Beyond Design: Marcus Kiser
Featured Designer: Marcus Kiser
Marcus Kiser merges graphic design and illustration to create “a hybrid of goodness for the soul,” that is inspired by an eclectic mix of comic art, social/political events and the hip hop culture. He’s been an artist for most of his life, beginning as a kid when he loved to doodle and draw. His official beginning dates back to grade school when he found a friend’s comic book one day and tried to mimic it. After that, he was hooked.
Marcus works with Adobe illustrator, Photoshop, an optical mouse and Wacom.
NDF: When you were a kid what were some of your favorite things to doodle?
Marcus: Spaceships and various things from sci-fi genres.
NDF: Do you have central themes in your work?
Marcus: No, I pretty much just draw anything, depending on what mode I’m in that day.
NDF: Tell us about some of your most recent work.
Marcus: I’m currently working on my new art book entitled “heavy starch” which will be available for release late June. I’m also working on the “art of dope” series, “politics as usual” series, and “dirty south” series. I’m also a part of the god city crew. We have a host of music and art projects that we’re doing.
NDF: Tell us more about your art book “heavy starch”
Marcus: Heavy starch is a collection of illustrations, ranging from comics to hip hop, taken from various projects of mine throughout the past few years. The term heavy starch comes from the idea of actual “spray starch” that one would use in order to press his/her clothing when ironing. The reason I went with heavy starch is, all the work in the book is vector/digital. Vector tends to have a cleaner crisp look, hence the term heavy starch… which was actually on an ad for spray starch that I saw last summer thought the idea would be cool to apply to my project. I’ve been meaning to do an art book for some time now, and I actually started one last summer entitled “7th class citizen”. Heavy starch merely picks up the torch from that one.
NDF: You mentioned the “god city crew.” Could you tell us more about that?
Marcus: The god city crew is an art crew based out of Charlotte, North Carolina, that was started in 2005. It was pretty much birthed through hip hop culture, by four like-minded guys, including myself. The purpose is to educate, enlighten, assist, and entertain the people through artistic expression, from visual to performing arts. The crew is made up of illustrators, designers, painters, photographers and emcees.
God city was never something that was planned – it just kind of came together – the right people meeting at the right time. Four guys who wanted to see more of the things they liked in their city of Charlotte. We came together with similar interests in art, comics, music, culture, and most importantly, an undying desire to make a change. Heavily influenced by hip hop culture, comics, and history, we set out to make original, engaging artwork that challenges the viewer. We do everything from community work to hip hop events. God comes from the mathematical breakdown of charlottes area code – g=7th letter, o=0, d=4th letter – 704, the Charlotte area code. God city crew is a main factor in my life, bringing awareness to certain causes, and also bringing a fresh brand of creativity to a place that has been lacking for so long.
NDF: Would you tell us a bit about how your art influenced your life?
Marcus: I don’t know what I’d do without my artistic talent or my power to create. I’m just now beginning to realize my talents at 32. So far, art has taken me places that I never thought I’d be and the journey is far from over.
NDF: If you could pass on one bit of advice to other creatives, what would it be?
Marcus: Be true to yourself, be honest, keep a positive outlook on things, have an understanding for your craft, realize there is always room to grow, and CHECK YOUR EGO’S!
NDF: Thanks, Marcus. One last question – who is your favorite comic book hero?
Marcus: I’m gonna say Aqua-man, because being able to control fish just seems so hardcore to me. Oh, and can’t forget about Magneto.