Exclusive Artist Interview: Robert Bruno Brilliantly Balances His Obsession With Pop Culture With A Passion For Sports Illustration

BLURPPY EXCL TMWe recently finished our latest Poster Posse Project and it has been called our “most diverse offering to date.” (It can be viewed HERE and HERE.)  As is customary with each project, we take some time to interview the newest members of the group.  This time out we speak with Brooklyn artist, Robert BrunoAside from his pop culture offering Bruno also has an extensive collection of sports art as well. Here ya go, read along and let’s see if we can learn something about Brooklyn boy, Robert Bruno.

robert-bruno-rick-grimesRick Grimes – Robert Bruno

BLURPPY – How long have you been creating art in the pop culture scene? How did you get started?

RB – I’ve been drawn to film since I was a kid. While my friends were out collecting baseball cards and action figures, I was watching and collecting as many movies as I could. Throughout my childhood, while I was in school and now that I’m working in the field I’ve always been drawn to interesting characters in film and television.

BLURPPY – Soooooo…. what you are saying is that you have a massive VHS collection collecting  dust?  Is art your full time job? If not, what else do you do?

RB – I certainly consider myself first and foremost a freelance illustrator. I’ve been working in the freelance world since graduating Pratt Institute in 2012. However like most young illustrators, I need a supplemental job to pay the pays. For the past year I’ve been managing a court reporting agency in downtown Brooklyn. The company was actually kind enough to let me create my own sort of makeshift gallery space inside. I have about 8 pieces displayed throughout the office!

robert-bruno-49ers49ers Superbowl Montage – Robert Bruno

BLURPPY – Nice, a mini-gallery at work! Whose work do you admire or collect?

RB – I am obsessed with the old school film posters so naturally Drew Struzan is my hero. Though in addition to Drew I also love the work of Alex Ross, Grzegorz Domaradzki (AKA Gabz), Dennis Gonchar and fellow Poster Posse members Richard Davies and Paul Shipper.

BLURPPY – Hmmmm… Struzan….that name sounds familiar…. I”m going to have to look him up.  I was thinking about Alex Ross the other day.  I have yet to come across a piece of his work that I DON’T like.  Considering how much stuff he puts out, I’d say that’s impressive. What one print, by another artist, blows your mind?

RB – I could probably name anyone of Drew’s posters but one piece in particular is Gabz’ “Walking Dead” print. The masterful compositional skill paired with the incredible control of color and negative space just blew my mind.

twd001“The Walking Dead” by Gabz

BLURPPY – I’d say Gabz is a ‘master’ of negative space.  It always adds to the print, never takes away. With so much art being produced these days, how do you keep things fresh and interesting?

RB – I am always reading a new article on photoshop tips and techniques or watching a demo or new tutorial. As cliche as is sounds, in this industry you really do learn something new everyday. I feel that for myself as a digital artist, the better handle I have on the techniques and programs I use the more time I can focus on keeping my ideas ‘fresh’ and unique.

robert-bruno-sons-of-anarchy“Sons of Anarchy” – Robert Bruno

BLURPPY – I also know a special ‘secret’ resource for this as well, but like I said, that’s “SECRET” and you already use it.  Besides working on BLURPPY’s Poster Posse Projects, what is your dream project?

RB – In addition to pop culture based art, I’m a sports fanatic. I grew up playing baseball, football, and running track. While I wasn’t nearly good enough at any of the three to go far I settled for the next best thing in my mind…creating illustrations and paintings for them. Over half of my personal work is sports related art. I guess my dream job would be working as an illustrator for ESPN or Nike.

robert-bruno-air-jordan“Flight” by Robert Bruno

BLURPPY – Both of those would be a feather in your cap.  I’d like to see you do something for the Dan Patrick Show and have it up in his “man cave.”  If you weren’t creating highly desirable works of art for adoring fans, what else would you do?

