I came to discover Canadian artist Byron Rempel through American artist Suzy Roach (whom our last article was about) when I found that he was doing commissions of zombifying pets. I jumped at the opportunity and sent him pictures of my dogs Arya and Drake. The work I had seen from him was amazing. The work that came back blew me away. Every aspect of his pieces are stunning. The bright vibrant colours and the distressed lines are fantastic! And his depiction of the subject's eyes, well... I lose myself in the eyes whenever I look at them. He made my dogs proud, and me, a life long fan!
1. Where are you from?
I'm living in the wrong part of the world. I live in Manitoba Canada, a small little bible bopping town 15 minutes north of the USA - CANADA border where most stores are closed on sundays and the local art gallery has a thing for farm animals and wheat fields.
2. What got you interested in art?
It's the standard story. Always liked art, been at it since I was very young. Took a 9 year sabbatical from art when I met a girl, got married, had kids etc.
Started getting back into drawing to pass the time while working as a telemarketer. I kept my sanity by convincing myself the job was paying me to sketch, and I sketched a hell of a lot. Then one day I started a blog drawing zombies and the rest just followed.
3. Where do you find inspiration for your art?
This is a loaded question ... I draw and paint without thinking much about it. I like destroying people and I like shocking people. Very seldom do I think about what I'm going to draw when I start a new page ... I just put pen to paper and then 'giver'
I like cats, I've always had cats, so I like to draw them and then decompose them.
I also use my art to deal with people in general.
There are jerks everywhere and since I can't legally vent my frustration on all the asshats and shitty drivers out there, I do it on paper.
4. What's the deal with zombies? Why are they so "in" right now?
I hear mixed reviews on zombies. Some say they are done, some say they'll never be finished, some say they're the ultimate villain because they can be anyone. I don't really care what other people think though, I like 'em and I'll draw them until I don't feel like drawing them anymore.
5. What medium do you like to work with? And what medium would you love to try?
I used to be ink and watercolor all the time but lately I've been mixing it up with acrylics as well. And gel pens. I like gel pens.
I'm starting to play with oil paint a little ... it offers up some deep colors and one of these days I'll try an airbrush.
I want to try everything ... from sculpting to chainsaw carving. I just don't have enough money to play with yet.
6. If you weren't an artist what would you do?
I'd still be at that telemarketing job trying to sell you a credit card or change your long distance provider. If I gave up art to do something else it would be writing ... maybe. Create worlds with words.
7. What series are you working on now? I know you did a pet portrait zombie series that was amazing.
I really like pet portraits and I have done a lot of pet portraits for people who have lost their pets and they really like the non zombie style that I do, so most likely that will be on going. Both zombie pets and non zombie pets. I'm collecting all my cat drawings to put into a book, which is more difficult to do than I thought.
The 1000 zombie portrait series is also on going ... it will never end. 1000 is such a large number when you're creating each one by your self.
I'm working on some line art drawings to make coloring books, and I'm also doing a lot of images for the website www.twosentencehorrors.com , which also has a book out. But none of it is really planned. So when the next series starts I probably won't think of it as a series, it will just be something I start and then enjoy enough to do a lot more.
8. What age do you feel right now?
Right now I feel all mature and adult llike ... answering all these questions.
I don't think of myself as old as I am ... probably late 20's
9. What's your routine when you are creating?
pen (or paintbrush) to paper and GO! let's see what happens
10. With the Internet it has allowed artists all over the world to get exposure pretty easily. Do you think Galleries are going to be a thing of the past?
I would like to get in to galleries. It's easy to get exposure but that exposure is also often unplanned and even unknown. How much art do you see shared with no mention of the artist? Someone on facebook or google+ shares a really amazing cthulhu painting and we all LIKE it ... and then move on. Often no one goes to see what other work that artist has done because the internet moves to fast.
And the artist often has no idea who likes their work, or who wants to buy their work ... just a bunch of likes or +1's and very few comments.
To top it off, the internet is HUGE ... where do you start trying to get exposure? Do you spread yourself everywhere and hope that if you put your artwork on as many networks as possible you will be seen more? That doesn't leave much time to make art ... it's a real struggle sometimes.
So ... to answer your original question, I think smaller more niche market galleries will become more dominant, collecting similarly themed amazing art from all around the world and amassing it in one place for people that actually want to see and buy artwork.
I do think conventions are also gaining in popularity, and it's a fantastic way for the artist to meet their fans, and vice versa.
It's easier to sell something when the fan can actually buy and instantly own something they like, instead of buying and waiting for it to arrive in the mail.
11. Any advice for new artists?
I'm shit for giving advice ... but here it goes.
It's okay to hate your art and get frustrated that you don't draw as well as someone else. Just don't stop trying. Everyone gets better with time and practice.
12. Oreos or Fudgee-Os?
As good as those taste, if the ingredient list reads like a novel I try to avoid it.
My wife bakes homemade cookies often ... fresh from the oven is amazing.
If I was 13 again though, Fudgee-Os all the way
Once again I’d like to encourage you to connect with Byron by following him on Facebook or Instagram, and Google+. You can also find his work at thedailyzombie.blogspot.com. I highly recommend that you get a commission from him. Who doesn’t like having zombie images of their pets in their home? I know I do.