I’m Chris Barnes, a digital horror artist, based in Liverpool, UK. Owned by a dog. Married (not to the dog). Avid Martial Artist (as is my wife, so I really should insure my sketching hand in case she puts me out of work… she gets aggressive when I don’t do housework).
FoF: What do you do? And why do you like it?
Mainly, I create film poster artwork for horror films.
I started poster designing approximately 2 years ago out of desperation, after finishing my first short film (Burn
) and realizing we didn’t have the money to hire a poster artist! We had some GREAT concept art from my friend Chantal Handley
, but needed something different when the credits, logos, etc, were to be added, so I blundered my way through a poster! From there I realized I absolutely loved doing it, so started to tentatively advertise my (then pretty limited!) services. I’ve since been lucky enough to work on a number of independent projects, and now also design for a few international film distributors and VERY recently started for a reputable apparel company… but I’m not to talk about that just yet!
FoF: Explain a little bit of your process? Where do you find your inspiration?
A lot of my work is created by photo manipulation — compositing, re-sketching, re-colouring, etc. When I initially started out, I used free design software called Paint.Net — which is great if you’re a beginner. Once I realized I loved what I was doing, I made the jump to Photoshop (less than a
My inspiration usually comes from those off-kilter, garish, colourful 80s horror posters. I’m an 80s kid, so I grew up staring at those in wonder. Once I’d started poster designing myself I realized there were current artists who could create that look, present day, which blew my mind! The likes of Marc Schoenbach (who has since become a friend, providing me with some great support and advice) is making this shit NOW! Obviously, I have to tailor my work to fit around the particular project I’m working on, but that’s my style of choice.
FoF: What drew you to horror in the first place?
As mentioned, I was born in the 80s, so horror was thriving. I also had older family members who loved horror and would attempt to destroy my fragile mind at any given opportunity. Local video shops also didn’t give a shit about age either, they would let me rent anything, so the gloves were off as soon as I started getting pocket money.
FoF: What is your favorite horror work?
From a horror artist’s point of view, Marc Schoenbach continues to create unbelievable work. Even though I know some things about his process, his
end results still floor me. Also, Justin Osbourn, Devon Whitehead, Kyle Lambert, PsychoSlaughterman, Sam Hain, Graham Humphreys, are huge inspirations.
Horror inspirations in general: I’d be here all day listing my favourite stuff, but special shoutouts would go to Clive Barker, Fright Night, American Werewolf in London, Raimi, Friedkin, Stephen King, and the Yuzna/Gordon combo!
FoF: What has been your favorite thing you have gotten to work on doing this?
I’ve worked on a ton of cool stuff, so singling particular projects out would be tough, but when I’m forced out of my comfort zone and into trying new techniques, that’s ultimately invaluable. There are many occasions when I’ve been halfway through a design and thought “Shit, this isn’t working,” which then forces me to research and try something new. When those designs are finished and look good, it’s pretty inspiring.
FoF: What role do you think your specific style of art/work plays in the community overall?
As mentioned, it was tough looking for good, affordable film artwork after we finished Burn, so when I realized designing was something I loved and was prepared to work hard to become decent at, I wanted to try and help other low-budget filmmakers out by staying affordable. It’s a balancing act but I’m honest — if I can help, I will.
FoF: Anything you are working on that you want to highlight?
I’m working on a nice project for “The Company Who Shall Not Be Named” at this very moment, haha! I’m psyched about it, being a massive fan of theirs and a huge dork for their products. Hopefully I can say more about that very soon, I just don’t wanna jinx it right now. 😛