This article was previously published in “IAM: The Independent Artist Movement Magazine”
Artist Anibal Arroyo, a self-described late bloomer, got into drawing and collecting comics at the age of fifteen although he’d first picked up a copy of Conan the Barbarian, the movie adaptation, a few years earlier. It was this comic book that first introduced him to the world of fantasy art. However, his overall love for the arts propelled him towards a variety of mediums and interests. He can recall, at age five in kindergarten, creating characters and objects out of the letters when he was supposed to be practicing the alphabet. In his early teens, he began dabbling in canvas art, painting landscapes and portraits. As he grew older and more comfortable with the oils, he began doing works for hire locally, mostly for friends, coworkers and family members. His first commissioned works were of high school prom pictures, baby pictures and celebrity portraits. By his sophomore year in high school, he built a solid reputation as an incomparable raw talent and found himself among the schools elite artists. He was shaping a talent that would undoubtedly reintroduce him to comic books.
One day, some classmates brought in a few comics, one of which was a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man during the McFarlane run. After gazing at the comic book art, Anibal was awe struck by the visuals, the detail and storytelling. This is where his lifelong love affair began. He immediately began collecting and reading comics as well as creating his own characters and stories. He dreamt of being like the creators of those books. By the time he graduated, he had amassed an entire universe filled with a wide variety of original characters, story lines and plots, along with quite an extensive comic book collection.
After forging through Junior College and feeling there was a better place to further hone his natural talents, Anibal enrolled himself at the Joe Kubert School. He completed a very intense year of training, and learned about his chosen field. Soon after, acting on pure wanderlust, he went in a totally different and seemingly uncharacteristic direction. He joined the USAF and became a medic. Still, while on active duty, on his off time, he continued sketching nearly every day. After coming home, he delved back into his comics and creations.
Fast forward a few months and now, Anibal could be found working comic book conventions as a vendor publishing original stories he worked on as an artist. His dream began to really take shape. Kick it up another three years and he is now cofounder of the indie publishing house, MAS Media Studios (MAS) along with his friends, Jonathan Syphax and Jorge Medina. The dream was now in motion. Both his artistic dream and his life outside of the comics world were beginning to balance out.
At heart Anibal is a family man, him and his wife Gabriela, reside in New Jersey and have two sons,
Steve and Christian. As for the near future, he has many projects in the works – first of which will be the long awaited children’s book, “Lil’ Steve’s closet”. This book, penned and illustrated by Anibal himself, is loosely based on his eldest boy. He has also recently taken up more of an interest in writing and plans to have at least two fully fleshed out one-shot scripts by the year’s end.
His ultimate goal is to be fully self-employed and run his operation from the comfort of his own home. When asked what advice he would offer to anyone aspiring to achieve their dream, he had this to say, “I really believe that everyone should be able to live the way they desire. If that happens to be filthy rich then make the moves to make that happen. If you want to just be happy and not concern yourself with money, then go for it. And if you’re like myself and want a combination deal, then be prepared for a long, tough struggle. Work hard and keep true to yourself. Be humble. Be thankful and stay on your path, no matter what or who attempts to deter you. A creator’s world is not for the faint of heart or the weak minded. It takes an insurmountable amount of drive, dedication, focus and determination. It’s literally sink or swim and you are in an ocean full of hungry sharks”!
*As of May 5th, Anibal has decided to take his passion to the next level and he’s recruiting all of you to help him along for the ride. Click on the link and make a contribution to help his dream of seeing “Lil’ Steve’s Closet” published come to fruition! https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/lil-steve-s-fund-raiser/x/866054 —- MAS team!