Visual Arts

Steam Crow at SideBar Mixes Monsters and Food

You may have caught Michele Laudig's post over at Chow Bella about the art up at SideBar.

Now that the show's scheduled to come down within a week (a specific date has yet to be set), we thought we'd snag a Q&A with Daniel Davis who is one-half of the husband-wife duo that is Steam Crow, an art team that creates books, comics, art, and other products inspired by monsters. Steam Crow got its start six years ago and has since worked the West Coast comic convention circuit (they just got back into town from the San Diego Comic-Con).

If you like what you see, these fantastic framed works can be had for $50 and up.

What's the theme of the work at Sidebar?
Monsters and food, I suppose. Basically I love to draw monsters and I love to create mascot advertising characters which lead to [our] kawaii food print line.

Since this is the stuff that folks seem to be interested in, we squished it all together.

Where do you get your ideas?
Inspiration is everywhere, right? However, there are some things that have really distinct draw for me.

I love prowling the Asian markets for foreign package design, especially candy. In some ways it feels like "Alt Earth," where a whole "other" aesthetic was invented, inhabited by odd/different/beautiful cartoon-y mascots, colors, and weird designs. I've been buying such candy for the packaging for a couple of decades now.

I also love turn of the century illustrators like Rackham and Mucha and Leyendecker, as well as WPA posters from World Wars I and II. I love propaganda art and cartoons too.

I also draw inspiration from vintage toys, vintage Halloween, and old photos.

What's the strangest reaction you've received regarding your work?

For some folks, my work is too simple, too child-like. I get that. Fourteen year-old boys want to look tough, and my work doesn't really instill "badass" so much.

For others, they say that it's just "TOO DARK and EVIL and SPOOKY."

I don't understand.

Do you guys have day jobs?
Well, yeah for now.

We're almost at a place where we could likely survive. I'm holding out a year or two longer as we just had to sink $16k into air conditioning units!

But I think it'll happen before too long. Our growth has been gradual and pretty constant. Phoenix has been really supportive.

What's your favorite piece (or pieces) that you've ever made?
I don't really know. I have the same relative fondness for most of what I make. For me, the real factor is the time invested to make it.

So, if that's the measurement, I'd have to say my Monster Commute webcomic. I've been at that for almost 2twoyears and is the most epic creative work that I've ever done. (Almost 500 episodes so far.) However, it's just a little every day.

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Lilia Menconi
Contact: Lilia Menconi