Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.
At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s best selling role-playing worlds.
He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games, to comics and film. Most recently he's created a series of award winning horror novels that he both writes and illustrates: “The Plucker”, an adult children’s book, “The Devil’s Rose”, a modern western set in Hell, “The Child Thief”, a gritty, nightmarish retelling of the Peter Pan myth, "Krampus, the Yule Lord", a tale of revenge between Krampus and Santa set in rural West Virginia, and his latest concoction, "Lost Gods" one man's determined trek through the brutal landscape of purgatory.
Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere in the drizzly Northwest. There he subsists on poison spiders, centipedes, and bad kung-fu flicks. When not eating bugs, he is ever writing, painting, and trying to reach a happy sing-a-long with the many demons dancing about in his head.
You can contact BROM directly at: brom.contact (add @ symbol) gmail.com
Licensing of Brom's images - If you would like to license some of Brom's work for the cover of your novel, game, album or other, just email us for details.
Brom at your school or business - Brom has a very entertaining and educational lecture presentation and loves to make private, corporate and school appearances. For rates and details please email.
Signings - Brom is happy to sign any art related items (and sometimes odd body parts) at conventions, but at this time cannot sign items through the mail.
MTG Card signings - Jack's Magic handles all of Brom's MTG card signings. For more info: CLICK HERE
Interviews and Odd Musings below
Killian – Did you go to art school?
Brom - Yes, everyday.
Killian – What does melancholia mean to you?
Brom - She is my muse.
Killian – Did you ever suffer burn out from painting?
Brom – Yes.
Killian – What did you do about it?
Brom – I started writing.
Killian – Did you ever suffer burn out from writing?
Brom – Yes.
Killian – And...?
Brom – I started painting again.
Killian – Which is your least favorite painting you've done?
Brom – The last one I did.
Killian – Which is your favorite painting you've done?
Brom – The next one.
Killian - Is what you do, according to you, important?
Brom – Yes, according to me.
Killian – Do you consider yourself a fine artist?
Brom – I'm a storyteller.
Killian – What scares you?
Brom – Dying before I finish whatever-the-heck I happen to be working on at the moment.
Killian – Are you religious or superstitious?
Brom – Yes.
Killian – ?
Brom – I thought they were the same.
Killian – What religion do you practice?
Brom – All of them. They're all out to get me.
Killian – Have you ever considered doing anything else besides art?
Brom – I am unqualified to answer that.
Killian – Anything else you would like to say or add about your paintings.
Brom – It's hard for me to talk about painting. I feel a painting should speak for itself. I mean when you think about it, if you have to explain a painting, or how a painting is suppose to make someone feel, then the painting has failed. Right? For me, more than anything, painting is about bringing to life images from my imagination, to share my visions with myself as well as others.
The Story of Brom
My story starts back in the womb: Two heartbeats, Johnny Cash singing as though underwater, a view of the world from within a lava lamp. It was safe and warm and swell, but there was much I needed to say, so I left.
After I was born I was kept in a cardboard box. About the time I learned to walk I was moved into a bigger box, this one had windows. I was warned to stay away from the windows lest the neighbors see me.
My older brother forbade me to go into his room and play with his toys. I did anyway. His toys had claws and sharp teeth and I often got bit. It is how I learned to bite.
One time I crawled out of my box and the other kids threw rocks at me. There were tears and blood. I wrote a story about it, filled it with plenty of pictures and that made me feel better. In the story I cooked the children and fed them to my dog. I'm a pretty good cook.
There were thousands of pencils in my box, but no pencil sharpeners. I would end up needing much dental work. I drew on paper, I drew on my skin, I drew on the wall. I drew fire spewing dinosaurs, I drew murder, I drew people without flesh. I drew and drew until all the pencils were gone. Then I found a brush. I had no ink, only blood. And I still say there is nothing wrong with painting with blood so long as it is your own, but I often used other people's blood, it's how I learned.
I crawled into a furnace shaft once, crawled from apartment to apartment, watched people through their vents, watched people watch TV. People watch a lot of TV. People have secret lives, capes and masks, Kool-Aid and Jello Salad. People seem sad when they're alone. I keep a pencil with me so that I'm never alone.
I once drew a picture of my first grade teacher. In the picture she was nude and had wings of fire. It was how I saw her but she saw her differently. I once drew a picture of myself drawing a picture. There was a smiling devil in that picture.
When I grew older I went to school with a bunch of other kids that grew up in boxes. I didn't fit in boxes so well. I found a few kids that didn't fit in so well either and we made ugly pictures together. My pictures were uglier than theirs and this made me feel special.
