if I have time to get writing done while in the hotel room or not. I have a feeling I’m going to be busy meeting all the great people in the tabletop gaming community! See you there!

If you like what you see, be sure to follow, like, and share! Comments are always nice too!