When we asked Beyond the Machina to do an interview for our Artist Spotlight feature, we had a feeling that it wouldn’t be like some of the others we’ve done. Since they joined the Inked Gaming artist community, Beyond the Machina has flashed their unique talents and personality through their impressive collection of work, which really looks great on our gear, if we say so ourselves. And our fellow gamers would probably agree.
As Beyond the Machina’s popularity grows, so does our curiosity about them. We want to know more about who they are, what they do, and what inspires them to make such bold, brilliant artwork. So, we thought it was time to send them some fun Artist Spotlight questions. True to their style, the answers they gave were unique, in-depth, and authentic!
Who are you and what do you do?
Hi! My name is Drew, also known as Beyond the Machina. I make cool stuff that I think is pretty rad. I'm most well known for making Magic: The Gathering-inspired playmats, proxies (I do not sell proxies), and other assorted things. As of recently I've been a voice actor, a guest on various streams, and have written my first article featured on magic arcanum (https://magicarcanum.com/black-ops-zombies/).
What inspires you?
I find inspiration from a lot of places, but the most consistent source of inspiration for me are horror or horror-ish movies, comics, games, and music. If not horror literally, then just playfully dark and mad macabre media. Three of my fave TV shows I watch while working on stuff are The Twilight Zone, The Muppet Show, and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which I feel like should paint (or in my case ink?) a solid picture.
What are some hobbies you do when you’re not making art?
Some hobbies I have when not making art would be: watching movies (my partner and I watch a lot of movies), listening to music (slowly working on building up my partner, and I’s vinyl collection), playing video games, and when I'm able to focus, reading. I also enjoy photography and writing food reviews from time to time.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
I have received a lot of advice in my life. I'm not a very wise person often. The two that have stuck with me the most are both from my late grandpa (papaw as I called him). The one that is genuinely insightful that has helped me make art is, and I'm paraphrasing a bit, “always display your art and always have fun with it”. The other one is mostly nonsense but makes me smile, and it's “You can pick your friends, you can pick your nose, but you can't pick your friend's nose”.
What would your perfect Saturday be like?
My perfect Saturday would probably start with me sleeping in till about 9:30-10:30 range, feeling well-rested. From there I would cook a decent breakfast/lunch and listen to music. After that, I would probably go on a walk or go fishing. Once late afternoon rolls around I would order food or make something if I have the energy and eat it with my partner and friends, perhaps. As the sun is setting, hopefully, a storm rolls in or is on the horizon. The sky is a marvelous vista of colors with the growing growl of thunder as I sip a drink and watch it all slowly grow darker till the stars shine bright. Night falls fully, and I’d go inside, gather some snacks, and start a horror movie double feature. As they end, I take a deep breath and head to bed after putting the mess from the snacks away. Somewhere in there, I'd have to have at least seen, or hopefully have petted, a dog.
A penguin walks through that door right now wearing a little hat. What do they say and why are they here?
Ah, I know why they're here and what they want. If they're any sort of professional, they wouldn't say a word. I know why they're here and who sent them. I understood clearly, and I'd finish up what I was doing and follow them. This is going to be a particularly interesting day that I knew surely would come.
How do you know when your art is finished (if ever)?
I usually just have a gut feeling when I'm finished. Another important piece of advice I received in high school is K.I.S.S. Keep it simple, Stupid. I think on that often and try not to overthink my stuff and once it's done, or at that point where I'm content with it, I'm done.
You’re a new addition to the crayon box... What color would you be and why?
I'd be the extra black crayon that the weird kid in first through third grade is absolutely stoked to get after accidentally breaking the first black crayon, as that always seems to be the one to break first.
What's your favorite genre of music to jam out to?
I listen to a LOT of music. What I'm jamming out to really depends on my mood and what I'm doing. For instance, just today:
- When I got to work at 8:30 am I listened to melancholic folk and pop until lunch (think Jim Croce, Simon, and Garfunkel, Billy Joel, Of Monsters and Men, Neutral Milk Hotel, etc.)
- After lunch, I listened to some old swing and ballroom music for about an hour (Al Bowlly, Frank Sinatra, Bobby Darin, etc.)
- For about an hour I listened to dark and haunting folk/country music which gave me some ideas for art (Colter Wall, Amigo the Devil, Harley Poe, The Builders, and the Butchers, Townes Van Zandt, etc.)
- From there, I started listening to a string of Elton John songs until about 2ish when my partner picked me up, and we blasted Fleetwood Mac and Billie Eilish while going to get some snacks
- Hours later while typing up this interview I'm listening to a lot of new wave and post-punk (Talking Heads, The Smiths, The Cure, Joy Division, etc.)
Where can we find more of your awesome artwork?
The general place one can find all of my stuff would be https://linktr.ee/beyond_the_machina.
From there I have my shirt store (https://www.bonfire.com/store/beyond-the-machina/), my redbubble where I sell misc stuff (https://www.redbubble.com/people/BeyondThMachina/explore?asc=u&page=1&sortOrder=recent) and I have a Patreon which I need to update more than I do (https://www.patreon.com/beyondthemachina).
We told you it was unique! Not only did they give us the ‘who’, ‘what’, and ‘when’, they gave us the ‘why’ as well, which is just as important if you’re really looking to get to know someone. It was great getting a peek into Beyond the Machina’s world, especially their jam playlist. We definitely spotted a few favorites on that list. How about you? Let us know in the comments.
Thank you to Beyond the Machina for participating, and thank you to those who took the time to read through this month’s Artist Spotlight. We hoped you enjoyed it as much as we did!