Hey there fans! Welcome back to another edition of Touring the Cosmos. Today we have a treat for you all. Last year, at Toronto’s FanExpo, I had the pleasure of meeting and purchasing some fine art pieces from local artist Miko Maciaszek. Flash forward a year later, and here we are with the chance to talk a bit with him about his artwork, and his love of comics. Why Miko, so out of the blue, you ask? Well, for starters when I met him at the FanExpo, I was blown away by his art. Amazingly painted pieces, but in particular the galaxy spanning characters (i.e. Green Lantern and Silver Surfer) were some really eye-catching artwork. Now keeping that in mind, he has designed the gorgeously brand new Touring the Cosmos banner you see below. Enough banter though, let’s get to the interview!
ComicAttack: Hey Miko! Glad you could spend a little time with us. It’s been a while since last year’s FanExpo (the next one is only a few months away!). How has the last year been treating you? Are you planning on attending again this year?
Miko Maciaszek: Thank you for having me here. This past year has been great, I always learn so much between preparation and exhibiting at FanExpo. I’ll be there again this year at booth A228 with my new partner Alysha Puopolo.
MM: There is a lot to take in, but I enjoy the overwhelming craziness. I try to see as much as I can, my favorite is strolling through the artist alley and seeing what other people have been working on.
CA: Now being the lucky guy that I am, I have been able to see some of your work. Tell us a bit about your history with art.
MM: I’ve made pictures since as far back as I can remember. I didn’t really know anybody with similar interests when I was growing up, so the older I got the less I drew. During my last year of high school I won several awards with a Remembrance Day poster that was done as an art class assignment, that definitely opened my mind to pursuing art. I attended the Illustration program at Sheridan which has completely changed my perspective on creativity.
CA: What drew you to taking up art as a profession?
MM: I love the lifestyle. I’m working a 24/7 job doing something that I would pretty much be doing on my own time. I blend my hobbies and interests with what I produce professionally.
CA: Now, having been privy to seeing a bit of your process while working on the TTC banner, I wanted to know if you care to share a bit about it. Any special tools or tricks you like to use?
MM: I usually spend the most time on coming up with ideas and sketches. I finish pieces with mixed media, I like the consistency of acrylics and black ink, then the computer and tablet are important for adjustments and just trying to capture a mood.
CA: How would you describe your work? It’s certainly not simply pencil work.
MM: I kind of like critiques and descriptions I’ve picked up from other creatives over time, I’ve been told that my ideas and solutions are elegant, and the visual quality is rough and expressive, I don’t disagree, but I’m still trying to find and develop the answers.
CA: Your work touches on a broad spectrum of genres. Is there any person or genre that you like to draw your inspiration from, and is there any category that you prefer to work on?
MM: I’m always finding inspiration in new things around me, as well as digging up things from my childhood and really learning about them. I guess it comes down to my fascination with things like European history and mythology which I’ve been raised with, I always find some way of making an image work by referencing what I know best.
MM: What I love about comics is that I am constantly stumbling onto something new and interesting so I don’t consistently follow anything specific, I feel like a kid, forever in a candy store. When I was little my mom read me these Polish comics about two boy scouts and a talking monkey (Tytus, Romek i A’Tomek), They go on ridiculous adventures that frequently parody history and science fiction. When I came to Canada I became obsessed with Spiderman and the Marvel universe. I recently discovered Chris Ware, his work is incredible. I also love Tintin, and really want to just dive into other European comics.
CA: Did you have any childhood “heroes,” or any characters you liked as a kid?
MM: Historical figures always inspired me, like stories of kings and their knights. When I came to Canada I was introduced to the idea of the American super hero. I started watching Batman, even though I didn’t understand a word, it eventually lead me to Spiderman, X-Men, Spawn and the comics. Spawn was probably my favorite one.
CA: In the vein of cosmic goodness I have a few quick questions:
MM: Favorite star-spanning hero: Doctor Manhattan
Favorite star-conquering villain: Galactus
Standout cosmic storyline: The Fountain, absolute beauty.
Favorite Lantern Corps (from the Green Lantern-verse): Green, balance is key to everything in life.
Who would win, Green Lantern (DC) or Nova (Marvel)?
Probably Green lantern, there’s a limitless potential to what he can do. I’ve usually favoured the marvel universe and characters but in this comparison it falls short. The characters are definitely not as memorable in this case. The idea of imagining something and the ring causing physical manifestation is brilliant.
MM: Large scale self directed projects would be ideal, but I’ve always wanted to work in publishing, like covers and illustrations for books and comics. My education also introduced me to the world of editorial illustration which is pretty amazing.
CA: Any upcoming projects or appearances that you would like to mention?
MM: I’ve been drooling over Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, so I’m working on an illustration inspired by the film and the original mythology, I played with the idea of blending the space esthetic with Greek mythology, I’ll proably post it on my blog when I finish it, along with the several other pieces I plan on having ready for FanExpo.
CA: I can’t wait to see that piece! Prometheus definitely has some buzz building around it. Big Aliens fan?
MM: Definitely a big Aliens fan. My dad is a huge fan of the original film and introduced me at a very young age, even got me an action figure of the Queen. I loved it but it gave me nightmares, so my mom got fed up and threw it out, I never completely forgave her for it.
CA: Miko, thank you so much for your time, it has been a pleasure, and Touring the Cosmos certainly appreciates the lovely piece you made. Good luck in all your future endeavors and hopefully we can speak again soon!
MM: Thanks, Mike. It’s been a pleasure working with you.
You can follow Miko at: