Wayne Barlowe Retrospective Exhibition and Interview

By Last Updated: November 7, 2022Views: 682

In collaboration with ArtPage Publishing, Gallery Nucleus presents a retrospective exhibition of choose work and drawings by world-renowned science fiction and fantasy artist/writer Wayne Barlowe.

We’ve beforehand lined a few of Barlowe’s visionary idea artwork right here, and we’re happy to share the information of this retrospective and an unique interview.

November 19, 2022 – December 3, 2022
Opening Reception / Nov 19, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM


  • Nov 19, 5pm – 8pm
  • Free admission / No RSVP wanted
  • Unique prints to be launched


  • On show Nov 19 – Dec 3 (closed Mondays)
  • Free admission / No RSVP wanted
  • Varied reproductions from a few of Wayne’s notable e-book initiatives and movie work can be on show
  • A curated number of authentic drawings and work can be on show and accessible for buy


Wayne Barlowe is an American science fiction and fantasy author, painter, and idea artist. Barlowe’s work focuses on esoteric landscapes and creatures, equivalent to residents of hell and alien worlds. He has painted over 300 e-book and journal covers and illustrations for a lot of main e-book publishers, in addition to Life journal, Time journal, and Newsweek. His 1979 e-book Barlowe’s Information to Extraterrestrials was nominated in 1980 for the Hugo Award for Greatest Associated Non-Fiction E-book, the primary 12 months that award class was awarded. It additionally gained the 1980 Locus Award for Greatest Artwork or Illustrated E-book. His 1991 speculative evolution e-book Expedition was nominated for the 1991 Chesley Award for Inventive Achievement.


Barlowe has labored as an idea artist for motion pictures equivalent to Galaxy Quest (1999), Avatar (2009), and Harry Potter 3 and 4, amongst others. He’s recognized to have labored intently with Guillermo Del Toro, serving as a creature designer for the Hellboy movie sequence and Pacific Rim (2013). His work on Hellboy (2004) awarding him a nomination for the 2005 Chesley Award for Product Illustration. Barlowe was the Preliminary Creature Designer for Avatar (2009) and labored on The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Energy (2022) Barlowe was the creator and govt producer of Alien Planet, a documentary adaptation of Expedition produced by Discovery Channel in 2005. He has written two fantasy novels: God’s Demon (Tor Books, 2007) and its sequel The Coronary heart of Hell (2019).

See extra artwork and data right here: waynebarlowe.com

Wayne Barlowe Interview

SurrealismToday: What work are you most happy with? And why?
Wayne Barlowe: I suppose the very best reply to that query can be my Hell sequence. Whereas I began out primarily as a science fiction artist specializing to a point in alien life types, my work in Hell has challenged me in methods I might have by no means envisioned. EXPEDITION was my first foray into writing. It was foundational for me however was closely augmented with a variety of art work. With Hell, I took it as much as the following stage, writing precise novels that didn’t rely upon art work. Certain, the art work was created earlier than the books and established a lot of what I’d write, however the narratives are the place I believe I’ve challenged myself essentially the most. And they’re most likely what I’m most happy with. It was world-building on an epic scale. Your complete world of the fallen demons needed to be created. And, it was a world that pre-existed earlier than their Fall. That meant that a whole ecosystem needed to be thought of and represented each in phrases and artwork. Tying all of this along with consistency was and nonetheless is a good problem. 

Hell’s First Born

ST: What are you most impressed by right this moment?
Wayne Barlowe: I’m steeped prior to now. I’m nonetheless mesmerized by late nineteenth century and its fin de siecle artwork. Orientalist and Symbolist painters, particularly. The Orientalists introduced rendering abilities to an nearly unattainable apex. I’m undecided anybody can do what they did with paintbrushes anymore. A minimum of not with the identical authenticity. And, from a distinct perspective, the Symbolist motion, with its enigmatic imagery and superbly refined palettes additionally gives me with severe inspiration. To be trustworthy, nothing being produced right this moment pushes buttons in me as do these two colleges of artwork. I can nonetheless have a look at a Ludwig Deutsch piece or a Khnopff or Hiremy-Hirschl with as a lot pleasure as I did once I first found them.

