"That's probably the hardest I've worked on any project," says Avi Spivak, the illustrator behind Norton Records' recent issue of Kicksville Confidential. And if you've seen Kicksville, released this past October, you'll understand what he means by "hard work" -- the Brooklyn-based artist's painstaking renderings of Norton stars are as detailed as they are funny, and they're clearly the toil of someone with a deep interest in u-ground comics and gutsy r'n'r alike. In Spivak's enthusiastic scrawl -- part Kaz, part MAD, part G. Panter, part urban daydrunk stupor -- some of the Norton stable's more colorful tales come to life, and we see, for example, Hannibal's fabled ride through Midtown Manhattan on an elephant, a Screamin' Jay Hawkins/Esquerita street-level fistfight and Hasil Adkins's rural shootout.
Spivak's resume prior to Kicksville is no less impressive. In addition to commercial art and various other projects, like the mural he painted outside of the now-defunct Mars Bar, he's contributed to Maximum RocknRoll, The Scientist, Vice -- and Al Goldstein's SCREW, for which he illustrated a cover in 2006.
"I met these two guys from SCREW at CBGB's," says Spivak. "I had my sketchbook with me, and I guess they liked what they saw." The duo invited him to the offices of the legendary skinmag, and though he thought they would discuss a few minor illustrations, they offered him the cover instead.
In the years since, Spivak's cultivated his own 'zine, the riotous Human Being Lawnmower. He's currently readying a new ish of HBL; it should be available this Spring. 'Til then, have a look at a small sample of his work below, and enjoy.