Make Art Not War - Derek Hess Interview

Artist, Derek Hess, took time out of his busy schedule to talk to Fresh Nerd. After my first posting of Derek and Kent Smith's book Please God Save Us, I wanted to get inside of their heads a bit to get some insight on where these thoughts and ideas come from. If you guys haven't checked out my initial post of the book, please do so here. Check out the comments as well, I think I offended some folks by posting that art. So without further ado, here's the interview:

FreshNerd: You stated that there are no computers involved in the production of your art. Would you ever consider using them? Why or why not?
Derek Hess: Well I'm not very computer literate, number 1. I'm 44?? So I didn't come up with a lot of computers. I can work a little photoshop but I'm old school. I think that the actual human hand can't be recreated.

FN: You have been involved with art since you were a young kid. Was your father supportive of your goals being that art isn’t an easy field to make a living?
DH: Oh yea, my dad was 100% supportive. He was an artist. An amazing fine artist but he went into industrial design. He got drafted in WWII, but when he got out he finished his education in industrial design. He recognized his talent and developed it because its only so far you can go off of raw talent. So yea, he put up with a lot of crap.

FN: Most of your pieces from the book was fueled by our prior president. Do you think our new president will inspire you to do a new series opposite of the “Please God Save Us” pieces?
DH: I don't know, we'll see what happens. I really don't know. I'm hoping that he'll turn it around and I think he's the man to do it so we'll find out. Normally my artwork is inspired by bad things.

FN: Kent mentioned that you guys didn’t know how powerful the book was going to turn out once you had the physical copy in hands. What were your first thoughts after seeing the completed product?
DH: Very happy with it...exactly what I wanted and more.

FN: Has this book had a negative impact on any of your relationships (business or personal)?
DH: A little but personally I don't roll with Republicans. We're so far apart in ideals and values so I've had no problems personally. There were a couple of people on MySpace that bashed me but when I went to their page, I found out they weren't even old enough to vote.

FN: Name a few artists that you’re inspired by?
DH: Heinrich Kley & Gil Kane

FN: What does it feel like to have your work as part of the Louvre’s permanent collection, was this a goal?
DH: It came out of the blue. I got a letter from France in French and I can't read French. I'm a product of America's public school systems so it took me about a month to get it translated and it turned out they wanted a body of my concert posters for their permanent poster collection. People I went to art school with were mad at me since I just fell into it.

FN: The “crosstika” symbol seemed to offend a lot of visitors when I posted the cover art on my site. What was your inspiration and intentions behind it?
DH: The idea was to take two of the strongest graphic images which is meant to represent the union of Church and State. One girl told me she thinks I'm trying to start a hate group.

FN: Funny enough, one reader told me that I want to kill all Christians
DH: Umm....ok, that's a bit extreme

FN: Will there be another Hess/Smith book?
DH: Maybe in the future, I have no problem doing another book with Kent at all. **21 questions with Derek Hess coming soon...

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published