Artists and thinkers coming together to promote fine crafts, innovation, and honest sustainability.

The best and brightest artists and thinkers coming together to promote fine crafts, original thought, and honest sustainability.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Weekly Featured Artist & GIVEAWAY: The Art of Sean Andrew Murray

And now for something completely different!

For several weeks, I have been featuring some amazing artists that create lovely girly things like handbags and jewelry (and yes, I will be doing more of that). But, every so often, I like to feature someone who has a totally different perspective that is unique, out of my comfort zone, and might bring some unexpected exposure to a great artist. So, channel your inner twelve-year-old boy, and enjoy some super cool surrealist monsters!

Name: Sean A. Murray (a.k.a. Muttonhead)
Business: The Art of Sean Andrew Murray

The Basics?
I am a professional video game concept artist, currently employed at Big Huge Games / 38 Studios in Timonium, Maryland. My personal work straddles the line between fantasy illustration and surrealism, and I am beginning to explore my own visions and unique worlds more intensely. 

I live in Baltimore, I am married to the wonderful Kathleen, and I have a son named Connor.

1. What five words best describe you?
(this is probably too self-indulgent for me to answer… )

2. What five words best describe your work?
dark, humorous, drawing-based, open to interpretation, mysterious

3. What was the very first art form you fell in love with, and, do you still do it?
Drawing. Yes, I love drawing. It is my passion. I always try to have my sketchbook with me in case I have an idea, or if I just want to draw something new and unexpected. I love the discovery of drawing, and the intentional nature of linework.

4. What was your very worst ‘real’ job?
Working for a start-up web-design company of 3 people. It was my first full-time job out of college and it just went horribly wrong. Originally, I was hired to just be the creative designer, while all of the technical aspects of developing web pages was done by a programmer. But then the boss fired the programmer, and asked me to learn how to program in HTML. He also made me do cold sales calls. It was the worst, and a huge learning experience for me. I was glad when he laid me off.

5. Is artwork your full-time life? Or, if not, are you planning to make it that way? If so, what’s your favorite part about being a full-time creative?
Yes, it is my full-time life. I work as the Principal Concept Artist for Big Huge Games, a division of 38 Studios. We are a game-development studio working on a cool fantasy rpg for the Playstation 3, so I get to draw a lot of monsters and cool fantasy settings and environments, it’s a blast. The best part about my job is getting to work with other creative, passionate folks. Even though we may sometimes clash over the details of certain creative decisions, we are all working towards the same goal, which is to make the best looking, and most fun Fantasy RPG on the market. Having other like-minded folks to bounce ideas off of and challenge you is something every artist should experience at least once.

6. What do you think is the single most important thing you could tell an artist just starting out?
Trust your hands and follow your own thoughts. Even in more commercially-based art, personal voice adds the advantage of genuine passion and convincing ideas. When an artist is forced to work on something they do not believe in, I think the results are very evident… and the artist is miserable. That’s not good for anyone.
This goes for fine art too, but is sometimes trickier because you can sometimes fool yourself into thinking that in order to be successful you have to have a look or style that is similar to someone else that is successful. This is a mistake because you may never truly believe in your own work and vision.

7. What is your favorite way to distribute our work (craft shows, online, galleries, etc…), and why?
Right now, most of my work gets into the public eye through various web-sites. I post my work in the forums of sites like and CONCEPTART.COM, and occasionally participate in competitioins like DOMINANCE WAR. I also have had my work published in annuals like Spectrum: The Best of Contemporary Fantastic Art, or Expose’: The Finest in Digital Art, and also magazines like ImagineFX. Also, I have done some freelance work that has been published for companies like Wizards of the Coast (for Dungeons and Dragons), and Privateer Press. I am only just starting out with selling prints of my work, so it is new territory for me.
I like posting my work in forums because you get direct feedback from people all over the world, but there is nothing more thrilling than seeing your work in print too.

8. What are your five favorite blogs and/or websites?
I really like CGHUB.COM right now, they have a really neat interface for showcasing artists and getting people to look at, comment, and rate your work. It's also a great place for people who are into fantasy art and concept art to meet each other, network, find out about jobs, projects, etc., and also participate in challenges.
I also really like checking in with my good friend and an amazingly talented and dedicated artist, Marc Holmes on his blog:
Beyond that, I really like,, and flickr. I go to flickr for visual reference and inspiration a lot.

9. Favorite artist?
As far as living artists, I have to go to Ian Miller. He is without question my biggest artistic influence, and his work is so dark, unique, bizarre and captivating, I just think it is too bad that he is not more well known. He did a lot of illustrations for the Warhammer Universe, which is a series of strategy and role-playing games out of the UK that I played when I was in High School. He has also worked on films like Cool World and even the first Shrek. He works in a variety of methods, but the stuff that really drew me to him are his incredibly detailed rapidograph-pen drawings and mixed-media pieces. He builds up tonal volume with layer upon layer of precisely-drawn grids, yet his work always has such flow and movement to them you can barely believe he used such a technical method to create them. His site is: A close second is Zdzislaw Beksinski, though he is recently deceased.
In the deceased category, it's a toss-up between Albrecht Durer, Gustav Dore, and Hieronymus Bosch.

