ay the name ‘Brom’ to anyone interested in dark characters,
concepts and creatures and you have an audience. Gerald
Brom lives in Seattle and has a rock-star following for his
awesome style that includes swordsmen in gothic scenes of conquest and debauchery. He was recently asked to join the Advisory Board and Jury for selecting works in EXPOSÉ 5.
“It was such a pleasure going through and seeing so much great looking art,” he tells me. “I know I had the job of selecting and narrowing down the field for the pages but it was such an honor to be able to view the best on offer.”
I caught up with him as he worked at his ‘dank cellar in the Pacific Northwest.’ He tells me his quest started out with monsters eating people many years ago. From there on, he progressed through the standard articles of “what must be drawn in art school" such as still lifes and landscapes. Brom had a brief stint as a commercial illustrator doing cute products, but “that didn't last very long.” Now, he is “back to monsters eating people and am very happy.”
It must be said that Brom is primarily a traditional painter, “but there are the scanners, computers and other props,” he explains, “so I can use Photoshop for composites, concept work and also for adjustments after a painting is finished. There are pluses and minus to both approaches, digital and traditional. I have no prejudices one way are the other. I will use any tool that gets me where I'm trying to go.”
|Brom would like to think of his studio as a secret cave guarded by vampire bats, lots of bones and voodoo potions. But in real life, it has just the necessities any studio could possess, like easels, computers, tons of books and reference work.|
“Art is more than technical ability,” Brom says. “Its hard to say why some works speak to people and why others don't. I am just grateful that in a world of so many talented artists, my work manages to find an audience.”
|Like any artist, Brom enjoys projects where he is given plenty of artistic freedom. “I have been involved in every facet of the illustration world from books, games, galleries, music, advertising and film,” he says, “and I am happily dysfunctional in every one of them. |
I do tend to lean toward the dark underbelly of any genre though. It's not a conscious effort, more that it is simply where my aesthetics lie. There is an inherent drama to things of a brooding dangerous nature.”
Fiction has always been a prime source of inspiration for Brom. “As a child I read the works of Tolkien, Edger Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock and Edger Allen Poe,” Brom recites. “As an adult I am drawn to Stephen King, Neil Gaimen, and Clive Barker to name a few. Dreams definitely play a part.
I have often painted images from my dreams and nightmares. Musically I prefer melodic music while I work, such as Nick Cave, Tindersticks, or sound tracks to films, especially spaghetti westerns.”
Brom is at pains to describe that art is an obsession, not so much the painting, but the creating. “No matter what I am doing, it seems my mind is constantly producing ideas for paintings, stories and books. I am often frustrated because I know there will never be enough time to get all these ideas on paper,” he says.
As an artist, Brom draws his influence from everything and everywhere. “To me, that is what an artist does, takes in the world around him, mixes it with his own perceptions, in my case my very warped perceptions, and creates a unique perspective of the world. The thrill of painting is watching something come to life as you create it. So I try to invent in the paint as much as possible.”
Most artist techniques evolve. Brom began with a commercial art background where speed was very important to meeting deadlines. So he originally painted in acrylics because they dried very fast. Afterwards, to achieve the visual results, he had to change and paint in oils.
“That buttery softness of the old masters was found,” he describes. “Oils tend to dry slowly. So my compromise is to start the painting with acrylics, build it up quickly, then finish with a thin coat of oil. This allows the rich blended look with a short drying time.”
Brom has always used what he calls the artist shortcut to harmonizing color, where he first puts down an overall color wash, and then plays all the subsequent colors off that wash.
The books that Brom has produced are anthologies of all the most popular works he’s done over the last 15 or so years. 'Offerings' and 'Darkwerks.’ Filled with hundreds of paintings and many sketches from book covers, games, cards to movie work. ‘The Plucker’ is the first of a series of illustrated novels.
Earlier this year, Brom was approached by Ballistic Publishing to be an Advisory Board judge for EXPOSÉ 5, a duty Brom warmed to immediately. ”The opportunity to be a part of such an institution was immediately attractive to me, and so I accepted the challenge.”
Brom has always considered himself a storyteller, whether with pictures or words. “My heart and soul are going into my illustrated novels,” he says, “and my goal has always been to combine the two. A complete artistic vision. So I am both writing and illustrating them.” Brom recently published "The Plucker", a wicked children's book for adults. He has also finished up his second illustrated novel "The Devil's Rose". Basically a Western set in Hell. This will be coming out this summer. The latest news is that there is word of a movie deal in the works.
Interview: Paul Hellard - Editor CGSociety
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