"I am American. My father is from Nebraska and my mother is from Kyushu. I grew up with Japanese culture in my daily life. In a way, it's very fitting that I am here in Japan working at Mooneyes - "
Artist Shawn Dickenson was born and raised near the coast of Los Angeles and spent most of his childhood surfing and drawing cartoons. Eventually he studied art at the Antelope Valley college before pursuing a career as a cartoonist. He got his start as an artist in the custom culture scene of Southern California when he drew an underground comic book series called Untamed Highway. UH was filled with images from the 50’s-60’s kustom scenes: cars, tikis, pin-ups, etc. and his drawing style quickly caught the eye of car enthusiasts, tiki collectors, bands and more.
Suddenly he was doing commissioned and freelance artwork for custom culture guys as well as surf, garage, rockabilly & punk bands, radio stations and more.
His work has appeared in various art and custom culture magazines, on bands’ t-shirts, album covers, gig fliers, even various comic book projects for unruly garage and surf bands like The Hexxers and The Ghastly Ones.
Current projects include my new comic series, Schitzles Der Cat, about a German rock ‘n’ roll cat obsessed with hot rods, guitars, dangerous women, ratwursts & bier!
Q: Who are your artistic inspirations?
A: My characters are inspired by cartoons from the 1930’s (the craziest era for cartoons)…especially animated cartoons by Dave Fleischer, Bob Clampett, and Tex Avery. All other imagery and situations in my art is inspired by the 1950’s-1960’s (the craziest era for cars, bikes, art, music, etc.). I’m especially into art by Ed “Big Daddy” Roth, Rick Griffin, Basil Wolverton, Jack Davis, and Harvey Kurtzman.
Q: What is it about the car and bike culture of the 1950s that interests you?
A: Mostly that it is technically an ART culture that began in the 1950’s, yet is still one of the very few art scenes that has been able to maintain it’s pure roots throughout the years, even through the 60’s & 70’s and still goes on even today. It’s a genuine scene, man!
Q: V8 or V twin?
A: That is a tough choice! But: V8.
Q:What’s your daily drive?
A: My daily drive is always to CREATE and SHARE. As an artist, I try to stay on a constant path to learn and create new things. As a cartoonist, I’m always trying to use those tools I’ve learned to entertain and make people happy.
Q: Chuck Berry or Gene Vincent?
A: Another tough choice…but gotta say Chuck Berry.
Q: LA or San Francisco?
A: Los Angeles. I was Born and raised in southern California — land of hot rods, surf culture and the golden age of Hollywood cartoons!
More of Shawn’s work can be seen here:
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