RB – I would probably look into teaching art in either high-school or college. I was fortunate enough to have some truly inspiring teachers and professors in school and I would love the opportunity to pass down some of that inspiration to the next generation of artists.

BLURPPY – Very noble of you.  What movies are you excited to see this year/ next year?

RB – I’ll start with a film I saw this past weekend, the “Lone Survivor.” Wow. One of the most awe inspiration films I have ever seen. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading this and go do so! Aside from that looks to be a pretty exciting year in the box office, I spent about 30 hours creating my piece for PP5, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” so naturally I’m pretty excited for that. Just to name a few others…”300 Rise of an Empire”, “X:Men Days of Future Past”, “Noah”, and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” all look promising.

Captain America Robert Bruno“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” by Robert Bruno

BLURPPY – What is your favorite print from your portfolio and why?

RB – I’m pretty critical of all my stuff, but I guess I would say my Game of Thrones inspired ‘Last Targaryen’ piece. I just felt that I was successful in achieving the mood and dynamic of that particular storyline in a single image.

GOT_TLD‘Last Targaryen’ by Robert Bruno

BLURPPY – You had me when you said, “Daenerys Targaryen“.  She is so awesome and incredibly ho… wait, you did say “Daenerys Targaryen” didn’t you? What’s your biggest pet peeve about the pop culture art scene?

RB – It is so saddening to hear about the next blockbuster movie coming out and then see the poster be a giant photo of the leads head with a gun. I don’t understand the marketing standpoint that has the film studios using less and less illustrated posters and more and more cheesy filtered photographs. I want to be inspired and drawn to go and see the darn movie, a massive overexposed photo of Tom Cruises face doesn’t do it for me.

BLURPPY – Well, that really is one of the driving forces behind the Poster Posse so you have landed in the right place. What has been your best experience to date, in the pop culture art scene?

RB – To be very honest, having the recent opportunity to take part and collaborate in these gallery shows like Blurppy and Hero Complex Gallery. Not only is the subject matter killer, but the opportunity to work alongside so many great illustrators, and more importantly, great people is a real treat.

Robert-bruno-the-grey“The Grey” by Robert Bruno

robert-bruno-Ghostbusters_FB“Ghostbusters” by Robert Bruno

BLURPPY – The Posse is packed with passionate, persuasive,  personnel that continually push and propel each other with every poster project. (Say THAT 5 times fast.) What was your most embarrassing moment as an artist?

RB – Hah oh this is easy. In my freshman year of college I was required to take a class call LCD (Light Color & Design) We had this extended assignment over the winter break to do a ‘Holiday Portrait.’ Me, as someone who really enjoys painting people decided to take the assignment very literally. I painted both myself and my sister standing in front of our Christmas tree decked out in ugly Christmas sweaters. Turns out my professor was trying to stress a more symbolic meaning of the holidays to you. I’ll never forget showing up to the critique with my glorified holiday self portrait and seeing everyone else’s thought provoking, symbolic paintings. It wasn’t even as if I could just pretend like mine wasn’t mine….it was a giant painting of me. My professor, the pleasant man he was, always had us line the work up in a single row and would stand in the back of the room and point to each one with a laser pointer. Of course mine was the first to get pointed at. He simply pointed at it, disapprovingly shook his head and moved onto the next piece.

BLURPPY – Hahahahahaha…you HAVE to share that piece with me sometime. (I won’t ask you to do it now, here in this forum.)  What is the best interview question you’ve ever been asked and what was your answer?

RB – I was once asked where I draw my inspiration from. After thinking about it, I realized that I’m lucky enough to wake up every morning and do something that I love. I am so thankful to my family for having the faith and confidence in me to follow my dreams and aspirations that I guess in a way I’m inspired by them.

