Ghost Parachute is an online journal based in Orlando, FL. Though we normally excerpt fiction, nonfiction and poetry, as part of our Florida Lit Mag Series, because everything in Ghost Parachute already appears online, we interviewed one GP’s contributing artists, Brett J. Barr about how he goes about matching art with words. 

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How did you first get involved with Ghost Parachute?
I was approached by Editor in Chief/Founder of Ghost Parachute, Brett Pribble. At the time, I was drawing and sharing artwork almost daily. Mr. Pribble asked if I could design some of the drawings after his magazine stories. I agreed and am now honored to be one of the magazine’s contributing artists.

“Road Kill” by Brett J. Barr

What is your vision for your work or style of work? Your inspiration?
When it comes to my pencil work, I like to mix realism and beauty with darker, disturbing images. My inspirations for the Ghost Parachute stories I receive are definitely the stories themselves, and the mental images they provoke. Luckily for me, I’ve been receiving some of the darker more disturbing stories to draw for.

What is your method when faced with a short story to model art after? Where do you begin?
At first, I read the story several times. A series of images usually present themselves. I then hunt down photographs of anything related to my mental image and collect references for my drawing. Sometimes I can go back and re-read the story and make sure that it fits with what I’m thinking the writer imagined.

How did you make your start as an artist? What’s your story?
My mother nurtured my art abilities since I was very young. I’ve had art classes all through school and after. I’ve been doing art professionally my entire adult life and I’m blessed to have my own tattoo studio, and produce several different mediums of art as side work and hobbies.

Do you have a favorite piece you’ve done for Ghost Parachute?
“Road Kill” is probably my favorite so far. I loved how cute and disgusting it turned out.

Tell us about the piece accompanying this story. What inspired you? What was your thought process?
“Coral” has several beautiful elements to it, yet had a dark and fatal message that made a good contrast for a drawing. I was inspired by the mix of courage, risk, beauty and deadly consequence the story relayed.

Where else can we find your work?
I regularly share my artwork on my Facebook (Facebook.com/BrettJBarr), my Instagram (@brettjbarrtattoos) and our tattoo website (built4speedtattoos.com). I also attempt 1-3 art shows a year locally.

Bonus Excerpt from “Coral” by Tamara Miles

“Coral” by Brett J. Barr

Jenny J. had been living thirty feet up in a tree in a remote swamp in the Florida Keys as part of a protest movement for as many days as it took God to make the earth when, while she was sleeping, from above her suddenly fell an Eastern Coral Snake —- and to preserve its property rights when she instinctually threw her arm out and shrieked, released from its short fangs a neurotoxic venom into her left shoulder.

 

Now, under normal circumstances, a person might be able to receive treatment within a relatively short period of time, but since the environmentalist had given up using a cell phone because it might cause a brain tumor, and her safety crew wouldn’t be back to check on her until the next morning, she was in a world of trouble…read more