James Neish is a freelance comic book artist and lover of geek culture. An Art School graduate living in Nova Scotia Neish’s artwork has a vitality to it that makes his images burst with energy. As an out artist Neish brings a clever eye to his take on pop culture icons.
The Advocate sat down for a chat with this up-and-coming artist about his inspirations, his love for the X-Men’s Psylocke, and how being queer influences his work.
The Advocate: What inspires you to create?
Neish: I'm not sure what inspires me to create, some kind of desire to make something that wasn't there before, I guess. I've been drawing and making stuff up since before I could talk and I feel like I wouldn't be a functional person if I didn't create something soon and always. So to me, creation is just the scratch to the proverbial itch of being human.
Does being queer influence your artwork?
I came out during a performance art piece in university, so yeah, it's a bit of an influence. Like most young gay art students I drew and painted my way through my coming-out experience, my first relationship, and so on. I think it's important to stand for ideas that you believe in when you work and as an illustrator, I hope it's that queer influence I transmit into my work that gives my artwork some positive influence as well.
What was your gateway art drug into the world of geek culture?
I think I started super young with Thundercats. I was pretending to be Cheetara before I even knew what a gay geek was. Also, Jim Lee's covers for X-Men back in 1991. That was when I fell in love with comics.
What geeky things are you currently obsessed with?
Well, I'm freelancing as a comic book illustrator now so that's pretty geeky. Besides that, I've been binge-watching Death Note, just ate up Sword Art Online, currently reading Saga and Avatar: The Promise.
You must have a favorite superhero character, right? Who might it be?
Check out a selection of Neish's art below.
Korr Asami from Avatar
Portrait commission of Jeffrey and Mike with their cat Gandalf, as characters from The Lord of the Rings
Gotham City Sirens
Mike Shileen and Kramer as Green Lanterns
Psylocke VS Wolverine
Cat Woman Returns
'Timeless' is the creation of RJ Lackie and Cycle 66 Inc..