PK 115: How YOU Can Become a Great Artist – Interview With Kevin Murphy, Founder of The Art Academy

PK 115: How YOU Can Become a Great Artist - Interview With Kevin Murphy, Founder of The Art Academy 2 pk 115 how you can become a great artist pencil kings podcast pk
In this interview, founder of The Art Academy, Kevin Murphy, reveals how you can become a great artist and follow in the footsteps of his many successful students

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“This program is about making serious art accessible and available to anybody with the desire to be able to make it.

Kevin Murphy

Ever wondered how YOU can become a great artist?

Despite what others may tell you, this is not just some crazy ‘woo-woo’ dream.

Believe it or not, it’s something you can actually achieve if you really want to.

So how can we be so sure? Because, as Kevin Murphy, founder of The Art Academy, says: ‘Great artists aren’t born – they’re taught.’

And, as you’ll discover in this week’s podcast interview, the results from his many successful students speak for themselves…

Kevin Murphy on How You Can Become a Great Artist

Kevin Murphy didn’t grow up in an affluent family with a clear path to the best art schools in the world. Far from it.

Instead, he grew up on the mean streets of The Bronx, where getting a top-class art education wasn’t exactly a priority.

But Kevin was determined. He knew he wanted to become an artist and illustrator no matter what.

So what did he do next?

After barely scraping through high school, the future didn’t exactly look promising…

He says: “I didn’t really have any prospects. I wasn’t interested in art, and I was borderline illiterate at the time. So I took a job as a carpenter in the construction industry, where I was working on skyscrapers etc in NYC.”

But it was during Kevin’s journey to work at 6am each morning that he made a life-changing decision: He decided to start reading.

And, after signing up to a speed-reading course, teaching himself how to read, and getting engrossed in sci-fi novels and their cover artwork, Kevin made another important decision. He was going to become a book cover illustrator.

So, after three years in the construction industry, he decided to make the break.

Kevin explains: “One morning, I just went to work, handed all my tools over to one of the apprentices, and then I packed up and went home. On my way, I stopped at the School of Visual Arts and picked up an application form.”

His gamble paid off. Kevin got a place at this renowned school and started there as a freshman at the age of 21.3f5306_9c572afd3e7346768a86911e580f26dc-mv23f5306_3f6cea40bc8548c58704b252a86584ef-mv2

Paintings by student, Amy Gong. Left: Before. Above: After 4 months.3f5306_72546dca417a415299321a414d258896-mv2

Amy’s art after just 1.5 years at The Art Academy

But it didn’t last long. After just one semester (and a huge bill for $9000), Kevin realized this was never going to take him to where he wanted to be.

So he quit art school and spent the next eight months painting on his own. Kevin’s work progressed, but there were still hurdles he couldn’t get over on his own…

And that’s when he decided to reach out to another artist for help.

He approached Dorian Vallejo (whose podcast you can listen to here) and was lucky enough to get an invite to his house to watch this highly-acclaimed artist at work.

What happened next helped plant the seeds of a hugely successful art career which has seen Kevin produce almost 250 commercial illustrations for big clients such as Sega, Lucas Arts, and even The Rolling Stones, creating the CD cover artwork for the band’s 1997 release, Bridges to Babylon.

It also paved the way for Kevin’s next 15 years as a portrait painter, where he’s produced around 200 portraits for all kinds of clients.

Then, eight years ago, Kevin was looking for a new project to get involved in…

…and that’s when The Art Academy was founded in Hillsborough, New Jersey.

Since then, Kevin has opened up another school and is in the process of developing this idea into a national franchise.

But what makes The Art Academy so special?

You’ll find all the answers (and learn how YOU can become a great artist, too) in this week’s podcast interview.

Here are just some of the key points from this week’s interview:

  • A simple system for breaking any subject down into line and color value
  • The real reason some artists fail, while others succeed
  • Why The Art Academy is much more affordable than art school
  • Drawing techniques to help you tackle any subject
  • How to reach out to other artists for help and advice
  • How YOU can become a great artist (yes, really!)

We hope this week’s podcast interview helps you see how you can become a great artist – whatever level you’re at.

Be sure to check out the before and after galleries on The Art Academy site – the progress Kevin’s students have made is mind-blowing.

Do let us know if you decide to enrol – we’d love to hear from you 🙂

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