For years, Awesome Art We’ve Found Around The Net has been about two things only – awesome art and the artists that create it. With that in mind, we thought why not take the first week of the month to showcase these awesome artists even more? Welcome to “Awesome Artist We’ve Found Around The Net.” In this column, we are focusing on one artist and the awesome art that they create, whether they be amateur, up and coming, or well established. The goal is to uncover these artists so even more people become familiar with them. We ask these artists a few questions to see their origins, influences, and more. If you are an awesome artist or know someone that should be featured, feel free to contact me at any time at [email protected] month we are very pleased to bring you the awesome art of…
John Dunn is a US-based freelance Illustrator specializing in Poster and Key Art. When he was a child, he always had one dream job in his heart…to become Batman. However, since his parents were neither wealthy …nor dead, he spent most of his time indulging in his second passion: Art. He loved to draw and was known as “the artist” while growing up. However, when it was time to go to college, he did not go to an art school. He didn’t even apply. By 18, the world had already convinced him that art was a moneyless childish pursuit. Instead, he went to school for computer science, at Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston. It was still a great experience for John, all the way to the point where he dropped out. There was no joy in it for him. He spent the next few years bouncing around other colleges, never settling on a major. Eventually, he just stopped and joined the workforce instead. He spent most of his professional life climbing the corporate ladder, where John excelled. There was plenty of opportunity for professional and financial growth. He had acquired all the right things an adult is supposed to have and was living what many would consider a conventionally successful life. Yet this brought with it no happiness. There was still no joy. After being diagnosed as Bipolar, that life began to unravel. After a long period of recovery, it finally came time to rebuild his life. Instead, he decided to not rebuild it at all, but rather build something entirely new. He decided perhaps he should indulge in a childish pursuit. Since he still did not have Bruce Wayne money, Batman was still off the table. He instead started building a portfolio, mostly of Alternative Movie Posters. After about a year, things started to fall into place, and he started to get work as a professional illustrator, making posters and key art. He has worked with clients with projects ranging from independent productions to major studio releases. While the future is uncertain and a little scary, John has finally found joy.
JOBLO: What got you started as an artist?
JOHN: When I was a kid, I loved drawing cartoon and comic book characters. Nothing was more exciting than finishing a picture and showing it to my folks. Also since I grew up in the 80s (ie I’m old), going to rent a video was always a treat. The aisles were lined with these beautifully illustrated posters and cardboard cut-outs. Movies like Back to the Future, Beetlejuice and Robocop. Also, my dad read a lot of nerdy books, so there were a lot of sci-fi and fantasy books around. I fell in love with the cover art of these books. There was the Conan series with covers by Frank Frazetta, John Berkey’s cover for Star Wars, and Vincent Di Fate’s Dune series covers. I would stare at those movie posters and book covers and just imagine those worlds and their stories. I wanted to make pictures that could do the same thing. While I moved away from art for a long time, I still did it as a hobby in my spare time. I would paint portraits of people’s kids or their pets (lots and lots of pets). When I found myself thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, I went back to art. When people started to take notice of my work and wanted to hire me, I started to allow myself to think “hey, maybe I don’t suck at this”.
Who were some of your favorite artists growing up?
There were a lot, from very different fields. First, there were the comic book artists, with all sorts of different styles, most of them nothing like mine. There was Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Tim Sale, and Alex Ross.
But on the movie poster side, I love the work of Drew Struzan and John Alvin…like so many others in the field. Although, I would have to say my heaviest influences come from Bob Peak, his son, Matthew Peak, also David Grove.
Another huge artistic inspiration for me was actually Bob Ross. I used to watch the Joy of Painting after school all the time. I didn’t start off as a painter, so a lot of what I do as far as color blending and brush strokes I learned from watching him. Also, because he’s the first real painter I ever watched, I always just assumed a painting should be finished in a single sitting. Because of that, I learned to paint my projects very fast. Usually in a single sitting or two.
Who do you really dig these days, follow on Instagram?
Wow, this has a sort of complex answer because the artists that mean the most to me really fall into two categories. There’s the artists that are where I would like to be, professionally. Their professional portfolios are filled with the type of work I wish I had, and they get invited to work on projects I wish I would be invited to.
Then there are artists, who are like me… trying to get to that point. Watching them work towards their goals and achieve their own successes really pushes me to try harder and be better.
For artists who are on similar journeys and inspire me, there’s: Samer Alkaabi, Foresaken Folklore, Bryan Johnson, Bryan Carey, TK Graphics, John Cordero, Kala Sweet, Krisztina Art, Olivia Brett, and Shannon Burton.
What advice would you have for budding artists today?
Don’t try to go it alone. Surround yourself with other people who “get it”. For me, it’s those other artists with similar goals. I actually created a community/group of a lot of these artists just so we can chat. Whether it’s just to talk shop, or get help with something you’re working on, it’s a really big help. Also, I tend to get trapped under the weight of my own doubts and negative thoughts. So the most beneficial aspect of a community is the help I receive that pulls me out of my own brain. Maybe something on social media doesn’t do as well as I hoped, or maybe I feel like I am not progressing professionally at the pace I think I should be, or maybe I just feel like I’m not that good. Every couple of months, I actually get to a moment where I feel like giving up and quitting. It’s not a very long moment but that’s still some Stinkin’ Thinkin. It really helps to have a way out of my own head, or just create an atmosphere where I’m less likely to even get to that point.
The truth is most people who could be said to be better than you, just have been doing more of it, for longer than you have. You wouldn’t feel bad if somebody was a couple of chapters ahead in a book you were reading, some people read faster, and some people started reading it before you did. You shouldn’t feel bad if you’re not where you want to be yet. The only comparisons to an artist you should ever really make is to the artist you were to the one you are now, and to the one you would like to be.
Just keep making stuff. Make some good stuff. Make some bad stuff. And eventually, it would lead to making some better stuff.
What should we be looking out for from you in the future?
Projects I worked on in 2022 should be looking at a release this year, and I am excited to finally be able to share that work. I have several other things I am working on that I hope will be shared this year as well. For my own personal goals, I am hoping to get more licensed IP work and would love it if I could work with a gallery (or two) this year.
Being a fansite, we have to ask you… What are some of your favorite movies/TV shows of all time?
If you haven’t guessed yet, I am a big Batman fan, so I love pretty much every adaptation of Batman, but also most comic book stuff too. I’m a big John Carpenter fan, so Big Trouble in Little China, Escape from New York and the Thing are some of my favorites. I still laugh out loud at Young Frankenstein, Blazing Saddles, and Silent Movie. I enjoyed everything Edgar Wright has done and watched all of his movies multiple times. I love Sci-fi and horror films in general. I love old films, so some of the posters I make are definitely for a very siloed demographic.
For TV shows, I am a big murder mystery fan, especially Sherlock Holmes, so I love both Granada’s Sherlock Holmes series with Jeremy Brett, and Sherlock with Benedict Cumberbatch.I also really enjoyed the last two seasons of Only Murders in the Building. I love the original Cosmos with Carl Sagan and I could probably watch Futurama in its entirety every year for the rest of my life.
Scroll down to check out some of our favorite art pieces from John as we continue to follow his journey across his Website and social media hubs: Instagram / Twitter / @johndunn on Hive / Alternativemovieposters.com / PosterSpy / Store
Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness
Evil Dead II
The Last of Us
Lawrence of Arabia
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Princess Bride
Rumble In The Bronx
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/awesome-artists-weve-found-around-a-net-john-dunn/