100 Creatives 2014: Mark Nasso, Comic Artist

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What He Does: Mark Nasso is yet another example of the fantastic wealth of comic drawing talent that we have here in Houston. He's a regular at all the local comic conventions, selling his own unique take of pop art down whatever artist alley is going on that month. His work tends towards the gruesome, but with a slight bit of black humor that keeps it gleeful rather than grim. A perfect example of that is his mock-up for the fictional film Machete Kills Again... In Space. On a side note, can we totally make that happen?

Although he had always been interested in art it wasn't until after high school that he became aware of illustration as a discipline and how it differs from other fields of art. From studying at the University of Houston and taking advice from other illustrators he set out to develop his distinct style. He's definitely another illustrator we need to be keeping an eye on.

Why He Likes It: "Anybody who is creating art is working through emotions or trying to solve a problem that they're dealing with. Emotions are difficult to work through and life's problems are seldom solved easily so creating art, whether it's a painting, sculpture, or comics, is one's effort to reflect on or fix a real life situation. It's basically saying, 'My life is in ruins. I can't control the events or people around me. But with this brush, paint, and bare canvas I call the shots. I can fix things within this small acrylic world. And everything works out the way I want in the end.'"

What Inspires Him: A child of the '80s, Nasso was a big fan of Marvel comic books growing up. However, he soon developed a taste for black and white underground books like Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The image of two guys turning out these atypical stories form their living room had a big influence on Nasso. Though he's not as much into superheroes as he used to be, he remains passionate about the unique possibilities the comic medium offers.

If Not Here, Then Where: "I really love Houston and as I travel to other cities I've found that Houston has a vibe and culture that other places just don't have. Which is surprising since we're perceived as underdogs. But if I was forced to leave I would probably head west. Lots of places on the West Coast are really great. Less people and beautiful landscapes."

If Not This, Then What: Since the thing Nasso loves the most about illustrating is the ability to tell a story visually, if drawing was off the table he would simply hone his storytelling ability in prose form. He aspires to one day write a screenplay, which is sort of the exact opposite of illustrative writing when you think about it.

What's Next: "2014 is going to be a big year. Last Fall I launched a sci-fi and horror anthology comic called Doom Ranch 5000. It's a collaborative work featuring art and stories by myself and eleven other Texas illustrators. So far response has been positive and plans are to attend more local conventions this spring to spread the word about it. Also in the works is Land of the Rats Book 5 which has been a few years in the making. I'm looking forward to getting these two comics out to hopefully gain new readers."

More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer

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