Interview of Carlos Cabaleiro of Cabaleiro Art by Kristina Louise
(K)ristina: What is the first memory you have of drawing?
(C)arlos: I remember… I’ve always drawn, but I remember being four or five, and I would get excited to go to the grocery store with my parents. There was an office supply section with lots of paper and notebooks. They made mead notebooks, 6×8 with blank pages, which I really loved. My mom bought one of those, and I filled it with super hero drawings. The first sketch I remember doing was Batman.
(K) Speaking of batman, he is your favorite Hero correct?
(K) How did Batman become your favorite?
(C) As a kid my favorite thing was watching the Batman TV show reruns. He wasn’t just a cartoon on paper. They were all real people to 3-5 year-old Carlos. The world seemed attainable and real. Once my parents realized that I loved Batman, it became the easy present. I remember one Christmas, there were just tons of Mego figures. There were at least 12 to 15, for me and my brother to share. Batman was my favorite out of all of them, of course. And, I mean we got all of them. I received The Lone Ranger, Tonto, Spidey, Aquaman…
(K) That’s right. This would have been back before the licensing. (C) Yeah. It was everyone in the set, Marvel and DC characters, all under the World’s Greatest Superhero banner. By today’s standards, they were dolls, but I loved them.
(K) Before merchandising was split.
(C) That’s how old I am. (laughs)
(K) Why with all of these variations of Batman, including some pretty horrendous ones, do you think the Caped Crusader has lasted so long as a fascination for people, even those who are not comic book readers?
(C) It starts first with his origin…
No, no the first thing is the look.
Bob Kane and Bill Finger took the archetype of Superman and created this new dark and iconic image. They pulled the best parts from Zorro and figures from the 1920s and the 1930s. They made this insanely iconic look, with this scalloped cape, bat ears, and blank eyes. And the crazy part is, that if you realize how long Batman has been around and how many variations on his look there have been, so much of it really stays the same. It gets people. Batman is just a really well designed character when you look at him.
Then there is a strong sense of humanity underneath the intimidating image. He doesn’t have powers; he isn’t a super-being. He is just this motivated guy, which to be honest, is something to look up to. He is human with … with… this awful tragedy that, unfortunately, people can put themselves in. People can imagine themselves in his position. People know that pain. How would they do it? Would they have been able to turn such pain and darkness into something … which actually helps people?
Batman has the look and the emotion. Between those two you’ve got an iconic character and people really connect to it.
(Grayson barks in the background)
(C) Yes Grayson, I hear you.
(K) You are currently working on sequential Batman comic book pages on your own… That’s how it is described right?
(K) I, of course, love the idea of Batman in the classic theater with Joker and his goons, and the image of Batman breaking in and the light from the projector. It is all just so striking. But where does that story initially come from?
(C) The story is uh…an adaptation of a Joe R. Lansdale short story, titled “Belly Laugh,” or “The Jokers Trick or Treat.” It was uh … a print in the early nineties. It was a collection of short stories called “Adventures of Batman.” So it’s just uh… a very visually … How do I say this? The story is straight prose, but Lansdale does such a great job describing everything in such detail, every moment including the climax of the story. It came alive immediately in my mind. That’s what comic book artists do. They take words and turn them into pictures. It helps so much when you have great writing. Writing, with lots of detail and imagery and just…well done.
(C) You are hot.
(K) Should I transcribe that?
(K) With lots of comic book adaptations on the horizon in entertainment what are you the most excited for? (C) Um… I am hoping Ben Affleck doesn’t f**k up Batman in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel.
(K) I love that I asked you what you are most excited for and I think I got what you are most nervous for.
(C) Well, Man of Steel was just so good and I am excited but nervous at the same time. I think a lot of people are more excited for the Avengers sequel at the moment. I’m really psyched for the next Spider-Man though. It is as close to a real comic book on screen that we’ve had in the modern era of Superhero cinema. TV has me really excited with Arrow being the very top show and the potential spin-off of The Flash.
