Interview with Space Bat Killer – Confusion magazine – issue 25


Interview by Jonathan Hay originally printed in Confusion magazine issue 25.
Photos by Nick Kiefer (@nrkierfer)

Where did your art name Space Bat Killer originate?
The name Space Bat Killer originated from a painting made on one of my old surfboards. I’ve always liked Thee Oh Sees album “Help” which has a bat on the cover. Over the years I’ve actually drawn a few different pieces inspired by that album art (they’re one of my favorite bands too by the way).

Age, real name, where did you grow up?
29 years old, Sean Bernhardt, Brielle, NJ (Monmouth County).

Blunt yank to fakie

How did you get into collage art? Do you use a computer or is it totally analog? Who are your favorite collage artists and what elements separate the style of different collage artists?
Collage art came about when I first saw some wheat pastes/graffiti up in NYC. I was always drawn to that style of art and the bold imagery being used. I started making handmade stickers, mixed media paintings, krink marker on beer bottles a lot when i started collaging more often. I make all analog collages. Not even sure where to start with favorites! lately i am into John Vochatzer, Mr. Babies and xyz_k_. Each very psychedelic style, brain melting and have that creepiness incorporated into their work. I like to see how different collage artists use shape, space, colors and textures.

How long does it take you to make a collage, after you have the concept in mind and the materials to make it, obviously that could take weeks or months to gather.
Once I have the materials cut up and my glue, exacto blade or scissors handy, usually a detailed one takes me a few hours. If I really get wild on something a day or two for sure. I like to usually just sit down and see where my mind takes me always. The hunt for magazines, books and cutting up imagery is a long process.

Did you study art in school?
I went to school for Fine Arts. I chose to only study for two years or so, got my associates and then went a different path, back into the street art/graffiti stuff more during this time.

What about pen and ink work? Who do you look up to?
I took a lot of drawing classes over the years, but never wanted to do the assignments how the teachers wanted. I realized I started to find my own style (slowly) and was drawing more during the weekends. My list gets longer and longer, but these guys make some great stuff lately – JJ Villard, Hirotton, Anthony Kei.. always been a huge fan of Neckface as well.

What materials do you work with to create art?
My drawings are all ultra/fine point sharpies, copic markers and microns. I just started using the really small tipped microns a lot more (I stopped for a while, not even sure why). I have a huge drawer filled with at least 100 different colors.

What’s your normal workflow for collage, and for pen and ink?
When I am making my collages it’s a lot more all over the place. Usually my pen and ink stuff I have the idea or slight concept in my head before I make it. A lot of the drawings are inspired by songs, dreams, skate, surf, dark beach. I work similar to how tattoo artists work when using markers… like rough trace, then ink. I use a light box a lot for my drawings. I got my work in a ton of local shops and had my first solo show in Asbury Park, NJ. Pretty much since that time (soon after school) was when I started working on my style and experimenting with different mediums. I work with a lot of brands/clients who let me jam on concepts or ideas. Usually the end result comes out better than I expect.

Who have you worked for in the skate/surf world? And outside? What client have you worked for that took you the furthest away from your comfort zone?
Globe, Loser Machine, Dark Seas, Billabong, Lost, Portland Wheel Co, ATM. I think working with Dark Seas on the catalog I put together (all analog collage) special for them was the most challenging. It’s something I’ve never done before and at first seemed so hard to get right, but the end result we both were beyond stoked on.

What’s the best paying job you’ve ever had?
As a kid up until now, I think doing what I’m doing now is where I’ve made the most (freelance artist)… It’s still challenging to get by, but some weeks I luck out and make more than enough to keep motivated.

No, I mean what is the single best paying job, as in, what project for a client?
Working with Loser Machine / Dark Seas on my line for both brands.

What was your proudest moment as an artist, up until now?
Working with Billabong on my own line by far! That line was badass to this day and i am still proud of having had the opportunity. The timing was right for me on that one.

What did you get into first, skateboarding, surfing or art or did it all happen at the same time?
All I ever wanted to do was skateboard as a kid. It’s where my mind was constantly. I started to surf more often in highs chool, after I quit playing sports. Art was always there. I was inspired by the whole skate culture. It was rad to take part in and look back to my younger days even to this day. Skate rat for life here.

