Weapons of Mass Creation Interview: Geoff May

Welcome to the second installation of the Weapons of Mass Creation video interview series. Not sure what this is all about? Read the kick-off article to get caught up!

Our first interview was with Richard Minino, otherwise known as HORSEBITES. If you missed it, you can watch the first interview here.

The second interview is with Geoff May. We’ve got 8 minutes of revealing video for you to watch! Inspired by all the negative comments about audio quality on the last interview, we’ve once again transcribed the interview for you to read along with! You’ll find both below.

Geoff May: My name’s Geoff May, G-E-O-F-F, and the design community would know me for merchandise design. I’m all over the board with bands I’ve worked with. I mean, I was doing Bee Gees earlier in the week, and then Guns & Roses at the end of the week – so it’s kind of all over the place. But, yea, people would know me through that.

GoMediazine: So what’s your story? How did you get started?

Geoff May: I was working a job as an illustrator for this gaming company. They’re the biggest bingo distributor in the world, and uh, it sucked. It was so corporate. I quit and said “yea I’m just gonna freelance”. I was doing print & web design and hated it.

I want to do band t-shirts & album art & skateboards & just, cool stuff! And one day, I just contacted some merch companies. I thought maybe I’ll hear back from them, maybe not. Well, I heard back from them. I kinda fell into it that way.

It’s cool, but what’s funny is I contact all these record labels, and none of them replied. None. And after I’d been working for the merchandise companies, all of the sudden these record labels were contacting me. These same ones who never replied to any emails or anything.

GoMediazine: Oh, yea, now you want me?!

Geoff May: Like, now? Really? C’mon, where were you six months ago?

GoMediazine: So what’s been your best project?

Geoff May: Anything where there’s no production, and it’s just like “do something” I like to draw, so anything hand drawn. I was talking about doing Guns & Roses this week. They said “do whatever – make it 80s rock style, but do whatever”. Yea, I’m making skulls, snakes. It’s fun when you have free reign to do whatever.

GoMediazine: So you were talking that you’re excited that Chad’s (DiscordantArt) here, Angryblue’s here. Are these guys you’ve drawn inspiration from? Who else has inspired your work?

Geoff May: Yea, if you’re gonna talk more industry known – merchandise design known? Yea, Chad’s Killer. And the kid’s only twenty, which just makes me sick. Angryblue is big. Jeff Finley & Oliver Barrett – those guys are giants too. Who was a big inspiration, Illustration wise? Todd McFarlane Derek Hess.

GoMediazine: Do you have any current projects you want to talk about? Are there any you can talk about right now?

Geoff May: It’s all hush-hush. All lock and key. No, uh, right now there’s Guns & Roses that I’m working on and I’m pretty stoked about that. I had to put some stuff on the backburner, like this design for Trivium, coming up which I’m pretty stoked about. It’s Kali Ma, which is a Hindu god. She’s blue with four arms & wears a necklace of skulls & a skirt of arms – you know, severed arms. It’s pretty gnarly, and I can’t wait to get back to doing it because I think that’s going to be a fun shirt.

GoMediazine: So, unrelated question: What’s the story of your tattoos?

Geoff May: odd McFarlane. 50s pin-ups. I love 1950s art and 1950s ads.

GoMediazine: So is that another inspiration of yours?

Geoff May: Yea… it doesn’t transfer over to what I’m doing really. But I like the aesthetics of it. Now and then I do do more graphic design based stuff. I always think about that. The 50s stuff was real cool & clean. And the artists were phenomenal. I mean, there wasn’t clip art. You had these guys like Gil Elvgren (http://tinyurl.com/yatcoo6), fucking hand painting these images. You don’t see that anymore.

GoMediazine: So you said stock art. That brings me to a question that we wanted to ask you. And you seem ready! It can almost get philosophical. What’s your opinion of stock art and design resources.

Geoff May: I’m a huge fan of it. I have a lot of Go Media Vector Packs. What I’m against is people just taking something & slapping it on, and making that the main image. That’s not really… you didn’t do anything. You took something that somebody else did. But – there’s plenty of uses. I use a lot of the distressed vectors & splatters & stuff like that. I like using those because it takes my art and enhances it. And it saves me a ton of time! I could pull out the ink & brushes & make splatters. Or I could just go & use some & they’re right there. I save a ton of time & it’s the same result. There’s plenty of people using that stuff in creative ways. And there’s also a ton of people abusing it, slapping a bunch of it together & calling it art. There’s something to be said for found images, and repurposing, but uh–

GoMediazine: It’s a thin line almost, isn’t it?

Geoff May: There’s a really thin line. But I’d say I’m definitely for it, because I use the stuff all the time. On my latest project I was using Go Media Vectors. I think: I don’t have time to draw these wings, these are cool wings & they’re not a main focal point of the art. These will fit perfect for what I was going to do, get the point across. It’ll save me a ton of time.

It comes to saving a time. I want to get something done as quickly as possible, because I get a flat rate, not hourly pay. But it still needs to be quality. So, I could either spend two hours drawing this image, or I could use theirs – which is the same quality. It’s what I need.

GoMediazine: So do you have a lot of ebbs & flows in your work right now? Jobs coming in & out?

Geoff May: Yea, yea. I’m constantly busy. And that’s important. It’s to the point now where people contact me, I don’t have to look for work. Which is really nice. I think that anybody, in any profession, want people to come to you. I have the ability to turn down projects. If it’s not something I want to do and I don’t really need it, I’m like “I’m not going to do it”. I’d rather do something cooler.

There’s times. If things are slow I’ll whore myself out. Yea, I’ll do Backstreet Boys, why not? I mean, it sucks, it’s not going to be in my portfolio! But I’m still going to do a great job. I don’t treat it like any less of a project. I mean, my name is still attached to it. I still want to do a good job. I’m not going to put up shit just because I don’t like the band or whatever.

You’ve just got to treat everything like that’s going to be the one that your name is always going to be attached to. Some random project. It’s always going to be one you don’t like. You’ve got to try to do your best work always.