As part of an ongoing series of interviews, AMP recently caught up with Freya Betts to find out a bit more about the artist and her work.
Thanks for sparing the time to chat with us today. How did you initially hear about AMP?
I initially came across AMP on Instagram. I remember a couple of years ago submitting my work onto your website and having my fingers crossed that you would accept!! Thank you for all your support over the years!
What is your background? Did you always want to be an artist/illustrator?
Yes – it has always been my absolute dream, I drew more than I did anything else when I was a kid. I also always had a thing for design and was always intrigued by signs on shop windows, packaging for as long as I could remember. My mum and my grandma are incredible artists so I came from a creative background and a constant stream of sketches that I would hassle my grandma to draw for me haha. Up until digital painting I painted mostly watercolours.
I took art, photography and history for A Levels. I started an apprenticeship as an artworker, localising film campaigns for Universal and Paramount and then moved onto Tea artworking and designing for clients such as Warners, Fox, Disney. I always did illustration in my own time, most evenings and lunchtimes and was ultimately always going to be my goal to one day freelance as an illustrator, however I didn’t expect it to be so soon! I made the leap when Jelly offered to represent me.
What did you always draw as a kid?
Faces and a lot of horses!
How would you describe your style?
I try and aim for realism. Recently I have been trying to explore my style by taking the realism back a few steps to give a more fine art feel with visible and looser brush strokes.
How do you approach a project? Sketch first or straight to the computer?
Straight on the computer. I would start by comping together imagery to use as reference, creating the poster roughly and then paint it with a dual screen (my reference on the left and blank canvas on the right).
Which tools/applications do you use on a daily basis?
I use an iMac with a Wacom Intuos and the program I use is Photoshop.
Is there anything you don’t like to draw?
Patterned clothing, or maybe brick houses.. I put pressure on myself to draw exactly how I see in the reference image, so 100s of bricks means I draw 100s of bricks!!
Which stage of your work do you enjoy the most?
There’s probably 3. The first is when an idea first comes to me. I feel like my best ideas just fall into place without trying to force it. A composition will pop into my head instantly after being inspired by an image and I guess it’s when you just know. I literally get the best wave of adrenaline, suddenly I have to drop everything to get the idea down and painted!
The second stage is when I am painting and the portrait comes to life. As cheesy as this sounds, it’s normally when I put the ‘sparkle’ reflection in someones eye. I love it when I’m painting and I am literally in the zone and there is nothing stopping me. It’s almost if you could see my aura it would be beaming all kinds of colours filling the room!!
And then the third is seeing people’s reactions. My heart fills with happiness when I read the comments and support and it is the most rewarding feeling. I guess this is also too, down to the amazing supportive community we have!!
Do you have a piece of work you’re most proud of?
Not being biased here 😉 but I think it would be Hellraiser. This came at a time when I was working at Tea and was learning retouching. This was probably my first composition where I really did some comping and I was able to recreate the scene. I pieced her together, her head, her body, her hand from multiple scenes and stills and subtly lit her face up from the box she was holding. Before hand, if I didn’t have a still / image of something that was directly how I needed it, then I couldn’t do it, so it felt like a big step and felt like someone had opened doors to which where locked before and limited me. And then with that, it was exhibited at the 30×30 AMP London exhibition, which was super exciting!
Who would you say has been or currently is your inspiration?
The style that I was referring to exploring was greatly influenced by Sam Spratt. I loved that his digital art resembled fine art so well and at the same time kept the realism, where the face will be painted perfectly and then the rest of the painting will disperse out into looser brush strokes. I would love to be able to one day have that skill but with my own flare, which I am currently on the journey to find!
Sam Spratt- The Lure
Sam Spratt – Shuri cover #3
If you could collaborate with anyone on a project, who would it be with and why?
I have collaborated before with a colleague named Gavin Andrews, who was a big inspiration to me whilst I worked at Tea. In the collab we split the work by Gav designing the composition, typography and I painted the elements. I think this was a good way to work as it ticked two boxes and was a combination of two people’s completely different skills that fit together to create an AMP. If the collab was structured like the above then I would LOVE to create something with Scott Wool or SG Posters. Their composition skills are insane. Client wise, I would love to create for LWL, Empire, Netflix 🙂
Do you own any AMPs (ALTERNATIVE MOVIE POSTERS)? If so, which ones, and do you have a favourite?
Not quite an AMP but I do own a beautiful piece of art by the very talented Jen Dionisio. She does do a lot of film art, also! If I had the wall space, I would love to have so much more – maybe when I move out 🙂
What would you say are your top 3 movies and why?
Ahh! I’m not sure these are my all time, but my fav most recent are maybe Annilation and Arrival for their different depiction of an alien invasion, Annilation with very beautiful trippy visuals and Arrival with a very moving ending. Then a favourite too is The Nightmare Before Christmas. I watch this every xmas eve!
What would you say are your top 3 books/novels and why?
Regrettably I have to admit I am more into my films than I am books purely because of time. I can say the last 3 books I read though! Which were Gone girl, Girl on the Train and A Million Little Pieces. I am currently waiting for Geek Love to be delivered. Reading is something I would like to get back into now I have a lil more time on my hands, so I am open to any recommendations!!
Jennifer Dionisio – Shape of Water
Jennifer Dionisio – No Particular Night or Morning
Three Billboards by Gavin Andrews by Freya Betts
Any projects for 2019 you can tell us about?
I have currently been painting away almost every day since xmas on my first project with Jelly. I can’t give anymore details now, however I think 2019 will see more commercial projects like this 🙂
Process by Freya Betts
What are your thoughts on alternative movie art? Is it here to stay?
I think it’s great & it gives people a brief to work on. A few years ago I was painting images, pretty much replicating photographs, feeling a little lost as there wasn’t a whole lot of point of painting exactly what the photo looked like. I’m sure with others too, film based art gave me a direction, it took my illustration that bit further as I was now putting together compositions, combining typography and finding my own style within this.
I’d like to think it’s here to stay. There’s always films, and with the films there there are ever evolving illustration/design trends so there can be always something new and fresh.