Links to Jamie’s artwork online:

                        La Bella e la Bestia

                        Marina's Beauty and the Beast Site

             Songs of the Bluebird: the Painted Tunnels

             Beauty and the Beast, A Classic (archived)

                        Laura's Cavern

              Lesley's site (archived)


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your interests in general.


            Hmmm... gonna keep this simple, eh?  I could write a book on this one question alone – but I’m not a writer, that’s why I got into photography and painting!

            Okay, born in ‘51 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, family moved to Omaha, Nebraska when I was 10. I grew up painfully shy so escaped by reading and drawing. In high school got involved in rock bands {singing}, did that for about 10 years then got into photography... did that for about 15 years then got into painting and makeup effects... did that for about 10 years and am now turning into a computer geek! All this while working full-time in television.



Your art, your friendship and your “alter-ego” Myhr are the reasons that you are famous in the B&B world.




Let’s talk a little of your art first. How long have you been drawing/painting? If you started when you were a child/teenager, do you still have some of your work from that time? Did you share it with your friends then?


            I’ve been drawing since I was a little kid but didn’t start illustrating with an airbrush until I was 41. I have a few sketches I did throughout the years and my mom saved a bunch from when I was a kid. But art, for me, was a just diversion, not a passion, so I never put a lot of importance on it –- enough importance to save schtuff.


Who most influenced and/or encouraged your talent? What training have you had for techniques in art, and where, if it was formal training - or are you self-taught, working from instinct?


            Most everything I’ve done has been self-taught, which can be very frustrating for someone with ADD {attention deficit}... but I never had patience with teachers and structured education. I’ve learned best by hanging around talented people and “absorbing” their knowledge and techniques. Keith Birdsong, who did most of the STAR TREK book covers taught me the most about painting and Greg Punchatz taught me the most about sculpting and makeup effects {coincidentally, Greg learned his craft while working with Rick Baker, and his first job was on “Beauty & the Beast!}


Although you made a lot of beautiful B&B art, you are not a fan.


            Well, I enjoyed the show when it aired, but I didn’t get into the details as a fan would. I work in television, so to me it was just a well-done program.


How did you meet the Beauty and the Beast fandom, and why did you feel the need to create B&B art?


            If you’ve ever been to a general scifi convention, you know there’s a lot of fandom crossover – STAR TREK fans like STAR WARS, BatB fans like X-FILES, etc.

            In ‘93 I was a guest at an international STAR TREK con and there were some BatB fans there. They came up to me and said that my “beast” character would fit in nicely in the BatB world, and, “by the way, there’s going to be a BatB con nearby in the next few weeks, you should go...” I had a free weekend and, at the time was trying to do as many con artshows as possible, so I went to the ‘93 con in Austin, and the rest is history!


Care to expound a little about the technique you used for your B&B art? What is it, and what problems have you encountered using it?


            Since I grew up with a pencil in hand, I stayed away from traditional painting. Then, in ‘92 I was a guest at a Star Trek con and the artist GOH was Keith Birdsong. I was fascinated by what he was doing {photorealistic portraits}, so I learned as much as I could. A few weeks later I bought an airbrush and paint!

            Since Keith was cranking out sooooooo many STAR TREK book covers each month, he had to come up with a quick and simple technique – since it suited my short attention span, I picked it up quickly! Handling an airbrush is similar to handling a pencil; it’s just laying down color instead of graphite.

            Basically, you find suitable photo references {and being a photographer, I was able to shoot my own}, sketch your layout, transfer it to paper, and then color in the lines with the airbrush. Simple!


How long does it take for an idea to become a finished painting?


            Like writing a book or composing music, some days the ideas would flow and some days they would get blocked up!

            In general, I would spend one evening sketching the layout, an evening laying down color, and another evening detailing – and if there were multiple figures in the painting, add another evening for each figure or a detailed background {now remember, I was working full-time in television and working part-time in a video store, so painting time was limited to a few hours each evening and weekends}. For example, a simple portrait of just Vincent, with a simple background, would take about 8 hours.


How did you choose the B&B subjects in your art?


            The same way I would pick a subject for any piece I did, be it BatB, science fiction, or a personal portrait of a model I had photographed – I would flip through reference photos quickly, just glancing, not looking,  and suddenly I’d look at one and I’d “see” a finished painting.

            Rarely would I come up with an idea first and try to make a reference fit it {except for “the B-Files”. I always felt a beast character living with people underground fit into the X-Files world and I knew I had to do a crossover piece!}.



Your portraits of the main characters of B&B are stunning. Do you use photographs or TV screen shots to help you or do you do them all from your imagination?


            Nah, I’m a copy hack, always using reference photos... if you’re doing portraits of recognizable figures, you HAVE to use reference. Unfortunately, it’s only been the last few years that high quality screen grabs could be done with enough detail to use as reference, so I had to scour magazines and such for pics to use.



Did you have one or several favorite subjects or moments in the characters' lives or feelings you found inspiring?


            Nope, I was just creating images, placed in situations dictated by the reference materials at hand.


Does personal experience ever provide inspiration for a piece of art? Have the images in your art ever been a reflection of yourself or someone you know? If so, to what extent?


            Everything you do in life is influenced by who you are, what you’ve experienced in your lifetime. But I never felt the need to tell “my” story, like a songwriter or poet... if something personal wound up in a painting, it was just a happy accident!


Is there any particular drawing, etc. that you had an unusual amount of trouble getting the way you wanted it and how did you resolve that problem? Or, on the contrary, were any especially easy and satisfactory?


            Every artist will have moments where things aren’t going right. That’s when you put down the brush, walk away, and clear your head. But any real problems I had were technical... the character problems are worked out in the layout phase.

            Linda Hamilton has a stunning, unique face, and it’s very hard to get it right. Patrick Stewart of STAR TREK also has a unique bone structure that’s hard to get right. But you work all that out in sketches before you start work on laying color.

            Some paintings might not “click” in my brain 100%, so things move at a slow pace, or develop completely different than how it was originally envisioned... then there are other pieces that just have that “spark” and everything falls into place magically – “Twins at Birth?” was like that. No matter where I went as Myhr, there were people who thought I was trying to do Vincent. I couldn’t explain the differences as well as I could paint the differences, so I did a portrait of the two together. It was such a fun concept, that I was chuckling as I painted it. It flowed out onto the paper... it was the quickest painting I’d ever done – all together, it probably took 8 hours {a normal paint time would be double that}.



If you could change one thing about your work habits, style, etc, what would it be?


            I’m a huge procrastinator.    :(

As for style, I don’t paint anymore, so it’s a moot point. But I always wanted to simplify my style. I’m a big fan of Drew Struzan {he does movie posters – Indiana Jones, Star Wars, etc.} He has photorealistic style that’s broken down to artsy simplicity.


You, as well as the other guest authors we are interviewing, have allowed your work to be posted online for the enjoyment of all B&B fans. Why did you decide to do it?


            There were people posting my schtuff online without permission, and lots of times it looked bad, so I figured if it was going to be online, I might as well have some control of the quality.


How did you/do you choose the sites to have your art posted?


            Again, it boiled down to quality presentation. If my work looked bad online, viewers who hadn’t seen the work before might think that it was painted poorly.


What do you like to hear about your art?


                Good constructive criticism. That’s how an artist improves. Well, that, and “practice, practice, practice”!


What do you consider the greatest compliment you've received?


            When I heard that the portrait I did of Roy Dotrice {“Father”} was his wife’s favorite, and she had it hanging with other priceless works of art!



Did you ever get a review that really touched you?


                Not yet.


Which of your B&B works do you like best, and why?


            That’s like asking which child of yours is your favorite. I like all for different reasons.


If you were forced to pick one of your art works as a favorite, what would it be?


            Probably “Incessant Longing” … it came at a special time in my life, the person in it is very special, and ten years later, it’s one of the few I did where I can step back and say “damn, I did that?” It even made it’s why into the first book cover I did {“His Father’s Son”, by Nigel Bennet & P.N. Elrod, BAEN BOOKS}




Who are some other B&B artists whose work you particularly enjoy? Is there a piece of B&B art you especially remember and like?


            Oh no you don’t... you tryin’ to get me mugged??  I pick one and all the others will gang up on me! There are a lot of talented people out there...    :)


Is there any advice you would give to beginners?


            Don’t get bummed out if someone doesn’t like your work. That’s just one opinion, and you won’t be able to please everyone. Take the criticism and use it constructively.


Do you presently produce work for any other fandoms besides B&B? Are you or have you been involved with any other fandoms in the same way?


            Presently, no. I’ve been out of fandom since 2001. But for the dozen years that I WAS involved, I did all kinds of cons – Star Trek, general scifi/fantasy, Xena... but I never got as close to the fans as I did with the BatB family.



You have been a friend of the fandom for a long time, often attending the conventions. How did you enjoy being there, and seeing your art being displayed and auctioned and cherished by the fans?


            It was always a thrill to see people get excited about something I’d done... but it was also a lot of work {remember, this was something I squeezed into my normal workaday life when I could}, and there were some bad times along with the good. Eventually, it got to the point where the bad was outweighing the good, and I felt it was time to move on.


So, although this is an interview about your art, we cannot forget your alter ego and special friend of the fandom, Myhr. Care to briefly explain how Myhr was born and got his name, and how he entered the B&B fandom, for the few new fans who are still unaware?


            I started playing with makeup effects back in the mid-80s and created a lion man character for Halloween {based on the old “Island of Dr Moreau” movie}. 

Since I work in television, we used the character to host STAR TREK marathons on our station. One of the producer/directors had come up with the name, a derivation of my last name, Murray.

            Local Star Trek fans invited me to appear at local Trek cons and it took off from there. BatB fans were at a big Trek con and told me I HAD to go to the next BatB con... since I had the weekend free, I went to the ‘93 con in Austin, a 3 hour drive away. Myhr fit in and immediately got adopted by the BatB fans, and was asked to appear at the annual BatB cons.



Would you tell us something about the books written on him, and give us titles and sources for ordering?


            I guested at a lot of scifi/fantasy cons with a vampire novelist named P.N. Elrod. Over the years we got to be friends, and she always “threatened” to write a novel about Myhr.  To test the waters, she wrote a short story that appeared in an anthology {“ASSASSIN FANTASTIC”, Daw Books}, got great response, so expanded the short story into a novel {“The Adventures of Myhr”, BAEN BOOKS}. Within 9 months of release, it was out of print {I believe it can still be ordered directly from no one else has copies.} Elrod is currently working on a second Myhr novel.




Do you still have either your first B&B creation or your first published B&B work?


            “Soul Mates” is the first piece I did for BatB fandom.




Winterfest Online, January 2005