Seth Broman is easy to hate.
He wears many hats in the art and music communities and looks damn good in every one of them. Going by the moniker Grym, he’s carved a canyon-like niche in both freelance design and the drum and bass/dubstep music scene. Namely by combining the two into his popular and sought after event poster and album cover designs. They feature dystopian, science fictional images that are highly detailed and thought provoking. Grym also cuts his own stencils, which renders very bold, graffiti-like art that is often jarring and beautiful at the same time. This brand of art comes from his early love of comic books, and inspiration from a trip toBarcelona, a place he says is “like a free art gallery.”
Grym was gracious enough to take a break from designing, stenciling, djing, producing, promoting, running a label, and other miscellaneous kinds of creating that garner my jealousy of him, to answer some of our questions. So enjoy the interview, then scurry on over to both http://artifaktart.org and grymlife.com to discover much more of Mr. Broman’s work and upcoming events.
Talk a little bit about your background, you came up with a passion for comic books and graffiti right?
I got into comics really early and started drawing my own right away. That continued well into high school where I also started being a delinquent and drawing things on walls to leave my mark. It wasn’t until a little later I realized I could combine the two styles and incorporate comic imagery into paintings. I started studying art and learning more about technique and history. I discovered stencils and street art on a trip toEuropearound 2003 and something just clicked.
What’s the process of creating one of your stencil pieces?
I guess I think of a canvas like a panel in a comic book. The piece should be bold and stand on its own but hint at a larger narrative that might be happening behind the scenes. The stencil itself is just recycled card stock. I draw the image on the paper then I cut it out with an X-acto knife. It can be a long and painful task and I regularly ask myself why I do it while in the process. Then you lay the stencil on the canvas and spray. All frustrations are alleviated when you pull the stencil back and see what it looks like in the paint though.
What’s behind the dark themes in a lot of your work?
Sometimes it’s drawn from life experience, sometimes it’s just what looks badass. I paint what I respond to, which is usually bold, abrasive imagery that conveys a strong concept. I like contrast and in order to make the picture more dynamic I use shadows. The painting process can be therapeutic when dealing with stress or grief. Sometimes the subject matter will be derived from that emotion. Exploring darker themes of humanity provides a more interesting conceptual subject- finding beauty in darkness is art in itself.
Have you ever thought about creating a graphic novel?
I’d love to get back to my roots and work on something. I’ve got lots of ideas, just not enough time to commit or really where to begin. Drawing a book requires an insane amount of dedication without a lot of financial reward. One day I hope to find the time to produce something that is unique enough to stand on its own and not be derivative crap which is no easy task.
A lot of your pieces are album covers and music posters; explain your ties with the music scene.
I am surrounded by music and am active in the community. Much of my work is fueled by certain types of music- I am inspired by many forms of art- film and literature, but music is a driving force. Creating art for specific music can be a rewarding exercise and flyers are a great way to get art to the masses while disguising it as something important.
Speaking of music, who are you listening to?
I promote, DJ and produce drum & bass and dubstep but I enjoy a wide spectrum of music. Anything from hip hop to punk to reggae to classic rock. I also run a digital label so I’ve got to have my ear to the ground.
I’m so curious what goes on at an Artifakt show; how is the music and visual art fused?
Artifakt is something my friends and I came up with to get some of the club crowd involved in the art community. For the most part it was a success in that we managed to expose a group of people that normally may not check out an art show. The shows typically start with a gallery showing with DJs or bands then fades into more of a dance party with live painting on canvas or bodies.
Any other hobbies or interests?
Aside from music and art, I like to watch a lot of movies and play video games, separately.
What is your favorite thing about or place in Seattle?
It’s the best looking city as far as I’m concerned. We’ve got the urban experience and the nature thing covered. But I guess what I like best is the culture, the diversity of people and the range of scenes and sub-cultures available to whatever you’re into. The people aren’t as bad as they say either. Good food too.
Thanks again to Grym for his time and assistance! Be sure to check out the websites.