Liam Brazier, a British illustrator, has taken the Internet by storm with his recent portraits of several Star Wars characters done in a particular polygon-shaped style. His previous work also meddles with science fiction and popular culture, you can buy prints and Apple-related skins and cases at Society6. I had the opportunity of securing an interview off him and here are the magnificent results.
Mario A. Escamilla: Thanks for accepting this interview, can you tell us something about yourself?
Liam: Aged 10 I drew an excellent recreation of the Ghostbusters logo during a rain-ridden school lunchtime, an obviously enamoured (or utterly bored) girl offered to finish colouring it in so I could watch the Transformers animated movie being shown in the hall. Although I was entirely polite about it at the time she did, in fact, ruin the picture despite her best efforts.
I have never forgotten this and am still quite bitter about it. I need help.
MAE: How long have you been a Star Wars fan?
Liam: Ask anyone I know and they’ll attest to my distinctly non-existant long-term memory. My parents took me to see the entire trilogy upon the release of ‘..Jedi’ way back when. My youth was constructed of those films played endlessly on VHS, and every single toy I ever owned had to do battle with the Stormtroopers et al I had in abundance – I still have an x-wing on my desk today (although one of the 90′s ones unfortunately, all my original Star Wars toys disappeared over time).
MAE: What drove you to interpret those specific characters? Was it easier because they are masks?
Liam: That was certainly an aspect of it. It’s a lot easer to use larger, broader shapes then the smaller needed to convey the subtleties of a human face for example. The Star Wars portraits were created purely for fun but I’m completely flattered by the positive reaction they have received.
Also; if you were going to draw any masks then nothing beats Star Wars.
MAE: Star Wars, Teen Wolf, Moon… do you have other favorite movies you’d like to work with?
Liam: All my favourite films are connected to me either by nostalgia or my love of art, they are ingrained in me, so work featuring them come subconsciously and naturally.
MAE: What are the influences for your artistic styles?
Liam: I first started on the deconstructed coloured shapes over ten years ago at university (back then using tiny cut out pieces of coloured paper glued down), I think somewhat and somehow informed by being exposed to cubism – though my pieces aren’t cubist, and also growing up watching computer graphics evolve perhaps.
Many seem to assume the illustrations such as the Star Wars ones are created somehow using some fancy technical rendering polygon something-or-other, but I lay one shape at a time in Photoshop, building and changing the topography of the forms, and play with the colour combinations one stage at a time until I’m happy.
MAE: Besides science fiction, what are your favorite themes to represent in your art?
Liam: I mainly illustrate to amuse myself, so if I find something funny or interesting I’ll draw it. I have a stupid sense of humour.
MAE: Outside your artistic work, what interests do you have?
Liam: I’m a big time music lover. I love going to gigs, festivals, playing guitar and the like. I very often have background music playing while I work.
And I’m going to answer ‘my girlfriend’ here to score points.
MAE: Who would you like to make a collaboration with?
Liam: I could reel you off a gigantic list of illustrators I admire, and am in constant awe of (check who I follow on Twitter!) – anyone that would have me. I would also like to work with more people from other art forms too; musicians and film-makers – creating illustrations through interpreting something else is always interesting and exciting.
MAE: What’s the part of your work that you dislike the most?
Liam: I detest lingering on work. If something takes too long it gets stale, looses the spontaneity of the idea, becomes infinitely less interesting over time. I have really tried to speed up processes to counter this. I can knock out one of the Star Wars portraits in a single afternoon now.
Imagine a comedian revealing the punchline to a joke a week after telling the joke – not ideal.
MAE: Do you plan to try other artistic fields besides illustration and animation?
Liam: I’m game for anything creative. I love creating. I’m certainly open to suggestions!
MAE: Your sense of humor and language fascination has a special place in your work but, is it hard to express those ideas visually?
Liam: Thank you so much for noticing my deep interest in language – I am completely engaged by the absurdity of it (especially English) and how we speak without really listening, and how words can mean several different things. I often use these oddities as a jumping off point for an illustration.
As to if this process is “hard” I don’t know if I can answer that. The best work comes the quickest in my opinion, I really don’t think about what I’m doing very much. I’m a constant daydreamer
If you ask anyone with a creative eye they’ll tell you about composition, rule of thirds, framing, visual parts of the puzzle like that – once that is decided upon the rest of the time is just trying to create the blurry image in your head into something tangible.
MAE: Have you ever visited Mexico or any other Latin American country?
Liam: Unfortunately no, but my girlfriend doesn’t stop going on about how great it is. It’s on my wish list!
MAE: ¿Hablas español? (Do you speak Spanish? -question submitted in Spanish)
Liam: Lo sentimos, no – yo hablo sin sentido! (Sorry no, I speak nonsense).
Liam: Thank you my pleasure. I hope I wasn’t too boring, and erm, may the force be with you, always. ;-)