10. Guilty pleasure?
Bad hardcore German industrial music….

~~~ GIVEAWAY ~~~

Sean has generously offered one winner their choice of any one of his kick-ass prints from his Etsy shop!

- Go to Sean's Etsy page. Find your very favorite item.
- After that, come on back and leave a comment below telling us what your favorite item was and why (the 'why' is the part we really look for when deciding on a winner... so be creative! Tell us how you would use it, why it appeals to you, what you find unique about it....that sort of thing).

You may enter only once (but keep reading for the loophole on that). The contest is open until 4pm Pacific time on the Monday following the original feature (so it's open for about six days). Winners will be posted on Tuesday morning, along with the new featured artist's piece. If you have any questions, please contact me, not the artist.

IMPORTANT: If you want to be contacted (if you are the winner), you need to leave your email address in your comment (I suggest spelling out the @(at) and the .(dot) to avoid spam from internet crawlers, or you may also leave your Etsy screen name, if applicable. If you don't leave either, you need to check back and contact me by the Friday following the contest ending to see of you won, and will need to email me (see Winner's Box in the upper right sidebar).

Bonus Entries- **You can earn an extra entry for each of the following: Follow my blog and/or follow me on Facebook. Both links are on the right-hand sidebar. Just make sure you note that you did these in your comment below (no need to leave multiple comments, you'll get an entry for each thing you do, just put it all into one comment)!**

Please note: The winner is chosen by me and the featured artist based on your make 'em good! We make no claims that the selection is random:) It is between you and the featured artist to coordinate the getting of your loot. I make no personal guarantees about time-frame for delivery, value, or condition of the winning item.

~~ Last Week's Winners: mFrame! Carol and I wish you health, happiness, and a speedy recovery!  ~~


SNSpencer said...

These are just way out there and very creative!! I think that I may have found some inspiration for my Halloween costume this year. My favorite is "The Globe Chaser". Great mix and use of contrasting color palets between the main character and the background.

Jef Spencer
SNSpencer at yahoo dot com

soulsongcreations said...

This was hard! I was torn between the Globe Chaser and Oops but I think I'll go with the Globe's like something out of a dream I would love to have about exotic, fantastical places full of excitement and danger. It reminds me a little of Pans' Labyrinth, I think because of the curl of the headdress and the curls down the back. Amazing and beautiful and eerie too!

Dawn Holder
dalexsi at yahoo dot com
I am soulsongcreations on Etsy

TopHat said...

I really like the Bird Monks. I'm not sure why- it kind of reminds me of the webcomic Girl Genius.

hrfarley at gmail dot com

JCHeinsz said...

I'm a huge fan of Sean's work and I've been following him for a while. My favorite is definitely "Temple of the Great Fish". I've always had a particular love for anything with a nautical theme, and the handling of the paint as well as the ink work in this image is just beyond exquisite! I would love to hang it up in my workspace as a great motivation to keep moving forward in my own illustration work so that I may too achieve such high quality in my own imagery.

jcheinsz (at) hotmail (dot) com

Egle said...

I like Bird Monks. First is a good quality piece of art. I like the idea of birds being munks, probably talking behind someone´s back. I find it a little sarcastic, mocking medieval munks a little. But in a very nice sophisticated way. The pocket watch one bird is wearing adds a great touch.


Judy said...

Awesome work! Faves? Too hard to choose just one.

Alex said...

I like the Temple of the Great Fish. Its very original. it reminds me of zelda. hah

Daph said...

She sobs, she cries, only 5 items to choose from, more, we...must...have...more...
Awe inspiring, dramatic art, LOVE IT!!
oops is my fave, he kinda reminds me of Cthulhu

VeganCraftastic said...

What an awesome shop! I would love to win Oops because I think my husband would absolutely squee with joy if I gave it to him as a gift! We're moving out of our apartment because it flooded and was damaged so this has been a stressful crazy time for both of us and something cool like this would totally make his day! He's a role playing junkie who loves this style of art so this is totally up his alley :) I'm a blog follower now too!

-crafytofu at yahoo dot com
or vegancraftastic on etsy

Amanda said...

Seeing his work reminds me that I have no right to call myself an artist. I am blown away by the characters, details, colors, and the astounding imagination behind it. My favorite would be "Temple of the Great Fish" for all of the reasons I mentioned above and simply because: I want to go there.

Thanks for the giveaway!

Lauren said...

I absolutely love "Temple of the Great Fish." I'm in love with the colors and the detail and everything about it! I know exactly where I'd put it, too: In my bedroom above my bookshelf. There's an empty space just waiting to be filled by a big fish!

AM said...

The bird monks are my favorite. The color contrast of the birds against the city and the cityscape create a wonderful whimsy.

(Email in blogger profile)