Ex Libris: Denver Artists - Zack Howard (aka ESIC)

If you have ever pulled up beside a mural in Denver and felt yourself transported to a different world full of weird creatures, apocalyptic backgrounds, astronauts and crazed artistic lemmings….then you have seen the work of ESIC, aka Zack Howard.

Born in Colorado and attending art school here before jetting off to California, Zack spent time as the senior artist for Hybrid Apparel and Co-founder of Fresh Ink Clothing out there before returning to the Rockies to attack the walls of Denver and beyond with his amazing murals.

His style is immediately recognizable as it seems to jump right from the pages of a comic onto the wall and he has even published his own graphic novel titled, Outlandish. From oversized polar bears to animals playing chess, nothing is off the plate for ESIC and his spray-paint when a wall is open.

After adding a new daughter to the family with his wife, he has moved towards some ‘hush-hush’ work in the wild world of video games but still takes time to occasionally drop a lemming around town and he just finished an interior wall at the new River Art Lounge down in Rino.

He took time away from drawing molten spheres to let the Library ask him a few questions about books…

Learn more and follow ESIC:
Instagram | Website

ESIC on Art, Books, and Libraries

  1. What book as a kid, influenced your imagination to pick up a crayon and begin making art?

    I was pretty blown away by the art in James and the Giant Peach as a small kid but it was really the art work in the early Spawn Comics by Todd McFarlane as well as The Maxx by Sam Kieth that made me want to pick up a pencil and create. Both were so different and innovative for the time, really stepping out of a few of the templates comics had set up until those two came along and started coloring outside the lines. I also really liked the imagination and style of writing in The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, so many weird creatures and beings described in those pages.

  2. What book are you currently reading that influences you in either a creative way or a professional way?

    I am currently reading Waterloo: The History of Four Days, Three Armies and Three Battles by Bernard Cornwell, a non-fic book by a guy who typically does historical fiction. He has a very detailed way of explaining battles from the past and deep character development in his fiction so I wanted to see how that transferred into a non-fiction piece concerning someone like Napoleon.  His knack for detail is something anyone who does backgrounds and environments can appreciate.

  3. What do you think is the most important resource that Libraries provide to you as an artist?

    They are one of the biggest and best sources for inspiration; it started a s a kid but continues to this day. If it’s not picking up a pile of graphic novels to get ideas then it’s piles of art books and travel books to gather input for projects and make sure one tree isn’t bigger than one that is supposed to be smaller. There is also a sense of community at a Library that makes it kind of a safe spot to hang out, I can’t wait till things calm down a bit and I am able to share some of the kids programs with my daughter.

  4. What is your current/favorite/most-used branch of the Denver Public Library?

    The Central branch will always be my favorite, it is so massive and uniquely shaped, and there is an empty wall on the back of it, across from the Art Museum that I always find myself stopping at and mentally putting a mural up. Their art book section is huge and I cannot wait to see what they do with the kid’s area, as I see myself visiting it once the little lady is using her legs.

  5. If you were offered a gigantic wall on the outside of a Library, what would your paint to display what a library means to you?

    I would love to do a big vortex coming out of an ancient book that has the characters from famous kids stories kind of floating about in it, like the tornado scene in the Wizard Of Oz. I would put a few Goosebumps characters, some Alice in Wonderland, maybe 3 bears and make them all really colorful against the background of the swirling vortex so they serve as triggers to kids to ask and explore the stories they come from.

Ex Libris: Denver Artists is a series featuring local street artists, focusing on their connection to books and the importance of libraries to the artistic community. Series concept and interview by Sean Ryerson.

Written by angela on