Artist Profile: Hombre_McSteez
By MR OWL.
Operating out of Redwood City in California, Hombre_McSteez creates incredibly surreal cell animations with the use of nothing but an iPhone, a marker and a transparency. The end result is a humorous and entertaining insight into the mind of an artist who is currently creating animations for a series of shorts for Cartoon Network. BYO caught up with Hombre ahead of his visit to Sydney next month.
Hey Hombre, nice to meet you!
Thanks for reaching out!
First up, where were you born, and where are you currently situated?
I was born in, and currently live in Redwood City California. But right now I am in a hotel in Tokyo!
In your words, what do you do?
I still haven’t figured out an easy way to explain what I do, usually I just show people an animation. But I would say that I draw cartoons on transparencies and hold them up in front of my iPhone to animate creatures into everyday situations.
This all started with a whiteboard drawing in your dad’s shop some time ago. It has now progressed into these incredible environmental cell animations. Where do you see yourself going with your work into the future?
I am not sure exactly, but there is so much potential for more progression because this technique is so new. As far as I know I am the only person animating this way. I would like to experiment with more time-lapse and stop-motion techniques, more colour and realism, and maybe some more abstract animations.
One aspect of your work that I find really interesting is that we get to witness your imagination interacting with it’s environment. In some ways we get a sneak peek into your mind… If we were to project your thoughts onto a wall, what do you think we would see?
You would see exactly what is in my sketchbook. I use my sketchbook as a kind of mind regurgitation device, everything I think about just pours out onto the pages of my sketchbooks. It is by far the most important creative tool that I use. It is really rare for me to think of an idea in my head, all of my creativity happens in my sketchbooks.
In previous interviews, you mentioned that you always carry a backpack with your sketchbook, transparencies, pens, and whiteout. Can you explain what draws you to a certain place where you will begin to sketch?
There are several factors I look at: The spot has to look visually interesting - have compositional elements that create pleasing shapes and lines for the eye. It needs to get good sunlight. No wind- windyness is a big factor, if it is windy I have to tape each cel to a piece of glass. But the most important thing I look for is an object that I can move around and animate.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
“Die Empty.” Its not really advice, but its a phrase from a podcast I was listening to at the time I began doing daily cartoons on instagram called ‘the accidental creative’. It’s a great podcast about how to be creative on a daily basis by a guy named Todd Henry. The concept behind ‘dying empty’ is if you were to die tomorrow would you feel like you have communicated your thoughts and ideas to your fullest potential. This quote really made me take a different perspective on the work I was doing professionally (storyboard artist for animated movies) and think about whether or not I was making the work that I feel like I have to create in my lifetime.
Where are you currently sitting and what can you see?
I am currently sitting in my hotel room on the 9th floor of a hotel in Tokyo, Japan. I am on a trip around the world creating animations for a series of shorts for Cartoon Network! I am actually planning to be in Sydney on Dec 15-20th! Come say Hi:) You can follow my travels on snapchat: hombremcsteez
When you’re not sketching, what do you find yourself doing?
I like to travel and go on spontaneous adventures. I also ride my skateboard and play a lot of golf.
Finally, artists/Instagram accounts that you’re currently loving?
Hombre_McSteez will be in Sydney next month sometime around Dec 15-20th. Until then, you can follow him on snapchat at hombremcsteez, instagram, or facebook.