The Winner of Our First-Ever Artist Deathmatch: Steven 'Sash' Scott

Congratulations to Steven "Sash" Scott, the first ever winner of the Illumi-Nerdi's Artist Deathmatch! We had a chance to ask Sash a few questions to learn a bit more about him. Also, check out all of his original art, throughout the interview and his website at the bottom.

Who is Steven “Sash” Scott?

Now there’s a good question.  Who are we really?  Are we the sum of our struggles upon this mortal coil? Or, as Yoda put it, “luminous beings are we; not this crude matter.”? I could rattle off all the places I’ve been, and people I’ve met, the heart break I’ve suffered, the joys I’ve experienced, the spirituality I’ve gained… but that’s just a resume.  In my heart of hearts, deep down in the pit of my soul, I’m just a scrawny kid that would rather sit, read, and draw pictures rather than be outside getting smelly and sweaty.  But that’s only deep down.  On the outside, I’m a tall, husky dude that’s starting to feel his age with the aches and pains from years of practicing martial arts.  I enjoy the company of the opposite sex especially when they make me laugh. Women have the best stories about their life experiences- the stuff they put themselves through in their dating life and raising children is hilarious. When I look in the mirror I see how much more gray I have in my beard and mustache, and I know I’m starting to forget things. *sigh* Who am I? I ask myself that often.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a work in progress.  I’m a canvas that has been reworked, and reworked, and reworked, and yet, still managing to love my friends, my family, and my faith.  I’m a piece of work.
Why “Sash”?
Ha!  There are a couple of reasons.  I wish I could say that they are cool and deep, but it’s really pretty nerdy. In my youth, I was very much into martial arts of all kinds.  I’ve studied and taught.  I even used to wear a kung fu gi as a jacket (Bruce Leroy anyone).  I was actually doing it before Barry Gordy’s THE LAST DRAGON came out.  I stopped wearing the gi but kept wearing the sash, did some modeling and started using the name Sash.  I also was/am a big Tom Baker fan ala the fourth Doctor of the DOCTOR WHO series.  While I was at the Art Institute of Philadelphia, I used to wear a sash draped through the epaulettes of my longcoat, and it would flow behind me when I walked, like the Doctor’s scarf.  From day one of stepping on the campus, I was Sash, my brother was Shades, and we only told our closest friends our real names.  It became quite a novelty.  People would ask us to tell them our real names- because if we told you, you were part of our “in” crowd.  In the lore of magic; names have power, and if you told anyone your true name, they had power over you.  I think there were probably only 8 people that knew our names and they kept our secret.  The staff at the A.I. Philly was unique in that at the beginning of the school year they took roll and whatever you told them your name was, that was the name that was on the class roster.  Even the teachers didn’t know our names, of course they could have found out if they wanted to, after all we had to pay tuition under our legal names.  It was very cool, and a lot of fun.  Our graduating class was a special group of folks.  The teachers loved us- said there had never been a class like us.  We were all a bunch of characters.  After we graduated my brother and I continued to use the names. My brother eventually modified his name to Shadez. It became like a secret identity- people knew me for different things under different names.  If someone was calling me Steve they probably knew me from my days of playing church piano or high school.  If they were calling me Sash, they knew me as an artist.  Now I’ve kind of combined it to Steven “Sash” Scott. Because my first and last names are pretty common, and Sash is not as unique as it once was.  I’m still Sash when I’m in artist mode, and that seems to be most of the time now.  I’ve gotten more used to being called Sash than Steven now.  

Which artists inspired you?

I can be inspired by almost any artist that has done something new and exciting.  My art has been influenced most by Gil Kane, Frank Frazetta, Borris Vallejo, Curt Swan, John Byrne, Jack Kirby, Larry Stroman, Ernie Barnes, Jackson Guice, John Buscema, John Sr and John Jr Romita, Ross Andru, Neal Adams, Alex Ross, Bart Sears, Jim Lee, Dale Keown, Frank Miller… The list goes on and on because I take a bit from this artist and a bit from that artist and combine them into my own style, which can changing to fit whatever project I’m working on. I’m like Ron Frenz in that I can render in many styles. The artist that REALLY got my comic book juices flowing was Gil Kane on Captain Marvel #17 (Marvel Comics). His was the first book I bought at my first comic book convention in 1970. His anatomy drawing was closest to real life.  He used himself as reference for his figure drawing.  I saw his work and said, “Yeah, why can’t superheroes look like real people. That’s how I want to do it.” Until then Curt Swan had been on the top of my list- I hadn’t been a Green Lantern collector back then.  Curt Swan was doing the cool foreshortening and perspectives on Superman- he did the best hands too. A lot of the fantasy artists, like Frazetta, I didn’t see until much later, when my parents decided I was mature enough to see art that had nudity.