Mount Grigori and the Monastery of Azazel

ST: What’s one factor they tried to show you in class that you just knew instantly was fallacious?
Barlowe: I had a reasonably unlucky school expertise. Cooper Union within the late ‘70’s was not a secure harbor for wanna-be illustrators. To be truthful, it was my very own fault – I ought to have utilized to a couple extra professionally oriented colleges. For instance, I had two drawing instructors. One requested his college students to right away draw like Matisse and the opposite requested her college students to attract like her. Neither of those decisions appeared proper to me from the beginning, and I expressed my emotions to one of many instructors. I don’t suppose he was too happy with my voiced revolt. Add to that, no instructing of the basics like composition and shade idea, and I knew I used to be not getting what I wished out of my training. Shortly thereafter I made a decision to go away. I briefly toyed with transferring to a different, extra conducive college. However I used to be getting work and noticed no level in persevering with in class.

Pacific Rim – Knifehead (2011)

ST: What’s the finest piece of recommendation you’ve ever obtained?
WB: Draw on daily basis. This, from my first teacher, Gustav Rehberger, on the Artwork College students League in NYC. By no means higher recommendation.

ST: What’s your dream venture?
WB: I’ve written a few screenplays that I’m extraordinarily invested in. One is sort of near changing into a actuality. This one is a conventional SF movie. The opposite, additionally SF, is non-traditional. To see both or each come to fruition can be the achievement of my private desires.

ST: What’s presently in your playlist? Do you take heed to music when working?
Wayne Barlowe: I do take heed to music once I paint and write. I grew up listening to nothing however classical music so I’ve a variety of that on my laptop. Portray permits me to take heed to wilder stuff. 9 Inch Nails is my favourite group so a ton of that goes down. I’m additionally a giant soundtrack listener – I’ve most likely acquired a few hundred on my flashdrive. Hans Zimmer – the person is sensible. Nearly something by him is inspiring. After I write I want extra atmospheric, considerably quieter music. Lustmord, Jeff Greinke, A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Max Richter. I like an actual number of genres. If I hear it and prefer it, I don’t care the place it’s from. Anyway, presently, it’s AWVFTS’s INVISIBLE CITIES, Zimmer’s varied DUNE OSTs that are sensible, Max Richter’s TABOO OST. Oh, and a few BOARDS OF CANADA.


ST: For those who might go to any artist’s studio, whose would you go to and why?
WB: Other than going again in time and visiting my mum or dad’s studio, you imply? I’m guessing you imply residing. I don’t have an excellent reply for this one. I labored, briefly, alongside John Howe and Alan Lee in NZ. Each actually good individuals and great artists. Is perhaps actually enjoyable to see their studios.

ST: What concepts are you presently pondering or questioning?
WB: I’ve acquired a number of back-burner initiatives that I’m tinkering with. I’m not very concerned about depicting Heaven – the Above as I named it in GOD’S DEMON – however I just lately did a portray of an angel that opened a number of attention-grabbing design doorways. That stated, I simply don’t envision Heaven as being anyplace as attention-grabbing because the world I created in Hell.
I’ve additionally, comparatively just lately, created a brand new alien world in the identical vein as Darwin IV from EXPEDITION. This new world, Gessner II, is inhabited solely by advanced vegetation a few of that are clever. Creating creatures inside this parameter is intriguing so I could pursue that one. Type of an EXPEDITION II venture.
As for questioning – nothing roughly than my place within the Universe.


ST: You’ve stated beforehand: “Ensure you know the way to attract as a result of to me drawing is the start of every little thing all methods spring from that.” What can be your recommendation for younger artists impressed by narrative and figurative work who is likely to be in academic environments pushing different varieties of work?
Wayne Barlowe: I’ve executed a variety of visitor lectures in varied colleges. I at all times encourage college students to create a back-burner venture – one thing private that they’re passionate sufficient about to maintain engaged on in off hours. Perhaps write a number of traces that may change into a catalyst for some narrative venture that may be illustrated. Storytelling and world-building are the 2 parts that may develop a venture into one thing of worth afterward. After I was in school, I invented an alien character named Thype. He was meant to be an itinerant, ronin-like god-killer on a journey of self-discovery. I did a sequence of drawings and work of him and his world that to this present day, many many years later, nonetheless pique my curiosity. Excessive fantasy in one other world. I really suppose Thype can be an ideal online game. I haven’t executed something with him in years, however I don’t rule out ultimately figuring him out. Or doing the occasional portray associated to him. Nevertheless it’s that form of venture that may blossom into one thing unpredictable. And, that form of venture is what I want for college kids.

Thype Revisited (2009)

ST: In a earlier interview when requested about recommendation for would-be writers you instructed extra originality was wanted within the discipline: “I might say, please, please, be authentic. Sufficient with the Tolkien fantasies, sufficient with the Alien rip-offs, sufficient with the well-worn tropes of issues that we now have seen executed 1,000,000 instances. And I might say this to screenwriters and sport writers as nicely. We’re sinking underneath the collective weight of commercially conservative concepts that lack any originality or creativity. Assume outdoors the field with the value tag on it.
What elements of your artistic course of do you attribute to serving to you create authentic work all through your profession? Do you’ve any particular methods to spice issues up if you end up leaning an excessive amount of on a system? (Some artists have been massive followers of introducing randomness of their work.) What have you ever executed to get out of previous artistic ruts?

a person sitting in front of a building
E-book Cowl for Bloodchild

Barlowe: I hate the notion that something I’d do falls onto a well-trodden path. As a child I used to dislike it when somebody would ask me if I copied one thing or traced it. It rubbed me fallacious. I strive very exhausting to not fall right into a formulaic, self-derivative method to my work. Therein lies stagnation. Although I’ve a number of worlds that I populate with art work, I attempt to not repeat myself both with material or method. It’s my means of making an attempt to maintain the imagery contemporary and maintain a viewer engaged. That is one cause I’m not totally certain I match comfortably into the gallery world. I’ve buddies who’re there and I get the impression that what they’re doing is creating “the identical however totally different” art work as a result of shoppers and potential prospects need that. I wouldn’t get pleasure from cranking out the identical picture with refined variations merely to maintain product flowing. Perhaps a bit short-sighted on my half however I do know myself nicely sufficient to know what would in a short time change into boring.

ST: What informs your work that almost all followers would possibly discover shocking?
Barlowe: I’m undecided this may actually shock anybody, however I’m an enormous historical historical past buff. And I really like paleontology. Each of those parts discover their means into my work in, generally, lower than apparent methods.

SurrealismToday: I perceive that Del Toro does a variety of the creature idea by hand, based mostly on desires that he has had. How does the idea work you do translate into the design course of? Does it movement from wireframe to 3D mannequin, and many others?
Wayne Barlowe: I’m a really pragmatic individual, regardless of working in imaginative realism. So, once I don the hat of an idea artist I change into slavishly concerned about fulfilling a director’s imaginative and prescient. I’m significantly concerned about hitting the marks with no matter language a director makes use of in describing what he/she/they need. This comes from my background as an illustrator. At any time when I used to be handed a manuscript I might at all times learn it totally and take notes. I didn’t need to be caught doing a canopy that was in any means inaccurate.
So, the identical applies to idea artwork. I see myself as a form of pathfinder on the subject of designing creatures or characters. I don’t go into the method anticipating no matter I’ve executed to be totally actually dropped at the display. If that occurs – if one thing I’ve designed makes it by means of the numerous palms it passes by means of on its strategy to the display, and it makes it with out too many adjustments then, after all, I’m thrilled. However I don’t have that expectation. What I do is a cautious drawing based mostly on cautious pondering. This then goes on to 3D artists with the enter of a director or artwork director. Movie work is at all times a group effort. You can’t lose sight of this, or else you gained’t be pleased working in that milieu.

