Antonio Seijas (English)

Antonio Seijas

Antonio Seijas will be known to many rock fans as the artist whose stunning work graced and illuminated both volumes (Essence and The Hard Shoulder) of Marillion’s epic Happiness is the Road album. He also provided the artwork that accompanied the emotional ‘Gaza’, possibly the stand out track on Marillion’s most recent album Sounds That Can’t Be Made. His interests as an artist, however, extend well beyond these particular projects, and he is a prolific creator of book covers and illustrations, calendars, CD booklets and comic book art. (Check out his website – address below – you won’t be disappointed.) He has worked with a range of rock musicians and provided the cover art and chapter icons for Words and Music. It seemed natural, therefore, to ask Toni to tell us more about his work. (To read the interview in Spanish, Antonio’s native tongue, please click here.)

Antonio Seijas Essence CoverHi Antonio, tell us first, how big a rock fan are you, and what does rock music mean to you?
I like music but I do not consider myself a big fan and can go for days without listening to any music. When I do listen it’s mainly rock and classical. The first music which interested me as a teenager was rock and heavy rock.

Who was the first band to make an impression on you?
The first bands that I listened to, and that I really enjoyed listening to, I think were Iron Maiden and Helloween, until shortly after I discovered Marillion on the TV on a video show. I bought Season’s End and despite not having a big music collection, I can say that no other group has made such an impression on me. They became my favourite band and remain so today.

Tell us about an album, song or lyric that means a lot to you.
Probably ‘Out of this World’ by Marillion. I’ve loved it since the first time I listened to it. The music and the lyrics complement each other perfectly. It’s a perfect piece, conveying sadness, loneliness and beauty. It’s an incredible song, at least for me, hahaha.

Antonio Seijas - Marzipan KnivesObviously, first and foremost you are an artist – is it possible to say what art means to you?
Well, really I have no very clear idea what art is! For me, it normally feels as if art is a part of me, as much as my personality is. It is a way of relating with what is around me. It is the way I can communicate how I relate to what I see and what I feel, and  how I see the world at different levels.

How do you see what you do as an artist?
This is something I don’t think about; I just work without thinking about what I do.  I am interested in creating ambience and atmospheres that transmit feelings through light and color. This is what I try to do. If I can, I also like people to not receive all the information I’m transmitting at first sight, so that they must spend some time thinking about the image or illustration to complete a little of what they see through their own experience as a person.

Who are your influences as an artist?Antonio Seijas - State of Mind 02
Well, I’m not consciously influenced by any one particular artist. There are many good artists. Although in terms of music I don’t know many more than those I have on CD at home. In general my inspiration comes from nature, light, colour, literature … I suppose that in some unconscious way my influences as an artist are all those things that I see, hear and read. Some things always leave a trace in the mind and without thinking about them I process and incorporate them into my work.

Art and music can be closely connected, and often are when one thinks of some of the great progressive rock bands. How do you see the connection between rock music and art?
I believe that the two complement each other perfectly . Each enriches the other. Any disc that sells is music, but it is also something more than music, and progressive rock has more motivations, other pretensions, offers something artistically more elaborate, more thoughtful. The graphics and illustrations that accompany the work can enhance this artistic element.

You are known for your work with Marillion and Gazpacho – how did you get involved with those bands?
Gazpacho contacted me on the official Marillion forum. They were going to be their support act and needed someone who spoke Spanish to translate phrases on their merchandise. At the time they were working on the album Firebird. I showed them some samples of my work and they offered me the opportunity to do their CD booklet, but the front cover had already been decided.

Antonio Seijas - HappinessMarillion needed someone to take care of the artwork for the album Happiness is the Road as their usual designer, Carl Glover, couldn’t do it. For work reasons he was abroad and didn’t have time to take care of the whole project. Marillion asked for some samples from various people and ultimately I was lucky enough to be chosen to take care of the two booklets – around 100 pages each.

Were you a fan of Marillion and Gazpacho before you worked with them?
Yes, Marillion have been my favourite group since I was a teenager, and remain so. I have loved Gazpacho since I became aware of them, so it’s an honour and a privilege to be able to work with such talented people.

I love your Happiness is the Road artwork and the added dimension it brings to Steve Hogarth’s lyrics. Did you consciously try to enhance the lyrics in this way?
I tried to do what I always try to do, capture in images what I feel in the songs. I try to give people some feel for the song before they listen to it. And when they have listened to it they can see what’s reflected in the images. Afterwards, it’s for each person to decide whether I have succeeded. Everyone understands songs in their own way, which may or may not coincide with my interpretation.

antonio_seijas_m42Aside from Marillion, Gazpacho and Words and Music, have you done any other rock-related work or work with other bands?
Yes, I have done work for other rock groups: Discanto, Harvest, The Wishing Tree (Steve Rothery and Hannah Stobart project), Nine Stones Close,  John Jowitt´s arK, 50hz, The Dave (Dave Foster from Mr So&So) …

Some artists are very closely identified with the work they’ve done for rock bands, for example Rodney Matthews with Magnum, Derek Riggs with Iron Maiden, and Roger Dean with Yes. Do you see this happening to you?
Okay, I don’t know whether one can avoid that or make it happen. It is not something I worry about. I like to experiment a lot and do different things for different projects, and for me the important thing is making sure that each has its own personality, and still reflects something of my work. I use different types of illustrations depending on what the work might be. It is not the same for a music album as for a comic, a book cover or a childrens book for example. And the art inside music albums should have nothing to do with other music albums. You can see in the examples you cite that what I have done for Marillion and Gazpacho is totally different.

What’s the rock-related piece of work you’ve done of which you are most proud?
I dont have anything in particular. Once I start work and receive the disk, I look once to see the finished product and don’t look back again. I dont have any favourites in my works. I don’t really like to look at them.

Antonio Seijas - key variationOf everything you’ve done as an artist, of what are you most proud?
More or less the same as the last answer. Really I don’t think much about what I have done or look back. In general it seems that people like the image of a tree trunk with the key forming part of it.

What are you currently doing and what can we expect from Antonio Seijas in the future?
At the moment I am hoping to do a presentation and signing session for my new comic. I would like to publish something sometime in English or French, for example!

Also I am starting some other projects, so if any band needs some artwork, please contact me! Also for posters, websites, books, reviews …

As a short-term project I will try to self-publish a picture book, a collection of my works for discs and other projects, as well as images that ultimately were not included in the scripts and other unpublished illustrations. I’ll try to do it with the help of ‘crowdfunding’, so I encourage all of you who would want to have a book with many benefits and discounts to pay attention to my blog and my Facebook page, where I will reveal all.

Antonio Seijas Comic Book Art

Antonio Seijas images used with permission

Translated from the original Spanish by William Rees

Visit Antonio’s website: http://www.antonioseijas.com/

Antonio Seijas on Facebook

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  1. Entrevista | Antonio Seijas

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