If you had the chance to draw for any character who would it be and why?
Top on my list is The White Tiger, as Hector Ayala.  I was always a fan of his and the jade amulet. But I just want to work- I’d draw anyone. Some of the others I’d pick would be the 1970s Luke Cage, The Black Panther, The Falcon, Static, Icon, Black Lightening, Vixen, Dr Voodoo, The Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, The Inhumans, Star Lord, Spider-man, Thor, Dr Strange, Dr Fate, Captain Mar-vel, Shazam (Captain Marvel), the original and second generation X-Men, Iron Fist, Hawkman, The Bionic Man, Quasar, Gladiator, The Imperial Guard, Nova, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician & Lothar, Adam Strange, Green Lantern Corp, Space Ghost, and Birdman, in no particular order.
Whose death would you most like to draw?
I’m not moved by death scenes/stories any more.  It’s probably because they don’t stay dead.  Gwen Stacy’s death was tragic because we knew how much Peter Parker loved her.  Captain Mar-vel’s death was beautifully done.  He didn’t go out in a blaze of glory on the battle field; he just slipped quietly away to cancer, surrounded by friends and honored by enemies.  Supergirl’s death in the first CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTH’S was heart wrenching, plus she saved Superman’s butt. When The Phoenix killed herself in front of Cyclops, (back then she was just Jean Grey before it was retconned) that was sad because the X-men fought so hard against the Imperial Guard to try to save her, and lost.  Doom Patrol’s death in 1968 was heroic.  The Ultimate Spiderman’s death was touching, but the scene at the funeral between the little girl and Aunt May choked me up.  I love kids.  I’m a big softy when it comes to them.  The scene in the movie CRASH, when the daughter came running out to save her father from being shot because she thought she had an invisible, magic, cape that would protect her- had me in tears because my son would have done the same thing if I told him I had given him my invisible, protective cape.  I used to love Marvel Comic’s What If? books because the heroes could die in them and it wouldn’t affect the mainstream comics. But once a hero has died fighting the good fight, or by sacrificing themselves, a repeat performance doesn’t have the same impact.  “Death” has been neutered. When Doomsday “killed” Superman, when Batman got “vaporized”, when Captain America was “shot”, I didn’t bat an eye.  I knew they’d be back.
 Instead of a death book, I’d rather do a rebirth.  I’d bring Hector Ayala (the White Tiger) back and drop him in K’un Lun, Iron Fist’s stomping grounds. I’d start where they left off, with the police wrongfully shooting him down on the court house’s steps.  Doctor Strange would come to collect the jade tiger amulets, but he’d discover that Hector’s spirit was inside of it.  By magical mishap they both end up in K’un Lun, because that’s where the amulet was created.  Hector’s soul would inhabit the body of a comatose resistance fighter.  He’d discover some new chi-based powers, and once the conflict with the evil forces of kung fu had been resolved, Hector would decide to stay in K’un Lun.  Then readers could have a new title centered on life in K’un Lun and the other houses of the Immortal Weapons.
What projects are you working on right now?
I’m a bit of a Jack-of-all-trades.  I’m about to return to a children’s book project that had been on hold called “Feeling Friends” by Karen Cuthrell.  Comic books are my first love, but I enjoy the heck out of drawing children’s books.  There may be another “Adventures of Diggle, Boogie, & LoLo” by Eric Kellum.  Perhaps another children’s book by Shawn Jenkins, Sr, who penned “The Best Part of My Day”, a very positive book depicting a father’s relationship with his family- a subject that has been woefully ignored. My artwork regularly shows up at as covers for “Tales of the Texas Rangers”, “The Administration”, “Green Lantern; Man Without Fear”, and other titles as needed.  I’m currently doing some things for a couple of fan fictions called, NOVA619 (I designed the villain, Dark Nova), and WONDER WORLOCK, appearing at   Hopefully, THE HELLFIGHTER by Karl Eburne will return for a second book.  I’m looking forward to doing more with Invision Comics and their GENECY title by Gerald Cooper.  I’m laying down colors for ARMORED CHAMPION #1, created and written by Lawrence White and Aaron Johnston.  I love Anthony Ball’s DISCO FRANKENSTIEN, so I’ll probably toss a few covers his way, as well as some for Charles White’s FIREMAN. For DOVE STYLE MAGAZINE, helmed by Lisa Dove-Washington, I contribute some writing, poetry, and art. I’m hoping to work in a webcomic or comic strip there. I’ve always been a big fan of Mac Raboy’s Flash Gordon, so I really want to do a comic strip in that style. Down the line I’m hoping to work with Advent Comics,
 In the midst of all of that, I kick around pencils, inks, and colors, with the Wonderfunder’s group- an eclectic bunch of guys and gals from all walks of the comic book industry interested in doing indie projects.  They’re just my kind of crowd.  It’s almost like being back at the Art Institute. I keep pretty busy, which doesn’t leave much time for me to work on my own books, “Godseed” and “The Chessmen”, two superhero team books.  “Mech Wars”, a daikaiju book because I love giant robots and giant monsters.  And “Astraeus’s Last Gleaming”, a superhero graphic novel. 
Why do you believe in comic books?
This is a medium that touches more than most people think.  Some eyes have been opened since the emergence of comic book and graphic novel-themed movies, but television commercials, music videos, video games, and animation all use storyboards- just another form of comic books.  Comic books aren’t hampered by special effects cost outside of the tools used to get a job done.  If I want to blow up a building, I don’t have to get a permit, hire a demolition crew, schedule police for crowd control, etc. I just whip out my stylus, scratch out a few lines, and BOOM! The building comes tumbling down.  I can even control how fast it comes down- one panel, or 5 pages.  Illustrations have been used to communicate and entertain since the dawn of man.  Art transcends language.  You don’t have to have a bunch of letters behind your name get a point across with art.  Art is pretty universal.  I believe the beauty of it can be unifying.