DPH Interview with Creator Fabrice Sapolsky

DPH asked Fabrice Sapolsky to answer questions about what triggered his passion and persistence to become the talented artist and creator he is today.

1. Where did you go to art school?

I didn’t! I have a liberal arts background. I majored in Contemporary History. I started drawing at a early age but when I hit 17 years old, I totally lost confidence and turned to writing. Then Graphic design. Then art came back with a vengeance and I started drawing again about two and a half years ago.

2. What got you interested in art?

Comics! What else? What’s funny is that I was born and raise in France where art is everywhere and very accessible. But I only had eyes for American comics.

3. Who inspires you?

In general, I’d say my mom and my three beautiful children. But in comics, a lot of people. All the wonderful artists I have the pleasure to sit next to at conventions or have worked with over the years. My partner in crime, Will Torres is a great inspiration. He challenges me and I challenge him. We’re on our way up. Guys like Dean Haspiel or Khary Randolph… The Brooklyn comics gang, they’re a HUGE inspiration. My French peers: Olivier Coipel, Stéphane Roux, Stéphanie Hans, Richard Isanove, Elsa Charretier, Phil Briones, Paul Renaud, Gabriel H Walta and so many more. The fantastic artists who worked on my comics also: Patrick Zircher, Dennis Calero, Ariel Olivetti, Matteo Scalera, Moritat, Danica Brine, Nick Bradshaw, Fred Pham Chuong, Gérald Parel, Leila Leiz, Veronica Lopez… The list goes on and on. As for legendary artists, I gave a bunch of idols. Guys like Eisner and Kirby, of course. But also more contemporary creators like Mike McKone, Jamal Igle or Sanford Greene. Right now, I’m also studying two modern masters: Frank Miller and John Romita Jr. To me, these two are the biggest inspiration ever. I’m learning storytelling through their work.
And I can’t forget the writers too! But I’ll stop the name dropping for now (laughs).

4. Favorite comic cons to participate in?

For years, I was a SDCC junkie. I attended 10 years in a row. Then I grew tired of it. I like NYCC, but my best comic con memories are from Emerald City Comic Con. I only went once, in 2011, but it was incredible. I was supposed to come back there early this year but had to cancel. I hope I can be there in 2018!

5. What is your passion?

Creating compelling stories. Conveying emotions through writing, art, smiles. I believe we’ve been put on this Earth with some talent and our goal has to be to share it with the world. Whatever this talent maybe. Others make us better. But it works the other way round too. I also love challenges. Not just for myself. For everyone. I love reading about technology, achievements in science, medicine or politics.

6. What scares or excites you about presenting your artwork?

My good friend Leila Leiz (artist on Aftershock’s Alters series) once told me: « you have balls because you allowed yourself to grow as an artist in the face of the world ». That’s the best compliment I ever got. When I started drawing again, I did it in open air. Posting every piece on Social Media. I was never scared to show shitty art. And art got better. No one liked or commented in the early days. Then it picked up. Now, I have new likes every day. A lot of other creators encourage me. So nothing really scares me regarding my art. I’m super excited with the next piece I want to draw.

7. What is your medium?

Comics. Comics. Comics.

8. What do you try to convey with your artwork?

Emotion. Humor. Sensibility. I’m not knocking out of the park everytime, but I never stop trying.

9. Do you have a story or background?

Always. I’m a writer first. I also try to bring something new to the table. So I come up with all sorts of crazy concepts that people seem to like. Mashups. Improbable crossover pieces. Sarcastic pieces. I’m probably very damaged (laughs).

10. What do you like/dislike about the art world?

That art supplies are so expensive!

11. Why art?

Art is life. Art is mandatory. It’s what humanity has and other species don’t have. As Pablo Picasso said: “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.”

12. How much of an understanding do you have about printing?

I know pretty much everything you have to know about it. I come from Press and Publishing. 25 years of graphic design can teach you a lot of things. When I started, it was the birth of desktop publishing. Computers were slow and not really reliable. So much has changed. But I’ll remain a print guy, not a digital one. I like the smell of paper.

13. What is your dream project?

That’s a vague question. I’d say flipping the script in the comic book industry. Make the creators go from the bottom of the food chain to the top.

14. What is your goal?

Be a better creator. Both writer and artist. But not together. I’m not going to mix story and art myself. I live to work in a team. Comics were designed to be a team effort. I’ll draw what I don’t write. I’ll write what I won’t draw. Oh, and I want to change the world. Isn’t that obvious? (laughs)

15. What is your favorite piece that you have produced? Why is it your favorite? And what does it mean to you?

I’d be tempted to say that my favorite piece is the next one. That said, here are three recent pieces of art that I really like for different reasons:

