1. Please tell us a little about yourself.
It’s difficult to describe myself. I have many interests; probably too many. I love history, nature, science and of course art. My interests in art are as varied as my interests in general. As a child my parents encouraged me to be creative. I built plastic models and little wooden boats. I would draw scenes of WWll airplanes in combat or my favorite sports heroes. One of those sports drawings got entered into a competition sponsored by the Milwaukee Brewers; I placed third and got to meet Willie Mays; that was in 1976.
It seems odd but I didn’t have comic books as a child; maybe there was no money for it but you can’t miss what you don’t have. Anyway, while in High school I had private art lessons that focused on oil and watercolor painting; very traditional still life, landscape and wildlife subjects. I also discovered architecture and engineering, I was split between two disciplines. Before I graduated High school I had my first exhibit at a botanical garden in the Milwaukee area. While in High school I also discovered two things that would influence my approach to art many years later; first was “Bloom County”, Berkley Breathed showed me you could be creative, intelligent and funny all at the same time and portray that through art; the second was Frank Frazetta. I was fascinated by his art and the fantasy realms he portrayed in his paintings.
I attended college at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, (MIAD). Instead of following the “Fine Artist” path I chose to study Industrial Design, which really spoke to the “Technical” side of me. It allowed me to be artist, designer and manufacturer all at the same time. I graduated in 1987 with a BFA in Industrial Design and a minor in Graphics. Joined the work force, moved to Phoenix, AZ in 1988. Took on a job as Art Director for a major events promoter; (I was able to provide them with both technical and fine art direction).
That lasted until 1992 when the company chose to part ways with Phoenix. At that point I completely “Derailed” from the art career and took work for Uncle Sam. I actually stepped away from art for about ten years. Government life has been good but you can’t keep a good artist down. I discovered comic books and comic book art late but I’m glad I did. I developed a huge collection rapidly and being an artist looking to jump back in after a long break it was the perfect place to start. At the same time I discovered Adobe Photoshop. I’ve dabbled with some stories of my own but commissions pay better.
As a side business; I’ve done several “Vector” portraits as commissions and product design that is heavily influenced by the whimsical style of “Sunday” morning comic strips. Recently I’ve picked up the paintbrush again and have started exploring some strange “Realms” of my own. The comic book stories are there on the back burner and I take them out whenever I get the chance but it’s difficult when you have clients expecting their work to get done. I regret that I had not documented my earlier work better but “Young and Foolish” as they say and I can’t display any of the product design as that is protected under strict copyright terms. However, I will post as much as I can as new pieces get completed.
2. Which piece in your gallery is your favorite?
My favorite from my gallery is “Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones.” I took this on as a challenge. I was asked to create this portrait as a vector but make it as “Photorealistic” as possible. There are over 5,300 vector layers in this piece; no paintbrush effects were used. It’s all layers of color built from the background up.
3. How long have you been collecting comic art and what prompted you to start?
I started collecting comic art sometime around 2000-2001. It progressed from collecting movie memorabilia. I can blame the short lived Sy-Fy Channel show Sci-Fi Trader for getting that started. At the time it was Sci-Fi Channel; 1995 I purchased a signed Star Trek movie poster and later a signed 2001 A Space Odyssey print. After that came a signed and numbered Harlan Ellison printing of “The City on the Edge of Forever” and then a few signed and numbered Ray Bradbury novels. Then started the comic books and comic art. I have some signed Michael Turner and Stan Lee. Also several CGC rated books, some Alex Ross, a few statues, (Samurai Jack and Lara Croft) and about a 1,000 comic books.
4. How do you display/store your collection at home?
Most of the comic collection is contained in a reading room with other novels and collectables. I don’t have room to display it all yet. What isn’t displayed is stored flat or packed away in a safe location.
5. What are your top five most wanted original pages or commissions?
Top 5 most wanted; that’s tough:
There’s a series of Bloom County panels showing “Opus” imitating Joan Jett. He’s doing his best air guitar, cracks me up every time I see it
Frank Frazetta’s “John Carter #3”
Any Steve Ditko’s “Dr. Strange”
Any Frank Miller’s “Batman"
Any Frank Cho’s “Brandy"
View Brent Montgomery's Gallery