Artists Craig Drake (left) and Robert Brandenberg stand outside of the Mondo gallery at the grand opening of their exhibit. Photo courtesy of Mondo
Updated: Monday, 17 Sep 2012, 4:15 PM CDT
Published : Monday, 17 Sep 2012, 1:28 PM CDT
Artists Craig Drake and Robert Brandenburg are two artists with a mutual love of film and cinema. The two have each developed their own style over the years and both have built up a strong following. I spoke to the two artists at the grand opening of their exhibit at Mondo .
Craig Drake is originally from Detroit but he moved to San Francisco in 1998 to work in animation and freelance design before landing at Electronic Arts. He started work for Lucasfilm in 2006 where he created his first Patrick Nagel parody image (a limited edition Princess Leia print). Since then, he has become known for Nagel-izing pop culture figures masterfully, and bringing a sleek 80's aesthetic to everyone in his path.
Mic Trotty: How did you get started in the art world?
Craig Drake: it goes back to the early days of me as a human, a very, very small human. I think I was always into illustration, even technical drawing. As a kid I drew robots, even the inner workings and mechanics. So I was always into detail illustration as a kid and it just continued on through school and all the way up through now. Merge that with love of sci-fi and film and then there you have it. You've got an exhibit. Growing up as a child of the 80's you live with that Patrick Nagel influence. A little bit of a tribute to that style merged with dark comic book style and there you have it.
MT: How do you choose your characters and how do you know when it's ready?
CD: That part's easy, especially for this show, because its all based in love of film. Depicting strong characters in unexpected ways is really the inspiration for the show. And a lot of times when I know what characters it goes pretty quick. Probably in like a day I'll have the sketch finished and I'll move on to painting. The paintings can take up to a week, but it's a couple that took a day.
MT: How does it feel to have your work on display here in Austin?
CD: Aw man, it's kind of surreal. It's pretty surreal for sure. I would only hope that other sci-fi geeks like myself can appreciate it on that level too. It's sci-fi illustration and film illustration for film fans and other people who love sci-fi. It feels great. I'm glad it's done. It was a marathon, for sure.
Ohio native Robert Brandenburg is a self-taught artist with 40 years of professional experience. He is known for hand painting movie posters with such detail that he's designs blend in with the original. He's had solo exhibits at the Middletown (Ohio) Fine Arts Center, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Dayton Museum of Natural History, and Gallery 1988 (Venice) in 2012.
MT: How did you get started in art?
RB: I've always drawn and painted, self taught, so I've been doing this my whole life. It's really been my only interest, the only thing I've ever wanted to do.
MT: How did you come up with your ideas?
RB: I look through tens of thousands of posters. When I finally see one that I have an idea for it just comes to me right away. As soon as I see the poster I know exactly what I want to do.
MT: How long is your process?
RB: I have to actually start prepping the posters so I can start painting on them. It actually can take a few weeks, even though it doesn't look like there's a lot painted on it. I have to keep treating the surface different ways with applications of clear media that you can't see. I can't just get a poster and start painting on it. It would wrinkle and warp and all these things. Some of them are pretty quick and some of them take a while, it just varies. It could take a week to four weeks, just depends on what I have to do to it.
MT: How does it feel to have everyone come out and see your work?
RB: Well it's great obviously. More people seeing it online and in person, that's what I want. It's really great exposure.