Brom Fantasy Art Legend

Fantasy art legend Brom talks to us about the Kickstarter campaign for his book, The Art of Brom released in August 2013, as well as his career, digital art and superpowers.

Fantasy art legend Brom talks to us about the Kickstarter campaign for his book, The Art of Brom released in August 2013, as well as his career, digital art and superpowers.

Hi Brom, Thanks for speaking to us. We last interviewed you back in 2009 and discussed your awesome career, yet even with the short amount of time that's passed since then, there is so much more to talk about! What have been the highlights of these last few years for you?

Well, for starters, I've actually managed to leave the house on several occasions; still avoiding the neighbors, though. The life of a reclusive, introverted, workaholic artist comes with its challenges.

Hmm, what else? Ah, yes, I've also written two illustrated novels: The Child Thief (a dark retelling of the Peter Pan myth) and Krampus (a tale of revenge between Krampus and Santa set in rural West Virginia). Oh, and in my spare time I managed to put together a new art book. You can find all the details for these books here:

Oil, 2005, part of an ongoing series of floating winged creatures

Congratulations on the success of your book, The Art of Brom (released on 5 August 2013), which was launched with an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign. It must be awesome to see that so many people are interested in a monograph of your work. Did you have any idea that your work meant so much, to so many different people?

Every artist hopes their work resonates with people. It is very rewarding to find out that people appreciate what you do. I feel very fortunate to have such a supportive fan base, but even so, the wonderful response to the Kickstarter campaign caught me completely by surprise. The only downside was the multiplications of promised rewards resulted in me getting to sign over 12,000 prints!

Oil, 2005, Interior painting for my fully illustrated novel The Devil's Rose

What made you decide to make The Art of Brom at this point in time? We hope to see much more from you in the future; might there be an The Art of Brom 2?

I certainly hope so. I am currently working on a new novel that sets up a world that I have wanted to play in for some time. I hope to bring it to life with several volumes of themed art work.

As far as the timing to my latest release, well, I've accumulated a lot of new art since my last art book, so I wanted to get that out there, but I also wanted a chance to reproduce my older paintings in a larger format and with better reproduction. To this end I re-scanned and hand-proofed everything. The Art of Brom is the best I've ever seen my work reproduced.

Oil, 2005, cover art for my illustrated novel The Plucker

Your work has been likened to numerous movements and artists from the history of art. How do you personally perceive your work within these narratives?

It seems that labels often get applied in retrospect. Most artists pursue their personal visions, and then later the lineage, influences and such become more obvious. In my case, much of my early work was a combination of things that I loved - punk rock, horror, fantasy, romanticism, fetish fashions, etc - and I feel that this combination helped to create a unique aesthetic. How that fits into the ever-evolving face of art is hard to say.

I guess at best, one can hope that they, in some way, contribute; that their work has some influence. But this will be for others to say. All I know is that there are some wonderful synergies going on with this new birth of realism and I am continually inspired by the art and artists that are around me.

Oil, 2011, Interior painting for my novel Krampus, the Yule Lord

In fine art circles, there is an ongoing discussion about the future of painting. It is often debated where digital art sits within this and whether it poses a threat to traditional painting. However, your work - extremely traditional in both technique and subject - is hugely influential in the digital art world. In your opinion, what does the advent of digital art mean for the future of traditional painting?

In a nutshell - good art is good art regardless of the medium it is created in. Any argument that art created digitally is in any way a lesser art form than art created with any other medium is just nonsense.

As far as what digital art means to traditional currently digital art is unsurpassed in concepting and in most other commercial applications. It's difficult for traditional tools to compete with the speed and ease with which you can create, adjust, and make changes in the digital medium.

I feel traditional still has an edge over digital when it comes to fully rendered images. There tends to be a greater degree of diversity in style, because so many digital artists seem to use the same tools and techniques. But as digital tools continue to evolve this will soon not be an issue.

Oil, 2005

It's great to hear that you see such a positive relationships between the two mediums - we fully agree! Do you ever dabble with digital?

I do a bit of preliminary work in Photoshop, but mostly I just use it for tweaking and touching up once the painting is finished. Like any artistic medium, I would love to have more time to play and explore.

Oil, 2009

As a master of realist fantasy and the macabre, are there any other genres that you experiment with or would like to try?

Not really. I love bringing my imagination to life and creating things that don't exist, and there's no better genre for that than fantasy/horror. Also, my love of the macabre is a thing born in me; no matter the subject I am always drawn to the dark side (pun intended).

Oil, 2007, a scene from Arthurian legend

Do you still have any big career goals left that you want to achieve?

It's a funny thing being an artist. No matter how much you have accomplished, you are never satisfied. I start every painting thinking this is going to be the one, that ever-elusive, perfect painting, and yet my work never achieves what I see and feel in my mind's eye. But you still learn something - usually what not to do - and so there's this perverse optimism that the next one really will be 'it'.

Career goals other than creating a masterpiece? Well, I feel I am doing what I have always wanted to do: writing and illustrating my own works. I guess if I had to set a goal at this point, it would be something more universal, like Evil Overlord of the World, or semi-professional kitten juggler.

Oil, 2009

When you're not working or eating spiders, what do you like to get up to?

What? I don't even understand the question. Not working? What does that even mean?

Oil, 2011, interior painting for my novel Krampus, the Yule Lord

Finally (and probably most importantly!) if you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?

The superpower of youth! Youth is (of course) so wasted on the young. If you're young (and by young I mean under 40) and you're reading this, stop wasting your superpower, put on a cape, go run around and have fun!

That or maybe the ability to turn into a house plant. That could be fun too. Gosh, just think of the things you could do.

Thank you very much for taking time out of your busy schedule to take part in our interview!

Related links:

Check out Brom's official website
You may be interested in our Beginner's Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop book
Are you a 2D artist? Submit to our gallery!

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