Artist Profile: Erik “Phour Nyne Guy” Arreaga

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I saw Erik Arreaga’s artwork at Las Vegas Comic Con.  The first thing I noticed were his awesome TMNT prints.  His style was different that most art out there.  It was gritty, dynamic and badass. He also had several Spawn and Batman artwork.

In this profile, Arreaga discussed his motivation for his work, the hardship of being an artist and Megan Fox.

Nerd Society (NS):  Who’s your influence for your artwork?

Erik Arreaga (EA): It’s funny when I get asked this question. I literally could write a book on it.  I love artist for so many different reasons, and with those reasons they’ve had an amazing impact on me which comes through on my work.  But if you had to scratch and pull my hair to get me to answer it… Sam Kieth is by far one of the biggest artist that I’ve looked up to growing up. His work on Marvel Comics Presents and then The Maxx is just beautiful.

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NS: What style would you call your work? it seems like the characters you draw are always restraining themselves but looks like they’re about to unleash a can of whoop ass.  I love the tension!

EA: I’ve been told gritty. Even on the most simplest of pieces I try really hard to add so much texture and “grit” to it.  For me it’s what makes my work fun and intense.

NS:What advice would you give to discouraged artists about their work?

EA: Get in line. We’re all discouraged artist.  I’ve been at for 20 years and I still get “discouraged”. We’re all tough on ourselves, which makes us work harder, but doesn’t quite give us that satisfaction we’re looking for.  But that’s the point to all this. You wanna push yourself to the limit and really see what you can do.

NS: I know you’re a big TMNT fan, thoughts on the new turtle movie with Megan Fox as April O’Neil

EA: Haha, that question and the “what do you think of them being aliens?” question is what I get all the time.  Rosario Dawson has always been my first pick, a true TMNT fan will know why. Is she a good April O’Neil? No.  Will she be good for the movie? No.  Is the movie gonna be good? Not likely. Am I gonna see it over and over again? More than likely.  It’s TMNT, regardless what happens, they’ve won cuz we’re all gonna go see it.

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NS: How many cons do you attend per year, is it hard or pretty kickback?

EA: Over the past few years I’ve continued to grow the amount of shows I’ve attended.  I’ve been averaging 10-12 shows per year.  I’m not the type to really go out and do a night on the town when I’m traveling. I’m around for business and I try and keep it that way.  I usually go back to my room and relax sketching or something. Unless it’s San Diego Comic Con (my hometown) then the party is on!

NS:  I noticed that in some of your artwork, you like to put the character’s names/your signature as part of the composition, did you ever learn typography?  How do you come up with the creative process?

EA: Learn typography? I barely know what it is.  No I just go with what looks right to me. I don’t follow basic rules that we all grew up learning in art, I just do it.  I’m a HUGE sketcher, I love to sketch.  I’ve could have made volumes of books with all the sketching I’ve done in my life.  So usually I’ll do tons of roughs before I get to a finished piece.  If you notice in my pieces, the sketch lines are there.  I do it cuz I want people to see my process. I’ve always wonder how my favorite artist approached their work with layouts and wish I could have seen their sketches.  So I leave mine in for that reason.

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NS: Final words to your fans?

EA:  Being an Artist, especially today, is extremely hard.  The work and hours we’ve put into our work didn’t just come to us, it started when we were kids.  We’ve been training basically our whole lives to get where we’re at.  Appreciate all artist and value what we do.

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I know Erik is very busy so I want to thank him for the interview. He’ll be at SDCC, so stop by his booth if you’re going and check out his work.

Also check out his website for the latest prints and news from Erik.

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