Friday, July 3, 2009

Artist From Down Under: Philip Dean Gray

One of the true benefits of maintaining a blog is the interaction you get to have with folks who share similar interests. I always appreciate comments by my regular followers, and those occasional visitors who prefer to remain anonymous.

There is also an added bonus - which occurs infrequently - of someone new emailing me with questions or comments that aren't actually posted in response to a specific article that I put up here in the Catacombs.

Recently a chap by the name of Philip Dean Gray contacted me after he went searching online for info on artists Dave Stevens and Joe Linsner (both of whom have been mentioned in Catacombs posts). Philip and I shared an appreciation for British pin-up queens, Lucy Pinder, Michelle Marsh and Keeley Hazell, and since Mr. Gray is a talented artist, the whole comic book thing that I like to trumpet here helped make a connection also.

We corresponded back and forth a bit over a couple of days, and Philip agreed to allow me to profile his work here.


Q) Philip, you mentioned that at the ripe old age of 48 you were getting back into producing artwork. What prompted you to take such an extended break?

To explain a little more in regards to the hiatus, I was quite a prolific drawer a number of years back, but then I met my future wife, and then the kids came along, then work got in the way.... you know how it goes, the passion for drawing somehow got put into the background.

Q) Did something specific revive your interest in drawing again or are you a fan of certain artists?

It was during a chance visit to a comic/magazine/book shop in Sydney a couple of years back that re-kindled my love for drawing, and I can put it down to looking at an issue of Joseph Michael Linsners' Dawn (Three Tiers). There was just something about the cover and inside cover that sparked my interest again. I purchased a number of Dawn related comics/books/cards, then started checking out a lot of the other top comic artists around, plus delved back into classic pinups by Vargas, and Elvgren, all the time looking at these guy's work was inspiring me to get back into drawing and to concentrate on pinup/comic style work with a realistic look.

Q) The art samples that you forwarded to me were very detailed, and the likeness that you produced of actress Charlize Theron is spot on. What kinds of pencils do you draw with?

My favourite medium to draw with has always been colour pencils (even for the black and whites) I am also trying my hand at mixed media (with markers) and progressing to re-working my drawings in photoshop. At the moment I like to use photo references for my drawings, making sure that I put my own spin on the final outcome.

Q) Now that you've gotten the "itch" to use your art talents again, tell me about any plans you may have for exploiting your skills?

I have a big dream to produce an online magazine at some stage, I already have some other interested parties who would like to contribute. Hopefully it will be a mix of art and also articles (perhaps some tutorials) having a keen interest in graphic design is driving me towards the magazine idea.

Q) In our correspondences, I noticed some of the typical spelling differences that occur between American and English citizens; plus you mentioned Sydney. Are you an Australian?

I am originally from London, England but moved to Sydney Australia in 2001 (along with my wife and 2 children), the draw to move to Australia just got too big to ignore, as my wife has 2 brothers and a sister over here plus of course the nieces and nephews and they were of course always asking us to come over. We have not regretted it, as the lifestyle has been great over here in Australia, although I do also miss a lot of England (especially the football !!) and a certain "page 3" of the Sun newspaper (a regular page for the likes of Keeley Hazell and Lucy Pinder), plus the culture.......but sunshine almost every day (even in winter) sure does make you want to stay in Australia. Plus we do still have some family in England (mine mostly).

Q) I've looked at a few online galleries which feature your pencilled illustrations. Is there a specific web page that anyone who is interested in your work can go to check out your stuff?

Sure. Just go to this link and I will have things up and running very soon. Thanks!

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