Texas Art Spotlight: Tommy Pons
Artist: Tommy Pons
How did you get started as an artist?
I’ve been drawing as long as I can remember. I was always doodling something. My Mom used to bring me home stacks of blank typing paper to draw on. I was first drawing every dinosaur imaginable. What really got me drawing was a Marvel horror comic called Werewolf By Night. I used to trace the panels when I was a kid. Most of the initial issues (the best ones) were drawn by the incredible Mike Ploog. After that, I would say the artwork found in Creepy and Eerie magazines, work by the legendary Berni Wrightson, as well as Russ Heath, Alex Toth and others. I still have a folder from the 2nd or 3rd grade covered in headless horsemen, cyclops, aliens and werewolf scribbles. Good thing I grew up when I did…nowadays, I would have probably been put in therapy and severely medicated, electroshock therapy, leeches…LOL.
What has been the most rewarding piece for you so far?
It’s hard to choose. It would be like picking one of your favorite pets or kids really. The [Dangerous] Toys covers definitely got me a bit of notoriety back in the day. Also, the KISS concert posters I did during the reunion tours.
Back in 1988, I self published a Werewolf Portfolio, filled with brush/Ink drawings of, you guessed it, Werewolves. Eventually, the portfolio made it into the hands of the guys from Testament, which led to a number of tour shirts in the early 1990’s. The one lucky connection I’m most fond of was that it fell into Ronnie and Wendy Dio’s hands right around the time he was doing the “Lock Up The Wolves” CD. [I] got to do a really cool tour shirt for that, and Ronnie bought the original art from me. Nicest guy in the world, RJD.
After that, most recently, I would say some of the Maiden paintings I’ve done for a few European magazines such as my Rorkes Drift Eddie and my Roman Eddie. They’ve been bootlegged to death, which isn’t a bad thing when you think about it. From bootleg shirts or CD’s/DVD’s, it gets my work out there each time it’s printed.
Does your art reflect your musical taste?
I think so….yeah. A really good band or musician paints a picture with the music they write and the mood they create definitely influences one’s work. I was and still am a big Universal Monsters fan. I used to draw Frankenstein, The Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon. Probably right around the time I first heard Monster Mash, when I was around 6 while my friends in the neighborhood had Disney’s sing along with Mickey LP’s or something like that, I had my oldest brothers hand me down records; The Stones’ “Satanic Majesties Request,” Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” Zeppelin and more. I was always drawn to the macabre type of things…movies, you name it, so when Alice Cooper and KISS came along…WOW. That was a 70’s kid’s dream come true. Then when the Maiden covers hit…end of story.
What Texas bands are you listening to right now?
Hmmmm…not many to be honest. I occasionally listen to some ZZ Top, The Sword or Watchtower…never was a very big Pantera fan. Probably because of the terrible LP covers they had back in the day and equally terrible way they tried to find a visual identity. I really don’t go see much new music as I find it unappealing these days.
What does your artwork offer the Texas music scene?
I have no idea !!! LOL I’m simply a homegrown Texas kid (born in San Antonio) that loves to doodle, scribble and draw in a traditional fashion. I work with paint, not digital, which I find to be sterile, lifeless and lacks any real skill. There are some fantastic digital illustrators out there but in too many instances, its somebody that can barely draw a stick figure, but makes it look passable these days with the generic filters, etc., that you find in photoshop. I don’t need an undo button or a smudge tool to do my work….rant ended…LOL.
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