My guest today is an up-and-coming artist who is currently working on a wonderful project digitally transforming pictures of people into creative and unique colorized designs. He is a young man with a gift, an artist in mind, body and soul, and it is my absolute honor to be able to call him a friend.
The interview that I conducted with him was one of my more interesting ones, it is deep and concise. It is shorter than some of my other posts, but every word means something, and I think you will agree, it is quite fascinating.
Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce you all to Mr. Alex Ghastbrow.
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Alex. I make art, I write stories, and my new obsession is collaborating with people I’ve never met, using photographs they send me and turning them into art pieces.
Your artwork is very impressive. When did you start painting?
I started painting when I was a kid. I wanted to make movies, so I transform my cousins into monsters. I painted them and I threw blood on them. That was the beginning. Then I found oil colors, and then I moved on to oil pastels, and today I use markers and watercolors. I want to do it all! I also love using photography as a way to express myself.
Where did you study?
I study art books and I look at a lot of erotica. Those are my points of reference. But I study literature. I think to be a great artist you need to read books.
Do you believe that art is taught, or something innate that we can learn to cultivate?
I think it’s something innate. It exists inside everyone. All you have to do is look for it. It comes in to you in the strangest moments. Inspiration.
What is your favorite medium?
My favorite medium today is digital art. I love Photoshop! And I love using my phone to make art. I never would have thought I could make art on my phone.
Your work displays a lot of emotion, and covers a great range. Would you say your mood influences your work?
It does and it doesn’t. I work when I have energy. It really depends. I’m really a writer before anything else, and I think that it takes more energy for me to paint with words than it does with colors.
As a writer, I love nothing more than sitting down with a pen and blank piece of paper and just writing. No planning, no preparation. Do you paint like that or do you always have the end product in your mind?
When I draw or paint or even write, I have no idea what I am going to do. I let the picture I’m working with inspire me. I let my day or my night inspire me. I work from my personal experiences. I repeat myself constantly, manipulating it in different ways until I can’t do it anymore. When I feel like I’ve exhausted one medium. I move on to the next.
Who has been your biggest influence in life and in your art?
My biggest influences are possibly some of the most unlikely people you would imagine. Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, Marquis De Sade, Clive Barker, Alejandro Jodorowky, Tim Burton…The list is so eclectic.
Some of your pieces contain a very sexual element. Do you see a connection between art and sexual expression?
We are all sexual people. And I think I should use sex in my art because it’s honest. I would be lying if I didn’t draw erotica.
A lot of people are afraid to embrace the erotic, would you say that people should become more embracive of that side of life?
People need to explore their sex…if they aren’t willing to look at it, I’ll force them to in my art.
Correct me if I am wrong, but it appears that you take a lot of self-portrait photographs. Do you also paint yourself?
I do not. I did once when I was younger, but not anymore. I prefer to work with other peoples flesh.
Do your photos express a different side of yourself than your painting, or are they both an extension of your same self?
Art is art is art. I think they are all one in the same. I think sleeping is an art form. Waking up is art. Driving is art. It really just depends on your perspective. But we live in a world that goes round because of artists.
Is there a message in your art that you are trying to convey?
Not necessarily. I just paint my thoughts and the same goes for my writing. I am writing about my life, my emotions.
Do you display your work in galleries?
I have in the past. I love doing shows. I am planning on doing something very provocative.
What advice would you give any up and coming artists out there?
Well the same thing I’d say to a writer or a photographer. Be honest, write the kind of book you want to read, not the kind you think that people want. Paint the kind of pictures that you like to see. Do it for yourself.
Do you think that social media has had an impact on the artist the same way it has the writer?
I think it has. It’s easier to share the work. I don’t think I would be able to share mine so easily without social platforms. I love them!
Besides art, what interests do you have?
Before being an artist I’d say I am a writer. I love to tell stories. I’ve been telling stories since I was a kid. I used different mediums, VHS cameras, recorders, type writers, scripts…you name it I tried it.
What genre do you write?
I like writing fantasy. I want to write the kind of books I wanted to read as a child, but never found in the libraries.
Do you find a different form of expression with arts as your do with the camera or paint?
They are the same to me. Just like the human anatomy is made up of different parts, it’s all one and the same. So is art.
To develop as a writer, you must also be an avid reader, to develop as an artist is there a similar necessity to study the work of other artists?
Study everything. Look at everything. Read everything you can get your hands on. That’s my belief.