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Conversations with Brett Herman

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brett Herman.

Brett, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was born in Boulder County, Colorado in a town called Longmont. My entire childhood and adolescence, I was immersed with my obsession and love for the visual and musical side of creation—I had a huge love for Horror movies as a kid, I was constantly drawing images from animal magazines, as well as books and film characters. Many years later in 9th grade my passion for the arts awarded me the New York Scholastic Art Award for drawing the beast from the island of Dr. Mureau. I was heavily under the influence of art, in the later years I was especially inspired by heavy metal and skateboard art, so I would draw concert fliers and album covers for my friends. I eventually started designing tattoos for them as well, I began to see my innate passion as a potential career path and thus enrolled in a summer course at the Denver Institute of Art. But where I expected inspiration, I met frustration. I wanted to get my hands dirty and experience the process of creation viscerally. Instead, I found myself at a desk, pushing buttons on a computer. I decided to put art on hold and some friends and I loaded up our cars and took off for Los Angeles in pursuit of a life playing heavy metal. Moving to LA ended up yielding the more common results of what we thought overnight success looked like.

After accomplishing some noteworthy achievements playing music, I wouldn’t consider it the wisest choice for a full-time career at my skill level, I decided to look back into art. I landed a tattoo apprenticeship, then an even better tattoo apprenticeship in early 2007, in which I worked at diligently, paying my dues to my mentor and juggling three other jobs. Upon my graduation in 2008, I wasted no time in carving my niche. Once it was time to leave the nest, I started a shop with some friends in West Hills called Hidden Los Angeles tattoo and fine art which we ran for almost a decade. We have since moved from that location and onto new journeys but it allowed me to host many artist workshops, curate multiple art shows and meet many wonderful people. With each journey, I strive to bring great composition, elements of illustration and photorealism to my work. It’s typically filtered through my penchant for the dark and the macabre. Thus far into my tattoo career, I have fetched multiple tattoo awards as well as made numerous contributions to the fine art world and had my work exhibited in over 75 different events in some of the top galleries of the world. Additionally, I’ve been published in multiple art books, co-authored several magazine articles, and published three books of my own, including the Coloring Book Project, The Coloring Book Project 2, and Sketched Out. I have now been creating art and doing tattoos for 12 years and still I am constantly trying to create new goals and look forward to what the future holds, I currently am working on a new body of work for my first solo exhibition at The Hive gallery this October in downtown LA and I am absolutely excited for this upcoming opportunity and accomplishment. I am also very thankful to be given the opportunity to speak with Voyage LA to promote my work in my never ending list of goals as I strive for success in the art world.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
There has been many challenges, first off learning how to be a decent artist is a struggle in itself. Even though art comes naturally, I am always pushing myself to improve, then there’s the struggle of promoting yourself or running a shop. It’s hard to run a shop, have projects, and goals and be a great artist at the same time. It’s definitely a lifestyle. We have to draw for each client and work with what they want but try to make it our own. Then we have to create an image that is flawless on skin for that matter. hahah! Art is hard, it’s the best job in the world but the lifestyle of hitting deadlines for art shows or staying up late to knock out some drawings for a for the week can take a toll, however I have to say with all the things I’ve accomplished its had it’s tough times and its glorious days and all in all I’m pretty positive, so I would say its been smooth sailing! The road to success is never what we imagine. But I’m grateful for what I’ve done and where I am at in my career. I do have some crazy stories from over the years!!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I strive to bring great composition, elements of illustration and photorealism to my work, I am comfortable doing many styles and I love all art, but my creations are typically filtered through my penchant for the dark and the macabre. I consider myself very well versed and always looking to do my best work with each opportunity. In the first part of this. I think publishing three books as well as being published in many books, I am also very honored to have shown in over 75 art shows as well as curating multiple art shows, I’m also very happy to be recognized by the New York Scholastic arts and well as for my tattoo accolades. This is what sets me apart from the other artists. I am happy to work hard and I will deal with anyone that is respectful and with anyone that trusts my creative process! I know that tattoos and fine art paintings are not cheap, So considering the amount of time and knowledge I’ve spent honing in on my craft, I do my best to offer fair prices and allow my collectors the opportunity to own my work, I also try to make it an experience for the person and be appreciative of the tattoo/painting at hand.

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
I’m lucky to have been given the opportunity to achieve these goals and I’m definitely lucky I get to do this for a living! Even though I worked hard to get here, I am very lucky for the things I’ve been able to accomplish, also thankful for those people who have helped open doors for me along the way. I wouldn’t say luck has much to do with it? I think we make our own luck, it’s about the attitude and going for those goals. If bad luck is on my mind, I guess that’s what I would get. I’ve been in tough situations, I’ve gone through a divorce, I’ve lost loved ones, closed a reputable business, lost invention partners and got ignored for book royalties. But such is life. I wouldn’t say it’s bad luck, I’d say life has a funny way of working. I just continue to look at the good things and not let it slow me down. All in all, I feel extremely grateful for all I’ve been through as I continue to grow as an artist and as a human. Cheers to some future good luck though!! hehe

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Image Credits

Personal Photo by Samuel Robert Herndon

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