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Artist to Watch | Josh McMahon and his Fan-Favored Artwork

This month we are kicking off our Artist to Watch from Australia. Josh McMahon has shared with us some insight to the amazing work he does that fans love all over the world!

First off, Thank you for chatting with The Game Fanatics. Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What makes you tick and turn?

Thank you for the opportunity. I live in Sydney, Australia and work as a graphic designer where I specialise in photo editing and manipulation, print design and illustration.  When I’m not busy working you’ll find me at the cinema watching films, reading comics or art books, playing music, or watching sport.

Is it common in Australia for the youth to be interested in the creative field?
I don’t know exactly what the interest is like for the youth nowadays but given the job market has always been quite competitive I’d probably say yes.

 

Donkey Kong
Donkey Kong

So how did you get started creating art? Do you have any inspirations or role models?

I’ve always had a creative side whether it be art or music, I know I was encouraged from a young age to pursue art.  I believe I was around 8-9 when I was sent to a local weekend art teacher where I learned the basics, eventually that lead to me studying graphic design at a local design university in 2001.  In terms of role models I don’t really have any per se.  I will say my favourite artists tend to be Borris Vallejo and Julie Bell, I’ve always loved their fantasy work and have several of their art books.  I’m also a big Drew Struzan fan and have tried my hand several times at doing posters inspired by his style of drawing.

Awesome. I just looked up Julie Bell and her work is phenomenal. I really like her unique style. When did you discover your passion for art?

I don’t think I ever really had an ‘a-ha’ moment, I just always liked doing creative things when I was younger.  I knew long ago I wanted to do something in a creative field, so I guess if I was to put a date on it I would say mid-childhood.  If I was to pinpoint something that was the main draw it was MAD Magazine, it was huge influence on not just me pursuing art but was also responsible for my absurd sense of humour too.  I actually applied for work experience at the Australian version of MAD when I was about 12, sadly I got a message back from the company turning me down but as a thank you they sent me the latest issue of the magazine.

Tell us a bit about your creative process:

First thing I tend to do is research.  Whatever the subject matter given to me is I usually head on over to Google and start getting as much information as possible.  Once I have the info I open up Photoshop or Corel Painter and start sketching small grey-scale images until I find a concept that works.  From there I enlarge the sketch and do a more refined pencil drawing before finally beginning the painting process.  I’ve usually got multiple reference images open as I work to help with whatever the subject matter is.

Do you listen to music while you’re creating?

Sometimes.  I occasionally have Spotify open playing music, more often than not however I’m either listening to podcasts or audiobooks listening to the latest tech news or learning a piece of history.  I find if I play music I’m more inclined to start singing along and lose focus on what I’m doing.

Ok, so you’ve gotten inspired, you know what you want to create, what’s the first tool you reach for?
I’ve always got pen and paper next to me.  I was always told to use a pen instead of pencil because subconsciously you know if you make a mistake with pencil you can erase it which can lead you to focusing entirely on that one sketch instead of doing several different sketches.  Using a pen means you get one shot at it and if it doesn’t work you start a new one.
Breaking Bad
Breaking Bad
Let’s say for some, totally hypothetical reason Earth is about to blow up. Don’t panic, there is a savior aka a space ship getting ready to save you! But you can only save two pieces, what will those two be?

Given about 90% of what I do is digital and on back up DVD it wouldn’t be so hard to take them all.  But if we’re talking hypotheticals that I’ve painted on canvas I’d probably say my Donkey Kong illustration and my Wonder Woman manipulation. 

Your guilty pleasure video game, that one game you can play for hours on end and tune everything out, what is it?

I tend to play sports games a lot, NHL ’13 is my current favourite so I’d probably say that’s the one I can play for a couple of hours.

Let’s dig into your pile of shame for a minute. Tell us one game you haven’t played, that you’re ashamed you haven’t played yet.

From what I’ve seen of The Last of Us on Youtube that’s the game I’d like to get my hands on.  I got sucked into the story watching the gameplay videos, I think it’s actually one of the best stories in any medium in the last 5 years.

 

Wonder Woman
Wonder Woman

The Last of Us is truly awesome. As soon as you get the chance you should play it. Like right now, go right now! 🙂 Do you remember the 1st video game you ever played?

Probably would have been Space Invaders on the Atari 2600.

Your dream job, what is it?

I don’t know if I have a dream job but I would like to do some kind of design work for movies or TV.    I think that would be pretty cool.

Are you currently working on anything cool?

I’ve been recently collaborating with a Youtube content creator who is doing an online sci-fi series. Got to do a promotional poster for the series which let me indulge in some Star Wars inspired artwork.

Now for my favorite question: It is Friday and you are about to get off work, what song are you listening to?

Pancreas by Weird Al Yankovic.

Thanks again for your time, where can we find more of your work?

You’re welcome. My website is www.fanartexhibit.com