Sydney-based illustrator Brad Eastman, or better known by his street name ‘Beastman’, is a multidisciplinary artist from Sydney, Australia. His instantly recognisable style of illustration on his murals, artworks, and designs have brought him international acclaim which is slingshotting him through a super successful and prolific career.
This alias Beastman is not only a clever play on words from his real name, but also provides a suitable description of his strong illustration style. Influenced by the biodiversity, symbolism and design aesthetics behind nature’s repetitive geometric growth patterns and organic landscapes, Beastman’s paintings, digital illustration, commercial projects and public murals explore a unique visual language, depicting future environments of abstracted landscapes, potential new life forms and human intervention
JUDDY – Beastman! Thanks for taking a minute to chat- how are things?
BEASTMAN – Things are busy this time of year, I think I am away more than home these few months. But lots of great opportunities have been coming my way so can’t complain at all.
JUDDY – We’re absolutely wrapped you’re able to come to Melbourne to work with us on your next mural. Do you have any other plans while you’re here?
BEASTMAN – Yeh I am also painting a mural with my good friend Elliott Routledge in Preston. So was good to tie in 2 projects on one trip down here. And is always good to catch up with my Melbourne friends.
JUDDY – What do you have to say about the Melbourne weather?
BEASTMAN – It is what it is, you can’t control nature, you can only adapt to it.
JUDDY – Are you typically a night owl or an early bird?
BEASTMAN – I think I was originally a night owl, but I am now an early bird thanks to my kids.
JUDDY – What’s your drink of choice?
BEASTMAN – Depending on time of day, either a latte or a cold young coconut.
JUDDY – Do you prefer painting indoors or outdoors?
BEASTMAN – I enjoy all different types of artmaking, using a range of different mediums. I am currently making the same ongoing body of work through paintings, murals, sculpture, digital illustration and animation.
JUDDY – You have recently spent the past few years living and working out of Bali. Was the new lifestyle a distraction to your artistic career? How did it affect you professionally?
BEASTMAN – Relocating to Bali has been such an amazing experience for my wife and I, it was exactly what we needed. I was instantly inspired by the place and it has given us the time we need to focus on our creative pursuits and our relationship too. Being based over there has forced us to be more organised in our calendar with travel, bundling together projects into fewer trips, and has given us both more confidence in our work too. We have also found more time to focus on our business East Editions, and being based over there gives us access to making some really great products with lower manufacturing costs.
JUDDY – Your style is noticeably distinct from other Australian artists. What influences you when you’re creating your work?
BEASTMAN – For me being an artist is about that constant journey and struggle to maintain a distinctive style and to continue to be relevant and making new unseen imagery. I’m influenced by nature, the future and the process. Most of my works are generated through a process of measurement and balance, which enables me to organically produce new compositions and new ideas.
JUDDY – Because you have such a distinctive style, do you find it difficult to collaborate with people?
BEASTMAN – No, the opposite. I think the more opposed 2 artists styles are, the better they can collaborate together to create a unique result. I love working with other artists, it has always challenged me to try new things and learn something new.
JUDDY – How do you feel about hand drawn squiggly lines? Does it hurt your eyes?
BEASTMAN – No I love them, I wish I could make them. I am somewhat cursed with the need to line everything up and keep it structured.
JUDDY – You’ve previously worked as a graphic designer, did this help build your super strong illustrative based style and approach?
BEASTMAN – I think it helped me in learning software skills and working to briefs, but regardless of the graphic design education and working, I think I would still make the same patterned and designed artworks, I feel like these images I make were planted in me at birth, it’s just all about following the paths that lead to realising these artworks.
JUDDY – Do you use many of your graphic design skills now, when preparing or creating artwork? What other tools or processes do you use to create your work?
BEASTMAN – Yeh I use my whole design skillset across all my art projects, whether it’s designing my website, digitally illustrating my work, doing photoshop mockups, photographing my artwork, preparing print files etc – All of it is relevant and used almost every day. I use different processes to create works depending on what outcome is needed. But most of my works regardless of medium begin with a grid layout, which I then build from. Big mural works I would also approach with a grid markup, followed by a sketch-up, then from there, I build the works with a combination of aerosol and acrylic paints, using tools such as straight edges, string and masking tape.
JUDDY – Did you gain any formal art degree in either design or arts or has your skill set just developed over the years?
BEASTMAN – I did an Advanced Diploma in Graphic Design when I finished high school. But I have definitely self-learnt most of my artmaking skills through friends, mentors and just trial and error.
JUDDY – Your work is very stimulating to the eyes, do you try and tell a story through your artwork, or is it more about creating something that feels and looks good?
BEASTMAN – I think for me personally it’s about creating new images that feel and look good and trying to output these images I have visions of in my head. But I base all of the works on an overlying theme, with somewhat hidden messages, connections and ideas. I would rather not reveal a specific story, meaning or purpose to my audience, I think the works are far more successful and interactive when these are unknown, it leaves the works open to a wider interpretation and audience.
JUDDY – I was impressed by your rug collaboration, what’s the most unique commision or collaboration you’ve ever had.?
BEASTMAN – I have done a lot of collaborations with brands over the years, the rugs were a special one. I also really enjoyed designing sunglasses with Colab a few years back.
JUDDY – Do you have any secret talents or hobbies that we should know about?
BEASTMAN – I think aside from working on my art, the only other things I spend my time doing are surfing, skateboarding and hanging out with my wife and 2 boys… which often still involve surfing and skateboarding!
JUDDY – What are your creative plans for the future?
BEASTMAN – To stay creative, which gets harder and harder I think. The more artwork you make, the more difficult it becomes to make new artwork. I want to get back to exhibiting more, making more series of paintings, trying new processes, and making more sculptures.
JUDDY – Sounds busy! Final question, what would be your dream project to work on? Be creative!
BEASTMAN – I think I would love to make a large solo exhibition in an amazing space, but be financially supported enough to focus only on that for a long period of time. This would enable my true creative skills and ideas to be processed thoroughly and extensively without distraction, and would then result in a body of work that is exactly what I intended to make. A lot of my art is currently made amongst a lot of distraction, and I am always working on a whole range of projects at the same time, which can dilute the work a bit. So yeh my dream project would be to actually have the time and money to remove all distractions and focus solely on one project.
Nicely said, mate. Thanks for hanging around and sharing your thoughts with us, it’s been great being able to get to know you a bit more. For those that don’t already follow brad, you can catch him on Instagram at @bradeastman.