In the first of our Artist Profiles we speak to Andy Fairhurst, a digital artist with a passion for all things geek.
Q. You describe your technique as “digital painting”, can you elaborate on your medium?
A. I use a digital pen and tablet and create my work in much the same way as I would a painting or drawing. I use Photoshop which contrary to it’s name is the number one software that digital painters use. The advantages of digital over traditional are, the lack of mess for one, also the fact you can work on layers means you can get so much more detail in a painting. The downside is I find myself working for weeks sometimes on one piece trying to get as much detail in as I can… you become a perfectionist when you can hit the undo button!
Q. You have a broad range of styles that vary from piece to piece, from photorealistic portraits, to posters and illustrations for books. What would you describe as being your trademark style?
A. I have often said I don’t think I have a style and that I am still trying to find it, hence my change in direction all the time. But others have said that I have a style and it’s usually my colour palettes. I’m not so sure though, I feel I am still trying to find my niche.
Q. You have designed and created a number of alternate movie posters. Which of the classic poster artists have inspired you?
A. Without a doubt Drew Struzan. His work was my childhood in a nutshell.
Q. Your portfolio contains numerous pieces based on characters and events from movies and TV shows. Clearly you are a fan of classic films. What were your favourites growing up?
A. I always say that Star Wars was what got me drawing in the first place, as that’s the first memory I have of drawing. Getting home from the cinema after seeing Star Wars and drawing a space battle with stick TIE Fighters and a Death Star. At school I was forever drawing Sylvester Stallone as I was a huge Rocky and Rambo fan too, and Back to the Future was my favourite film as a teenager. That is the movie that defined me when turning from a kid to a teenager.
Q. Having a young family yourself, have you encouraged your own children to watch any of the movies that you yourself enjoyed?
A. I haven’t really, but I have found that they have all become nerds in their own right through their own choices. I have a 12 year-old stepson who is crazy about Doctor Who and has been since David Tennant’s reign. My 6 year-old is a massive Star Wars fan and my 4 year-old daughter is all things Disney, but she loves Star Wars too. Everyone is into Marvel and DC films, TV shows and cartoons too.
Q. You have created several works for BIG Chief, including pieces based on characters from Doctor Who and also Sherlock. Are you a fan of the shows and if so does it help to make the work more enjoyable, or can it prove more tasking?
A. Massive fan. I was a fan of the original and loved Tom Baker but I have become a bigger fan since Christopher Eccleston started the time travel again. Every Doctor since has been awesome. Sherlock is my favourite show of the last 5 years. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman are just the best TV partnership ever. If you are a fan of the work you are doing as I am with both it helps massively because you care more. I always care about my work, but you do care more when you are a fan. I get more enjoyment out of it too, which hopefully makes for a better result.
Q. What projects are you currently working on that you are able to tell us about?
A. At the moment apart from my ongoing relationship with BIG Chief, I am doing a lot of Poster Projects with a group of artists called the Poster Posse through Blurppy.com and we take on upcoming movies with our own takes on posters. We are starting to get noticed now by the studios and the next few projects will have the studios backing so that’s cool. I’ve also done some limited edition runs for the likes of Bottleneck Gallery in NY and Hero Complex Gallery in LA. I am really enjoying the poster artwork at the moment
Q. Do you have any new exciting projects on the horizon for BIG Chief?
A. I hope so! We have talked about Monster Of Who, and maybe some actual work on the Doctors themselves and I am in the middles of doing some Sherlock artwork which I am excited about.
Q. Are there any particular characters that you have not yet tackled from movies or TV shows that you would like to develop art for?
A. I have a massive list of films and TV that I want to tackle and it is literally over 50! I have a series that is quite popular called Nerd’s Eye View, which takes in a view from above on certain movie scenes like Jaws or Rocky IV, there is a lot of scope for that series.
Q. In a world where we see more and more Photoshop art, what advice would you give to any budding artists, keen to work in the entertainments field?
A. You’ll get disheartened when you see other artists work that is better than yours. You’ll want to give up. But just take their awesomeness and use it as inspiration, that’s what I do every day. I’m always blown away by artists, of all mediums, and they just make me want to improve.
Many thanks to Andy for his valuable time and his wonderful contributions to the Dynamix Art Collection. Andy’s work is available to purchase now from the Store. Check out his portfolio at http://andyfairhurst.deviantart.com.
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