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Interview: Soap-Box World

The first time I stumbled across Soap-Box World was through Twitter. I think it was through a “Follow Friday” and Elaquent had made a #FF regarding some artistic people. Both of our names were included in that little group, and he (Daniel of SBW) had followed me. I went to his page, clicked his website and checked out the art. They grabbed my attention.

And now here I am… doing an interview with Daniel. SBW is a UK-based artistic team. They design artwork, vinyl toys, graphic novels, and clothing. Diverse, right? Inspired by everything around them – people, conversations, music, kung-fu, culture, anime, etc. Everything is original work, as it’s all hand drawn and unique. They’ve collaborated with Elaquent, by creating an animated video to pair with one of his tracks (video at the end of the interview). They’ve also worked with Soweto Kinch, Robot Bunny, and more. And every piece that they create has a limited amount, and will never be recreated again.

Read on for the interview…

Tiffology: Hello. My first question is… who is digiDanston?

Soap-Box World: Hello, digiDanston is the alter ego of Daniel the illustrator, thats me:-)

Tiffology: There are four other artists who are apart of Soap-Box World, right?

Soap-Box World: You are very close indeed, but in actual fact Soap-Box is made up of two artist, myself and Ben, the other artists that you mention work very closely with us on various projects from time to time and are extremely kool people who just love to design and create.

Tiffology: How did you all come together to form SBW? And who started it?

SBW: After finishing up all the studies it was all about getting the job. I was working for a design company and doing a whole load of freelance work for a few years. The work was good but to be honest but I felt trapped in the sense that I could never push myself creatively because all the work felt the same and I wanted to do more, so the time came for me to try something different, me and Ben linked up and was just basically coming up with a few ideas for a project which at the time we called it mode-7 which soon changed as we began to develop the idea more and more until it grew into what you see today as Soap-box.

Tiffology: Did any of you go to art school?

SBW: Yea, we all studied at some point I think. I have done Art & Design/illustration and Graphic Design in college then moved on to university where I studied Animation.

Tiffology: RANDOM – Other than art, what else do you like to do? Any other talents?

SBW: That’s a tough one, does painting count lol. I would say we pretty decent at street fighter 2.

Tiffology: Who or what inspires your work?

SBW: We are inspired by many different things like Kung fu movies and those old ninja flicks, music (especially Hip-Hop), animation old and new, Eastern culture, life and people around us.

Tiffology: What media/software do you work in and why?

SBW: Between us we use various bits of software that we use, the main ones are Adobe illustrator and Photoshop and for animation we use Flash, Lightwave & ZBrush.

Tiffology: Do you do any sketching or planning before starting a new piece?

SBW: Always, this is a must, I believe that all ideas and concepts should start on paper first before even thinking about a computer.

Tiffology: Are there any specific designers/artists that inspire you the most?

SBW: There’s a good few, but the one that springs to mind for me personally is Fist of the North Star creator Tetsuo Hara & concept artist Brian Ford, oh and the udon guys who do all the streetfighter comics and concept art, they are crazy, animation wise got to be studio 4, mad house and studio ghibli.

Tiffology: RANDOM – If you were magically turned into any Illustrator/Photoshop tool, what tool would you be and why?

SBW: Haha very random, for me it would be the pen tool in illustrator, you can pretty much do anything and I’ll be able to draw myself back as a human again.

Tiffology: What is your favorite and least favorite thing about the design and illustrating world?

SBW: This one might be more personal to me really. I just don’t know when to finish things and leave what I’m working on alone once its done, always a tweak here and there to be done. Outside though i would say I hate copywriters, they are out there.

Tiffology: What’s your typical creative process like?

SBW: Same as few questions back, always start sketching on paper first then build and develop the ideas from there, however sometimes an idea may come just by simply talking to someone, sometimes words trigger an image and so I need to get it down on paper quick so I can work on it later.

Tiffology: Out of all the series you guys have, which is your absolute favorite? And why?

