Brian Ewing (US)

Brian Ewing (US)

What could I add to Brian's facebook profile ? "Informed by everything from art nouveau to ukiyo-e woodblock printing, from the full-throttle art of SoCal’s “kustom” car culture to the dynamism and self-assured lines of comics, Ewing’s work fuses his own creative explorations of perspective, color and space with classic, beloved imagery from rebellious American youth culture: hot punk girls, totally rad skulls, and fields of color aflame. In this way, his work embraces a particular playful naiveté, which he then continues to champion even as his style refines itself and as his technique develops. Ewing reminds us we never have to give up the imagery that fired our imaginations as teenagers; his own success is a signifier for how dearly we hold our own trappings of rebellion, and how they can become a vehicle through which one can mature. With a roster of clients ranging from Metallica and the Warped Tour, to The Strokes and Death Cab For Cutie, and even The New Yorker and a number of advertising agencies, Ewing’s resume is a testament to what we love most about music, art, the allure of drama, lust, danger and darkness".


 Hello, of course as every Crewk interview, first question: what are we listening to when we come to visit you?

I usually listen to itunes on random. Unless I’m trying to concentrate on working then I have playlists to keep me focused for each stage of my nerding out on a project.
Lately I’ve been digging:
Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, Kvelertak, Mastodon, My Chemical Romance, Coheed and Cambria, The Cults, The Briggs, Drake, Theophilus London, Elliott Smith, Wire, Fucked Up, Iced Earth...and a bunch more.

Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?

I was born in La Mesa, CA. Grew up in Milwaukee, WI. Lived in Chicago, Minneapolis, Los Angeles and San Francisco. I currently reside and work in New York City. I get around...kinda like yo mama.
For all intents and purposes I am a rock poster artist. Scum of the Earth.

When did you start drawing?

I’ve always been drawing. As kids we all draw. I just stuck with it. I can meet ladies with drawing.

Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?

I went to a high school of the arts. It was like a low-rent version of the movie Fame. I took fine art classes every year. After that I went to the Amercian Academy of Art in Chicago. Dropped out. Took a few years off to pursue a career as an engineer. A custodial engineer. Then went to the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design in Milwaukee. Dropped out. Since then I’ve been teaching myself the techniques I use today. I dropped out because the cost of school was more than I could afford. I wasn’t a rich kid. I had a job before and after school just to afford food and art supplies when I was a student. The irony is that I did a lecture at one of the schools last year. The students got a lecture from an art school drop out on how to have a career as an artist.

Today are you living from your art, or do you do something else for a living ?

Yeah I’ve been a freelance artist for almost 10 years now. It’s great and it’s horrible. I love it. No I don’t...yes I do. I don’t know. I’ll draw like your favorite artist but for half the price!!! Someone please hire me!!!

Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?

When I can. I recently did an Avenged Sevenfold poster for Guitar World Magazine. I’ve done work for the New Yorker, Revolver, Playboy and a bunch more magazines. Before I quit my last day job (to do posters full-time) I worked for Larry Flynt on Hustler, Barely Legal, Taboo and a bunch of other porn magazines. When I was working at Hustler I wanted to be an art director. Not an illustrator. After a couple of years of clawing towards that goal I quit to design posters. Best decision I’ve ever made.
When I was a kid I was obsessed with zines. During that time I worked at a comic book shop and got them to start publishing a store zine. That was awesome to do.

Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?

Everywhere. Comic books, friends, skateboarding and music. I could be here all day listing most of them. Living in New York has been very inspiring. Hanging out with friends who are also artists has been great for me because we all have different styles and ways of approaching something, so we dork out. You forget how much you’ve learned until you are helping another artist problem-solve something they’re stuck on and vice versa.

What are the principal steps in your work ?

I posted a detailed tutorial on my site. You can get all the info there. Then thank me for making the world a more beautiful place to drink in.

Do you do everything by hand or on computer?

Yes? I draw everything by hand with a pencil and a brush. Then scan it and finish it with color and text in illustrator cs3. See last question, then thank me some more with booze.

How long does it take you to do a poster?

Not long enough. I’ve turned a few posters around in 24 hours. But it mostly takes me a week. It seems the more you learn the longer everything takes. I have a set of standards I strive to reach for every project. Sometimes I hit them other times there isn’t enough time. I try to push myself with each project. Sometimes it’s obvious and other times it’s just a few small things I’m trying to be better at.

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 ?

My style is a mish-mash of the artists I grew up appreciating. I try to keep my influences not so poster related. There’s enough in-breeding already. Why make it worse?
I have a path that I’m on. Goals I want to reach with style and subject matter. I’m trying to always expand my visual vocabulary but I also want to draw the stuff that interest me the most.

For which band have you already worked for?

A lot... Metallica, Brand New, Coheed and Cambria, Descendents, Bouncing Souls, Faith No More, Queens of the Stone Age, Rob Zombie, Deftones, Mars Volta, Slash, Alkaline Trio, My Chemical Romance, Bad Religion, Elliott Smith, The Distillers, Slayer, The Melvins, Turbonegro, Neurosis, Dropkick Murphys...and a ton more. For a few years I designed posters for the warped tour. That was a lot of fun.

For which band would you love to work?

Many... Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, Alkaline Trio, Cults, Jack White, Pearl Jam, NOFX, Gaslight Anthem, Nachtmystium, Kanye West, Foo Fighters, Sleigh Bells, Bon Iver, Night Marchers, Dead Man’s Bones, Kvelertak, Mastodon, My Chemical Romance, Coheed and Cambria...and a ton more.

Do you choose the artists yourself?

Sometimes I go after the bands but most of the time I’m busy with the bands that pursue me. It opens me up to listen to new music, new problem solving and a new audience.

What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?

The idea first and then the self-loathing. After that you wonder if you’ll get paid or make the money back you put into the printing.

Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?

In a broad/anonymous sense...yes. is a great place for poster artists and collectors. Otherwise I work alone. I’m a loner, Dottie...a rebel.

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?
I have a book out that collects the past 10 years of my poster work. I designed it, got all the quotes from different artists (Frank Kozik, Coop, Tara McPherson, Dave Johnson etc) and musicians (Claudio Sanchez, Bryan Keinlen, DJ Bonebrake, etc) and was lucky to have Dark Horse publish it.

The best praise you received lately?

“YOU drew that?”
“I love your art (but I hate the band).”
“Can I buy you a drink?” Yes...yes you can.

What can we wish you for the future?

A shave and a haircut. I keep talking about doing some art prints and get some more painting done. More rock posters. More collaborations. It’d be cool to knock out a toy. Maybe move to another city. Maybe... find a lady who lives in my city, isn’t insane or already have a boyfriend. All of it – wishful thinking.

Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!

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