1) Supporters of Terra Phantasma know you as the artist behind Night Bandits. But you do a lot
more than comics. What other forms of art do you produce?
Oh, man. Well I get up to all sorts of creative trouble. I work on films, theater projects, games, illustration, graphic design, and other types of creative work that comes my way. Beyond that I also work on music, sound design, make up, and sculpture. Most of my work is digital these days, though I do throw down with inks and paints in the analog world as well. Other than that, I also work on makeup, usually doing prosthetic or make up FX. There’s more. There’s always more. I’ll talk about that in a bit. 🙂
2) And the question everyone’s dying to ask… how did you come up with the pseudonym “The Dark Cloak”?
Ah, well I’ve always liked wearing long coats and things like that, and of course had an affinity for monsters and other dark and mysterious things of the ‘goes bump in the dark’ variety. In the old days when I was in my teens it started as ‘Cloak, which then due to the kind of artwork I was doing a lot of at the time (both online and offline) it kind of became ‘DarkCloak’. There always seemed to be a bit of a persona to it, really. When I seriously started posting my work online and developing my art career further, I ran with TheDarkCloak as a pen name. It has stuck ever since the late 90’s. Though, most friends still call me ‘Cloak or Sal.
3) Where are you originally from? If not MN, how did you end up here?
I was born in and raised in Chicago. Shortly after 9/11, the recession got so bad that you needed to know people just to get a job sweeping floors at a warehouse or worse. After a few months of hardship, I finally managed to land a job shoveling chili beans 10 hours a day, and that was pretty rough and tough. After 3 months of that, I figured that I needed to do something better, especially since my goal has always been to do something creative as my profession. A good friend of mine had me visit MN and things were much better at the time here, I had more opportunities and people to be with, so it was pretty much a no brainer. Hopefully I’ll never have to shovel beans again, man… *shudder
4) Your basement recently become a swimming pool in the middle of winter. How did that happen and didn’t it make you want to move south?
I can’t even remember how exactly it happened. I think one of the pipes upstairs froze up somewhere along the line and caused water to come down from upstairs as well as our laundry machine to flood the place. Was a bad, bad time. I ended up having to rip out all the ceiling tiles (I hate that spongy cardboard plaster stuff anyway, yuck) and floor tiles as well. Still chipping away on rebuilding down there and my goal is to hopefully get enough work and funds where I can refinish the basement and rebuild my studio down there (for doing art, video and music). Man, I miss making music in that kind of space. As for moving south, no way. I actually like the colder climate a bit more and I also like being a relatively short drive’s distance to Chicago so I can easily visit my parents and sisters, and keep tabs on my ol’ town.
5) You describe yourself as “an artistic Ronin”. Can you explain what that means?
Oh, sure. Well a Ronin is a masterless or drifting Samurai, and since I basically roam creatively, moving from project to project (or sometimes several), it’s something that caught on. Other things that people or I have described it as is multidisciplinary art ninja, stylus samurai (because of dedication to learning the art of the digitizer pen), and who knows what else. Like the high plains drifter or better yet, the A-Team – except instead of shooting things, I solve creative or design problems.
6) I’ve seen you sit down with pencil and paper and this amazing illustration appears as if by magic. But you also use high-tech methods. What apps or tools do you use to draw on the computer?
My trusty scanner is always near by for scanning my drawings, and I always try to have a camera handy, for collecting textures or references. Once I’m working within a digital environment, whether I’m doing 3d sculpting, texturing 3d models, digital illustrations or paintings, I rely heavily on using my Wacom tablet, which is a pen that translates all your markings, strokes, pen pressure, tilt and other movements onto the screen. It’s really not much different than working traditionally, save for not having to clean up brushes and paints afterwards, with the added benefit of the flexibility that working digitally offers such as being able to hit ‘Undo’. I don’t have a preference between working traditionally or digitally, however. They’re all just different tools and different means of solving creative problems and executing what’s needed.
7) You recently quit your day job to become a full-time artist. How can people hire your services and what might they hire you for?
Yes, I’ve taken the first steps of that journey since the end of November. It has it’s ups and downs, but it was definitely the right thing for me. People can contact me via my website – www.thedarkcloak.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: (773)299-TDC1 (that’s 8321). I’m available for all manner of creative work including: Ilustration and graphic design, creative direction, production design, storyboarding, other film & video fx work such as compositing, motion graphics, matte painting, Creative development and consultation for your projects or business, as well as social media management consultation, and on the audio side, music & sound design production. If anyone has an interest to learn more of the kind of roles and projects I have been in, they can check out my qualifications on LinkedIn here: linkedin.com/in/thedarkcloak
8) The Night Bandits have been on hiatus for a few months since you lost your intern. Are there plans to bring them back?
Most definitely. There’s going to be some revamping of the script and narrative in general, and the artwork may get a do over as well. Hopefully people are as interested in reading more about Octavius and his band as I am in telling their tales.
9) Is there anything else people should know about Sal, aka TheDarkCloak, artistic Ronin of the night?
I may do lots and lots of things, however I cannot knit or crotchet. In fact, I usually mix the two up no matter how many times people tell me the difference. One day… one day.
Sal has an upcoming show with Conundrum Collective, which produces live radio theater. And you can catch him at various conventions, most predictably at the Twin Cities Crypticon in October.