|AMIT CHAUHAN & ELI POWELL
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DF Interview: Top Cow Talent Hunt winners Amit Chauhan & Eli Powell unleash The 13th Artifact
By Byron Brewer
Top Cow head honcho Matt Hawkins unleashes his 2015 Talent Hunt winners in March for a one-shot, The 13th Artifact.
Who are they? How did this book come about? Tell you more?
You got it, as Dynamic Forces chats it up with writer Amit Chauhan and artist Eli Powell. Remember those names for future reference as their careers blast off!
Dynamic Forces: First, Amit and Eli, tell us how it felt to win Top Cow’s annual talent hunt.
Eli Powell: When I was informed that I had won the talent hunt I was overjoyed and extremely surprised, because in a sense I had already prepared myself with the idea of losing. I knew I had submitted a solid entry, and I believed one hundred percent that my entry was good enough to win, but I also had seen so many other amazing entries out there that were worthy of winning. So at that point, I really thought it could be anyone's game. I've always been overly critical of my work rather than confident, so to have been picked as a winner out of hundreds of other entries was not only a validation of my work, it was also a huge payoff for the high standards I hold myself to.
Amit Chauhan: Well, it's a pretty funny story. I was sitting on a plane at JFK waiting for takeoff to visit my sister in LA when Eli texted me with the news he had received a notification from Matt Hawkins that he had won the Talent Hunt. I proceeded to congratulate him, automatically thinking that I hadn't won because I checked my email before I got on the plane and didn't see a message.
Then Eli prompted me to check my email again and, lo and behold, an email from Matt Hawkins was sitting in my inbox. I let out a loud "yes!", startling the pregnant lady sitting next to me, and then I let the awesome moment really sink in. At that point, the air stewardess told all the passengers to turn their phones off and I realized that I would have to contain my excitement for six hours to a cramped chair in economy. Which, looking back, was hilariously torturous!
DF: So tell us a little about yourselves.
EP: I was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. I attended Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA) in Portland, Oregon for two years before transferring to School of Visual Arts (SVA) in New York City. PNCA was a great school where I learned the fundamentals of illustration, but they didn't offer a focus on comics, which was what I always wanted to pursue. When I heard that SVA not only offered a comics major but was located in NYC, I immediately applied and got accepted the following year on a half-off scholarship. While at SVA I had the pleasure of working under some of the industry's leading artists like Klaus Janson, David Mazzucchelli, Phil Jimenez, and a lot of others.
AC: I'm originally from London, England, but now residing in New York City. I was a film major at college and have a love for all things Hitchcock. I try to keep my interests diverse, and it helps the writing process to continuously have new experiences.
DF: How did an interest in comics develop?
AC: I always read comics as a kid, I loved the old 2000AD Future Shock stories and anything with Brian Bolland's artwork. However, in my teens, my focus shifted to writing scripts for movies. I would always have these insane ideas, so much so that friends began telling me that I should write comics. This seemed like a great idea because making movies is an expensive business!
So in 2010 I started writing comics, giving myself a five year plan to hone my skills on the self-publishing circuit and then try for the "big leagues". So now, after five years of toiling away every night, I am grateful that my professional career is finally beginning to take off.
EP: My interest in comics really stemmed from my love of movies and visual storytelling. As a child I was never really into reading comics — I've always been more into watching movies — but I would also play with action figures and form my own characters, plots and quests right out of my head. Eventually when I got older I had to put down my toys, but I took that same passion for storytelling and applied it to drawing.
DF: Tell us about your entry for the talent hunt. Does that reach over into your one-shot coming in March, The 13th Artifact?
EP: Our entry for the talent hunt was basically a first draft, or "pitch" of The 13th Artifact. I submitted eight pages of sequential art and Amit submitted a full draft of the script. With the exception of some narration/dialogue changes, in addition to me re-drawing the 8 pages, The 13th Artifact is pretty much our original submission told in full.
AC: Yeah, so readers who purchase this book will be able to see our Talent Hunt entry in its final form, along with the fantastic cover from super talented artist Linda Sejic.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Amit Chauhan and Eli Powell for taking time out of their busy schedules to answer our questions. The one-shot 13th Artifact hits stores in March 2016!
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