INTERVIEW: Marco Cheatham

INTERVIEW: Marco Cheatham

Here at Slowdown Studio we love collaborating with emerging and established artists from across the globe. We recently had the opportunity to chat with our recent collaborator; designer, illustrator, and all-round good guy Marco Cheatham about animation, St Louis, and his three legged cat.

1. We first discovered your work as an illustrator, but you may be more well known as an animator these days. How did you learn how to bring your incredible illustrations to life?

I first got into animation in college. I took a few entry level motion courses and fell in love with it. It’s been really essential to learn about and understand principles of motion with my static illustrations as well. Even with still images, having an understanding of movement helps me create things that feel more fluid and less rigid. Honestly, I do a lot less animation than illustration, mainly because I’m not very good at it. I’m lucky enough to know and work with a lot of very talented animators. While we often work together collaboratively, they blow my motion skills away.

2. The way you illustrate people is so distinct, with heavy limbs and heads that look like they're disappearing. Almost like they're drawn from perspective of something really small. How did this style come about?

It’s easier than drawing correct proportions for one! But it’s mainly through playing around with balance and seeing what felt right with shapes and characters. I can’t take credit for the style, but it’s something I’ve tried to make into my own. I’m starting to get a little over it to be honest, haha! I don’t want to change up things completely, but I’m definitely interested in developing further.

3. You've created brilliant work for huge companies like Google, YouTube, and Amazon. What is your dream project or client?

I have a lot of dream projects but for the most part it’s just working with cool people that give you space to create. That’s the best part of “being a creative”: working with cool people to make cool things.

4. What are three great things about living in St Louis?

There’s so much! Top three are: 1. The food/beer/coffee scene. I’m counting that as one, haha. Sump is one of the best coffee shops on the planet, Grace Meat & three is one of my favorite restaurants (The fried chicken is amazing!), and Perennial is one best breweries around! I could go on and on but you’ll just have to come see for yourself! 2.The architecture (so many gorgeous 100+ year old, solid brick houses!) One of my favorite neighborhoods is Lafayette Square. It’s a historic town, now included in the city, with these beautifully painted, ornate Victorian houses. There is also a park in the middle of the town square that’s great for walks. 3. Last but definitely not least, St. Louis is affordable as heck. You can’t beat that. I will gladly take anyone that comes to visit on a tour and try to convince them to stay!

5. Tell us about your three legged cat.

Her name is Stormy and she came with my SO. Package deal, you know? She was found under a dumpster with a broken front leg that’s now paralyzed, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to eat pizza off the counter.

6. What are you most excited for in 2022?

At this point, every new year is a pretty big mystery! I’m excited to keep on keeping on with work. My SO and I are also gearing up for some big life changes in the new year, so I’m excited for the chance to grow and tackle some unknowns.

7. What's your favorite way to slow down?

That is definitely something I have trouble doing. In general, just taking time off to do things other than work is great. I’m forcing myself to take all of December off and enjoy the holidays with family and friends. It has been a very needed break. It would be awesome if everyone had the ability to take a short sabbatical. I also love to travel and see new things. A change in environment and not thinking about just work is a great way to clear the mind and refresh.

Marco's Mother Nature Throw is available to purchase here!