What are your top five punk bands and what are the top five obscure bands you listen to?
Punk bands: Bad Brains, Minor Threat, Subhumans, Black Flag, Germs. Obscure bands: Thee Oh Sees, Black Marble, Gee Tee, The Spits, Richard Rose – check them out.

Do you draw while under the influence of psychedelic drugs, or do trippy images come naturally to your mind?
Trippy images come naturally for me, I like to just work and work on something and see how weird it will get on me. I think that’s the joy of my creations. Nothing really seems to be thought out to begin with, unless its something special for a client or brand.

What is it that you like more about skating ditches and curbs than skateparks?
Ditches are free, not fenced off like being in a cage, they have the rough grounds that I’ve skated my whole life as a kid, living here in NJ (very crappy roads). It’s fun to bring all my tricks to the ditch and see how broke off you’ll get trying stuff. Curbs are the same as surfing waves, fun to hit fast and cruise. Ditches/curbs are never the same time for me, I’m always learning and progressing faster than a normal skatepark scene.

You also have a clothing brand called Evil Paradise, what is the idea behind that, printing tshirts with your artwork or is there something more to it?
EP @evilparadise came about in 2011-12, it was really just a concept I had for this different dark beach style apparel, illustrations/collage. Winter can be harsh here in NJ, ghost town style, so all hail “Summer Is Dead“. I had a small run of patches made for beanies, stickers, buttons and a few shirts printed. People have been into it since the younger days so I kept changing up designs and now offer all pre-order goods, one-off thrift gear (hand-picked from thrift shops), art prints, way bigger selection than ever. Everything is printed in the same town as my art space.

Who was your first skateboard hero and do you have a few skateboarders that you appreciate more than any others of the current day?
I can’t really remember back to who my first hero was, but I know at one point Andrew Reynolds always inspired me. Off the top of my head and today still some inspirations: Ed Templeton, Gonz, Andy Roy, Spanky, Fred Gall for sure. Also I’m a huge fan of Jason Adams‘ curb skating.

Boneless

With your skateboarding, is it just a hobby, or do you have more serious ambitions such as skating in contests or getting sponsored?
Skateboarding is a hobby for me, I’m happy to be doing it again (i stopped for years) picked it back up two years ago and haven’t stopped since. Its a drug for sure. I’m happy to have Hoax MFG, Cavity Wax, and @bravesurf supporting me lately, it means a lot.

Frontside Smith

Any future plans you want to discuss?
More art making, skate ditches, curbs, beers, warmer days surf, loving my girl Deb.

If you could be Nostradamus for a day, what would you predict the effect of the Corona virus to have on the future of the world?
They won’t let us leave our homes, so not sure about saving the world just yet…

Backside Nosepick Indy

Any other predictions for 2020 and beyond?
Hopefully I get to work with some more skate companies! thanks for the feature <3

Backside Croocked Tailgrab

 

Early grab to drop

 

What is your favorite stuff to draw or collage and where do you find your inspiration?
Some of my favorite things to draw are skull heads, all seeing eyes, palm-trees, animals, water moving (ocean, surf, beach related scenery incorporated into pieces), skateboards, open mouths. I usually will find imagery and rough trace/sketch out my twist on subjects and then ink them with my lightbox (I work very similar to a tattoo artist with all my drawings). When collaging my favorite stuff to use – old surf/skateboard mags, books related to wildlife/nature, old Nat-Geo (I have stacks and stacks of these) and Omni magazine I use often. Early 70’s-90’s imagery catches my eye the most, I look for brighter colors, psychedelic backgrounds/landscapes, animals likes snakes, tigers, bats flying etc. that are fun to play around with.

Frontside Tailslide Layback

Skateboarding is my second form of art as well! It’s a hobby, but the feeling I get from skateboarding is that equal love (same as being stoked on a collage or drawing after a day in the studio) – some of my favorite tricks I do often in and out of ditches – boneless, 360 boneless, nose pick, dump-truck, frontside tail-slides always.

What is your drink of choice?
Any cheap beer, haha.

Frontside Heelblock Judo

 

Intern Artwork by Dirty

 

Check out Space Bat Killer‘s online shop for more of his art and stuff you can buy.

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