  • Spider-Man Noir Sketch Cover: It’s the character most people know me for. Marko Djurdjevic came up with that slick design. I love it and everyone asks me to draw him at every show I’m at. I’m never tired of drawing him. That piece means a lot to me because it’s one of the best Spider-Man Noir ones I ever produced. I sold it at the Five Points Festival show in NY in May
  • Intertwined/Pride piece: Initially, it was just a Spirit of the Earth piece I drew, inspired from a Spider-Man 2099 cover. I originally drew a Shaolin temple behind. I loved the pencilled version so much, it took me six month to finally ink it. Then I heard about pride month, this june. It’s a celebration to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969. It honors the LGBTQ+ community. I happen to have many Gay/Lesbian/Trans friends and a major character in my latest book, Intertwined is gay (it’s the heart of the story). So it seemed appropriate that I turned this piece into a LGBTQ+ homage thing. It’s also the first time I color my art myself. I did it on the computer. I like the result. I won’t color everyday but it gave me extra confidence for the next piece, which is…
  • Guardians 3000 Sketch Cover: My latest Sketch cover. I love the Guardians of the Galaxy. Both the original team and the current team. I used to love Vance Astro when I was a kid. What’s different about this piece? I colored it manually with markers for the first time ever. I used to be afraid of colors. But strangely, I wasn’t this time. And I think the result is pretty okay. Another step climbed!

The Bio on Fabrice Sapolsky

Born in Paris (France), in 1970, Fabrice Sapolsky has broken into the comic book world as creator of the French magazine about American comics Comic Box in 1998.
In 2005, he starts writing stories as a hobby but his early projects will never be published. Very much focused on his “day job” as Editor in Chief of Comic Box and packager for magazine publishers, he chooses to only write short pieces geared toward kids. But in December 2006, he wakes up one morning with the idea of alternate reality Spider-Man set in the 1930s. After sharing his idea with David Hine, they both decide to pitch it to Marvel comics as Spider-Man Noir. The first mini-series, will be published between Dec.2008 and March 2009. A second series, Spider-Man Noir: Eyes without a Face will follow a year later (Dec.2009-March 2010). Both series have been blessed with critical and commercial success. In 2010, Fabrice Sapolsky comes back to kids comics with an album about wrestling designed for the French market and called Catch Heroes, for Jungle Comics, co-written with longtime Comic Box partner Xavier Fournier and drawn by the fabulous Jack Lawrence. A year later, Fabrice leaves Comic Box for good, passing the torch to Xavier Fournier and Lise Benkemoun to focus on editing and writing comics. He helps Jungle Comics founder Moïse Kissous create a new label called Atlantic BD and writes the imprint’s first original graphic novel : Black Box with art by veteran artist Tom Lyle and coloring genius Sebastien Lamirand. In 2013, the writer comes back with a new project, his most ambitious to date : One Hit Wonder (Hollywood Killer in France) with superstar Ariel Olivetti on art. Fabrice got the idea of the name and the commercial star turned hit-man concept in 2012 while talking to his friend (and hugely talented writer) Joe Keatinge. Indeez Comics agreed to publish it in France and the series has debuted in the USA, through Image Comics, in February 2014. In September 2014, Fabrice Sapolsky reunited with David Hine for Edge of Spider-Verse#1, a new Spider-Man Noir adventure that tied into the massive SpiderVerse crossover at Marvel.He spent most of 2015 learning how to draw and moving from Paris to Brooklyn, New York, where he lives now.On February 2nd, 2016, Fabrice launched his new creator owned comic book, Intertwined with rising star Fred Pham Chuong, on Kickstarter. The campaign was successful and the series has been signed to Dynamite Comics for a worldwide release starting October 5th, 2016. His latest venture : organizing his own comic book convention! After meeting with President of the Kol Israel Synagogue, Fred Polaniecki, Fabrice decides to create a convention like no other: the Jewish Comic Con. This convention, not a Jew-Centric con, is as much a celebration of the founders of the comic book industry (where 90% of the creators happened to be jewish) as a place to bridge communities of Brooklyn around a fantastic medium (comics, of course). The con took place on November 13th, 2016. Starting April 2017, Fabrice Sapolsky embarked on a Tour with his sparring partner Will Torres. They are showcasing their talents, comics and art at comic book conventions, stores and everywhere they can. The Intertwined graphic novel is also set for a worldwide debut on August 8th, 2017.Fabrice Sapolsky still edits, designs, draws and, of course, writes. He has many projects in development and likes the quote : “To Be Continued”.

Fabrice’s upcoming 2017 schedule:

  • September 8-9th, 2017: Monsters&Robots Comic Con (Somerset, NJ)
  • October 5-8th, 2017: New York Comic Con (NY, USA)
  • November 10-11th, 2017: Urban Action Showcase (Manhattan, NY, USA)
  • November 12th, 2017: Jewish Comic Con (Brooklyn, NY, USA)
  • December 8-9th, 2017: Walker Stalker NJ (Seacaucus, NJ)

Where to find Fabrice.

DPH: www.createwithdph.com/@BimfGallery
Website: www.fabricesapolsky.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/fabrice.sapolsky
Instagram: www.instagram.com/fabricecrispies/

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