Interview with Barry E. Jackson
What is the secret to good concept art?
Like all things in art, simplicity is most important. I always strive for a concept piece to be iconic as well. Different mediums define "concept" in different ways. Editorial art will accept more ambiguity and will allow the viewer more time to examine the art. In the entertainment industry a concept must read immediately. In either case, the worst thing you can do is overload the viewer with too much information. Never set up a diatribe.
Can you tell us about the process of creating the book Danny Diamondback?
This children's book began with me giving up late night distractions (like talk shows) and dedicating myself, two hours a night, to my own project. No art directors. No editors. Just me, developing a story to tell. I wanted to say what I wanted to say. I began by writing what turned out to be a short novel, a fantasy with talking animals with the power of music an underlying theme. Within this this short novel I had a rattlesnake character who wanted to join an all animal band as a percussionist. This was an idea I liked, and I began to develop this character. I began drawing a dummy of the book and would consult with my agent at the Gotham Group, about the content of what I was doing. I learned to tell the story in less than 1500 words and no more than 38 pages. Lots of things had to go. But the concept, the story of a misunderstood rattlesnake, the pariah of the desert, with a musical calling, survived. I consider this book my greatest achievement, so far. There is a good possibility it may become a feature length film.
In what medium would you like to work in the future?
When I leave the entertainment industry I would like to paint the human figure in oil. This does not mean posing model, lighting scenario, with a desire to be John Singer Sargeant. I would paint more like the artists I desire most, Picasso, Francis Bacon, Lucien Freud, and Soutine.
What are the best aspects of being an artist?
An artist has to challenge oneself every day. An artist can tell when when he or she has had a break through. An artist, after decades can look back over a body of work and see a history of one's imagination. An artist has instant kinship with other like minded artists. Your growth is up to you. No one else is responsible for your success or failure. You get to be you.
If you could be a character from any fiction who would you be and why.?
I have never thought about this. I suppose a super hero would be fun. I like Mr. Incredible. He wants to make the world better.