For years, Awesome Art We’ve Found Around The Net has been about two things only – awesome art and the artists that create it. With that in mind, we thought why not take the first week of the month to showcase these awesome artists even more? Welcome to “Awesome Artist We’ve Found Around The Net.” In this column, we are focusing on one artist and the awesome art that they create, whether they be amateur, up-and-coming, or well-established. The goal is to uncover these artists so even more people become familiar with them. We ask these artists a few questions to see their origins, influences, and more. If you are an awesome artist or know someone that should be featured, feel free to contact me at any time at [email protected]. This month we are very pleased to bring you the awesome art of…
Bryan Johnson is an award-winning Theatrical Designer, Artist, and Illustrator for the entertainment industry. Bryan has received four design awards from the Kennedy Center, including the 2010 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival national design award. Bryan went on to become the Lead Props and Special Effects Technician with Blue Man Group-Las Vegas, where he fabricated, maintained, and operated the long-running hit show. During his time with Blue Man Group, Bryan designed and created several themed art installations for marketing and promotional development for the company.
Bryan’s work has appeared in worldwide publications, including “Lighting & Sound America” and “Stage Directions” magazine, where he was also a contributing writer. Bryan’s design experience includes; poster art and illustration, prop design and fabrication, magic/illusion design, mask making, puppetry, lighting design, and special effects makeup. Bryan has taught Prop Design at the university level, as well as presented Theatrical Design and Illustration lectures and workshops all over the United States and for global audiences.
JOBLO: What got you started as an artist?
BRYAN: Well, I always had a creative advantage. For some reason, I always had the natural ability to fully visualize a piece long before ever starting on it. I could see the composition, shape, line, contrast, colors…. everything. I am extremely grateful to have grown up with such an amazingly supportive family, particularly my grandmother, who always encouraged me to follow whatever path made me feel complete. Art, in any form, has always been a part of that journey. A passion for storytelling also really drives everything for me. Art always tells a story. A poster, a piece of music, a culinary creation or a tattoo, there’s a story behind everything. A poster is often the beginning of a much larger experience, long before a ticket is purchased or the curtain rises. A great poster should make you want to see a film, while not spoiling it, but also help you relive a film that you’ve already seen.
My love for art and storytelling naturally led me to the cinema, and then one day I received a Christmas gift that changed everything …. a magic set! I always loved learning but hated school, because kids can be awful. I decided that if I was going to be singled out by my peers for any reason, I was going to do so on my own terms. I turned to art and magic as my way of standing out among the crowd.
At age seven, I got to see David Copperfield perform live and discovered that magic could be more than pulling a rabbit out of a hat, it was a form of visual and psychological storytelling. I immediately fell in love with the fact that magic was an art and that art was magical.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?
In the world of posters, some of my favorite artists are Drew Struzan, John Alvin, Mike Bryan, Bob Peak, Matthew Peak, and Jeff Wack. While I might not have known their names at the time, their work was most certainly an inspiration.
In general, I have always been inspired by HR Giger, Norman Rockwell, Chris Van Allsberg, Maurice Sendak, Shel Silverstein, and of course Bob Ross. A lot of my approach and process, in both illustration and prop making, comes from watching Bob Ross on PBS. Using negative space, light needing darkness and vice-versa, hiding little stories in your work, all are tools that I use in any piece that I create. My favorite Bob Ross quote: “When you buy your first tube of paint, you’re issued an artist’s license, and an artist’s license says you can do anything that you want to do on this canvas because it’s your world.” Love that so much!
While not necessarily illustrators, other artists, and creative influences are; Jim Henson, Walt Disney, Stan Winston, Rick Baker, Syd Mead, Tom Savini, Steven Spielberg, David Copperfield, Penn & Teller, Rowan Atkinson, Robin Williams, Paul Reubens, Blue Man Group and Fred Rogers.
Who do you really dig these days, follow on Instagram?
There are so many amazing artists in the world and I dig new ones every day. This list could go on forever, but here are a few. (In alphabetical order)
Ruiz Burgos, Theodora Capat, Barret Chapman, Tracie Ching, Rhys Cooper, Christopher Cox, Rich Davies, Jason Edmiston, Tom Hodge, Eddie Holly, Housebear, Vance Kelly, Chris Koehler, Brian Lutz, Dave Merrell, Roger Motzkus, Alex Pardee, Adam Rabalais, Nick Runge, Juan Saniose, Danny Schlitz, Enzo Sciotti, David Seidman, Paul Shipper, Adam Stothard, Matt Ryan Tobin, Zi Xu.
What advice would you have for budding artists today?
Everyone has their own style and journey, but these are several personal opinions and observations: “AI” will never have the soul that you do.
Never stop learning. Learn something new with each project. Learning = Improving.
There are no rules. There is no formula.
Be an Artist. Make ART…. not “content.”
The digital and social media world is amazing for so many things and makes sharing your work and networking easier than ever, however, it can become an algorithmic trap. While an artist does have to market themselves, it is far too easy to get lost in the quest for more likes and follows. I would rather 10 people truly appreciate and support my work, than have 1,000 people click a “like.” (Having said that, please like and follow.)
What should we be looking out for from you in the future?
There are some really exciting projects in the future and I can’t wait to be able to share them. I have several really cool pieces in the works with my friends at Hero Complex Gallery. I am incredibly excited to have several officially licensed pieces being published with “Printed in Blood” as part of an upcoming project that I can’t reveal quite yet. Beyond that, I am always working on private commission pieces, personal passion projects, and creating theatrical designs and art installations for the entertainment world.
Being a fansite, we have to ask you… What are some of your favorite movies/TV shows of all time?
Oh man….so many.
Ghostbusters, Flight of The Navigator, Run Lola Run, Cloak & Dagger, Tommy Boy, Runaway, Little Monsters, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, The Rocketeer, The Park Is Mine, Die Hard, Robocop (1987), Commando, Running Man, Tremors, Beetlejuice, Aliens, The Abyss, Back to the Future, Big Trouble in Little China, Indiana Jones series, Goonies, Gremlins, Equilibrium.
Scroll down to check out some of our favorite art pieces from Bryan as we continue to follow his journey across his Website and social media hubs: Instagram / PosterSpy / Alternative Movie Posters / Hero Complex Gallery / Store
Dahmer: Monster: The Jeffery Dahmer Story
Dumb & Dumber
Ernest Scared Stupid
The Legend of Billie Jean
The Park Is Mine
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/awesome-artists-weve-found-around-the-net-bryan-johnson/