Today, in the world of graphic designers, in this era of Photoshop and other designing software, designing is only reaching new exclusive and exceptional levels. Abstraction and symmetry are taking over our minds. In all of this art madness we have Bryan Shepard, hailing from Bellingham, Washington. Art was part of him since he was a child. Having a pencil in his hand made him happy and brought up his love for art. Soon, when he learned Photoshop, he realized the artist connect between music and design was what he was meant to develop. Bryan has the ability to design the reality of work in his subconscious mind. That is what makes him the passionate designer that he really is. Not to forget he also mentions he is a slap-bass connoisseur whose work will totally make your mind explode.
Here is an interview we had with Bryan about art and music, two things all of us here really love.
1. For those of us who are unaware of Bryan Shepard and his work, can you give a brief idea of your art and music career?
I design artwork under the alias Raining Brains, where I create artwork for bands all around the world, mostly in the USA. I also play guitar for the band, Portals Align, we are a progressive metal band with groove/djent elements.
2. You are also a guitarist, so what came first, music or art?
Art came first, I’ve drawn since I was a child.
3. Does music inspire your artwork? What is the main source of your inspiration in terms of you designing?
I am definitely inspired by music, I am always listening to something while I design. It helps my creative process immensely. Most of my inspiration for my design work comes from my dreams. I am a lucid dreamer and can create realities at will within my unconscious state.
4. What is your working process? How do you come up with your designs?
I don’t really have a set process that I do every time. Sometimes I will have a clear vision of what the design will become, while other times the process will be purely experimental and will change and evolve constantly until it reaches its final state. I like to use geometry, the human form, abstraction, surrealism, space, symbolism and juxtaposition.
5. I noticed many geometric shapes and a lot of color in your work; would you say that is your style of work? What things do you always look to include when you create an artwork?
Yes, I love using geometric shapes! Color is also very attractive to me. I feel there is a deep connection between humans and geometry. I usually like to incorporate some essence of organic geometry but not all pieces have the same artistic scope.
6. Of all the work you have done so far, which one is your favorite?
It’s hard to choose, I have a connection to all of them. I really like the Astraeus “Mirrors” EP cover, Mutiny In March’s “Behold A New Dawn”, some of my abstract pieces like “Polygon Jungle”.
7. What is your favorite Album cover design? Who are your favorite graphic designers?
Another hard question, but any cover by Serafin blows my mind. He is definitely one of my favorite digital artists at this time. I also like Daniel McBride (Sumerian) and Daniel Wagner (DDub, Mediaskare).
8. You work on your band, ‘Portals Align’s’ artwork as well, what do you think makes a perfect band logo or artwork? How do you conceptualize it and when do you stop working on it, knowing it is hundred percent complete?
I feel perfection on a logo or artwork is defined by its connection with the musician. Design-wise, logos are best when they are memorable and clear. It’s a difficult thing to label a piece as “complete”. Ultimately the process could go on endlessly, but there is always a moment when I know it’s finished.
9. How did you realize you want to be a designer? What is the story behind the formation of ‘Raining Brains’?
As soon as I started working with PhotoShop I wanted to create album artwork for bands. I felt that this artistic connection between design and music was what I was meant to do. It is what I do in my spare time afterall!
The name Raining Brains came to me in a dream, I woke up one morning and had written down on a piece of paper. I started liking it a lot, so I kept using it. It’s suppose to symbolize the spreading evolution of consciousness and the developing mind. Not to mention my work will make your head explode! 🙂
10. Bands take up most of your work. Did you intend on turning to an album art, music graphic designer?
I initially planned on doing design work for bands only, and that is exactly what happened!
11. You have worked with quite a few bands, some from different countries, how does it feel to interact with people from different places?
It’s a really awesome feeling to work with musicians from all around the world. To spread my artwork with the world is incredible and the fact that it’s possible with social networking is amazing.
12. Do you think Album Covers and Packaging is important for a band when they release their work? Do you believe that in this modern era of growing technology there is a lot bands and artists can do compared to 10 years ago?
Releasing physical copies of an album is definitely another way a fan can connect with the musician. Digital downloads are definitely taking precedent in some way but there will always be demand for having tangible versions.
13. What mediums do you use to do your work? Do you intend on exploring newer things in terms of software or design?
The programs that I use are Photoshop, Illustrator, AfterEffects, Cinema 4D, and Apophysis. They all have unique capabilities and when used together can bring a lot of dynamism to a piece. I also take a lot of my own photography and this is something I want to explore more as well. I will also be working on digital painting in the future with a tablet, this will really enhance my style.
14. Does the process of developing work for a different person result in opinion clashes? How do you deal with these clashes?
Every now and then there is a miscommunication or a differing of opinions. Usually they are resolved by refocusing on the project and further understanding the vision of the client. This doesn’t happen too often, thankfully!
15. What do we expect from ‘Portals Align’ and ‘Raining Brains’ in the near future?
Portals Align is working on a monumental full-length album. It will be quite intense! I have a lot of work coming out with Raining Brains, too. I have about 5 new artworks and a few logos in the queue at the moment!
16. What is your biggest goal in life in terms of music and art?
My goals are to stay hungry to evolve and develop my skills. Eventually I want to create visual interactive experiences with my music. Portals Align live shows will have a strong visual component.
17. How would you describe Bryan in a sentence?
The pixel architect and slap-bass connoisseur from the Pacific Northwest!
18. What does the world look like to you through an artist’s eye?
Artistically I see a lot of geometry, in nature and urban areas. I get a lot of inspiration from nature, and usually can envision a nature-oriented piece while looking at a particular spectrum of nature that I find fascinating.
So, that was from our Pixel Architect, you know where to find him. However if you don’t he’s available on Facebook here: Bryan Shepard
Log onto Facebook and give his page Raining Brains a follow.
You can check his out of this world work out here: http://www.designofbryan.com/
Keep yourself updated. We’re sure the never ending process of blowing your mind, is still on! Don’t want to miss that experience!
– Wild Child