ARTIST FOCUS: BARRETT BIGGERS
With a bachelor’s degree in biology, and no formal training in art, Barrett Biggers’ choice to become a graphic designer may seem odd at first. But it would turn out that his scientific background, early exposure to graphic design at his father’s newspaper, and a fierce determination would be some of the best training he could ever receive, and incidentally, the same reasons that he ended up in our artist’s chair this week for our Artist Focus.
Tell us about yourself. Where are you from? Where do you live now?
My name is Barrett Biggers. I call myself the Peoples’ Multimedia Artist. I work for you. My work is mainly of Geek Art in nature, that being a genre of art themed and inspired by classic film, gaming, anime, Japanese culture, and comics.
I was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, United States, and still live here today with my lovely Japanese wife of 8 years, Emi. I studied Biology in college but after a few years in the field I decided my passion was art, so I made a career 180 and started graphic design. Now I’m the senior designer at an International beverage company and a freelance digital artist. Doing what I love. All that matters.
How long have you been designing/illustrating? What got you interested in art?
I’m all self-taught. Never went to a single art class in my life. I have a bachelor’s degree in Biology. <laughs> I have always been surrounded by graphic design because my father was an editor at a major newspaper. I grew up with Macs and Adobe products. I learned computers at an early age just playing around.
However, my start in art was traditional pencil sketching, watercolors and ink in high school as a fun hobby. I focused on recreating Japanese anime since I was big into it at the time. I loved traditional art mediums but just didn’t have the time or space for all that painting required, so I went digital. I learned the basics and techniques much faster and more efficiently. I could practice countless times with no messy cleanup. Now that I have refined my style and have gotten better, I’ll get back into the traditional media in the future.
Who/what influences your art? Is there a particular person’s style that has influenced you?
My favorite inspirations and artists have to be Hayao Miyazaki, famous for his Studio Ghibli feature animated films; Yoshitaka Amano, famous for his Final Fantasy characters and lithography of macabre/dark themed art; and H.R. Geiger, famous for his highly mechanical symmetrical, sexual, and macabre/dark Alien work.
I have to say I try to hybridize the styles of all three of these artists in my work. However some is distinctly my own take, like my Geek Line Artly. I also have a deep appreciation for Art Nouveau and Surrealism. I love the deep contrasts and intensity of Chiaroscuro. Namely classical artists like El Greco and Caravaggio.
How would you describe your style?
I am an avid digital painter with a purely obsessive drive to make digital art look more traditional. I call it “tra-Digital” art and I think it’s pretty cool. My goal is to make my digital art more evocative and leave a deep impact on the viewer, something unique and clever.
What medium do you typically use when creating art?
I use Adobe Photoshop for my digital paintings with my Wacom tablet and Adobe Illustrator for all my vector Geek Line Artly work.
What is your approach when creating new illustrations? Do you plan out the illustration ahead of time or do you just start drawing and let the experience guide you?
Especially for geek art I gather a lot of internet screenshots, conceptual art, and other fan art for references. I start by finding what’s already out there and popular and avoid that completely. I want to make something that is unique with a familiar face. When I do original art I research models/poses like any other artist would. I haven’t done many conceptual monster/creature arts, but I want to in the future from scratch.
What is your day job?
I work as a multimedia artist for a health beverage company by day, and by night I am a freelance starving artist and tumblr robot.
Tell us about your current projects. What are you working on? Any upcoming art shows?
Right now I am doing a private digital painting commission for a couple out in Alaska. It’s very cool, they would like to incorporate their wedding photo portrait with retro Nintendo gaming themes. I am also planning to make my Geek Line Artly series into a full 52 suite of printed playing cards. I plan to be at Megacon 2013 this year in Orlando, Florida selling high quality prints and other custom art from my collection, I hope to see you there!
Has video game art, concept art, or fan art influenced you at all?
A ton! Namely conceptual art from Nintendo classics like Legend of Zelda, Final Fantasy, Metroid, Super Mario, Starfox, Mega Man, etc. Growing up with gaming from 8 bit to CG has impacted my life greatly. I’m in love with conceptual character art, it is perhaps, my most favorite type of art. I have a great respect for all fan artists out there, but it’s important to be original in how you go about it. I have seen absolutely stunning fan art that stands on it’s own, even with a recognizable character/theme.
Are you an avid gamer? If so, what are you currently playing?
Believe it or not, no, I’m not. I’m not avid at least. I am playing Final Fantasy XIII-2 and Absolutely LOVING the new Journey on PS3. It is incredible and encompasses everything that gaming should be.
If you could be any video game character who would it be? Why?
I really adore Link. I just love his innocent, traditional, and heroic character. Very “Knight in Medieval Times” protecting his Lady. I love it. Also he doesn’t have a machine gun, he has a sword, it’s much cooler.
What do you do for fun?
When I’m not arting it up, I’m photographing with my Canon 7D or I’m out mountain biking (well in Florida it’s more like swamp biking), keeping up around the house and gardening, and just absolutely love hanging out with my wife and chilling with some wine.
If there’s one thing that you want people to know about you, what would that be?
I’m just an average person who probably should have gone through the whole art career schooling thing, but didn’t. I love Biology and life and the connectivity of all things. However I think I have done very well considering I’m all passion and drive.
I want to leave an interesting and creative touch on the art community as my legacy. I also want the world to think of so called “geekdom” not as a nerdy past time but as a respectable form of art. I would love to concept my own characters for a game or animation one day and see my ideas and art put into a feature animated film or game.
Want to keep in touch with Barrett or see what he is currently working on?
Portfolio || Prints for sale || Tumblr || Twitter || deviantArt || Behance