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Sam Shoemaker | Deviant Alliant

It has been awhile since a young artist have impressed on such a level that I mistook his work for that of a seasoned professional. Going by the moniker of Sam Shoemaker, the Singaporean illustrator has knocked up a series of macabre black and white digital work that seems to have been borne out such intense intricacy, allowing every detail to purport its purpose.  ActuallyMag speaks to the student of FZD School of Design about his art, his penchant for the objectionable, and tophats.


Your affiliation with top hats.

I was very much influenced by the steampunk comics when I was younger and to cite them historically, the Edwardian era. Personally, they’re my headgear of choice, be it for say, character illustrations or even wearing them out myself. I do that sometimes. Hahahaha.

You work is notoriously dark in a whimsical way as seen in Corvus. Define your style.

Gallows humor. I like to portray stereotypical subjects dealing with macabre in a light hearted way, matter-of-factly.

How do you tend to approach your work?

I tend to think of the end goal, of what I want to achieve. I try not to think too far ahead as to whether my stuff is marketable or not in the early stages until I get to near completion.

What aspects of external factors impact your creativity?

Daily life. Believe it or not. A lame joke shared among weekly beer buddies might turn out to be an inspiration. Now, that’s golden.

What’s Defiant Alliant about?

Defiant Alliant first started out as a 2 man team, with the eventual parting of my partner in crime who went ahead to pursue his other interests. It went on hiatus for some time before I came up upon it in my archives and thus decided to restart its engines.

As an illustrator, how is it like building your craft in our local environment?

In my opinion, just like anyone dealing in the arts, especially in the local scene, it can be kind of hard to be ‘seen’. So what I’d say? Keep that passion up, keep that fire going, and most importantly, enjoy your craft. That way, you wouldn’t be too caught up in thoughts of whether or not you make it and ultimately, never going to know when Santa’s knocking on your door. (Laugh)

This is a death question, and most artist cannot really furnish it. Do you have a favorite work?

I don’t really have any favourite work and as such, I believe the next one I do will be better than the previous and so on. I feel that it is best not to fall in love with your own productions as it might hinder progress.

Have you ever felt like your art is turning into work? How do you deal with that when it happens?
Sometimes it happens. Especially when you get into some kind of creative block, I tend to break the cycle by doing something else. Say, line work, or painting. Or just take a walk outside and draw from life. Sometimes, even something totally unrelated. Usually in an hour or two at most, I’ll be back on my desk brainstorming and conceptualizing some new funky ideas which very much could have been something I saw while out on the escapade.

Share with us some of your upcoming projects.

I’m currently in midst of some kind of artistic and design pilgrimage under the mentorship of Feng Zhu, a well-known concept designer who, just to name a few, was involved in Hollywood projects like Star Wars and Transformers. In short, not really going to come out with something fresh from the oven but when I’m done, you can be assured you’ll see new stuff. (Laughs)

– Zul Andra

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