Fringe Benefits Project Artist Interview - Graham Erwin ~ Fringe Television - Fan Site for the FOX TV Series Fringe

Fringe Benefits Project Artist Interview - Graham Erwin

      Email Post       1/17/2013 01:51:00 PM      

The second in our series of Fringe Benefits project artist interviews is with Graham Erwin, the creator of the wonderful and slightly surreal poster for epsiode 1.09 The Dreamscape

Q - Mr. Jensen Karp is the mastermind behind Gallery 1988 and The Fringe Benefits Project. When did he contact you about participating in the series? How much advance notice/working time did you have? Especially as the episodes were voted for by the fans of the show.

A - I was actually given pretty short notice on this project, I had less than a week from when I was notified about the project to when the final art was due. Luckily that week my schedule allowed that type of turn around so I could crank the poster out no problem, but that time frame can be pretty tight for me.

I usually like around 2 weeks to complete a poster, but a portion of that time is set aside for research so having the subject matter chosen for me sped things up.

Q - If you had the chance to create another print in this series what moment would you have chosen?

A - I actually thought doing a poster for the episode Earthing would be great, even before I saw Dave Quiggle's illustration. He absolutely nailed it. I always thought the way the character crumbled to ash was beautifully dark and surreal and would have been a blast to illustrate.

Q - Were you restricted/instructed in anyway ?

A - I was given the specific episode and instructed to illustrate the cold open but other than that Jensen gives me complete freedom, which was amazing.

Although this print specifically doesn't look too different from my recent work, I did feel the freedom allowed me to think about this poster a bit differently than my usual pop culture inspired stuff. I could focus less on the likeness of the character, and more on the feeling created in the scene which made the whole process very enjoyable.

Q - What's it like to watch a reveal drop from your end? Did anyone let you know when your print was to be revealed, so you could witness the reaction online ?

A - I actually had no idea when the drop would happen, and had very little info on how anything would go down so it was a big surprise and very exciting!

I was staying in a hotel in Chicago at the time with a friend when I started seeing things pop up online. It was perfect timing because we were on our way out to dinner and it was the perfect time to celebrate. I was really happy that my poster was revealed at the closing event to say the least.

Q - Are you going to be releasing AP's? If so, a hint as to when they might drop? :D

A - I will be releasing some AP's of the Fringe poster, but I am not sure when and how many yet. I actually have yet to see the print in person so I am very excited to check them out in person. Once I receive the prints they will be for sale on my Etsy shop

Q - Are you a fan of Fringe and did you re-watch episodes for inspiration for key details ?

A - I have a ton of friends who are huge fans of the show, so I had seen a lot of episodes in the past, but this project really sucked me into watching the series on my own. Gallery 1988 sent me a dvd of The Dreamscape and I definitely had that on repeat for the week I worked on the poster :)

Your Art

Q - How did you get into print making? What was your first print you ever did?

A - I did a bit of screen printing in high school, but it wasn't until my sophomore year of college that I really started taking it seriously.

I began by working in the print lab as a lab monitor, and took a really intense summer course and got hooked. I would end up being in the studio at least 12 hours a day, 6 days a week...and loved it. I really miss that summer.

The first print I EVER did was in high school, it was some sort of silly monster character painted in with screen filler. However, the first really successful print I created (printmaking wise) was a gig poster near the end of that summer working in the print lab.

Having a couple of friends in town who were in death metal bands, I had the chance to create a poster for this Cannibal Corpse parody band called Cannabis Corpse (metal heads will know what I'm talking about). The band has a great tongue-and-cheek sense of humor, so I obviously had to drawing a rotting corpse drowning in a sea of marijuana! The illustration was 100% traditionally hand drawn in an old pulp fiction comic style.

The final print was 8 colors including gloss overlays accenting certain elements in the design, and was a huuuge pain to print. Only about 15 out of 50 prints turned out but it's still one of my favorite posters I have printed myself. It was one of the last prints I created that wasn't vector based, and I've been itching to return to that style recently.

Q - Do you pull your own screens or use outside source?

A - I do a little bit of both, but for the most part The Half and Half handles my printing. I love screen printing, but when I print my own posters it has to be designed in a certain way that allows for flexibility with poorly burnt screens and a certain amount of fluctuation in color. I would say I print about 15% of my own work.

Q - For those who are just getting into collecting art prints, what advice would you give to them regarding storage and upkeep that you wish you knew when you started?

A - The great thing about collecting prints is that all you really need is a safe flat space and a couple of clear plastic bags to get started. I have a flat file but it's not necessary to have when collecting. For a while I had a wire strung across the corner of my living room with an assortment of prints hanging on tiny art clips. It's a great way to display lots of prints easily without spending really any money, and that way you can keep swapping things out for new work as it comes in!

Q - Are you a collector of prints yourself? If so, what are some of your favorite prints you own from other artists?

A - I absolutely collect prints myself, and collected prints for a year or so before I even began illustrating posters myself. My favorite prints that I own at the moment are by Aaron Horkey. I have his Devil's Backbone / Vania Zouravliov collaboration poster hanging in my bedroom. Besides that a buddy of mine recently gave me Drew Millward's At The Drive In poster. His work is amazing in person, all the color overlays are gorgeous.

Q - Of all the prints you've done so far what's been the one you've been most excited to drop?

A - The Nightmare Before Christmas prints for Mondo was definitely my most exciting drop so far. It had been a dream to work with them and there was a lot of work put in on that project so it was extremely exciting to finally see the project come to life.

Q - What would be your dream print to create for a gallery/studio (tv show, movie, band, or all three?)

A - It would be hard to pick an absolute dream print, but I would loooove to create a Mondo poster for James And The Giant Peach or Coraline. The mix of creepy and cute is right up my alley.

Q - Can you give us any hints of any prints you'll be dropping soon??

A - I can't give too much away, but I have two new posters that I am specifically excited about. Both are for two of my favorite movies of all time. I have had the art done for months, hopefully I will be able to share more soon!

All it is left to say is a huge thankyou to Graham for sharing his thoughts on the Fringe poster and his other art.

As mentioned in the interview above Graham has an Etsy shop, his website with lots of wonderful examples of his fantastic work can be found at

Graham also has a Tumblr blog which fans of this poster definitely ought to check out.


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