Fangirl is not a term I would typically use to describe myself. The last time I saw a Star Wars film it was on VHS. I haven't seen over half of the superhero films that have been hitting theaters in the last 40 years. I've never gotten into Star Trek, I've seen less than a full season of Doctor Who (though I still get the jokes and love the Daleks), and the only conventions I attend are usually horror related. So why would I, a person who isn't into geek culture, be interviewing a person whose art work covers all of these bases? Because amazing art is amazing art.
Last year I attended Monster Mania and one of my favorite vendors was there. He sells small movie posters for films of all sorts. Whether you like popular horror or something more lesser known, this guy has it. The last time I saw him vending I went home with four awesome prints. They are pop art prints of Pinhead, Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, and Elvira. I keep them in my craft room and everytime I see them I can't help but smile. The joy that these bring me is sweet and twisted, but is joy nonetheless Looking at the prints Barry of Barry Sachs Barry Goods reminds me of the joy and excitement I when I not only found my horror pop art but when I brought them home. My hope with this post is to not only expose my readers to an amazing artist, but to help you feel happy, geek out, and maybe even find something for your own homes as well. So sit back, relax, and meet Barry Sachs!
My name is Barry Sachs. I am 30 and live in a small city called Lancaster, PA.
I received my Bachelors of Fine Art majoring in Illustration from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, also located in Lancaster, PA. I'm from a very small family and I have an awesome girlfriend and an adorable cat that I have trained to play fetch. I work full-time as a graphic designer to the pay bills while pursuing a career in illustration. On the side I also paint traditionally and have exhibiting in several local fine art galleries as well as the occasional photography gig.
1. What do you make and sell?
I create and sell prints on Etsy which focus on comic book, fantasy, movie and TV characters portraits. At this point in time, most my work focuses on portraits and characters that exist as TV and movie versions. I will continue to create portrait work, however in the near future I will be starting some more original projects that will be based on horror and mythological monsters.
2. How did you get into making art with comic book characters?
I got into making these portrait illustrations, painted digitally using Adobe Photoshop and sometimes started traditionally in either watercolor or a monotone oil painting as a way to get excited about illustration again. After college I was somewhat burnt out and this was a way get back into illustration and to focus on improving my digital painting skills and knockout paintings in a shorter amount of time, which is an issue since I also work full-time as a graphic designer in order to pay my lovely college loans.
3. How long do you typically spend on a piece from getting an idea to the finished product?
I spend a lot of time creating lists of characters I want to paint and when to finish them by. I tend to go over these lists over and over and choose the ones that have a big impact on my inspiration. A typical portrait can take anywhere from 10 to 20 hours to complete. Sometimes 30 hours if I get really hung up on it.
4. Do you think there will be a time where you decide to put your images on things like t shirts, tote bags, necklaces, or id holders? I know this is a common trend with artists on Etsy that start out selling prints that do well. I have seen everything from prints transferred onto skateboard to shower curtains.
I may someday put my art on other products, however at this time its just not very affordable to create and sell items like shirts, which would have to be pretty expensive just to break even.
5. One print that I noticed right off the bat was the pin up Snow White. Lately, there's been a boom in the re-booted Disney Princess department. Everything from zombie Cinderellas and goth Alice in Wonderland to same sex Eric(a) and Ariel from the Little Mermaid putting Princesses in current times, like Jasmine in military clothes, covered in weapons. There seems to be a split between fans; some love this art and some hate it. What do you personally think of this type of art and what inspired you to do it?
My Snow White piece is one of my older pieces and probably my least favorite. I would actually remove it, however it has had a decent amount of favorites which is why I keep it in the shop. As far as pinup fairy tale art goes, if its tasteful and creative I like it. Pinup illustrations can be sexy, however I feel that there are too many people who try to exaggerate and turn fantasy characters into softcore porn and that just doesn't interest me.
6. I was going to refrain from asking who your favorite superhero is, but I can't resist! Who is your favorite superhero and why? And which of your superhero prints is your favorite and why? I am very curious to see if you will pick the same super hero for both questions.
My favorite superhero is the Christopher Reeves version of Superman. I saw one of the films as kid and from that point on I was hooked and probably drove plenty of teachers crazy with my massive amount of crayon drawings and talk of Superman. Print wise, my favorite print is the 9th Doctor played by Christopher Eccleston. Doctor Who is a close second when it comes to a favorite comic and/or science fiction/fantasy character.
