Talk about yourself—Who are you? Where are you located?
Howdy! My name is Benjamin Mackey. I was born and raised in Iowa and moved down to Arizona about six years ago (slowly achieving full desert rat status). Aside from art, my main creative pastime is improv comedy which has proven incredibly helpful in the realm of comic book craft and interpersonal relations!
What is your primary art theme? What inspires it?
Recently, a lot of my art has centered around the creatures and monsters of pop culture. On a less mainstream tract, I’m drawn to esoteric Medieval and Classical art that spin melodramatic yarns of gods and mortal hubris. Inspiration flows in from a lot of sources, but film and television remain a key stream of ideas.
What medium do you primarily use and what do you like about it?
While I like to dabble in a variety of traditional mediums (acrylic, charcoal, pencil, and oil), my primary medium is currently digital. More specifically, the wonderful program “Procreate”. Which I can’t recommend enough to all you digital artists out there.
What artists do you follow?
Oh jeez…a whole heck of a lot. Big, small, professional, unprofessional…I try to take a healthy sampling of all.
What artist influences you?
Some heavy hitters include Mike Mignola, Simon Hanselmann, Giambattista Tiepolo, Mariko Tamaki, Chris Samnee, & INJ Culbard
Can you show me your favorite piece you have ever done?
It’s hard to pick just one (as a lot of my recent stuff has been series oriented), so this month long dragon-drawing project is one of my favorites. I don’t often work in the style of “digital painting” so this was a fun challenge.
What started your love for art?
I’ve been drawing ever since I was 2 or 3. I had the privilege of very encouraging parents that purchased me art supplies and supplied endless positive reinforcement. As I grew up, I just kept drawing and drawing, finding new inspiration from peers and teachers (who are kind of one and the same).
If you were to try a new medium or style, what would you do?
I’d take a hard left turn and try to learn acoustic guitar. I’ve been VERY musically “ungifted” my entire life, so learning to flex that creative muscle would be a lot of fun.
What setting do you have to be in to create?
I’m fairly versatile as to my surrounding requirements, but find I’m at my most effective when listening to a podcast or audio books.
Have you ever had a piece go terribly but were able to redeem it/turn it around some how?
Oh yes, many times! I try to spin it as the piece going “off course” instead of “terribly”. Pretty much any piece can be redirected (especially when working digitally), and even if one gets totally scrapped, something has been learned from that practice run.
If you’ve done art jobs before, what was your favorite project?
My favorite projects include SAINTS (a comic series I co-created with Sean Lewis at Image comics), a 78 card Twin Peaks tarot deck (officially licensed), and a new “top-secret” pitch involving monsters.
You can find and follow Benjamin Mackey on Instagram or check out all of his beloved work on his website: https://www.benjaminmackey.com/