SBW: I would have to say I hate humans & brainchild, simply because there is so many different directions they can go on a creative front.

Tiffology: RANDOM – Favorite anime or comic books?

SBW: Ah man too many to mention, here goes, DragonBall, Fist of the North Star, Akira, Crying Freeman, Full Metal Alchemist, Ninja Scroll, Samurai Champloo, Spriggan, cowboy Bebop, Guyver, all of Studio Ghibli and I think I that’s about it, might of missed a few but the main ones are in there, oh and Vampire Hunter D. I really could go on forever I just know I’ve missed out a few.

Tiffology: I really dig the Soul Sista series. She’s a dope lookin’ chick. What was concept/story behind her?

SBW: Thanks, the Soul Sista is quite deep and spiritual character the basic idea behind her is that she is spiritually connected to the planet and everlasting, Soul Sista has met everyone in the World in a previous lifetime, thus enabling her to connect on a level with everyone, irrespective of age, race, gender or beliefs, shes like a kool version of the oracle lol. I guess that pretty much sums her up really.

Tiffology: January 29th was the launch of the BrainChild series. How was that received?

SBW: The Brainchild series was very well received, infact I can assure you that there will be more releases based around this concept;-)

Tiffology: You guys only create a limited amount of your clothing product, which makes each design a rare item. Once the item is sold out, is that the end of it? Or do you guys ever make reprints for people?

SBW: No reprints, I’m afraid once they gone they gone for good.

Tiffology: SBW recently collabed with Elaquent for the “Love story” promo video. His music paired beautifully with the animation. The video is 1:33 minutes short. But, about how long did it take to create?

SBW: Really glad you liked it, I think all in all it took around 2 weeks to fully put together if you include the modeling, but because the characters were already created and modeled, it was really about getting it all animated and rendered in good time, this took the best part of a week of non stop work, hopefully we should have more things like this coming through with other artists as well.

Tiffology: RANDOM – Top five music artists you’re listening to these days?

SBW: Myke Forte, Elaquent, Declaime & Georgia A. Muldrow the someotha ship album, Raul Supreme and MF Doom (get some great ideas from this guy all the time)

Tiffology: Can you tell us about the Retro Series coming up?

SBW: Retro Series is a concept based around the whole 8-bit and 16-bit era of video games and how we can develop and use this method to fuse it with our own style of artwork for clothing, should be a kool project because we all love that kind of stuff here, hopefully people take to the idea. Expect a few surprise collabs with this project aswell;-)

Tiffology: Anything else we should know about or look out for as far as upcoming series or projects?

SBW: As the last question we have the retro series coming which should hopefully go down well, then theres our new spring/summer range of tees to drop in april and a bit further down the line will see the launch of our very own graphic novel.

Tiffology: Thanks for the interview! Lastly, is there any advice that you’d like to give for aspiring artists, or any shoutouts?

SBW: No probs, the best advice I could give to any artist is to be true to yourself and keep going even when times are hard, always be prepared for constructive crit as this is how you grow and learn new things to make you better.

Would like to give a few shout outs to some really kool peeps like, Myke Forte, Elaquent, Hip-Hop hype dog, the daily street crew, Death Before Dishonour, Robot Bunny, F2D, Basement sessions, Terratag and sturban clothing, Big Thank you to all those that support us as-well because without you we wouldn’t be here, much love.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tJGq0h9lzG4]

SBW website | SBW twitter

Written By: Tiffany B.

Music and arts journalist, music curator, and co-boss babe of CrayonBeats since 2008! I've published 3,000+ posts consisting of new music, reviews, and interviews. I also do half of everything of CrayonBeats Magazine, so get familiar with our issues! Aside from being a music aficionado, I'm also a freelance artist/illustrator, a creative soul, a natural born lover, a comic book reader, an optimist, and a bit of a weirdo. I hate writing bios about myself, so see ya.

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