Artist of the Month - Greg Barrett
Welcome to my first ever ‘Artist of the Month’ blog...
To launch the first ‘Artist of the Month’, I have chosen one of my all-time favourite artists, Greg Barrett.
I chose Greg not only because of his outstanding art illustrations and paintings but because I am amazed at how he consistently produces magnificent pieces. I also love how his creations all come with stories of their own.
‘Oh, I do love art that tells a story’
Greg is a man of many talents in the art world, but his preferred medium is digital art using Procreate. Procreate is a graphics editor app used for creating digital paintings, sketches and illustrations. Procreate has become pretty popular over recent years and is definitely something that I am keen to learn more about.
Emma: Before we start Greg, can you explain the meaning behind your intriguing green logo?
Greg: The green logo is a joke thing I did a few years ago. It's meant to be a dill pickle and was made for a joke me and some friends had about starting a band. The band was ‘The Traveling Dillburys’, of course, based on ‘The Traveling Willburys’. I think I made the image on a Lenovo tablet, the original has like the joke band disappeared and that is all that is left.
Emma: How did your art journey begin? Who inspired you?
Greg: I've always been interested in art, I remember having those paint by numbers to do and mixing the colours around instead of doing them as instructed. I liked comic book art and took my interest from there. I drifted away from art for a bit but always came back to it. I remember always liking the art of the Spanish artist, ‘Goya’ for some reason. I've always painted or drawn wildlife in some shape or form over the years and that is still one of my main interests but now I'll do whatever I fancy from day to day.
Emma: Now, I am completely fascinated by your creations using Procreate, please tell me more about this? How could a newbie to this learn more?
Greg: I got my iPad last year when the Lockdown was still quite new. I have always been interested in the artwork you could do on there. I've tried computer tablets but found them too restrictive and the programmes needed were expensive. Then again iPads aren't cheap either, after getting it and the Apple pencil that was needed to make drawing easier, I then looked for the best drawing app on there, Procreate.
Procreate seems to be the one to beat, I'm no expert but it seems to have it all and is worth having if you have a fairly new iPad. You can do pretty much most art mediums on there and can download different brushes if needed. There are loads of tutorials on there to help you and there is advice on their Instagram page. I only use a small portion of it at the moment and still have different apps to try but Procreate is the main one at the moment.
Emma: Your art continues to blow me away, not only because of the vibrant colours you use but because your art often features legends like David Bowie, Clint Eastwood and Hollywood Welsh actor, Richard Burton. Burton was born not too far away from me, in a beautiful place called Pontrhydyfen, in the Afan Valley.
Where did the inspiration to create legends like these come from?
Greg: With the Richard Burton one, it was part he was one of my favourite actors but also because I was going to create actors playing Hamlet. This is something I have been planning to do for a bit but has gone on the back burner for a bit.
The Clint Eastwood one was more of an idea I had that mixed a fairly normal drawing of him in a famous pose with his famous gun but changed to mix in a bit of silliness and make it more about the absurd.
At the moment I paint or draw what comes to mind at any given moment. I have a Mick Jagger and Keith Richards that has been hanging around for ages. The last big one I worked on was the David Bowie ones to go with his Birthday and death last month.
Emma: What other mediums, other than digital art do you use?
Greg: I use watercolours and watercolour pencils quite a bit and have done pictures of mainly birds which I had mounted and use to sell. I recently brought some soft coloured pencils to try and enjoyed using them on a small drawing of a Wren. I used to do oil painting but that can be messy and smelly and isn't convenient if you don't have much room. I used to even make my own canvasses but God knows why.
I have brought some gold leaf and am going to put that into some of my work at a later date when I have something ready.
Emma: I notice that you are also quite a keen photographer – can you tell me more about your photography work?
Greg: I have always been interested in photography and brought a Cannon DSLR a few years back. I have used it mainly when I have been in Devon and take a lot of pictures of the sunrises there. I was starting to print these off, mount and sell them. I don't get much of a chance at the moment and a camera is a big thing to drag out with you all the time. I mainly use my camera phone at the moment if I come across something that interests me. I recently brought an A3 printer and have been printing off various images to see what they look like.
Emma: Finally, what advice would you give a fellow artist or someone new to the art world?
Greg: The best advice I can give is to just keep doing it, if you enjoy it don't stop. There are plenty of tutorials online if you feel you need them but the main thing is to just keep doing it and most importantly enjoy it.
Emma: Greg, you are a true art legend, I adore your work and wish you continued success. To see Greg’s work visit his Instagram page: Greb3407
Blog by EJ Wilcox Art (someone who writes and creates from the heart).