Floating Head publishes science fiction art, comics, illustration, and prose in beautifully designed books and prints.
STL SPEX (Rachel): What are your artistic influences?
Some of my favorite artists include illustrators Kilian Eng and Robert Beatty and comics creators Chris Ware, Anders Nilsen, and Yuichi Yokoyama. My own work is stylistically pretty varied I think, but one thread that seems to run though it is creating surreal images through a mixture of realistic, naturalistic, or found imagery on the one hand and abstract color, shape, and design on the other. Surrealism and sci-fi seem to me to be natural partners, both being at the strange meeting ground of the known and unknown.
STL SPEX: What are some of your favorite printing methods and why do you like them?
My go-to method is good ol’ laser printing. I can tweak things to my heart’s content, get colors just how I want them, incorporate different mediums into my work like photography and then print them with ease and very little mess! I have my own color copier which allows me to do lots of testing to really dial things in. That being said, I really love all types of printing especially those that mix the digital with the analog like Risograph. Currently I’m learning letterpress printing along with laser cutting and engraving. Going back to the digital/analog mix, I can draw/assemble something on my tablet, cut it out or engrave it into wood or plastic, and then print it on a letterpress. Like Risography it’s a process that keeps fine detail while also offering cool surprises and artifacts.
STL SPEX: How did you come up with the idea for Floating Head? Why did you decide to create a collaborative anthology that includes various artists and writers as well as multiple styles and formats?
Floating Head scratched a number of itches for me, from a love sci-fi and fantasy illustration, to book-making, and experimenting with different printing methods. I was also looking for a way to serialize stories that I had already been working on, and knew others that could benefit from that type of structure. As for the open format design, it was probably a matter of thinking “I want to put this Risograph thing in a book with this lino-cut thing or screen printed thing.” And, instead of telling myself “No, you can’t do that”, it was more like “You can totally do that” and “In fact, that would look awesome.”
STL SPEX: Any suggestions for those interested in crowdfunding their art? What have you learned from your experiences?
Crowdfunding puts you in the position of de facto publisher. This can mean editor, advertiser, printer, assembler, mailer, etc. It’s a great deal of work beyond just “create the art.” I think some folks do different levels of “fulfillment” on the back-end, essentially paying others to do that work for them. Personally, that doesn’t appeal to me much. The work itself is often the rewarding part, and helps you feel more connected to your audience. I’m about to launch my 4th project in 6 years with Kickstarter, and I still really dig the platform. So, my suggestion would be to play to crowdfunding’s strengths which are the freedom to do just what you want, the opportunity to grow your skill set, and the chance to interact with an audience of people that are excited about your work, and collaborate with like minded people. Shout out to Matt Bryan who is co-editor of Floating Head. If I were working so closely with someone other than Matt, perhaps I’d feel differently about that.
STL SPEX: Anything else you’d like us to know about your work? Or future plans?
Speaking of Matt Bryan, Matt and I have a graphic novel 5 years in the making called “Anasazi” that we will be crowdfunding on Kickstarter throughout August, and we’ll be showing off some rewards from the campaign at the expo. With any luck we’ll soon be printing and shipping Anasazi and bringing it to small press shows. Floating Head started as the quarterly magazine, but has become the banner under which Matt and I publish our sci-fi books and art (www.floating-head.com) We hope to expand that soon to include other artists as well.