Thursday, June 18, 2009

Behind The Lines:Book 2 of the Artist Within

Hi, Greg here. Okay, so it's been about a month since our last studio blog, so I am really excited to share some of the new stuff that I've been working on. If you don't already know, I am finally back to working on my 2nd book, which is really just a continuation of my first book, The Artist Within: Portraits of Cartoonists, Comic Book Artists, and Animators.
Last month I had the chance to get over to L.A. for the National Cartoonist Society swanky annual get together. Now, usually this is open to working cartoonists, but thanks to National President Jeff Keane and former President Steve McGarry, I was able to attend and meet some amazing artists and possible subjects. It was very cool! I made some great contacts and new friends and was able to do some shooting for the new book, too. I photographed 5 new artists including one of my heroes, Drew Struzan. If his name doesn't sound familiar, you'd certainly recognize his work. Drew is one of the best movie poster Illustrators ever (can you tell I'm a huge fan?). He created the Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Harry Potter, ET, and about 160 more of the most notable movie posters ever. For me, it was just an amazing privilege. Now, I have to tell you, sometimes it's not necessarily a great thing to meet your heroes, but in this case it was the BEST. After meeting Drew, I love the work even more, as he is a very cool guy! I was also able to set up a shoot with my buddy Chad Frye.

Chad pretty much works in ALL the fields mentioned on the book jacket: Illustration, Comics, Animation, Cartoons, etc. I've been trying to set up a shoot with him for about 8 years, and on this trip, we finally found the time. While down in So-Cal, I figured It would be just a hop down to San Diego to photograph Ben Templesmith,

who was the Artist behind the comic book and eventual movie adaption, 30 Days of Night. Ben,originally from Australia, had recently re-located to the states, making it way easier for me to photograph him. After that shoot, through Ben, I was able to make contact with Jim

I had seen Jim's work in a magazine about a year before, and was totally blown away, but up until now hadn't been able to figure out how to make contact (check out his website, you'll see what I mean!)
And finally, through one of the other artists in book 2, William Wray (sorry about all the name dropping, but make sure to click on all these links, neat stuff!) I was able to photograph the genius behind Dexter's Lab, and Samurai Jack, the incredible Genndy Tartakovsky.

All in all, this trip was unbelievable fun. Let me know what you think of the new photo's , as you can see I've started working in color, but just barely.
If you haven't had a chance to check out our website yet, click here, it's fun and it will help our Google rating too, HA!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Artist, Actor Tony Curtis in Studio

Okay, so we were recently hired by Energy Times Magazine out of New York to photograph Tony Curtis. How cool is that? We were thrilled to have the chance to meet this "Living Legend.". The story was about Tony and wife, Jill, who opened a little gem of a spot in the middle of the desert, the Shiloh Horse Rescue, in which these two are boot deep doing wonderful things for abused animals. But, besides being a legendary actor and philanthropist, Tony is also an accomplished artist. We took some shots out at the ranch, and then Tony and Jill invited us to their home where we shot some pics of Tony in his art studio. While there, we noticed a bunch of quirky little shadow boxes lining the walls . Our assistant, Todd Miller, and I were completely blown away by these things. Turns out Tony is like a magician, constantly creating these wonderful little 3-D vignettes out of a million little pieces. Made up of mementos and plethora's of found objects, they pull together to be really something special. Tony has been doing these since he was a teenager. The crazy part of this whole shoot is that somewhere in the conversation, I managed to talk him into doing a book on these things. I can't believe it had never occurred to him before, so now I am working on shooting these little beauties so the world can leer at them, too. You might ask, how do shadow boxes translate to a 2-D image? Gotta tell you, kind of Rock Star like !

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rita Rudner

Oh my~ I don't think anyone realizes just how beautiful Rita Rudner really is. What sticks in your mind, is how wickedly funny she is, how polished and understated, but most of all, how she makes everyone in the room feel special. So it always surprises us when we sit down after a shoot with her, and look at her in digital form. Then you see it- how incredibly lovely she really is. When we were asked recently to go shoot her in her very mod high-rise, for Hello Canada! Magazine, we jumped at the chance. About 7 years ago we were lucky enough to spend a day with her, doing her new promotional photography for her upcoming book, Tickled Pink. In twenty years of doing this photo gig, Greg and I will remember that day as one of the best. We laughed all day long, because Rita is not just funny on stage; she eeks funny from a "corner of your eye" kind of way. It was great to be inside her personal domain this time, getting to meet her very clever and personable British husband and cute-as-a-button daughter. Damn, even her dog was great. What can you say, some people just put the pieces of the puzzle together all the time.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Man, I can't believe we are adding another thing to our gigantic plate of life. But here we go! Welcome to Sampsel &Preston's blogspot. If you are a friend of our studio, incredible contributing talent, one of our students, interns, or friends, this here is the forum to help us stay in touch. I think we will always be a week or so behind, but want to share with you the best and brightest of what crosses our home plate. Our first pic for this blog is of famous chef, Gene Villatora. The internationally known "Guru of the kitchen" was first seen on "Top Chef"and we are lucky that Vegas will soon have a new hot spot in a "yet to be disclosed" hotel. Believe me, we will be the first to be scarfing up his original, ingenious fare; I gotta tell you, if there was ever an upside to this job, this is it....This guy, Gene, is as unpretentious as it gets, and just a blast to shoot. We desaturated the image a bit, then hyped back in a few key elements, and all of a sudden we had an image that was authentically him. See his story in the latest copy of Modern Luxury magazine. Thanks , guys. Talk to you all soon.