Robert-burno-sherlock“Sherlock Holmes” by Robert Bruno

BLURPPY – I’m right there with you.  My wife LITERALLY supports my endeavors every single day and THAT is a blessing.  What do you have on tap for 2014 and don’t give us that line, “Lots of stuff , just can’t talk about it yet”

RB – Oh I’ll talk about it. I have a habit of packing my schedule as tight as it can be. I actually rather enjoy working under extreme pressure. In 2014 I’ll do just about as many gallery shows as I possibly can in addition to taking on freelance gigs, private commissions, and maybe if I’m lucky a few personal pieces. I am particularly excited about several upcoming Poster Posse projects along with shows from the Hero Complex Gallery and Ltd. Gallery. Unfortunately I really can’t talk about them though…

Somehow I just KNEW there would be stuff you COULDN’T talk about!  Ok, the next batch of questions are meant to be rapid fire.  Say whatever comes to mind and just know that I will KNOW if you aren’t being honest.

Robert-bruno-avengers-assemble“Avengers Assemble” by Robert Bruno

– DC or Marvel?

Marvel, though the story of Superman is the most unique and interesting storyline in any comic.

– Most Desired Super Power?

I think the ability to read peoples minds would be pretty beneficial at times…

– Who is your favorite Star Wars Character and why?

Although I think Darth Maul was one of the most bad-ass characters I’ve ever seen, I have to go with Vadar. Anakin Skywalker is such a tragic character, he sold his soul to evil in an effort to protect the ones he loved. In the process he lost his arms/legs/most of the skin on his face but gained that iconic black suit, mask, breathing device and voice that we all love.

– Best movie snack?

Anything that doesn’t make noise!

–  What is your favorite gadget?

Love my graphics tablet, I use the Wacom Intuous4. Medium size to be specific.

– Growing up, what was your favorite TV show?

-I really loved the “Batman Beyond” series.

– What’s the best way for fans to keep up with all you have going on?

 I use social media a lot, I update my Facebook and Tumblr illustration pages quite often and post in-depth detailed shots of my work on my Behance page.

BLURPPY – What’s your favorite pop culture event?

Probably the New York City Comic Con, I live in Brooklyn so that’s most accessible for me.

BLURPPY – Who is your favorite fictional character of all time and why? (Can be comic books, movies, literature, etc)

 I’m gonna have to name two because my girlfriend makes fun of my ‘man-crush’ of both. Without a doubt Rick Grimes from the Walking Dead and Gannicus from the series Spartacus. Rick is an incredibly complex character who has really transformed and developed as the series has progressed. Gannicus is just awesome, he fights, he drinks, and he has lots and lots of sex. Enough said.

– Would you rather design the poster for an upcoming Star Wars movie or the upcoming Blade Runner prequel?

I’m a 90’s guy so Blade Runner was just before my time, Star Wars was re-released in the theaters when I was around 6 or 7 and it was love at first site. So Star Wars hah.

Junior-MintsTo recap I think we can all agree that Robert was alluding to the fact that Junior Mints are the BEST movie snack EVER!  I’m sure we learned some more in-depth stuff but for me, food always wins out.  HUGE thanks to Robert for taking the time to participate in the Poster Posse Projects and for also answering my questions.   Stay tuned because he has signed on for additional Projects and I can’t WAIT to see what he comes up with.  Head over to his STORE to get some awesome stuff that will make your walls happy.



About blurppy

Blurppy is a constantly changing, always evolving web entity that features articles, reviews, interviews and such from my perspective. Who am I you ask? I'm DT and if you see it on here, I like it, have it, want it, need it, lust it or simply can't afford it. How about you take a gander at my lil part of the massive web universe and if you see something that appeals to you, share it with your friends.
This entry was posted in Art, Marvel, Movies, Pop Culture, Poster Posse, Sports and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Exclusive Artist Interview: Robert Bruno Brilliantly Balances His Obsession With Pop Culture With A Passion For Sports Illustration

  1. Pingback: In Between Realistic Painting and Pop Art: The Art by Robert Bruno | Writeca

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