Songe Riddle was raised on the west coast of The United Stated, in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles, California. His involvement in the American Punk scene found him living as a traveler and squatter for many years, eventually landing in New York City, where he decided to study illustration and graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2000, with a BFA in illustration and a minor in computer animation. He has worked on a number of award winning film and television productions providing motion graphics and animation as well as script illustrations and storyboards. His illustration can be found in editorials in magazines and he has provided a number of painted horror book jacket illustrations for Random House Books. He has also illustrated album covers for numerous punk bands.
Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in Los Angeles, California. I grew up all over the place. By the time I left home at 16, I had lived in 8 different cities and gone to 8 different schools. I lived on the streets and in squats around the country until I was 20. The main consistency in my life has been inconsistency.
How about your schooling? Had you gone under any art training? I studied illustration and animation at Parson's School of Design in New York.
What things — both in art and otherwise — have you worked on, besides comics? Are comics a full-time gig for you or part-time? I have done a lot of different things for a living. My first job was teaching 7-10 year olds to make puppets at a small puppet theatre in Minneapolis when I was 16. It was the first of three teaching positions that I have held. Two of which were teaching children and I currently teach photoshop classes to adults at a local screenprinting shop. I have worked as a barback, done demolition, worked in 3 different comic book stores (in New York and in London, England) and once I even scalped tickets for The Who at Carnegie Hall.
The same goes for art related work. I have done illustration for printed media, animation for television, advertising, and film. I sometimes do compositing. I am currently working on a couple of painted movie posters.
Talk about how you broke into the business –was it easy? Hard? Ups? Downs ? Any interesting anecdotes? When you held your first published work in your hands, how did you feel? My first published work was an album cover for a Jazz saxophonist on Knitting Factory Records. It was kind of cool, because when it was released I happened to have been working as a barback at the Knitting factory's club, so I got to see it featured in their advertising. But working as an artist has always been full of ups and downs. There are times that I am swamped with work, sleepless for weeks, and times that I can't remember the last work I did that was not for myself. But the love for the craft keeps me at it. I can't think of anything else that I would do.
How did you settle on the style(s) you’re currently using? If you have multiple styles how did you develop them? My style is pretty flexible. Not because I haven't decided on anything, but because I enjoy trying new things. I like to create striking imagery, and there are a lot of different ways that media can be applied to achieve the effects that I desire. It is all mixed media, including digital when I see it as beneficial.
How did your parents take to the idea of being an artist? My parents are both creative people. My Grandfather on my father's side was a pretty well known artist, and as a result of his influence that entire side of my family is actively creating – whether through visual art or writing or music. My mother is also a singer. That's why she named me Songe (pronounced 'song'). I don't think that they were surprised at me being an artist at all.
How would you describe your work space? Is it part of your home, or do you go “to the studio”? I work out of a home studio. It consists of a drafting, which I draw and paint at, and a computer desk with a cintiq and a laptop on it.
What job are you the proudest of? I think that I was most proud of my first book cover.
What projects do you hope to work on in the future? I would love to do comic book covers, and any movie poster work is pretty thrilling, as movie poster artists like Bob Peak and Bernie Fuchs are some of my favorite artists and it feels great to be included amongst their ranks.
What’s your favorite food? I love Indian food.
What are your favorite interests – Movies? Music? TV? Any hobbies? Sports? I love movies and classic Sci-Fi television. I am sort of preoccupied with seventies culture – Movies, music, fashion. I am about to go through all of Blakes 7. That stuff is great. There is an appreciation of revolutionary action there that you don't see much in modern popular fiction. Music has always been a huge part of my life, as well. I have been listening to a lot of Doom Metal for the last 8 years or so. But I like a lot of different kinds of music. Lots of dark and gloomy stuff.
I am also an avid fan of General Hospital. Man, the writing on that stuff is fascinating. I love the bare bones structure. It really lets you see exactly what they are doing without a lot of the frills that are there to distract you in more “sophisticated” scripts. It's not totally dissimilar to reading comics. And sometimes people even have super-powers.
Have you ever thought of writing your own stories? I've written a lot of stories. At some point I will have the time to actually draw them.
If you weren’t an artist today, what would you be? Slightly better adjusted.
The single thing you’d most like to be remembered for in your life is...? Always having taken good care of the people that I love.
Character sketches of Marvel characters, for ToyBiz sculptors' reference Hand of the Devil by Dean Vincent Carter for Random House Hunting Season by Dean Vincent Carter for Random House Alec Devlin: Eye of the Serpent by Phillip Cavney for Random House The 4th Horseman by Kate Thompson for Random House Storyboards for Sony Bravia spot
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