Artwork for Slayer...Kind Of....

by Tom Nguyen in , ,

The finished piece, scanned at FedEx/Kinko's in Austin before I handed it over.

More specifically, I recently I did some artwork as a gift for Kerry King's (guitarist for Slayer, for those not well-versed in metal) wife, Ayesha, while hanging around Austin and Houston, Texas a few weeks ago.

Now some of you guys who follow me on any of my other social networking sites might have thought that I was touring with Slayer or something because of my cool photos of my time there and having met with Kerry King (again).  As a huge Slayer fan (my favorite "Big 4" band), of course that would be swell, but that was not the case. 

It's a long story that started back in June, but I'll try to condense it in chronological order:

- Back in June I did an epic signing at Limited Edition Comics in Cedar Falls, Iowa (see blog here).  One of my fans (who knew I was a metal head) there commissioned me for this sketch there:

Wonder Woman in Slayer garb...fuck yeah!

I posted it and people seemed to love it. Which led to....

- Back in July during San Diego's Comic Con, I did another sketch for someone with a similar theme.  But I wanted to make it different from my previous WW/Slayer sketch.  So I threw in a quick sketch of Slayer guitarist Kerry King.  Here is the result: 

- The next day during that show, after a quick break and walking back to my Artist Alley table, I run into--who else??---but Kerry King himself!  No joke!  At Comic Con!  What a crazy coincidence.  I asked to take a photo with him and showed him the drawing that I had just done (and thankfully took a photo of): 

- Kerry had a friend with him who gave me his card and asked me to send him the sketch.  So I did the following week.

- I get an email from none other than Kerry's wife Ayesha, introducing herself and loving the art.  She plants a seed in my head to join Instagram (which I had been resisting up to that point) where she is most active.  

-She hints that she would love another surprise for Kerry.  She is also an aerialist (super cool).  

- I tell her I will be seeing Slayer in Austin in November, and will she be there?  At this time she said that she would be, and would love to get the art from me while I'm there.

-Fast forward to November, Slayer comes to Minneapolis right before they hit Austin. Then they hit Houston right after Austin.  So my 2 friends and I are like, Cool, let's see them 3 times in less than a week!!!

I contacted Ayesha and told her that the art's almost done, and if she will still be in Austin.  Unfortunately, she would not be anymore, but told me she'd get me backstage passes to the shows I'll be attending! 

Now at first I didn't assume that it was for me and my friends; I never want to impose on anything that is a great privilege, and didn't promise my 2 friends that they would have access.  But she was kind enough to give it, and we are all grateful for that!

Starting on the plane (YES the plane, on the night before the Austin show!) I had to focus and start drawing.  My passes depend on this piece!!  Here is a series of progression photos to show the evolution of the artwork:

In short, I got to meet Kerry (again) after the Austin show at the hotel nearby.  I was told to go to the top floor, and that Kerry would come get me.  While waiting up there, his tour manager caught us first ("What are you guys here for?  Oh, you're the cartoonist!" lol) and invited us into the private banquet room.  Very cool!  

I gave him the art in a hard, plastic sleeve (thanks, Bjorn!).  He said that he liked to be drawn in the comic book style because it gives him muscles.  :)

We took pictures with him, and chatted with him and asked him a few fanboy type questions that I'm sure he gets all the time.  We also asked about the new album; he said he'd like to start recording in January if things go as planned.  Here's hoping!

After telling Kerry that we had just seen him in Minneapolis (he said he liked the vibe of the Myth nightclub), and that we were going to trek to Houston to see them again 2 days later,  he asked us if we were on their guest list.  "No, but if you're offering we'd love to be!" I replied.  And sure enough, he told me to remind Ayesha in a couple days for it.  Totally stoked!

Here are some more photos from the experience (not necessarily in order):

After the Houston show (the final of the 3 we attended), I was not able to meet up with Kerry again because I actually had a photo assignment to take care of that evening before we left Houston. 

It was a memorable boys' trip to see one of our favorite bands.  I cannot thank Ayesha enough for her generosity, and to Kerry for being so accommodating.  I am grateful for her acquaintance, and Ayesha/Kerry if you're reading this, then please don't hesitate to let me know if you need any more art ;)  You guys made this an unforgettable experience!  

You can follow Ayesha King's Instagram here for a constant flow of great photos!