It’s Easter long weekend so I have time to do a spotlight on another up and coming comics artist. This guy hits all the right buttons and has an original and extremely interesting approach to the medium.
I first met Adrian Hashimi on a trip to a signing at Jim Hanley’s Universe in New York and in the company of a mutual friend and after many beers later found his enthusiasm for the medium extremely infectious. I was quick to google his work and found an artist of incredible versatility and talent.
Adrian’s work crosses many genres. He has worked in a sci-fi and fantasy discipline and in the erotic world in equal measure. His work has a large degree of personalised style about it yet he retains a clear knowledge of anatomy and perspective. His characters are larger than life in an eye catching way. Much of his art focuses on the female form in a Manaraesque erotic extension. Saying that he also crosses this with a little feel of the ‘New Underground’ to it. Thoroughly original in his approach to the idea of a story that develops visually beyond a purely written word.
Much of Adrian's art is sensual and erotic. Yet his female characters never seem to cross a line into a subordinate role. They are all strong and seemingly controlling and couple this with being provocative and suggestive. Themes and metaphors bleed from his pages and each read has a richness to it.
Adrian has an appreciation of poetry and classic literature and has shown a dedication to portraying such in a sequential art form. He is keen on adapting work as can be seen from the interview below and his website www.hashart.com
I was fortunate enough to get Adrian to answer a few questions about his craft.
NIA - ‘Can you tell me a bit about your background? Did you go to art school? Could you also tell us a little about your craft? What do you draw on and with?’
Adrian Hashimi – ‘Like most of us ‘scribblers’ I started drawing even before I could remember. I got my art degree from the University of Kansas but I must say the most influential person on my art back then was my High School art teacher Mrs. Nemchock. She really was the one who unraveled for me the secrets in thinking like an artist. That has really helped in my ongoing journey of trying to be a real artist. During my early days as a professional illustrator, I was pretty much a pen and ink guy. I even painted in coloured inks back in the day. Partly because it was the cheapest medium and the quick drying was a big bonus. Nowadays I pretty much do everything digitally. I have my trusted Wacom tablet that I can’t live without and my two big-ass screens. (Helps when you’re getting old with the large screens.) But occasionally I still do paint traditionally - water colours and / or acrylics on paper. I do maybe about 3-4 of these a year.’
NIA – ‘Your style has a real Heavy Metal and fantasy based feel to it. Who are your influences artistically? Who have you enjoyed reading over the years. In some of the pieces on your website I can see a real Moebius style?’
AH – ‘Actually my 2 favorite artists when I was growing up were Herge and Lat (Malaysia’s great cartoonist). I also love the Asterix comic book by Gosciny & Underzo. In my teens I discovered Robert E. Howard and then all of Buscema’s Conan. Those guys are still my go to reference to this day. I have always loved the clean line style of the European artist like Moebius, Adamo and many many more.
I am also a big fan Goseki Kojima and writer Kazuo Koike. Recently I am loving Luc Jacamon’s Killers.
NIA - ‘With your comic The Vine you seem to be addressing a number of issues. It feels like an erotic tale that uses the natural world to interesting effect and the combination of that and sexuality to almost a spiritual / quasi religious ending. Was that the intention?’
AH – ‘Dang it! Was it a little too obvious? First of all this was my second attempt in illustrating Robert Herick’s ‘The Vine’. I did a single illustration of it for Kiosk Magazine back in 1992. I found out later that it caused some stir with the local religious peeps in ol’ Kansas. They’d completely missed the point and beauty of one the great poems in the English language and just concentrated on the sexual aspect of it. I bet they didn’t know that Herrick was a Vicar! In this version I wanted to portray both the pleasure and pain of unrequited love. Most of us tend to go to the darker side when we fantasize whether we like to admit or not, hence the bondage-likeimagery. But like all dreams we wake to find that reality and the natural world is usually very different and often crueler.’
NIA - 'Very few companies seem to be publishing Erotic comics these days (certainly in the UK and the US). Do you feel that the time has come for that to change?'
AH - 'Yes! I would love that. I think there is a place for everything and there are many layers and genres of Erotica. Most that I have seen are hardcore (which are great and some of the are brilliant). A small few are more epic like Manara’s 'Le Opera'. They all should have a place on the shelves and should not be shunned to the background or not at all. Even then most of the erotica here on the shelves that I’ve found are either from Europe or Japan. I was recently told when I showed my idea for ‘Julia’ an erotica based on Herricks’ Julia poems that it was a ‘hard sell’ because it was ‘soft erotica’. Which prompted me to draw much ‘harder’ ‘Janey’s School Days’ which was later rejected too. So go figure?'
(Editor's note. Janey's School Days looks great - but is just a little bit XXX to stick on the blog at this time. I am sure that if you contact Adrian direct he will let you have a look.)
NIA - 'What are you working on at the moment? What can you tell us?'
AH - 'I am kind of switching gears right now. I am illustrating a Sci-Fi graphic novel titled ‘Meti’ for writer Rania Ajami. We are heading to phase two soon. I am also writing and illustrating a slice of life/period piece
which working tile is ‘Tales from the Straits’. It is a series of shorts about the life during 13th century Melaka. Melaka was the most important Port City and Kingdom in South Asia at the time and was the gateway between East and West. I guess I wanted to get in touch with my roots.'
There we have it. Just a short Q and A but enough I am sure to make you want to hunt out Adrian's work.
The themes of Sexuality, Outer Space 1970s weirdness, Bararian violence and raw emotion make Adrian a one man Heavy Metal. I have seen some pages from Meti (mentioned above) and it looks freaking amazing! I am sure that it won't be long before a savvy publisher snatches up Mr Hashimi. I am personally really pleased to be in at the ground floor for this promising and going places artist.
Adrian's art can be found at the following places.