If ya haven’t heard, Doom Cycle has teamed up with the awesome folks at Show Class Magazine to interview their cover artist for each issue. It’s somethin’ I’m really stoked about, which shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of you who’ve been hangin’ around this joint. I’ve been a a big fan of the mag for years now, so having this opportunity to work with Tim and the gang has been a blast.
Hey, and welcome to all those who just couldn’t get enough of artist Samuel Lee Turner from issue 26! Space is tight in a physical magazine, so the artist interviews there are often presented in a condensed form. Here on Doom Cycle, we don’t face those same restrictions. So if you’re interested in hearin’ more, ya found the right place. Did I mention the big fuckin’ pictures too? Gotcha covered!
So here’s my interview with the uber-talented Samuel Lee Turner!
Hey Samuel! So where do you call home these days, and how long have you been livin’ there?
Denver, Colorado. Been living here since ’95. I am originally from El Paso, Texas.
Your work often delves into fantasy and the occult. From wizards and mages, to warriors and beasts… plus all those super-hot sword-wielding chicks! Who were some of your influences early on?
There’s a number of influences: Frank Frazetta obviously, Moebius, Bernie Wrightson, and many others.
I’ve seen you mention Italian artist Milo Manara quite a few times on Instagram. What brought his work to your attention?
Milo Manara was brought to my attention through the Heavy Metal illustrated magazines. My oldest brother had a bunch of those things! He always let me look through his stash of adult comics and such when I was a kid. I was like in the 7th grade or something.
You’re a big fan of metal, so having the opportunity to create art for bands like Black Breath, Khemmis, and In the Company of Serpents must be rad as hell! How did you get into workin’ with bands?
I always seemed to draw for friends who were in bands here and there. A lot of local stuff. I would say one of the first bigger known bands was 3 Inches of Blood. I did a tour poster for them after meeting and hanging out, partying here in Denver, then was asked to do their album cover for Fire Up the Blades along with some random merchandise and shirts. From that you tend to get some recognition from other bands or individuals in a band asking you about doing something for them. I did some stuff for Zeke before – it’s great to get to create or work on ideas for bands you’re really into. Some others are Speedwolf, Early Man, Holy Grail, Power Trip, and Iron Reagan, to name a few
What albums are ya really diggin’ at the moment? Anything we should be checkin’ out?
The new Khemmis is really good; I know you mentioned it already. I seem to have been listening to a lot of old favorites lately. I’m all over the place: Judas Priest, Brats (pre-Mercyful Fate) ZZ Top… a lot of fun drawing music. Waiting for a lot of new stuff that’s coming out from some favorites.
While we’re talkin’ ’bout bringin’ passions together, as a dude who rides, you must be stoked to have landed covers for both Show Class and DiCE in the same year. Any cool stories about how those came together?
Getting to draw for Show Class is great. I dig the mag and liked seeing what they were about at some of the earlier Born Free shows. I am good friends with Dave Barker of SpeedMetal Cycles, and I’ve done some of his branding and merch. Pretty much anything he asks for I’ll do. I would go to shows with Dave when he would build a show bike, and help him on the road trips to party and take in the whole experience. I went to a couple of Born Free shows, met some people, and got to check out all the great bikes. Born Free 2 is where I met Matt Davis from DiCE magazine. We talked about doing a cover but years passed, and when we saw each other at the Mama Tried show in Milwaukee this past year we realized I never got a cover for him. So after talking, decided to do issue 61 which was going to have Dave’s Diamond Rio build he did for his good friend Reuben McChancey. It was a fun piece but a short quick deadline.
I have friend through Instagram, Zach Kolodziejski, who I did some art for his Zine PUTT. He’s a great dude and turned me onto doing the cover for Show Class with a drawing I did that they liked but hadn’t been used for anything yet. So I was more than pleased to get it finished and sent to them.
So when did ya get into motorcycles, and what’re ya ridin’ these days?
I got into the motorcycle thing through SpeedMetal but to be honest I have nothing to ride at the moment. I have had a ’72 ironhead that has been waiting to get finished over at Dave’s shop, but we’re both so busy that we haven’t got it done. He’s really busy all the time and all the while has been doing the rust removal/fabrication of my ’73 Chevy G-10 short box van. When the van’s done we can get back to my ironhead. I am a bike messenger in downtown Denver so I ride my bicycle a lot! Haha! I’m alright with it, but I am planning on getting a Harley to make a street tracker out of just so I have something for the time being . I have been super busy doing art so I now have some money saved up that I can use to pick something up.
Your work for SpeedMetal Cycles has been awesome. How did that relationship come about?
I actually met Dave of SpeedMetal because of mutual friends, but more so because of my blue Chevy van. He and some other guys saw it parked in front of a show and were talking about it, I walked up saying it was kinda alright and then laughing and telling them it was mine. We seemed to hang out a lot after that. I started figuring out what I wanted to do with the ironhead. The frame is an old Jammer and we realized it was a bit off/bent in the rear so we gotta get that situated then keep going. It’s cool to get to do stuff in his shop and help on little things with show bikes, a friends build, doing some art, paint, engraving… whatever I can get into or try my hand at.
You must’ve been thrilled when the Buell-based Ronin bike you created the paint for placed second at Pike’s Peak. How did you get involved in that project?
The Ronin bike involvement came through a childhood friend of Dave Barker’s: Dusty Terry. I met him when he lived at the old shop with Dave, fucking Wyoming boys haha . So when he started work with Ronin Motorworks he talked to me about being one of several artists doing an “art bike” that was to be one of a select few bikes made to have a custom paint scheme illustrated by different artists. Once I was on board I got to do some more concepts, one being the race bike paint scheme for the Pike’s Peak race bike. And then getting to do some vintage racer color schemes and designs. It’s been really fun to do something on a totally different unique motorcycle, and once again for a great bunch of guys!
Lately, your name’s been comin’ up a lot when I speak to other artists about folks they’re diggin’. Are there any artists out there who’s stuff knocks ya out?
Glad to hear I have some other artists digging my stuff. Guys like Burney, Burrito Breath, Jason Cruz, Alex Matus, and Sarah Sadler, are a few off the top of my head that fit into the motorcycle scene.
Others are Marald, Vania Zouravliov, Jef Kopp, Putrid, Nathan Cabrera, and Aaron Horkey, just to name a few.
Do you have any cool projects in the wings ya wanna tell us about, or some stuff we should keep our eyes peeled for?
Going to be getting my Ronin art bike painted up in the coming weeks. Doing some shirt designs for a band who did the soundtrack for a movie coming out in August called Turbo Kid. Some merch and posters for the NACCCS here in Denver (bike courier race), and more fun killer shit for TRVE Brewing here in Denver. It’s a metal brewery that I do all the branding for and is always a blast to do. Hopefully some good shit keeps coming my way!
I’ve made it a habit or wrapping up an interview with this question (ya never know what you’re gonna get): If you could travel through time, where would you go?
If I could travel through time? I’m already headed into the future, so I would have to say back to anytime before 1974 to see my mom who I lost when I was five. Too few memories of her, would love to go back and have more.
Thanks a ton for your time, Sam! Can’t wait to see all the rad stuff you’ll be up to in the future!
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