Have you ever been to a Comic Con where an artist’s work just blew your mind?
3 years ago I met Brian C. Roll, of Odyssey Art. Not only is he a talented, featured artist, he is also my dear friend. Brian’s work can be seen all around the world, whether it be in someone’s house, on a wine label, or at cons around the country.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Brian and learning about his art, inspiration, and his creative process.
How old were you when you drew your first piece? What was it? Why did you draw it?
I’m not sure exactly how old I was but it was very early on. My parents owned their own business and they would often bring me to work with them. I would just sit in the back office with a drawing pad and box of crayons, drawing all day.
The subject matter I focused on is pretty much the same as I do now: movies, television shows, cartoons and comics. There was just something about superheroes and other fantastical characters that totally captured my imagination.
Growing up, did you have a few artists that inspired you? Who inspires you now?
There have been tons of artists over the years that have inspired me and I’m constantly discovering more. The first time that I really took notice of the name of an artist and thought,
“Wow, I want to see everything that he does, was Marvel’s Jim Lee.”
I bought Marvel Comics’ X-Men #1 in the early ‘90s. I was in 7th or 8th grade when it came out and I started copying his style. Everything he did was so detailed and dynamic. I wanted to be able to draw just like him.
A lot of the artists that inspire me now, I’m lucky to call friends as well so I don’t want to leave someone off the list and make them mad! If I had to pick one though, I’d say it was Jason Palmer.
I love his work of course, but I also enjoy our conversations. He’s a master storyteller and it’s always a great experience talking to him about art, the art business, or the many encounters he’s had with the actors and actresses that he draws.
You draw a lot of television characters. Who is your favorite one to draw?
That’s really putting me on the spot! My favorites tend to change week-to-week depending on what happens in the latest episodes of the shows I watch. I do love amazing female characters and will always gravitate towards them.
I love to play with lighting and the perfect subject for that is Arrow. (The hood, the city, the atmosphere, the tone of the show.) They all create the opportunity for me to play with lighting and shadows. So it’s not just one character that’s my favorite, it’s a favorite mood.
Out of all the pieces you have drawn, which are your favorites? Why?
Two pieces come to mind immediately.
- The first is a piece I did for the New York Yankees magazine in 2004. Baseball has always been a huge part of my life and I grew up rooting for the Yankees, so when I got the call from them to paint a double-page spread in their magazine, it was a total thrill.
- The second piece is the first thing I ever painted for Arrow. In 2014, I did a piece called “This Is My City,” of the Hood standing over Starling City in the rain. It is my one piece that people are the most familiar with and it’s also the one that really helped put me on the map.
You have launched a new membership program called, “The Torchlight Society.” Can you describe a little about the membership?
I’ve been wanting to do something like this for awhile. I have a lot of really great, loyal fans and I wanted to give them something to reward and thank them.
- The Torchlight Society is built around quarterly shipments. When someone first signs up, they immediately get a welcome kit that includes an exclusive piece of art and their membership pass.
- Then, each quarter, they receive a shipment with 3 prints. One of the 3 prints is exclusive to the Society and will never be available anywhere else.
- Beyond the quarterly shipments, members get a discount on everything they buy from me and have access to things that non-members do not. We’re really excited about the possibilities of the program and where we can take it.
Do you like Brian’s work? Would you like to check out more? Check out www.odysseyart.net, or follow them on Facebook.
(Featured image courtesy of Odyssey Art)