Local artist Barry Bulsara has certainly captured our imagination here at Cool As Leicester, with his original and quirky prints inspired by various TV shows and movies. We’re massive fans of his so wanted to take the opportunity to showcase his work. We caught up with him to find out about his career, inspirations and advice. What’s more, Barry has given us 2 prints to give away, including one of his brand spanking new designs for Valentine’s Day. Read on to find out how to win!
How would you describe your artwork to somebody who isn’t familiar with it?
I’d say it was graphic in style (not in content), often incorporating typography with a humorous and tongue in cheek approach with a good measure of geekery thrown in!
When did you first realise you had a creative talent?
I was 12 or 13 and my secondary school art teacher Mrs Sheffield gave me a sketchbook and pencil for doing well on my homework that I realised that I actually had some talent. It was a simple gesture but it was the confirmation I needed especially as I struggled with the more academic subjects like Maths and English. (I didn’t find out until I went to University that I was dyslexic, which explained why I struggled so much with with those subjects).
Many of your pieces are based upon movies and TV series, is this where you find your main inspiration?
Yes, and almost anything science fiction based too! I’ve always loved the escapism that comes with watching movies and most of the films that inspire me are from my childhood, the biggest influence being Star Wars. Nowadays TV series are my main inspiration, I do watch a lot of TV! I think the current quality of programmes, especially coming out of America, is fantastic. I currently have plans on making prints inspired by some of my favourites like 30 Rock, The Big Bang Theory, Chuck and Bored to Death to name a few.
Do you have a favourite piece of yours?
That’s a difficult one. I like all of my prints for different reasons but if I had to choose one, I’d have to pick the ‘Reason’ print. It’s one of the first screen prints I did. I’m a huge fan of Jon Stewart an American comedian (it’s his quote) and the Daily Show, a political satire show; and I think the the combination of the words and illustration works well. I actually sent a copy to Jon Stewart a couple of weeks ago and am eagerly awaiting a signed photo!
What do you think of the art scene in Leicester and Leicestershire?
To be honest I’m not really aware of an art scene in Leicester, but I’m sure there is one! I pretty much work in isolation now and I think it’s difficult to keep in touch with things like that when you leave art college. It’s one of the things I miss most about university, being surrounded by other like minded creative people, where you can bounce ideas off each other.
But I think it’s great that some independent establishments help encourage local talent. I display some of my work in various bars in Leicestershire such as the Orange Tree and Firebug and they help students and artists like myself to get their work seen by a wider audience. I’ve also recently started to sell my work through ‘THEM’ a creative art & design boutique based in St. Martins Square Shopping Centre, in Leicester. It’s run by two recent art graduates and they provide a great platform for emerging artists and designers from throughout the Midlands to showcase and sell their work.
How have you found working with the Leicester Print Workshop?
The Leicester Print Workshop has been an invaluable resource for me. I only started screen printing a year ago after taking the LPW ‘Introduction to screen printing’ weekend course, and I’ve been hooked ever since! They have all the equipment I need as well as very knowledgeable and friendly technical staff. To anyone interested in having a go at any type of printing, I can’t recommend LPW enough. They also send out a monthly newsletter which always details opportunities for artists such as up-coming exhibitions and craft fairs.
I’m currently in the process of applying for an artist in residency place at the LPW, which if I’m successful will mean I’ll be there more often and will hold a talk/demonstration of my work and process.
Who are your favourite artists besides yourself and what’s your favourite piece of art that you personally own?
There are far too many to mention here. But off the top of my head, I’d say the old masters like Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio. I love to see technical ability when it comes to drawing the human form, and they really are masters. But also Rolf Harris, mainly because he was a big influence growing up, I used to watch him a lot and loved his big mural paintings of Bugs Bunny! Other than those I would say my other favourite artists mainly come from the world of comic books, people like Ben Templesmith, Brian Bolland, Dave McKean and I especially love the work of Adam Hughs, his pin up work is beautiful.
I don’t own many pieces of original art but one of my favourites is a piece of original Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book artwork. I love that I can see the details of the brush strokes and hand lettering, it still amazes me the amount of effort that goes into producing a comic and I’d love to have more original comic artwork, I just can’t afford it!.
What advice would you give to someone hoping to get into the industry?
I would say if you want to make a living out of what you love to do whether it’s your art or writing or anything, just go for it! But if you do, don’t expect to give up the day job, unless you’re really lucky. I still have to work full time for the ‘man’ to pay the bills. I would also say that you have to be prepared to put in the hours, so if you work full time your social life may have to take a back seat for a while.
But nothing gives me more joy than creating my artwork, it’s like being a kid back at school, but without the maths and english! I essentially get to play and do what I want and I get a great thrill when I do sell a print. To know that someone else likes my work enough to part with their hard earned cash is a great confidence boost!
Barry has given us 2 prints to give away to 2 of you lucky readers! There is a copy of his latest print “What I Want”, which is a quote by Liz Lemon in 30 Rock, and also a copy his popular print “Reason”. To be in with a chance of winning please answer the following question:
During the interview Barry said his favourite piece of artwork was an original comic book piece of which character?
Please send your answers to [email protected] by midday on Friday 24th February. Remember to state which print you’d like to win and please put “art” in the subject line.
“What I Want”