Sebastian: My name is Sebastian Kowoll. I’m 32 years old. I live in Miami currently, but I’m from Colombia. And I’ve been working mostly as an illustrator for video games, board games on general stuff for around seven years now, maybe eight.
Creative Allies: What made you enter the Twenty-one Pilots contest?
Sebastian: One of my best friends from school introduced me to the band, and he knows that I work in arts and, I became a really big fan of Twenty-one Pilots. So, after I was a fan, he heard about the contest, he said, “Hey, you should sign up and throw your hat in and see what happens.” So I, I went for it.
Creative Allies: What would you say you love most about the band?
Sebastian: I think they’re the sincerest band I’ve heard in my life. I don’t think no one out there is speaking so honestly and openly about everyday pains or fears or darkness that every person faces. And that’s something that really spoke to me because they were super honest about it. And it’s not like they’re jumping on a bandwagon and trying to speak about issues that society’s trying to speak about because it’s something that’s marketable, but they speak about that because it affects them on a personal level. So in doing so they produced more sincere content and something that resonated more with me on a personal level.
Creative Allies: How did you come up with the idea of your design?
Sebastian: I wanted to do something that was very simple, easy to read and that summed up my feelings about what the trench album actually meant. So, I thought about what tolerance is about, relying on the people you love and the Bandidos and all that. So I just thought okay, I need a crowd, the people who you rely on. I have this thing about statues working as representation of a figure of authority. So I wanted them to vandalize a statue with the imagery of trench and the banditos and everything they putted out. So that’s the graffiti, the banditos beating the established bishop hierarchy that’s there.
So, I just was thinking about that and thought about the idea vandalizing a statue, like something that is super established and something that they are all against or struggling against. So that was the theme for it. And then I just iterated a bunch of sketches to see how it could be as clear and simple read as possible. And I was referencing a very famous French illustrator called Moebius. And then from there, once I had that done, it was just rendering. Also, since Nico has a cloth over, but it was supposed to be a statue, it was kind of hard because I had to sell the idea that it’s a statue in stone representing cloth and that was the biggest struggle with the image, getting there. But I, I think I did.
Creative Allies: Did you think that you would end up winning?
Sebastian: I don’t want to sound snobby about it. I felt I might win Miami because it’s a smaller pool of participants. And I’m going to say fairly confident about the image. I was like, okay, it’s cool. I saw what everyone else uploaded and I saw a lot of them that were super awesome, but then I was like, okay they might be from other cities, not necessarily Miami. So I was expecting, let’s say the local win. But, the grand prize, I didn’t expect that at all.
Creative Allies: What did you think whenever it was announced that you were the winner?
Sebastian: Whoa. I’m out of words for it. It made me fully grasp the concept of unbelievable. I literally cannot believe it.
Creative Allies:Have you been to their concerts before?
Sebastian: Yeah, I have, I had been to one that was in a festival, so it wasn’t their own show. Also, I’ve never been to Ohio, so that was fun and it was awesome. Everyone was just getting there and you saw all the people with shirts or the yellow tape. You felt the ambience of it and then the show, it was something else. It was super cool, the lighting, the sound, how all the crowd responded to it and how they just like going on from one place to the other. Like they move around the entire arena and not just the stage. It was insane, it was really, really fun.
Creative Allies: What was your favorite part of the concert?
Sebastian: They played my favorite song so there’s that, but also that they played an unexpected song for me, which was Legend. So maybe that part when they played that song, that was like out of left field for me.
Creative Allies: What’s your favorite song from them?
Sebastian: I would guess either Car Radio or Morph.
Creative Allies: What was like to meet the band?
Sebastian: It was cool, but I just wanted to talk to them a little bit more. But it was a really cool, I mean they had my design in mind. I was like, “Hey, I won the contest,” and they were like “yeah, that was awesome, thank you. We really liked it.” So it was super validating and since I got to go with my buddy who was the one that got me to get it to sign up to the contest, he’s super fanboy about them. Getting to have the moment with him made it even better. So it was a very, very memorable one minute.