A look into the lives of GHC staff: Art Professor Brian Barr

Professor of art, Brian Barr, is innovatively navigating changes with COVID-19 and continues to show his character good character and fun nature.

Being a student of art with Barr, there is never a dull moment. Between “Batman” references and long tangents that start with, “Well when I was in school…” Barr’s personality shines brightly.

Barr teaches several classes every semester, usually around eight and teaches at both GHC and Berry College.

Having such a hands-on subject to teach, COVID-19 has thrown some curveballs. Barr said, “This semester, it has been difficult trying to distance while teaching, as, so often, I have to work side-by-side with students so that they can see what I am trying to demonstrate. And I have had to create multiple still-life arrangements for the classes so that students would not be bunched up around one set-up.”

Barr, like most artists, has always dreamed of being an artist of some kind. “Well, I had always wanted to be an artist of some sort. Originally, I had planned to be an animator or comic illustrator, but, when I began taking the core art classes, I found that I was better at more traditional forms of drawing,” said Barr.

Thoughts of being a professor weren’t far behind. “Throughout my college and graduate school years, I was often asked to help other students learn certain techniques. So, pretty early on, I began to consider being a professor” said Barr. “Truthfully, when I was a child, I had wanted to be a college professor because Indiana Jones was one. I remember briefly considering being an archeologist, but I quickly returned to art before I hit high school.”

Cartersville student, Glyder Jorge, expresses his experience as a student of Barr saying, “Barr is an excellent instructor. His teaching method is easy to understand, and he allows us to work with our choice of medium. His knowledge has helped me grow as an artist and pushed me to expand my horizons when it comes to exploring different forms of medium. His best advice that has stuck with me was that if you can draw a face you can draw anything.”

Barr often urges his students to branch out with different mediums, especially pen-and-ink, it was no surprise this is one of his favorite mediums. Barr said, “Since college, my favorite medium has been charcoal. I’ve always liked the expressive qualities of that medium and that it allowed me to make very large drawings. But recently, I’ve become more enamored with pen-and-ink. It feels like a complete reversal of technique, but that may be why I like it. I think that I like the graphic quality of it, and that the final image feels a bit more ‘clean’ than with charcoal.”

Cartersville student, Hannah Boling, said her Drawing I class, “really pulled me out of my comfort zone and of what I thought art was and challenged me to think in a unique perspective.”

Outside of art, Barr has several hobbies, “Well, I confess that, though I’ve certainly gotten older, I’ve never truly grown up. I still enjoy so many things that I did as a child: toys, games, comic books. My childhood love was Transformers toys, and I’ve been working on building a decent collection for years. I really enjoy video games, old and new. I still have my old Atari and my Nintendo systems hooked up near my PlayStation 4 and I play them all whenever I can. Perhaps a little less common, I have a real passion for interesting, B-grade films, particularly in the horror, action, sci-fi genres. Some great examples would be Turkey Shoot, the Warriors, Night of the Demons and just about any of the Stuart Gordon films.”