Bryan Proteau (US)

Bryan Proteau (US)

Sludge ? What's sludge ? If you are asking the question I think one of the best way to discover it is just to take a look at Bryan work as it perfectly define the background. Of course you are more than welcomed to grab one or 2 albums by...let's say Eyehategod for example, mixing both medias you should be closed to the perfect definition ;)

Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?
Right now I'm listening to a dark ambient/experiemental folk band from Ireland called Burrows. Really great stuff.

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from what do you do?
My name is Bryan Proteau and I draw for Natvres Mortes Illvstration. I also write for a music and culture webzine called CVLT Nation, as well as photograph concerts for my photography blog called SF Sludge. I'm from Napa originally but have made San Francisco, California my home.

When did you start drawing?
I started drawing when I was very young and fairly consistently throughout most of my life. I lost steam somewhere along the way but am now back into it 100%.

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I took art classes in high school and have a partial education from San Francisco Art Institute, but I never graduated. Drawing in the margins was always way more fun ha ha.

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?
Absolutely not. I have a soul-sucking day job just like everyone else. My clientele are mainly underground bands who I know are poor like me so I feel bad for them. I work very cheap. The money I make from doing art isn't very substantial and usually will go back into materials.

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Not really, I mainly do designs for band merch, album art and the occasional. flier. There is a zine that asked me to do a logo them, but that hasn't really moved forward. I should e mail them back, actually.

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
A lot of my inspiration comes from classic sources, Francisco de Goya being the main one but also printmakers like Albrecht Dürer and Gustave Doré. As for contemporary artists I really admire Denis Forkas Kostromitin, Reuben Sawyer, Glyn Smith, Sin Eater, David D. D'Andrea, John Dyer Baizley, Justin Bartlett and Aaron Horkey. To name a few.

What are the principal steps in your work ?
Basically after coming up with an idea I do a basic line drawing in pencil and just ink it using a nib pen, brush and black tattoo ink. I hope I understood the question correctly.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?
All drawing is done by hand. Occasionally I'll do hand-drawn text but if I'm doing layout for a project, the text and sometimes borders will be digital. Computers are very handy though and still an important part of what I do.

How long does it take you to do a poster?
It depends on how much information is going to be on it. The more bands and info that needs to be on the poster the longer it's going to take. Making the drawing is the easy part but adding in everything else is when things slow down. 

You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are
you up for it ?
Haha I would definitely not be up for it. People come to me because they like the style within which I already operate. Changing mediums or my style that drastically I feel would be sort of pointless.

For which band have you already worked for?
I have worked with Deafheaven, Lycus, False, Gottesmorder, Obolus, Atriarch, Heirophant, Vattnet Viskar, Nigh, Mourner and Pallbearer. 

For which band would you love to work?
Horseback, definitely. But they kind if have their own artist already. I would love to work with Chelsea Wolfe, Thou, Vestiges, Burrows who I mentioned earlier...

Do you choose the artists yourself?
Yes, essentially. Deafheaven and Lycus were friends whose bands I already connected with on an emotional level so I offered to work with them. Bands that I'm not already familiar with I check out to make sure that I like their music and can feel good about illustrating for them. Like I had never heard of Gottesmorder from Italy before, but they released a brilliant EP and am now a fan of theirs.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
Definitely design/layout/text. I really don't have much of an eye for that sort of thing and that's where having a graphic designer roommate comes in handy. Sometimes when I'm making a drawing for a flyer I don't want to think about where information is going to go. So I end up with a really busy drawing and you either see more of the drawing and can't read the text well, or be able to read the text but some of the drawing is sacrificed. 

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
Sort of. There is a good handful of illustrators in the world working in this sort of dark, detailed style. But more locally to where I live Kevin Gan Yuen of Viraloptics does some amazing work, Ross Sewage from Ludicra/Impaled is an excellent screen printer, Alan Forbes and David D. D'Andrea are famous rock poster artists from the Bay Area. D'Andrea was especially influential to me,

A bit of self-promotion, take advantage of it, it's free, where can we see your work , on the web or in real life?
You can see all of my works digitally on

The best praise you received lately?
Doing this interview. It's still weird to think that people would be interested enough in my work to want to interview me. Also a couple friends have gotten one of my drawings tattooed on them and other people have expressed wanting work of mine tattooed. To me there is no greater compliment than that.

What can we wish you for the future?
I'm learning how to tattoo so hopefully lots of tattoos. In April of this year I'll be showing artwork at a two day music and art festival in Oshkosh, Wisconsin USA alongside Reuben Sawyer of Rainbath Visual.

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