I once had a girlfriend, but she never knew. She said strange things to me, like "who am I". It made me anxious.
One Christmas I received a present. It was box cutter. I left home.
I met a girl who dressed funny and had a bad haircut. She told me who she was and I was too. She liked to draw ugly pictures as well, so I married her and we built a castle together with a deep moat full of snakes where it rains every day. We like rain.
Once I tried to paint to make other people happy, this made me unhappy. Now I paint to make me happy. When I get too happy, it's hard to paint. I try not to be too happy.
Someone once asked me how I became an artist and I told them a bunch of lies. I had to or else they would find me and put me back in my box.
BROM BIO 2012
When I close my eyes and try to find my earliest memory, I see a haze of flickering images--a blur of real memories jumbled together with the jittery, black and white, Super 8 films my parents took. But one memory stands out, this memory is in full Technicolor, it is alive -- a parade of enormous robotic monstrosities stomping their way through a Japanese cityscape. They roar mechanically as tanks and jets fire away in a futile attempt to stop them. I was two, maybe three years old, my father a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force and we were stationed in Tachikawa, Japan. Each morning I ate my Fruit loops and watched Ultraman the way many children watch Sesame Street. My daily routine included stomping through my army men and Lincoln Logs, shooting electrical beams of energy from my eyes and happily incinerating any unfortunate being in my path. Japan's memory is forever a kaleidoscope of magnificent morphing superheroes fighting gigantic robots and sea monsters.
My father left the Air Force and we returned to the states, to Dixie where I'd been born four years earlier in 1965. My memories return to black and white. My father took a job with the phone company, in Selma, Alabama, setting me up for the idyllic small town upbringing. Thankfully this was not to be my fate, for after only a few months my father decided that climbing up and down telephone poles wasn't what he wanted to do for the rest of his days. Vietnam was raging, and in a time when most people were doing whatever they could to avoid military service, my father volunteered. He wanted to fly, wanted to escape an ordinary life, and the Army needed pilots. Less than a year later he was flying helicopters in Vietnam and my mother, brother and I found ourselves in my parent's hometown of Northport, Alabama.
Memories of Alabama are sun-faded, their edges brown and curled from the southern heat. Most of them are of my grandfather's house, of a rural, self-sufficient lifestyle where people grew and canned their own vegetables, raised their own livestock. I clearly recall rattlesnake hides hanging from the side of the shed, rhino beetles the size of my hand, the itch of redbug bites, the sting of fire ants, the piercing siren of the cicada, the smell of fresh cleaned catfish, and nights of watching Rod Serling's Night Gallery through my fingers. But there was no horror like that of my grandfather's basement. A decade's worth of spider webs had darkened the small windows. A lone bare bulb hung from a wire casting long deep shadows. The smell of the stagnant sump pump hung in the air along with the dry rot of long forgotten sweet potatoes. The crumbling stone and dirt walls crawled with black widows and centipedes. The maze of moldering furniture and boxes of clothing danced with Daddy Longlegs. At that age I would never venture into that pit alone, certainly not at night, but from time to time my brother would accompany me. He would position us under that one bulb and ask if I was ready, then before I could answer--click off the light. The game was to see who could stand the darkness the longest, the loser being who ever turned the light back on. That darkness felt alive, thick, like something you could swim in. My heart would thud in my ears knowing, knowing, that long boney fingers with dirty jagged nails were inching closer and closer toward my neck, fingers that would drag me into the recesses beneath the house, where days later my family would find my severed head floating in the foul water of the sump pump. I always lost that game and to this day, when I'm alone in the dark, I can feel those same boney fingers reaching for me.
It was during this time that my obsessive nature began to surface. Dinosaurs. I could not get enough, would bring home every book on the subject I could find from the local library. And of course everyone knows that there are still a few dinosaurs wandering the deep dark woods of Alabama. I certainly did, and spent a fair amount of time tracking them down. And though I found plenty of evidence: tracks, bones, teeth, fur (fur?), I never actually saw one. Thus my nights were spent filling stacks of notebook paper with images of the mighty creatures mauling, stomping and burning people alive - because it is common knowledge amongst five-year-olds that a proper dinosaur spits flame.
My father returned from Vietnam and we relocated to Fort Rucker, Alabama -- a sprawling Army base, a gated community before such were in vogue. For the next four years I would fall asleep each night and awake each morning to the thump of helicopter rotors. Our backyard butted up against the forest and I had a thousand square miles of my very own nature preserve littered with abandoned WW2 installations to explore. My friends and I built countless forts and went to war. I ate my share of dirt-clods and pine cones as we slaughtered untold numbers of Klingons, Vietcong, aliens, Sleestak, Nazis, and goblins, and often all in the same battle.
