Brian Despain lives and works in a world of robots, skulls and big puffy clouds. He’s been working most of his adult life as an illustrator and his artwork can be seen on the covers, and in the pages of a myriad of books and magazines, and behind the scenes of many video games and a few movies. Though he has worked on any number of projects and even won a few awards he marks his progress and abilities not through outside accolades but by the lives he’s touched with his art. Currently he’s put his art career mostly on hold to morally support his wife, an officer in the United States Navy, and to raise their quickly growing daughter. It’s a great pleasure to for us to share the interview with Brian Despain on Astrum People.
AP: Brian, thank you for giving us the opportunity to take an interview about your creativity. It’s a great pleasure for us. Could you please tell our readers about your first illustrations. What did they look like?
Brian: I started my art career, I think, much the same as many other four-year-old boys, drawing space ships and dinosaurs… Man I loved dinosaurs. I remember I was also into drawing haunted houses. They were essentially crudely drawn, multi-story houses with ghosts and spider webs in the windows. I don’t know where that particular bent came from but it’s not something that stuck, unless you count my propensity towards painting skulls.
AP: That’s interesting. And do you have any formal education in visual art or were you self-taught?
Brian: I did go to college for art and I do have an art degree but I think the majority of my learning was outside the classroom. I have always been self-motivated and interested in pursuing what I find fascinating. School is too structured and environment for me and though I did what I needed to graduate I didn’t take much from it beyond the degree. These days I gain new skills by observing what other people are doing or did and practicing my fool heart out.
AP: Oh, I think you are right. I know many people achieved brilliant success in their lives because of their love to what they do. By the way, what genre are your illustrations?
Brian: Typically, I’m lumped in with the “Pop Surrealism” crowd but I don’t really think of myself that way. I would classify myself more as a “Neo-Symbolist”. I try to instill my images with metaphor and hidden meaning to give the viewer a deeper experience.
I try to limit my involvement with a viewer’s interpretation of my work. I feel that art, at its core, is really the interaction between a viewer and a piece of art. And because each viewer is going to approach a piece of art in their own unique way that interaction is going to be stronger the more removed I am from the process. I do lay a rudimentary groundwork with my choice of color and subject matter but it’s the finer details of the idea that I leave up to the viewer to decide on.
AP: I agree with you. I think each person perceives art works in his/her own way. Brian, how did you come up with idea to draw ‘Robots’? Why did you choose to illustrate these type of characters?
Brian: I like robots and had seen a few others illustrating similar things, so I figured I’d try my hand at it as well.
AP: And what kind of equipment and techniques do you use to create your pictures?
Brian: I do most of my prep-work on the computer. I use mainly Photoshop and painter to do this. When I paint the final at the easel I prefer using oil paints.
AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in this sphere?
Brian: I would say that I am in the top percentile but I’m never quite satisfied with my level of expertise so I’m always striving to become better.
Brian: I would say it’s the same formula that’s in all activities. Always be learning, growing and practicing. I do take part in various art contests and exhibitions. It’s always a good idea to stay connected to one’s peers and there’s always a chance of getting your work in front of a new set of eyes.
AP: And is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Brian: I am of course continually encouraged by my friends, family and colleagues and I’d be nowhere without my fans but it’s my wife who really deserves the credit here. She’s an amazing gal and she lets me be the artist I was always meant to be.
AP: Thank you very much, Brian. And I have the last question for you for today. Would you like to wish something to your readers and AstrumPeople?
Brian: I wish you all the best AstrumPeople. May your brushes always be supple and your pencils sharp.
Many thanks for your time, Brian, and we also wish you continued inspiration and great ideas. In today’s interview with Brian Despain we have seen once again that love to your work and self-development play very important role in achieving life success. To know learn more about Brian Despain illustrations watch our gallery and visit Brian Despain personal web-page.
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