Tony Washington is a creative with superpowers
written by Hatti Rex
Comic books have been a highly influential art form, with Marvel and DC sequels dominating the silver screen for a decade, spawning countless successful video games and inspiring pop art itself.
The genre has a very distinct illustration style with strong line work, angular perspectives and bold colours, though very few have mastered the technique whilst simultaneously adding their own personal touch quite like recent Creative Commission member and artist Tony Washington.
With over twenty years of experience, Tony impressively broken into the industry at the age of eighteen where he was taken under wing by X Men’s Jim Lee at the third-largest comic studio, Image Comics. His portfolio is truly substantial.
New York Times best-selling artist
Since that initial role, he has since become a New York Times best-selling artist, a multi-award winning VR Artist and a talented sound designer, creating art for comics, movies, video games and branded content. You’d be right to think that art is his superpower, we caught up with him to discuss his favourite moments of his creative career.
"There are a couple of big highlights in my career,"he tells us, and the contrast between these two bodies of work will definitely surprise you.
"First, being the lead colourist and one of the concept artists on 2007’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was a dream come true. I had been and still am a huge fan of the Ninja Turtles. I was the first hired artist to completion with hundreds of talented artists, animators, writers, producers, and an all-round incredible crew."
"Secondly, I was given the huge opportunity to recreate the Constitution Signing Painting originally by Howard Chandler for the ACLU, this time with a more diverse and inclusive focus. Luckily, I had a month from start to finish on the piece, as it was 8 feet by 12 feet and currently is in print, downloadable form and the full-size imagery is displayed in their conference room here in San Diego.”
His work designing for the music industry also has an impeccable range.
Lady Gaga and Mix Master Mike
"A few years ago, I was given the amazing opportunity to develop concept poster art for Lady Gaga and The Atom Factory for her Monsters Ball Tour, through my brother, who at the time worked for Interscope Records". Conceptualising assets for the Queen of Pop and bringing them into the world is huge in itself but another project Tony tells us about, creating a magma chamber set design for a virtual reality DJ set, is straight from another realm.
"I got the chance to create VR Matte paintings and sound design for Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys with artist Jonathan Winbush, using a variety of amazing software packages. There was a lot of trial and error as we wanted to keep the graphical fidelity high and animation as smooth as possible, to avoid motion sickness and create spaces that weren’t too claustrophobic, to allow viewers to get right into the content, yet take them to places that aren’t possible without that insane technology."
So what is next for Tony?
"Currently, I’m working on my creator-owned project called Stations Stories. It’s a mix of soundtracks, short stories, long-form graphic novels, and interactive mixed reality content, that’s all Sci-Fi rooted in the exploration of the unknown. With the flagship book being Moirai, that will have a larger debut this coming summer at San Diego Comic-Con with a full roll out in early 2021".
There’s a sneak peek of this on his Creative Commission profile page, of which he’s a fan.
"The combination of creatives of all styles, with unmatched opportunities with industry leaders, is something I wished existed back when I first started, but thankful that the combination has led to an ever-growing community of art and opportunity growth for all."