Halloweens on base were a spectacle; thousands of kids assaulting doorbells in the pursuit of goodies. At any given moment you could witness a dozen Six Million Dollar Men, Planet of the Apes ape men, and numerous Super Friends sprinting up and down the sidewalk. But for me Halloween didn't end November 1st. I would stay in character long after my vampire cape had tattered, submersing myself in fantastic worlds of my own creation. I have found no greater pleasure since than that of fleshing out a world, populating it with creatures from my imagination, and bringing them to life with words and images. The only real difference between what I did then and what I do now is that I used notepaper and staplers to create those early books, that and the added joy of running about the neighborhood in full character--though some might accuse me of doing that still (a rumor I will neither confirm nor deny).
My love of the macabre is a thing born in me, even so I cannot emphasis enough the role my older brother, Robert, played in warping my mind. Three years my senior and reading far above his age, it was through him that I laid eyes on my first Frazetta cover. And long before I would read his vast library of Robert E. Howard, Edger Rice Burroughs, and Doc Savage novels, I worshiped their covers, spending untold hours studying and copying them. He'd also procured a treasure trove of horror mags. Not just Creepy and Eerie, but such debase titles as Terror Tales, Weird, and Tales of Voodoo, a grade of blood and gore unmatched by anything since. I would raid his room every chance I could, feasting on these magazines and cannot describe the impact they had on my six year old mind. Later in my early teens he would introduce me to Tolkien, to EC Comics, give me my first Michael Moorcock Elric novel, turned me on to Monty Python, and Dr. Demento. And finally, during my late middle school years, he injected me with an almost lethal dose of punk rock in the form of the Cramps, Dead Boys, the Damned, Ramones and a hundred other bands that gave me the license to tell all the snobby nitwits at my school to ride my middle finger.
In 1976 the Army packed the family up and shipped us to Hawaii. I would spend fifth through eighth grade there. I rediscovered all the Japanese superheroes, monsters, and robots from my early childhood: Kikaidar, Ultraman, the Great Radien. I loved and loathed my time on that island. The tropical forests and beaches were breathtaking, but the public school I attended was in a bad district and my time there forced me to grow up and I did not want to grow up, not at all. At a time when other kids were putting up rock posters, I was still collecting Japanese robots. Faced with drugs, gangs, racial violence and a kind of brutality I had never encountered before, I found myself dealing with a culture that seemed to only respect how badass, how cool you were, that ridiculed and persecuted anyone the least bit weird or odd. I was not badass, not by a long shot, though, regrettably I tried to be at times, and many painful lessons were learned. I was weird though, and plenty odd, so needless to say I found myself an outsider. But fortunately there were other outsiders--geeks and oddballs of all varieties--and we would spend our lunches and breaks in the one safe haven in the school--the library. That was an amazing time of artistic growth and pop-culture expansion for me. Several of my friends were very talented artists and while other students were fighting over which bathroom was their turf (and I could never figure out why anyone would want to own a bathroom), we spent our days drawing and playing early Steve Jackson board games (though the librarian kept confiscation our dice, accusing us of gambling, until we convinced her that we were playing a "math" game). I developed an obsession with skateboarding and spent most weekends carving up sidewalks and drainpipes. It was right about then that the Frazetta art books came out. Heavy Metal magazine was in its heyday with artists like Richard Corben, Mobius, Berni Wrightson, Jeff Jones, and Enki Bilal. These led me to such great underground comics as Slow Death, and Cheech Wizard. I was consumed with the Lord of the Rings, drawing every scene and character. Monty Python's Jabberwocky, and the Holy Grail came out in theaters. I saw the Ralph Bakshi film Wizards and it changed my life. This intensely adult treatment of traditional fantasy would set the tone for all my work to follow.
We left Hawaii and I started high school in Enterprise, Alabama. There the culture was football, football, football. That damn school had two football stadiums, four full size practice fields, eight full time coaches, and a weight gym just for the ball players, yet only a shared room for art class and we had to bring all our own goddang supplies. Pep rallies were mandatory and I was forced to listen as the faculty doled out honors and accolades to steroid injected Neanderthals. Meanwhile artistic and academic achievement seemed to go all but unnoticed. We would then be told to bow our heads and ask Jesus to help us beat the crap out of the opposing team come Friday night. I grimaced my way through most of this, but once made the mistake of not standing during the school song and was treated to a spray of hot spittle when some red-faced assistant coach with veins bulging from his forehead took it upon himself to berate me right there in front of the whole damn school. If I had to take a wild gander I might chance that all this in some way contributed to my revulsion of team sports.
