Weapons of Mass Creation Interview: Chad Lenjer

We’ve already posted 4 of the video interviews we were lucky to film with attendees of the first Weapons of Mass Creation event last fall. Currently we’re busy planning a much more ambitious festival to celebrate contemporary creative visionaries, called Weapons of Mass Creation Fest. Visit the home page to find out what it’s all about, who will be attending, and how you can participate.

Enjoy this video interview (with transcript below) with incredible illustrator Chad Lenjer (Discordant Art).

Chad Lenjer: My name is Chad Lenjer. I go by the alias Discordant Art. I guess people would know my work if they were into the metal / hardcore scene. I predominately do merchandise designs for bands of that sort.

GoMediazine: So who are some of your biggest clients right now?

Chad Lenjer: You know it sort of varies. I’d say some of the most stable, solid bands would be Job for a Cowboy. I’d say Three Inches of Blood even, I’m just a huge fan so they’re bigger to me than any other thing.

GoMediazine: I guess the better question is who your favorite client is?

Chad Lenjer: Uh right now – I mean, it’s not like I have “favorite clients of the month” or anything, but – probably my favorite client is this band called Irepress from Boston. It’s just nice to actually – when it comes to the music industry – being able to do work for a band that I found myself being a huge fan of before I even knew them or did a doodle for them.

GoMediazine: Why did you come to the Weapons of Mass Creation campaign today?

Chad Lenjer: Well, because Jeff hit me up about it. And I just think it’s a really good thing. Of course there is exposure involved & what not. But at the same time, it does make a big difference. Go Media is just completely flawless in everything they do. Their stock art is… I mean you could go to Half-Priced Books or some used book store & buy one of the twenty page things with a bunch of banners & scrolls printed. But then you have to scan that in, and the quality is not anywhere as good to what it would be. So it’s really worth using.

GoMediazine: What’s your opinion of stock art & design resources?

Chad Lenjer: I mean, I have absolutely no qualms with using them. In the past I have felt a little bit guilty. But I mean, they’re royalty free for a reason. It’s not like someone slaved over it and was super pissed or rolling over in his grave over something we’re using. I think they’re a huge positive when appropriating old ideas in newer work. I don’t know, I don’t feel like there should be any guilt involved honestly. I’d say if you were just creating solely pieces of art in a non-conceptual sense of only stock art – then – you’re doing something wrong. But otherwise, it’s really good.

When it comes to music people use the same drum beat in multiple songs. It’s just whatever fits. Whatever the whole piece comes out looking like or sounding like, each thing has its own feeling.

GoMediazine: Your illustrations have been described as extremely detailed & meticulously done. Can you talk a little about your process for it?

Chad Lenjer: Uh, basically, I dunno. Paper. Pens. Draw pictures. I start with a really lose concept & draw a dozen or so thumbnails of compositions that could possibly work or ones that are really garbage. When it comes to pencils, like the initial sketches… When I’m working on a project sometimes I feel bad because it doesn’t really compute. Like I don’t have very much to show in the very first stages. I’m really loose – it’s just a couple scribbles. But I can totally envision what it’s going to look like once I start fleshing it out.

And then from there, it’s just inking. Which is really fun because it’s when I get to add all the detail. But at the same time it’s a little big grueling sometimes. Coloring is usually an afterthought, but I’ve been trying to have the best possible piece envisioned in mind so that there’s not going to be some snags along the way.

When it comes to tee shirts, I’m guilty of it, that’s almost everyone’s last thought: “Oh, let’s just throw the band’s logo on it.” I guess it works, but at the same time it totally looks completely different. You can add something on top of anything.

GoMediazine: Who would you say are some of your biggest inspirations right now?

Chad Lenjer: Uh, right now… I’m still influenced by illustrators greatly. There’s Horsebites (Richard Minino), Justin Kramer (Angryblue) that are here. Angryblue, he was actually one of the first people, when I was in the sixth grade, I would just look at everything he had up on his website. He would worked for a bunch of my favorite bands. He was honestly one of my biggest inspirations.

I really like John Dyer Baizley from Baroness – he’s a fantastic illustrator. But I feel like I get the most inspiration from people that don’t do exactly what I do. I really like photography, but it’s sort of hit or miss with me. It really all depends. I’m an avid lurker on FFFFound.

GoMediazine: What are you working on currently that you’re really excited about?

Chad Lenjer: A couple of designs for Irepress, which I was telling you is my favorite band to work for. So I’m excited about that. Probably just being able to actually do some personal work. Starting to do some prints. And a little side project that I started a year ago. It’s not even anything gallery-worthy, it’s just for fun. I loved the show “Are you Afraid of the Dark” as a kid. So I find myself rewatching old episodes and drawing little pictures based on scenes for them. I always liked macabre & horror and I feel like it’s the perfect balance between being too gross and still having some really scary concepts in mind. It’s just fun, and a little bit of nostalgia.