“How crazy is it that CBS News does a story on my instructor and interviews me? Crazy cosmic stuff!” George Vega exclaimed, as we sat down for our third interview. I had seen the news interview myself and I knew it had been a huge milestone in a career already littered with the golden stones of success. Crazy cosmic stuff, indeed? This interview was to be our third, but I had to just ask. “You were on TV, George?” I said playfully, already knowing he had made a spectacular debut on CBS news. George cottoned on and toned it down. “The footage is on my Facebook page.” I had already seen the footage, but I couldn’t help playing along, acting as naively as possible…
Q) What was the TV interview for, George? Were they showcasing your illustrations?
A) My martial arts instructor was asked to possibly show his classes for CBS to do the report. Instead, he did the smart thing and had those who can participate in kind of a demonstration. We demonstrated traditional and Wushu.
After I did a small demonstration of sword and open hands, the producer wanted me to be interviewed. I was not expecting an interview, but sadly, much was cut out as far as the demonstration goes. I guess it ended up “on the cutting room floor.”
Q) You must have impressed some news producer somewhere along the line?
A) I suppose I did. He actually used to train in King Fu but due to health reasons had to stop.
Q) Can you explain to readers what “traditional” and “wushu” are?
A) Well, let me try to simplify it. Traditional are most styles that originated hundreds of years ago and there are many styles.
Wushu is the SPORT version of that organized by the Chinese government. They put together a committee of master and well-known practitioners to standardize the forms and movements. They even created Compulsory forms as well.
There are a few subcategories, but the main two are Northern Hand and Southern Hand. Northern has high flying kicks and jumps, while southern has powerful low stances and intricate hand techniques.
And there are weapons categories, of course, like Broad Sword, Double Edge Sword, Staff and Spear. These are just some of the major ones there are more three section staff and Tiger Hook Swords. I can go on and on. I am just simplifying it, as I said.
Q) You must really love kung fu– have you ever used it in a real life situation?
A) Sadly, yes, but they were brief encounters.
Q) An illustrated Kung Fu guide might be a good project for Vegamationpress! Have you considered it?
A) That would be fun!
Q) We should get back to talking about your work within the publishing world. What is your current project?
A) Well, there are a few in line. Right after this interview I will probably finish my Sketch card set for Cult-Stuff, H. G. Wells, War of the Worlds. I wish I could show you but I need approval first. I have just been contacted about an exciting project! Joseph Michael Linsner’s Dawn cards. Breygent is the company releasing it and I am one of the artists working on this card set. I’m very excited to work on the character– lots to have fun with. She’s not super popular but she has a cult following. Joe Linsner’s art is amazing so I understand why. Dawn is the character and Linsner is the creator.
Q) I thought the trading card fad was over? Is it still a strong market?
A) It’s no longer just a market for sports. It has grown into a huge industry! The collectors want these sets since they always have a sketch card in it. So if you buy a set, you get an actual sketch card from an artist. The space set I worked on was sold out before the artist even finished the artwork.
Q) I have to ask– do you ever see your own trading cards on eBay or other auction sites?
A) Yes actually. Just the other day I saw one. They might ask for what seems like a lot of money but I know I work hard on them. If no one buys it I guess the seller might start hating me! Please go buy it, someone!
Q) Have you ever placed a bid on one of your own cards?
A) Not if the price is too high! That sounds cocky… Sometimes I might buy a base card or something I really enjoyed working on.
Q) How do you find these jobs? Do you have to approach people or do they come to you with projects in mind?
A) I found them or made initial contact. At that point they send me a solicitation and I sign on. I am always sending out my artwork via link or an e-mail with samples. You have to shake the bushes to find the work!
Q) That’s how I find many of the writers I interview. In fact.. I found you that way! I think networking is everything in every line of work. Would you agree?
A) I agree! That is so important. After high school you have to drop the “I’m too cool, EMO act” because you want a career, don’t you? It is hard getting told no but the word “NO” never killed anyone…unless you’re one of those guys from DUNE! OMG, will anyone know what I’m talking about?
Q) I had a question from a reader for you. Where do you get the inspiration for your work?
A) It depends on the work. Assignments are different from personal work. For example, the sketch series I’m doing now– I simply try to PUSH design and have fun with it. With assignments, it’s different. I process them in my head, possibly all day.
Q) Would you say you are at the top level of illustration or are there better guys?
A) There are guys who are total beasts! But they get great exposure. I have designs and ideas that will twist your thinking since I love playing with normal vs. abnormal.
Q) Many artists lose touch with themselves and find themselves on a downward slope. Has this ever happened to you? Has there ever been a time when you couldn’t rely on your talent?
A) Well, I did lose my Illustration side for a few years but that was because I was running a business and just focusing on Graphic Design.
I joined DeviantART to try to upload a sketch or two once in a while, then it became once a week and it grew to full blown illustrations.
Q) I have been asked by many people– where is the money in art and literature? Do you have any answers?
A) Entertainment!!!! I’m generalizing on purpose. You have to find it everywhere. There is small money to be made, big money and money you have to chase.
I think the industries that pay best are Video Games and concept work for movies, wIthout having 3D modelling knowledge.
Q) Have you ever tried your hand in the video games sector?
A) Yes, I have sent artwork out. I guess something may happen soon. Previously, I received no response; now, finally, I hear, “Hey, I have seen your work before…” Same thing with some comic editors out there, but I’m waiting in a long line and hoping for my number to come up. I have worked hard to just have a chance to be in the line.
Q) George, what was the biggest break of your career?
A) It was working on a Fan Comic. Transformers: The Lost Seasons. The exposure led to many e-mails and internet groups that I networked with.
Q) Thanks for your time, George!
A) No problem, Nick!