I found myself feeling more the oddball than ever and soon I not only began to accept that I was rather odd, but to revel in my oddness. I developed a passion for martial arts; I loved the discipline and inner focus of long hours of sparring and practicing forms. My brother had turned me on to punk rock and it became the anthem of my anti-social behavior. I was quick to reject others before they could reject me. But looking back there really wasn't much to be angry about; I believe I enjoyed brooding because brooding is a beautiful muse. It was wonderfully dark and romantic to sequester myself away in my room, earphones on, isolated and lost in my own world as the adrenaline of drawing and painting carried me deep into the night. I'll show them, I'll show them all and other such notes of teenage angst would reign in my head as I filled up sketchbook after sketchbook. What I intended to show them I'm not sure, lots of pictures of Elric slaying demons maybe, or perhaps Frodo getting captured by Shelob. Anyway, I bonded deeply with my art and believe those were some of the most inspiring times artistically and I rather miss having silly shit to brood over.
The summer before my senior year I attended a 2 week art program in Atlanta, Georgia. It would be the turning point of my life. Not because of any artistic revelations or inspiring speeches by the staff, but because for the first time in my life I was surrounded by other odd birds that shared a passion not only for art, but for music, film, the avant-garde and an all consuming appetite for the counter-culture. It was the final affirmation that it was okay for me to be me, melting away the last of my adolescent insecurities and focusing all my will on doing something with my art. One of the odd birds I met there was a girl with a Betty Boop haircut named Laurie Yockey. She first came to my attention when several other girls were whispering not to invite her to lunch because she was strange. I was smitten and the two of us hit it off as though we'd known each other our whole lives. When her parents came to retrieve her I confidently proclaimed I would marry their daughter one day. This was met with looks of apprehension and amusement. Four years later we were married. Obsessive? Who?
Frankfurt, Germany came next. I would graduate high school there and then work a year as a civilian gate guard at a military police base searching vehicles for bombs and keeping the world safe from the RAF. I loved that town. Frankfurt was the perfect gothic backdrop to feed my melodramatic nature, and there was little I enjoyed more than roaming those cobble stone streets on cold, rainy nights, the collar on my trench coat flipped up, singing the Violent Femme's Kiss Off under my breath, and feeling like I could take on the whole fucking world.
In 1984 I was attending a commercial art school in Atlanta, Georgia, learning how to set type with picas, to cut Rubylith, and operate a stat camera, skills that went the way of the Dodo upon the advent of the PC. The school, unfortunately, did not teach painting. Painting I had to teach myself by studying the works of artist I loved, such as Frazetta, Pyle, Jeff Jones, Norman Rockwell, and so many others. My soon to be wife moved to Atlanta to finish her art degree and the two of us dove into the local music scene. It was great time in music history; you could catch bands like Gun Club, Black Flag, X, Meat Puppets, and the Butthole Surfers in small venues, jump right up on the stage with them and hoot and howl. It was still offensive to dye your hair funky colors; people would cuss at you from their cars and shoot you the bird and for some reason I really dug that. We would trawl local thrift stores and deck ourselves out in vintage get-ups. At the time I would have told you we were making a statement on self-expression or some other silly nonsense, but the truth was it was Halloween twelve months of the year, just like when I was seven. We were playing dress up and having the best damn time doing it.
After graduation Laurie and I decided to stop living in sin and tied the knot. I fell into advertising because it was the only work I could get in Atlanta. At first I was thrilled just to be making a living with my art, but it didn't take long to figure out that commercial advertising was a soul killer. The California Raisins were all the rage so suddenly every company wanted their products to have cute little faces, arms and legs. I got to do Artcore man. It was during a heated debate over just what shade of white Artcore man should be--I believe we were up to about the fifth redo--that I realized I had to get out of this business before I killed someone. I put together a portfolio of horror and fantasy paintings and started hitting the cons. After many polite "you're not what we're looking for's" and encouraging "you just aren't quite there yet's", I scored a cover with First Comics. The gig paid poop but I was bouncing up and down with excitement--I was finally getting to do the type of work I was born to do. My efforts earned me a few more covers but the work was sporadic and I was far from being able to quit advertising. About that time I heard that the role playing company TSR was looking for a staff artist so I flew myself up for an interview. To say they were not impressed would be a kindness considering they told me flat out I was on the very bottom of their list of candidates. I returned to Atlanta crestfallen but all the more determined to break into this business. Armed only with my dejected portfolio I decided I was going to try the book publishers in New York. I had no prospects, yet I went ahead and rented a tiny flat in New Jersey then returned to Atlanta to load up Laurie and our belongings. It was while loading the U-Haul that TSR called. Apparently no one else on their list wanted to move to a tiny isolated town in the middle of Wisconsin. Me, I would've moved to the flippin' moon if it meant I could paint monsters full time. When they asked how long it would take for me to tie up loose ends, pack my belongings and drive to Wisconsin, I looked outside at the fully loaded U-Haul and said, "About eight hours".
