“Quitting my day job in porn to freelance as an artist full time,” says artist Brian Ewing of the decision that sparked his career watershed. “[I was] working for Hustler on the magazines handling scheduling, prep houses and printers. I also freelanced for them by doing illustrations for their publications. I swore that’d be my last day job.” Although Ewing has transformed into one of rock music and pop art’s most prolific, iconic image-makers, remaining down-to-earth and staying inspired are key elements to the growth of his rebellious art empire.
While he’s become a sought-after household name for record labels and agencies, Ewing has stayed true to the independent spirit of his art, and his style has developed over time. “At first I was just happy to get a chance to draw and work with my favorite bands,” he says of his early punk-rock posters. But with his growth from poster artist to full-blown fine artist, he’s followed in the footsteps of his heroes and mentors–Frank Kozik, Coop, Tara McPherson and many others–building an instantly recognisable stylistic empire.
With his first monograph, “Don’t Hold Your Breath: The Art Of Brian Ewing,” which publisher Dark Horse allowed him to design himself, the reader can see the progression and maturation of his imagery, from power-packed and densely composed rock posters to the nuanced, deceptively simple and subversive works of more recent vintage. What’s next? Only Ewing knows, but no matter what, it will be unmistakably his.