"Brian Mercer has been making visuals for some of the heaviest bands roaming the planet since 2002. Some of the bands he's worked for include Eyehategod, Zoroaster, Black Tusk, Lamb of God and countless others", here is what you can read on Brian's website. To my opinion, Brian Mercer is yhe exact translation into drawing of "Doom, Stoner, Sludge, Loud, Greasy and Dusty", or something like that. This said, this definition is not totally fair as Brian's talent goes much more further than just skulls and bones and I am pretty sure we will shortly see his art on many other kind of music related stuffs !!!!
The Best of Ray Price
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
Brian Mercer. Some guy from SOUTH Jersey who not only makes artwork for bands but generally makes things that interest me. The dream has always been to able to put my feet on the floor when I wake up and be able to say, "I want to make this today." That and to have the bills paid and the lights on.
Probably from the moment I could hold some implement. My mother who is an artist really encouraged me. Plus my father who is a craftsman was always making things around the house. So things really started early on.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
I had the worst art classes taught by a creature with opposable thumbs in high school. After that I had some college training but was way to immature to really take advantage of them. I spent the rest of my youth skateboarding and messing around in bands. When I hit my 20's and didn't have to sneak into clubs anymore I really wanted to get involved with the shows I was going to. My brother and myself built a silkscreen studio and I just got to work.
Yes. I have a part time job but the artwork is the bread and butter. I work at it 110% of the time and even when I'm not working at it I'm working at it.
Are you collaborating with magazines/fanzines, regularly?
Not as much as I want to. Mainly because of a heavy schedule with the bands I work with. I'm finding some balance now so I'm gonna start working with a few that has asked for work.
Where does your influence come from? Is there any artists/graphists you particularly like, what are your influences?
What are the principal steps in your work ?
Usually looking at the visuals a client has established before. Then finding out where they want to go next. Finally applying what I do to make both sides happy. I mean there is the obvious start with sketches and escalate from there. But there are a bunch of other factors. I really want to push off from the thing I did before and evolve. Sometimes grand ideas are cut short by by deadlines or a clients needs. I find working outside of a project and doing the work with new techniques really helps to advance things. So when the time is right to add a new trick to the deck it's not forced.
99% of it is done by hand. I'll use the computer for colors and layouts. I try and do almost everything by hand because it's just more organic. Computer graphics are amazing and impressive but in the end it's all subjective. I prefer something done by hand and seeing the human element. I don't know everything but I know what works for me. I find anytime you lay out an ultimatum on how you're going to handle anything in life your just painting yourself into a corner. I recently had a computer crash on me. I knew the thing was going to go so I took the steps to save everything. Thing was I didn't want to spend the money on a new rig. Plus i was comfortable with working with the same old beat up machine and programs. Well the old machine finally went and I broke down and bought a new machine. I cried like a girl about it but after I got into the new machine I saw how it was going to help. I talked with my father about the predicament and his answer was, "It sounds like your trying to build a house with a dull hand saw and that's it. Come on Brian. It's good to have all the proper tools". Totally right. After that I went out and bought a bunch new illustration tools I never use just to try new things.
Since the illustrations have gotten more detailed it takes about a week to two weeks of drawing and set up. Depending on the amount of colors and the number of prints usually 2 to 3 days of printing.
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 ?
For which band have you already worked for?
That list is WAY long. I've done two pieces for Saint Vitus that have been wildly popular. The first one I kind of stumbled into but the newest one I'm extremely proud of. The work I've done with Zoroaster over the years has been a blast because we kinda grew together. The most satisfying has been with Lamb of God. I really grew into doing this professionally with them. The Lamb of God clan and all the R.V.A. bands drug me kicking and screaming into being a professional artist.
Black Sabbath, Metallica, Slayer, Soundgarden, Quicksand, Black Crowes, Shrinebuilder, Neurosis, Doom Riders, Saviours, Lucero, 3 Inches of Blood, Skeletonwitch...... Tons of other bands and artists. Not just heavy stuff either.
Do you choose the artists yourself?
Sometimes. As of late I get approached by bands more often than not.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster ?
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
I wouldn't be a part of a scene who would have me as a member. I don't know about a scene but I have a bunch of friends and colleagues who I respect. Mike Fisher, John Santos Jr., Kevin Mercer (largemammal), Mike Wohlberg, John Baizley Dyer, Glyn Smyth, K3n Adams, Jay Ryan and countless others.
mercerrock.com, facebook and twitter.
The best praise you received lately?
My friend John Hopkins who does sound for a ton of bands was out recently doing sound for Corrosion of Conformity. The band mentioned how they really wanted new merch. They mentioned how much they liked the artwork that Zoroaster had out on tour with them. Well it just so happened that John was at a barbque at my house earlier that night. John's response was "Shit I was just at his house tonight. He'll be at the show tomorrow night." We all hung out and it was a real trip for me because I've been listening to that band almost since birth. I'm gonna sling some stuff for them.
Another recent compliment which I love is "Dude we sold out of all of your stuff."
My favorite happened the other night at a show. Some metal head I barely know screamed from 50 feet away, "Hey Brian Mercer! Get over here and let me buy you a drink you mutha f**ker!"
What can we wish you for the future?
i revamped my web presence to be a bit more streamlined so people can see my stuff or things I'm into. My old site was bloated and antiquated. Now the kids can follow on their crazy Blade Runner phones. I started doing some merch deals with a select few bands. Hail!Hornet was the first and that went pretty well. I'm going to try and release more mercerrock t-shirts this year. I'm not starting a clothing company. I feel every idiot with a home silkscreening kit thinks they can start a clothing company. I do not want to be one of those characters. Again I like to make things I'm interested in. So I'm going to keep it on the fun level. I struck up a relationship with Union Transfer a new venue in Philadelphia and we are going to do some posters. I have 3 new shirts coming out with Lamb of God's summer tour. From what