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Gary Frier is a painter and sculptor who lives near Capetown in South Africa. You can see his work, both present and past, on InstagramSaatchi Art, and African Art Agenda.

 Gary provided the illustration for the November 18th story “Seed Vault,” by Marika Bailey.


“Skrik Wakker” © by Gary Frier

Have you always liked to draw? How was your journey with art?

Although I enjoyed drawing, I think it’s been a need to express ideas and interpreting my perceptions and experiences.

My journey with art has been a meandering one. Growing up, my family recognized my talent and enrolled me in an after-school programme and later I was encouraged to study graphic design for a “stable career.” Coming from an artless secondary education to a dubious tertiary institution was not conducive to a good start and I found myself not really fitting into either the fine art fraternity or the corporate industry. Over the years I’ve been doing various creative jobs and I now consider myself a "jack of all trades."

 

What are your artistic influences? Are there any artists you look up to?

My early influences were comics and graphic novels, particularly 2000AD and Vertigo titles. Dave McKean is a name that stands out from this large variety. My first art teacher, Garth Erasmus, became a mentor and a lifelong friend.

A few local contemporary artists I admire for their craft and aesthetics are Sophie Peters, Donovan Ward, and Vincent Sammy. However, these artists are just a few of a much bigger and ever-growing group.

 

You seem to do a lot of portraits. What do you like most about capturing the human face?

I suppose the personality of the individual would be the most important, and to that end I returned in earnest to portraiture influenced by the ideas and research of Michael Egnor (Neurosurgeon) and Rupert Sheldrake (biologist), particularly where they pertain to the materialism and dualism of consciousnesses.

 

How would you define your aesthetics?

Complicated at any given time.

 

“Hippo” © by Gary Frier

What is the process behind your work? Do you sketch a lot?

The type of work or goal really dictates the process for me. In the case of the illustration for Strange Horizons I sketched out the elements I would use from the story, scanned them in, and then manipulated them digitally until I found a few satisfactory versions. I then proceeded to illustrate the approved version using some relevant references I collected. The process does not necessarily flow in that sequence. In the past I just used to sketch and still use some of those ideas from time to time from past material; however, over recent years I've been collecting various references for various themes I want to explore and use these as seeds for artworks.

 

Besides illustrations, you also create sculptures. How is the experience of showcasing your vision through different kinds of media?

I find the use and access of various media very liberating in being able to express my craft.

 

What kind of material do you usually use on your paintings?

Most recently I used traditional oils on canvas, but for the Seed Vault illustration I used watercolour paint, watercolour pencil crayons and acrylics and digital manipulation.

 

What would be your dream art project?

The next successful project is the dream project. Usually halfway into the production process, depending on the nature of the work, when it's all gelling together is the moment of euphoria.

 

“Comb” © by Gary Frier



Dante Luiz is an illustrator, art director for Strange Horizons, and occasional writer from southern Brazil. He is the interior artist for Crema (comiXology/Dark Horse), and his work with comics has also appeared in anthologies, like Wayward Kindred, Mañana, and Shout Out, among others. Find him on Twitter or his website.
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