Hi, my name is James Booker, I live in Queenlsand, Australia, and I make photo manipulations under the Random Galaxy brand.
I am very fortunate to be making a career from my art. I used to make art solely as a hobby. It is something that I always come back to. Now, it’s great to have my hobby and my work be one and the same.
I discovered my knack for art early on when the kids in school were encouraged to draw a lot more than we are later in life. I guess I enjoyed doing that and I enjoyed the kind of down time that it brought. So I developed drawing skills early on and focused a lot on details in my drawings. I would draw H.R. Giger’s Alien and memorized all of the creatures exoskeleton when I was about 9 or 10 years old. And before then I would love to draw animals like frogs. I watched cartoons as a kid and read those children’s books with painted illustrations, so I wanted to spend a lot of time making art from a young age.
A few years ago I would think about the color choices I used a lot more and would know before I started a piece that I wanted to make it mostly duo-tone or 3-tone. I would just use basic art principles learned from high school art classes. More recently that has gone out the door somewhat and i use more of whatever colors I am given in the photos I’m working with, and then base the lighting and shadows on those.
Over the past couple of years I have drawn ideas from comedy moves which I learned from online courses. I draw inspiration from fantasy and sci-fi art from the 70’s and 80’s. As well as other current artists and trends. Originally I was drawn back into creating more absurd art after a break when I watched Tim & Eric on Adult Swim.
I surround myself with modern day influences. I look at other current artists who make animal and fantasy art. I watch comedies, read books, browse social media, and look at trends.
The process of making these pieces invloves taking stock photos of animals, of environments like space, and others elements, and manipulating them together using Photoshop.
I started exploring my style back when artists were posting on Deviantart. I was into Terry Gilliam movies at the time and saw a growing trend in photo manipulations. So decided to try them out using my basic Photoshop skills. Before then I was experimenting with acrylic painting and marbling. I was also watching some old stop motion movies and had these ideas of giant lizards, so wanted to create those scenes somehow. My photo-manipulation style came from that.
In College, I studied Animation and Multimedia and I remember the teachers saying things to the class like “Statistically only one of you will find work in these fields, and even that one person will work on a temporary basis and have to move inter-state”, or “Most of you will end up specializing in something specific and entirely different”. I was taught Photoshop through those courses and opportunities came along which the teachers didn’t see happening at the time. The important thing for me was to do something different.
For those looking to make art a full-time gig, I would suggest to think outside the box for opportunities that can come from putting your artwork out there. I stumbled into a world of art licensing after I got into print on demand. Hardly anyone talks about the other, less explored opportunities. And who knows what else might come along in the future.