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LIFT OFF: Daimon Hampton and the relationship between comics and music

Music is a powerful thing. One beat, lyric, or combination of the two can transport us to a different time in our lives. It can conjure feelings in us that may have been repressed or forgotten about. A memory that is special or sometimes even painful. I’m sure you’re thinking of a song right now, that does these things for you. And sometimes, music can help us channel emotions we’re currently feeling. 2020 has been a year filled with a spectrum of emotions and no doubt we’ve all turned to music at some point to help us get through.

Comics and music have always had a special relationship. They’re both mediums older than all of us and have gone through a multitude of changes through the years. One has influenced or inspired the creation of another for centuries. That connection is even more prevalent now, especially as access to both has become easier in recent years. It isn’t uncommon to see comic artists on social media talk about music that inspires them when they work. And in some cases, we see comics born from specific pieces of music or genres. Most recently, a graphic novel was released by artists Dave Chisholm and Peter Markowski detailing the life of jazz legend Charlie Parker. Be it rock, jazz, hip hop, or pop, the relationship between comics and music has always been strong.

Today’s artist on Lift Off, our series highlighting up-and-coming artists, used music as inspiration for the piece he turned in today. We’d like to welcome Daimon Hampton to the site today as we look at his art. Daimon is an artist specializing in sequential comics and illustrations. Daimon’s style is extremely versatile and balances a new school vibe with old school techniques. His comic, The Rose Society, is a perfect example of that. A story about two friends and the underground society that connects them, Daimon’s art brings the world and characters to life. His layouts and pacing in the comic show someone who understands comics at their core. Daimon’s versatility is on display in his comic, Become, as well. A sci-fi story about destiny and friendship. Here, Daimon seems to draw inspiration from manga style artists and it’s a direction that really works for the story. His designs, like most people who are featured on Lift Off, are also a breath of fresh air.

Daimon’s illustrations showcase even more of his skills. Dynamic poses, beautiful colors, and a look that you recognize the moment you see it. Daimon credits artists like Chris Samnee and Tonci Zonjic for inspiring his style. He says that those artists do a good job of combining manga techniques with American comics styles. Take a look at some of Daimon’s past work below.

“I've been listening to the new Deep Sea Diver album. There was one song on it, "Eyes are Red", that was just where I was mentally, and what I felt this character needed to hear.

I went through this period was I was just watching a lot of tv and youtube and creating felt more like a chore, but I listen to music and it just puts me in the perfect place.

Right now, the artist I’m drawing a lot of inspiration from are Leo Romero, Daniel Warren Johnson, Chris Samnee an Tonci Zonjic. Those artists do a really good job of combining manga techniques with the American comics styles. I’m doing that as best I can.

Dan Johnson is probably my biggest influence currently as a writer, he's really fantastic at creating stories with these awesome visuals that are balanced with a deep emotional story, it's mind blowing. Growing up I loved stuff like Spider-Man the animated series, Naruto, Eureka Seven, X-Men evolution, Escaflowne, Ghost in the shell. Those have all been really impactful on the kinds of stories I tell.

I have a few titles I’ve always wanted to work on. To create an X-Men character, I want to work on Miles Morales and I’d love to do Runaways. If it was DC I’d love to do a book where members of the Bat family just team up and solve crimes in different arcs"

Above is Daimon’s piece he did for Lift Off. Right away, you might be engaged by the positioning of this character. This is an extremely dynamic and fluid shot that feels alive and in motion. Another thing that catches the eye right away is the red hair and skin. This character, Daimon said was born from emotions he was feeling while listening to music. There’s that connection again. The song "Eyes are Red" by Deep Sea Diver played as Daimon created this piece. And the energy of that song is definitely present here.

This image combined with the song tells us a powerful story. Maybe it’s one of anger and frustration, realizing the present as the moment to fight back against the evils of the world. Or maybe it’s not that deep. And it represents the energy of realizing how powerful you are, as an individual. That could be why the character has that look on his face as they carry that golden spear. As with all these pieces featured on our site, their meanings can change with our emotions and whatever is around us at the time. No matter how we interpret it though, there’s no denying Daimon’s skill.

There was one last bit of Daimon’s words we left for the end. Below, he talks about some of the fears and anxieties he has as an artist. And how being an artist isn’t about not having these feelings but learning that they are natural and all you can do is push through. It’s a thoughtful bit and we wanted to share it with you all.

"It's honestly bonkers to me, every artist I know is scared of the same stuff I am because I keep seeing them do amazing things. I know this seems strange, but I think this is the theme my work will tackle more than anything. It’s always been about anxiety and insecurity. I think I'm working on 4 projects right now (be:come, the rose society, an anthology, and I am writing something) , but I'm convinced I'm not doing anything. I'm trying to get over that and embrace the uncertainty as a creator, I'm certain it's the only way to be successful in anyway. I think it’s helpful be upfront about this stuff because people always pretend they know everything and they really don't, no one does. The fear is normal."

People can follow Daimon's work on @daimondrewthis on Instagram and Twitter

His comics, The Rose Society and Become, are on comixology now. We'd like to thank him for showing us his art today.

We only have one more Lift Off left this year. What started as a way to showcase new talent has turned into a staple here at Black Hole Comics and Entertainment. We're grateful to all of you who read these features because it's important to us to uplift upcoming talent. We can't wait to feature our last artist in December and look towards the future in 2021.


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