Interview with Steven John Ho, a HK-raised comic writer and illustrator
U: Urbanana Editor
S: Steven John Ho
U: Tell our reader about yourself.
S: I’m an illustrator and comic writer. I work mainly in digital art, but also like to use watercolours, oil paints and inks. I started out as an auditor in 2011 but quickly knew that my path was in art and design.
Creation of Ace
U: What got you into art? How did you get started with it yourself?
S: I think many artists will agree that you don’t choose to become an artist. It is something inside that you feel compelled to do. It is like your way of communicating to people. I got started in 2013 when I quit my job and started my online webcomic. I was quite naive back then, but I had a very clear plan of what I wanted to do and achieve. I drew everyday and gave myself deadlines to complete comic strips and essays as well. I knew that if I did not create discipline then I would very easily slip into laziness and procrastination.
U: How did you get into crypto art?
S: NFTs is not the newest form of art creation, but it is the newest form of buying and selling art. It is a very confusing space. Before NFTs, art appreciation and value was very subjective, now with NFTs, even the ownership of the art is not fully determined. However, this space is very interesting and a lot of people are trying to get their foot in the door.
Because it was such a new and confusing market, I wanted to learn what it was about, so I spent a month researching the top creators and brands, trying to understand why people were so crazy about it. After 2 months, I had finished my first collection and posted them to Opensea.
U: Who or what are your biggest influences or sources of inspiration?
S: I am mainly inspired by my childhood and growing up in the 90s. I was a TV addict and watched a lot of cartoons and anime, and read a lot of comic books. I didn’t have many friends that shared all the same interests as me, but when I found someone who did, it was like we were part of a friendship club and knew all the in-jokes from that show. When I create my artwork, I like to add bits of nostalgia from my childhood, hopefully if you recognise them, then you will feel like we are part of a friendship club as well.
U: Is there something specific you are trying to express with your art?
S: I view myself as more of a writer than an artist, I find telling a story through drawings are more effective than words. My work is about nostalgia and retaining the memory and joy of being a kid with no worries, hanging out with friends. The 90s was a blip of innocence in time for me, like going under a bridge on the highway; I want my work to be a blip of innocence in your day.
U: How did you find working in London and Hong Kong inspire your artwork, given both places are quite different yet similar in some ways?
S: London and Hong Kong are very similar and my duties as a parent don’t change, so it doesn’t really affect my work. My time in Lacoste, France is an example where the location did change my work. If you scroll through my portfolio it is quite obvious when I was there. I went back to traditional mediums a lot like pen, graphite and watercolour. When I’m in a city where I’m not outdoors a lot, I go back to digital.
The Steven John Ho Family
U: Do you have a favourite work you’ve done in the past year? And why is it your favourite?
S: My favourite artwork is always the latest thing that I have done. After I have completed something new I feel it is the best work I have, and can do. But once I start a new project all my previous work suddenly feel subpar and I don’t really like it as much any more.
Having said that, my favourite piece that I can keep looking at is D.I.D. which was a mash up of fictional characters with split personality disorder; Harvey Dent, Bruce Banner, Moon Knight, Tyler Durden, Gollum, Dr. Hyde, and Kevin Crumb.
D.I.D. stands for Dissociative Identity Disorder, but in my illustration, it stands for Dent’s Investigators and Detectives. They are investigators for missing people. I like the layers of that narrative in one image, so it’s my favourite.
Dent’s Investigators and Detectives
U: Is there an artist you would like to work with? Like a collaboration? And tell us why?
S: I would like to work with someone like me, but with a different skill set, like a game developer or a board game designer. We would work on one project that I have and then a project that they have. The reason is that I think I work best in a team when everyone can challenge each other’s ideas, but also someone I can trust to challenge me too. I think being able to critique and defend your views are important in strengthening your resolve.
U: What are you working on now?
S: My main goal right now is my graphic novel. It takes a long time because I need to take breaks from it quite often. It is tiring working on a story and having to change things constantly.
I am also working on completing my NFTs collection. The collection is called “Fiction County Police Department” and features 13 digitally painted mugshots of famous characters of myth, fantasy and legend. I plan to make 52 total mugshots for now.
U: Do you have any drops scheduled soon? (crypto art)
S: I have made my first drop in November which had quite a good reception. The next drop will probably be around January when I can finish another 13 mugshots. I make 12 for the open public and the 13th mugshot is reserved for a friend who has supported me throughout the years as an artist.
U: How can our followers follow your work? (IG, FB, Twitter, and website)
S: My web-comic site is www.jbpcomics.com
I have an Instagram that I mainly use @stevejho.
U: Where can (NFT) collector find your work?
S: My Opensea website is: opensea.io/stevejho
If you search Fiction County Police Department, or Stevejho, you should be able to find me there as well.
Fiction County Police Department, FCPD