Q: Tell us about your art and what inspired you to produce imagery about futuristic, science fiction or fantasy themes._____
A: The here and now is pretty boring. Looking to what could be or visuals of the future from the past is very surreal and cerebral to me. I have always been interested in the fantastic and what possibilities it can stir in me visually. Since the future doesn’t exist, I can explore creatively, to suggest to people a narration of optimism in a melodramatic sense and always with humor or even tragedy.
Q: Is it right that you are painting fine art in a pop surrealist style, as well as doing commercial illustration? Who are you clients, and what sort of projects do you look for or favor?
A: I have always painted the same way since I can remember. What people choose to call it, I leave it to them. I was raised on comic books and science fiction, horror, animation and lots of music. People seem to be drawn to images they can understand and connect to. I’ve always thought of my work as a type of entertainment and that I can take people on journeys to places that are big and dark, scary and beautiful. I’ve worked in a wide verity of fields in the art world and used these tropes I’ve developed in the illustrative world, like; album art, music posters, animation, editorial illustration and murals. At the moment I’m really enjoying the broad canvas of doing murals.
Q: Are you formally trained or self taught? Tell us about your path as an artist.
A: I received a BFA from the College of Creative Studies in Detroit.
After a brief stint in the music world I had decided it was easier for me to go into the arts. So I went back to college with the hopes of being an illustrator.
Q: Tell us a little about your preferred medium and technique, do you have any favorite products or applications?
A: I prefer working in acrylic as it’s a very fast medium and you can get finished results very quickly. I’ve painted on just about every surface known to man, though wood is my favorite. Canvas has too much bounce in it and I’m pretty rough with my brushes and my paint surfaces. Also I tend to rest my hand on the art when I work… you can’t do that with canvas.
Q: In a few words, what would be the perfect future, if you could imagine it into reality what are your hopes, dreams, or expectations for the world?
A: A perfect future?… that could be many things. Gleaming beautiful city spires teaming with happy souls rising up and away from the corruption of the old governments and corporations… or a beautiful green earth that has overcome all the destruction man had imposed on it for centuries. I would hope that man will one day overcome his greed and understand the toxic environment he’s created and that death is eminent and certain if he continues down this path. Or flying cars would be nice.
Q: In practical terms, as things are going, do you see the future of human kind as a Utopia or Dystopia? Do you have hope for the survival of the planet? Please give us a brief explanation.
A: No hope, I see the extinction of man in the near future.
Q: Do you see yourself as a forward thinker, and if so what solutions would you propose for saving the world? Or do you feel it needs saving?
A: Of course I see the world as worth saving. But we as a civilization won’t. We, as a species, are hardwired to tribalism and materialism and only care for today and not tomorrow. We will never survive anything catastrophic like the inevitable flooding of the east coast and the continual growing of stronger and bigger hurricanes and tornados. So, I’ll paint my sci-fi images and make believe my future is the real future. Ha!
Q: If you could change any trend that has had an impact on our planet, what would it be and why would you change it, what do you feel it would change and how would it help?
A: to end the burning of fossil fuels is a must. We have the answers to clean energy but the oil companies are too powerful. They’ll kill us all. There are no countries, there are only corporations.
Q: As an artist do you feel you have a voice which could influence or change your audiences view of world events? Do you feel it is a responsibility of an artist to bring awareness to certain issues?
A: Artists have no say. They have no power. Only our representatives have the power. Unfortunately, it seems they demonize anyone who raises their voice. You know? “extremists” “tree huggers” “liberals”
Q: Do you see humankind making space travel an option in our future, if you were asked to go to another world, would you choose to go?
A: Optimistically I would love and support space travel. I’d go in a heartbeat, if there was somewhere to go. Mars? Or a more sci-fi endeavor, like another galaxy! Yes, I’d want to go. It seems however that it’ll be up to individuals and entrepreneurs. Our government is too bureaucratic anymore. They would never get anything accomplished. Do you think we could really build anything like the Hoover Dam today?… I really don’t think so. We already forgot how to build a pyramid.
Q: What advice do you have for artists just starting out?
A: Art is a difficult field. You have to be very strong-willed and determined. AND VERY optimistic, outgoing and affable. AND REALLY enjoy what you do. I was in advertising for a few years when I was very young and it very nearly took my soul. I got out just in time to realize I had more to offer…
Q: If you had full funding for any project, what would it be?
A: Large Bronzes. Very Large Bronzes… gigantic paintings as well.
Q: Are there any projects in the making you would like to share with us?
A: Many indoor murals on the horizon…
Q: If you were to attribute any emotional, spiritual, or physical context to your art, what would it be? Is there a story behind the image, a feeling, a dream or belief?
A: It’s all just stream of consciousness.
Glenn Barr’s website: glbarr.com