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7 Questions for Ken Meyer Jr.

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Alan Moore by Ken Meyer, Jr

Dark and sensual. Bloody or sweaty. Color-soaked and full of life—or unlife. The kind of guy who’d do a Kickstarter to vanquish his hernia. The Kird Ape Guy. The Dark Ritual Guy.

Yep, Ken Meyer Jr.’s images are expressive and bold, eliciting a visceral reaction from the viewer that is uncomfortable as often as it is pleasurable. While some artists navigate entire careers without being able to paint a man’s face as it feels something, this is certainly not Meyer. A master of the old-school emoticon, his play with faces is one of his strongest calling cards.

Tori Amos by Ken Meyer Jr.

While Ken Meyer Jr.’s contributions to the Magic art pantheon might seem small based solely on numbers, his cards happen to be some of the most iconic. His images on Kird Ape, Dark Ritual, Erhnam Djinn, and Guardian Beast are so recognizable that we might forget there’s an artist behind them, so integral to the “face of Magic” are they.

Charles Barkley, Dr J, and Patrick Ewing by Ken Meyer Jr.

Meyer has been hustling since his days with Magic. One of the most talented early artists, his website showcases the breadth of his work, which includes not only Magic, but sports and music heroes, Game of Thrones fan art, card alters, and zombies, zombies, zombies! Meyer has reanimated numerous undead for Avatar Publishing’s Night of the Living Dead and Crossed products. Atmospherics, also from Avatar, features more Meyer.

Currently, Meyer has a children’s book on Kickstarter. Finstin is a charming alien story geared toward introducing fantasy, sci-fi, and a love of animals to young children.

Finstin illustration by Ken Meyer Jr.

You can see one of Meyer’s more recent paintings in The Gathering. Eye for an Eye was originally done as a piece for a color theory class, but Meyer injected the assignment with characteristic verve, and the result was a dark angel-meets-911 beauty.

An Eye for an Eye by Ken Meyer Jr.

So, you're the Kird Ape guy. What went through your mind as you did that iconic Magic piece?

How can I get away with using this National Geographic photo and not get sued?

Kird Ape alters by Ken Meyer Jr.

How'd you get hooked up with the Magic franchise in the first place? Did you do the artsy-guy-into-art-student-into-art-school-into-real-world-shock-type trajectory or was it something different?

I went to college many years ago (I'm sorta old) and was a terrible student, so I was pretty much self-taught. Many years later, I was at a comic convention (probably San Diego around 1996), and the wonderful Maria Carbodo (then at Mayfair games, later at Wizards) stopped by my table. From that, I went to White Wolf and Wizards at pretty much the same time.

What makes zombies so damn sexy?

I think it's that since they feel no sense of commitment (or pretty much anything), gals don't feel any pressure at all (well, unless you count the pressure of teeth on your skin).

Who's your favorite Game of Thrones character, and what is it that you can relate to?

I could look at Dany all day long, and actually, Drogo might have been my favorite character, and I was sad to see him go. As for relating, maybe it's because Drogo and I share the same body type (if I gained about 100 pounds of muscle).

Utah. Puerto Rico. Savannah, Georgia. The Philippines. Can you tell us how these geographic components of your life influence/inform your art?

Well, I think it's possible I got into comics (and comics got me into art) because we moved around so much, making me somewhat shy and prone to individual endeavors. I don't think they inform my art so much, although I do like organic forms more than mechanical ones, and all of those locations have lush plant and animal life, so what do I know?

Tori Amos by Ken Meyer Jr.

Favorite comic book heroine of all time?

It's funny and sad at the same time . . . I did a Google search for "top female comic heroines" to help jog my memory, and all I got were lists like "10 sexiest comic heroines," etc. Geez. I will actually say Maggie from Love and Rockets. I was following the Hernadez brothers BEFORE L and R started (in fanzines and The Comics Journal), and Love and Rockets was huge for me.

Update us on Harry the unHappy Hernia. Did he or will he find his fairy tale ending?

I haven't heard from Harry since he vacated the premises of my lower torso; I hope he found a HERnia to settle down with. Get it? HERnia? I got a million of ’em.

Meyer’s daughter Avery as The Justice League

Meyer has a lot of fantastic work available for sale on his Facebook page and his website, including originals and prints. Simply browsing through his work can amount to a very satisfying evening—trust me; give it a try.

’Till next time, may Magic be your damned dirty ape dancing to a sorta fairytale.

-MJ

@moxymtg

Moxymtg.com

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