7. Something that I really like about your superhero art is that you have the same Batman characters played by different people. You have the Heath Ledger Joker, but you also have a piece with the Cesar Romero Joker. You also did the same with Batman. What made you decide to not stick with one actors portrayal Joker in particular?
I love both old and new versions of superhero characters. Classic and current characters are equally exciting to me and I simply felt the need to paint and illustrate different versions. Also, since having an Etsy shop is like running a small business, it just makes sense to have items that appeal to a wider audience.
8. One print that really stands out for me is the one titled: To The Moon. What can you tell me about this piece? It is very different from your other pieces and that is one of the main reasons it caught my eye.
To the Moon was a piece that was created as a competition project in college for a live job. My entree for the contest was not chosen, however later on it was published in Pocketful Magazine.
9. A lot of your art is based on characters from comics and graphic novels that were turned into films or a television series. A few of your pieces are on characters that came from regular novels such as Dexter and The Wizard of Oz. Do you think that you will ever do more pieces based on literary characters/works? Working at a bookstore, I feel like I must ask this, especially with Game of Thrones, True Blood, and Boardwalk Empire being so popular these days.
I have actually had a lot of close friends constantly suggesting that I create Game of Thrones artwork. It is something that I plan on doing, however if its based of the TV series I need to actually watch it first. Being able to understand the characters goes a long way to successfully painting and portraying them. I believe thats why my Doctor Who pieces succeed. I am a huge Doctor Who fan and that translates into my art. Game of Thrones will probably happen in the near future as well as some more original art based on other books that do not focus on existing actor's portraits.
10. Lately there seems to have been an explosion when it comes to all things Geek. Comic Con is bigger than anyone could have ever imagined, it feels like every other few months a new comic based film is coming out, and everything has a fandom. My Little Pony has a huge following. A few weeks ago there was a huge Brony Con in Baltimore and a Star Trek one not too far from there. Why do you think there are so many fan bases suddenly, or why do you think they are so much bigger than they have ever been before?
I'm honestly not sure why there have become so many specialized conventions. I can understand comic cons, anime cons and science fiction and horror cons because there is a large audience for those cons. However a convention for something like Bronies seems a bit weird, but who am I to judge. I wouldn't pay to get into a con for such a specialized subject, but if there is an audience for it and it makes those fans happy than by all means go have fun. I also have nothing against Bronies, I don't watch My Little Ponie so it has no appeal to me.
My next few questions are horror related because it's kind of what I am about.
11. Since you are talking to a ghoul, I must mention your classic horror prints. So many Universal Monsters from Frankenstein and The Bride to Dracula and The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Are there any other horror icons or images that you have in the works or are thinking of making into prints?
When I decided to start selling work at Comic Cons, my horror art temporarily went on the back burner for these last few months. I plan on getting back to creating horror themed art very soon. Some will be original work, original compositions based on classic horror icons and some will be based on horror and mythological creatures and monsters. I hope to create some portraits of Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Hell Raiser and similar horror icons. In addition to those guys, I want to create some original work as well. As stated earlier on, horror and mythological monsters are subjects I hope to work on in the near future. They will probably be pretty ambitious and will take a lot of time, more planning, taking photo reference since I plan on having an environment and full figures or even multiple figures in these illustrations. I also plan on doing a good amount of academic research in both historical texts and classical paintings.
12. There are 70 days until Halloween! What are your Top 5 Must Watch Horror Movies for the season?
My top 5 must watch films would have to be: A Nightmare on Elm Street (Original version), Halloween 1 and 2 (Original version, I know these are 2...but I consider them almost one since the story continues right into the 2nd movie), Christine, High Tension, American Werewolf in London. There are so many great movies and I'm sure that I could even change my mind on these at any time. However, at this point these are the 5 that I want to watch right now.
13. If you could sit down and talk to a villain from any horror film, who would it be and why?
Thats a tough one. Pretty much all my favorite horror icons would kill me. Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers are not big talkers, Freddy is fun...but the whole invading my dreams and his hands of blades would be a bit painful. I think I would have to go classic, most likely Dracula.
For those of you interested in learning more about Barry and his work, you can Check Out His Shop, Add Him on Facebook, Follow Him onTwitter, and Follow Him on Tumblr.
For all of my MidAtlantic EAST COAST FANS!!!!!
Barry has some events coming up!
August 24th : Comiconn in Connecticut
September 7th and 8th : Baltimore Comic Con at table A140
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