(K) It was an exciting show last night.
(C) Oh my God! Cyrus Gold dying and getting splashed with the Mirakuru and means we’ll get Solomon Grundy at some point. There were so many nerd-gasms in the show. When he read off the Solomon Grundy nursery rhyme I thought I was going to cry.
(K) What was the part you really liked and geeked out over? Flash’s wife on screen?
(C) Yeah, Linda Park, but she’s Wally West’s wife, not Barry’s. Just hinted at on the TV. That’s great. They pay attention to all of these little things.
(K) Changing the subject slightly, while we live in a society constantly asking for apologies and for artists to be politically correct, how do you think that weighs in with Political Correctness vs. Artistic Freedom?
(C) In today’s society, it can be hard to voice your own opinion. I find as a freelance illustrator and someone who has advanced opinions, that I have to bite my tongue to not say what I honestly believe.
We live in an online world and everything has repercussions. I want a long lasting career and I don’t want to offend anyone. I really don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. I wouldn’t want that. Plus, everyone takes everything the wrong way. There’s a joke that real men don’t use emoticons. But humor and sarcasm don’t translate so I incorporate that.
(K) I’ve never heard that joke.
(C) You aren’t a man.
(K) What do u do to get in your artistic mood?
(C) I don’t know… My brain is always going. After a while away from being creative it was a struggle to get back to thinking like a creative artist. Now it’s hard to shut it down.
(C) It is important to have a routine and treat it like a job. Artists, musicians, writers … they keep odd hours usually. I’m more like … like, Michael Keaton’s speech in 1989 Batman.
“…You know my life is really complex. You know how a normal person gets up, and goes downstairs and, eats breakfast, kisses somebody goodbye and, goes to a job…?” I try to actually be that normal guy. I wake up. I walk my sidekick Grayson. I make coffee; sometimes I make breakfast. I kiss my pretty fiancée goodbye, and then it’s off to work. I feel that mindset in a world with deadlines and timelines is crucial. I have a leg up on other artists.
(K) There seems to be a stigma about those who work from home that is contradictory to all that. People seem to underestimate the self-discipline it takes. They are used to the 9-5 job and the stresses with that.
(C) I work a hell of a lot more hours than 9 to 5.
Firstly, everyone wants something from you for free. It’s tough with friends and family. They look at services you provide, and don’t realize you have to charge or what the prices are to start with. The other part is people don’t realize I’m always working.
“Oh you are at home, wanna do lunch?” they ask.
“No. I am busy” “I’m in the studio eight hours a day.” Sometimes 12-15 hours a day. There’s a negative stigma. Being creative– it takes work.
Benefits are I can wear pajamas and drink on the job. No one looks at you sideways at 11am if you poor yourself a whiskey.
(K) If you are alluding to me, I don’t look at you sideways on the weekends. Unless we haven’t had breakfast yet.
(C) That’s why brunch and brunch cocktails are crucial.
(C) And on weekends it’s beer time.
(K) Now is your time to plug. Whatever it is you want to plug.
(C) My website. I need twitter followers. I don’t get it. Unless you re-tweet or are saying something provocative, or delve into Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber, or anything in the Kardashian pool it’s tough to get into the buzz. I am on tumblr and instagram. I like instagram a lot–just pictures and no words. I’m on Facebook a lot. I’m on ebay if you are looking for art. I am available for commissions. Rates are on Facebook and my website.
(K) Last words?
(C) I’ve had a lot of opportunities to do what I am passionate about, and I always picked the more “responsible” thing. For most people it is good to be sensible. The soul of an artist however, thrives on creativity. If deep down you know you are an artist, go for it. Be passionate and pursue it. You’ll be happier. In the end you will be successful if it is what you truly know and love.
(K) Very nice end to the Interview.
(C) Let’s drink.