Elytracephalid, Newsweek editorial illustration

ST: What’s one factor you imagine that most individuals don’t?
Barlowe: I’m solely simply changing into conscious of the block universe idea – that, in a number of phrases, the previous, current, and future all exist concurrently. I’ve at all times believed this in my intestine however by no means knew till just lately that it was an precise idea. I’m guessing this isn’t a broadly held perception.

ST: What have you ever been most fortunately stunned by in your profession?
Barlowe: I’d must say the reception I acquired from readers relating to my entry in authorship. EXPEDITION was my first foray into writing however as a result of that e-book was so closely depending on art work the challenges weren’t the identical as these present in writing a novel. Whereas I had a backlog of art work to assist GOD’S DEMON, none of these photos have been going to be revealed throughout the e-book. WHich meant, after all, that I needed to describe every little thing that I’d both painted or drawn. In addition to a lot extra. I like descriptive writing so this wasn’t a chore for me. However the truth that so many readers discovered the world so convincingly described was a thrill for me. Hell isn’t a pleasing place however, as a result of I spent a variety of time describing it, I sense that a variety of readers wish to return. Which has inspired me to aim to complete up what I began with a 3rd and ultimate e-book – LUCIFER’S SOUL.

ST: What was a tough artwork or profession problem that you just confronted and the way did you overcome it?
Barlowe: Transitioning from pure illustrator to writer – a title I nonetheless have hassle articulating. To me authors spend their total lives studying and implementing their craft. I didn’t go to workshops or college to be taught to jot down. So taking that leap so a few years in the past was scary and bold. I had had a bellyful of the paperback cowl world and actually wanted to search out one other strategy to categorical myself. So, in the future I conceived of EXPEDITION in an effort to tug myself away from that different world. I did a single portray and a two-page define of what I assumed a naturalist’s experiences on an alien world is likely to be like. I walked into the writer’s workplace, pitched it, and offered it. By right this moment’s requirements – a miracle. It was a leap of religion. Placing apart rent-paying work to finish what would take me shut to 2 years to complete. A variety of uncertainty and exhausting work adopted. Nevertheless it was simply the appropriate determination on the proper time. No regrets!


ST: Any phrases of recommendation for younger artists and illustrators?
Barlowe: Properly, I’m going to repeat myself a bit right here. Be authentic in each means you possibly can. In case your work resembles another person’s, retool it to be yours. Your individual fashion will evolve over time so co-opting another person’s doesn’t do you credit score. Work to your robust factors however increase them. Be influenced by your artwork heroes however don’t copy them verbatim. Good your craft by being relentlessly self-critical. The eraser and the undo button are your mates.
And, secondarily, discover a ardour venture that excites you. Add to it with artwork and phrases. Make it your pet, back-burner venture that in the future would possibly blossom into one thing larger. Construct on every bit with consistency and a little bit of what got here earlier than. Each Hell piece I’ve ever executed has the seed of the following piece in it. And each portray or drawing I did knowledgeable my writing. One hand inevitably washed the opposite. For me, a portray or drawing might act as a catalyst for my writing and vice versa.
With all of that in thoughts, go forth, be passionate and Create!

ST: What imaginary place would you most love to go to?
Barlowe: Perhaps E. R. Eddison’s Mercury. THE WORM OUROBOROS is my favourite excessive fantasy novel. I’d like to see that world. 

SurrealismToday: What are you most trying ahead to now?
Wayne Barlowe: Ending my third novel, LUCIFER’S SOUL. It’s taking perpetually and may be very heavy lifting. It’s extra formidable in its scope than the earlier two novels. And I can’t wait to get all of it out on paper!

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