Despite having lived in Japan for almost 20 years, I am only now starting to become interested in the tokusatsu genre which is the reason I noticed the work of John Bellotti Jr aka ROBO7 and basically how the John Bellotti Jr Interview came about. John is also a fan of the genre and has created some awesome fanwork of both mainstream and what appears to me to be fairly obscure tokusatsu movies and TV shows.
To know more about the man behind the art and how he came to be the artist he is now, read on.
John Bellotti Jr Interview
Where did the nickname ROBO7 come from?
It came from my love of the famous Japanese tokusatsu character Ultraseven and one of my favorite anime of all time, Giant Robo.
What do you like most about where you live?
New York City has amazing energy, the food, the sadly dwindling diverse neighborhoods, the culture I mean we have it all in NYC. You can drive to a beach or the mountains in a short time. We get art house movies, big events, festivals, everything!
What do you like to do in your free time?
Artwork! Lol, lots of Artwork! When I’m not doing that I do everything, lunch/dinner with friends, movies, exhibits, travel, play the drums (very rarely), read, pet cats. I love cats.
I see you work on movie, TV and film sets as a painter. Where would I have seen your work?
Currently, on the Blacklist, Men in Black 3, the Amazing Spider-Man 2, New Years Eve, America’s Got Talent, the Americans
About the Artist
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Since I was born I think. Or maybe a few months later.
Were you influenced by any particular artist or style?
The 90’s Marvel stuff, then anime art, then traditional illustrators like Mucha, Leyendecker. Now it’s a mashup of all of them! I got from Dru Struzan to Japanese pop art for inspiration!
Where did your love of Godzilla movies come from?
As a kid, I would watch them on tv. That’s when they would come on regular tv, we never had cable growing up. I was young and impressionable and you have a giant monster destroying buildings and miniature military vehicles that looked like the toys I played with! It was an instant connection!
Could you describe your typical design process from concept to completion?
Well, I design posters first that I sell at conventions and then I simply upload them onto teepublic. Now I dissect my posters and make individual tees out of them based on my graphic sensibilities. The total time for a poster is typically 3-4 months. I work full-time so I’m sure if I sat down and did it all day it would be 2-3 weeks tops.
About the T-Shirts
You sell your designs on TeePublic. How and when did you come across this platform?
I saw some artist friends selling on there and they said it was good quality so I gave it a shot and it luckily worked out well for me!
Have you tried submitting to daily t-shirt sites like RIPT?
I have not but I will now!
Do you wear t-shirts that you have designed?
Ehhh not really. I feel like a dork or a billboard or something. I cringe when people even wear my shirts because I have to sit and stare at the artwork that I already have a disdain for. I just see what I could have done better on them lol
Photoshop or Illustrator?
It used to be primarily Illustrator. I would draw in Pencil first then upload it to my computer. Now I digitally draw in Photoshop and transfer it over to Illustrator.
About the World
What is the most exotic location you have been to?
The Mayan temples in Mexico and South Jersey. They are both pretty ancient and filled with strange people from beyond this time.
Where would you most like to visit? Why?
Japan because of my love of Japanese pop culture and Italy because of my ethnic heritage. Oh and the food too.
About Other Designers
Which t-shirt designer(s) do you admire the most?
Guys like Barrett Biggers, he does this stuff full-time and makes it look easy. He’s also really tall. Like me!
Any advice for new designers/artists?
Follow your passions and draw what you know and love the most but mostly, don’t stop doing it. The rest will happen as long as you work hard at it. Talent is nothing without hard work.
What’s the last movie you saw at the cinema/movie theater?