There is something quite super-human about the ability to draw. Especially if that ability makes it hard to determine whether it’s an illustration or a photograph. With realism as his super power, award-winning illustrator Mike Thompson has found some of the most powerful characters in the universe at the end of his pen; with commissions from Marvel, DC Comics and Warner Bros – to name a few – you can find his latest commission right here… on our front cover!
F.1.M.: Your professional roots lie in the world of fashion and advertising. However, your path for many years has been dedicated to illustration and collaboration with big names such as Marvel, DC, Warner Bros, as well as the production of purely artistic illustrations. Which type of work gives you the most satisfaction: the success of an advertising campaign, the illustration of a comic that millions of people will see, or the total freedom to create 3D sculptures for example?
M.T.: I think the best part of my career as an illustrator/sculptor is that I have the freedom to work on several different types of projects. I often find myself moving from a 2D illustration for packaging or a movie poster, to sculpting a statue of a superhero or celebrity personality. That is my favorite part of the job, it continually changes and brings new challenges every day. It’s incredibly satisfying having a global fan base too.
F.1.M.: Digital art is achieving incredible success right now.
In a way, the work of digital illustrators like you has contributed to the opening of this type of market, and illustration is now fully recognized as part of the world of art. Do you consider yourself an artist? Or do you still feel very attached to professional illustration for corporate clients?
M.T.: I don’t think the two are mutually exclusive.
I definitely consider myself an artist. At the same time,
I value my corporate clients and know, without them
I definitely would not be where I am today. I have been fortunate enough to work with brands that I genuinely enjoy. Growing up drinking Coke and reading Marvel comics made working with those companies dream jobs. Working on movie posters earned me two CLIO Awards. I’m always looking to expand my client base in addition to creating commissioned pieces for private collectors.
F.1.M.: Still in the world of digital art, the NFT phenomenon has exploded with enormous force on the market. What is your opinion on this? Are you working in this sense? if so, where can we buy your creations?
M.T.: I find the whole NFT movement extremely exciting. We are on the verge of an entirely new way to collect and curate art. As someone who has been creating art in some form or another since The 80s, I can’t help but be intrigued. I am working on a large NFT project at the moment. I’ve partnered with Epix, an NFT Premium platform to be launched on the Flow blockchain, the most serious player in the NFT scene with 1.3 million-plus users, and Dapperlabs, the company behind the Flow blockchain which developed Crypto Kitties and NBA Top Shot with an estimated $7.5B valuation. My Hip Hop Icons card sets will launch on the Epix platform around June/July 2021.