Coming aboard TSR was the winning lottery ticket for me, in one week I had gone from being a frustrated commercial artist to working at the premier role playing game company of the day. I would often arrive early, before anyone else did, and just stare at the artwork on the walls, unable to believe I was allowed to be there, much less contribute. I looked forward to impressing everyone with my immeasurable talents. Things didn't quite work out that way. My first efforts at oil painting were less than stellar. I was thankful that I was on staff or I'm not sure I would've been given a second chance, or third, or forth. I did improve quickly, thanks in part to the amazingly talented artist around me, such industry greats as Jeff Easily, Clyde Caldwell, Fred Fields, Robh Rupple and Keith Parkinson. It was a competitive environment and we clashed on many levels (put together any group of ego-centric artists and this is bound to happen) but there was one factor that kept us bonded; we shared a common enemy--management. Most of TSR's management in that day were non-creatives--neither artist, nor writers, not even gamers. Did this stop them from telling the creatives how to do their craft? Nope. Not one bit. A line I will never forget came about as I was starting a new cover. I was informed that this was a very important cover and told to use only my most expensive colors. What? Huh? Did they want me to paint the damn thing in Rose Madder and Cobalt Violet? I knew of no way to answer them that wouldn't have gotten me fired.
In the beginning management didn't care for my style and pressured me to paint more like the other TSR artists. But style wasn't a conscious effect for me; I just painted the way I painted. Fortunately in my second year TSR introduced a new campaign -- Dark Sun. They were looking for a unique style to separate it from previous product lines and decided my work fit the bill. It was my break, a chance to put my mark on an entire line and for the next three years I worked exclusively on the bleak desert world of Dark Sun.
Outside of art, there wasn't much to do in rural Wisconsin, certainly not a dang thing on TV, and Laurie and I had already rented every video worth watching and far too many that were not. We weren't much into cow tipping, Polka, or ice fishing, so boredom led to kid making, which I can attest is much more fun than kid rearing. We managed to spawn two marginally evil imps that quickly set about their God appointed task of wreaking havoc and mayhem upon the sanctity of my home, and somehow in the process, making my life a whole lot richer.
By my forth year at TSR I was growing weary of painting only Dark Sun desert scenes, but management refused to let me do anything else. This conflict eventually pushed me to leave TSR. It was not an easy decision, I had a family to look after now and the unknown can be scary business. But I made the leap and was fortunate to have landed in the middle of the collectible card craze. Budgets were high and I found card art to be amazingly liberating. Where a cover has to have high impact, has to sell an entire product, card art usually need only be interesting, and this freedom allowed me to explore composition, color, and subject matter. Here a lifetime of influences came together and I feel it was this time of experimenting that helped me define who I am artistically.
Over the next many years my art would take me from Wisconsin, to Pittsburgh, then Seattle. I feel fortunate to have worked in all facets of the creative industries from video games, comics, film, book covers, to RPG's and CCG's. For the most part these experiences have been creatively fulfilling. I thrived on breaking new ground, new creative challenges, but by my early thirties much of the card market had faded and I found the cover work I was doing to be repetitive and confining. I experienced severe burn out and for the first time in my life actually dreaded going near the easel. I was longing for more creative control and craved a vehicle to showcase my own creations. I’ve always considered myself a storyteller, whether through pictures or words, so the combination of the two seemed a natural progression - the ultimate way to express my vision in the print medium. I dug out some of the stories I'd outlined over the years and started pecking away at them. My obsessiveness quickly took over and I found all I wanted to do was write. Soon I could not wait to paint the characters and settings I was writing about. My time writing revitalized my love of painting and I have found that the two disciplines feed off one another, that I love the creative back and forth that bringing a story to life in two mediums can provide. So here I am, full circle, back to what I enjoyed most as a child, obsessively writing and illustrating works from my imagination and can only hope that I will be fortunate enough to continue doing so till the end of my days.