There are many talented artists in the world who are little appreciated despite their awe-inspiring abilities. Noting the lack of outlets for up-and-coming, underground, or outside artists to showcase their work, I decided to start an “Artist Spotlight” series where I will interview various artists in order to gain a deeper insight into what inspires their creativity and what they plan to do with their careers.
Illustrator and collage maker Dave Plunkert is the subject of my most recent interview. Dave’s illustrations have appeared in advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 companies as well as major newspapers, magazines, and recording labels. His work has been recognized by American Illustration, Communication Arts, Graphis, Print, the Society of Illustrators, and The New York Art Directors’ Club. He has also been featured in numerous books including: Cool Type, New Masters of Poster Design, The Greatest Rock Albums that Never Were, and Mixing Messages. The Maryland-based Dave has taught graphic design Shepherd College and Maryland Institute College of Art in addition to lecturing for AIGA Chapters throughout the US. His work has been collected by museums and private collectors, and has been exhibited internationally. He has received medals from the Society of Illustrators LA and from the Society of Illustrators NY. In 1995, he and Joyce Hesselberth co-founded their company called Spur Design.
Recently, I interviewed Dave about his experiences working in the field of illustration:
Q: What influenced you to become a cartoonist? Specifically, what draws you to the collage medium?
I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist since I was a kid. I loved comics as a kid but I decided to pursue graphic design as a career. Graphic design led to an interest in design and art history and there I discovered collage: primarily the work of the John Heartfield, Kurt Switters, Raol Haussman, and Otto Umbehr. Collage is basically designing with stuff you’ve collected and a very appealing way to work.
Q: In terms of subject matter, what are your cartoons about and what inspired the ideas for them?
I never gave up my love of comics so I was determined at some point to dip my toe back in the water. I decided to do it by playing with the tropes of super-hero comics as if they were made by a kid. I used to make comics as a kid and I remember that the process was very different than how an adult would make something. Kids just dive right in.
Q: As far as working in comics and illustration, what has been your most rewarding experience so far?
I don’t think they’re particularly distinct but I would call illustration as my primary focus and cartooning a bright spot in the R&D Department. There’s overlap in one feeding the other.
Q: How has MoCCA helped your career?
MoCCA helped put me in contact with a few publishers. Receiving one of the five Awards of Excellence didn’t hurt.
Q: What are your ultimate goals for the future?
Keep making stuff and have fun doing it!
Q: Are there any up and coming projects that you would like to mention?
Heroical #2 is currently on my drawing board and set to debut this September at the Small Press Expo. I will certainly bring it to MOCCA as well. I’ve also completed and illustrated a hardcover: “Edgar Allan Poe: Stories and Poems” which is set to be released in November.
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For more information about Dave Plunkert and his work visit his official website: