Haynie, Jeff

Jeff calls his work "whimsical symbolism". His images of fanciful cats and decorative fish evolved from strong influences of Art Nouveau and Classical Realism. The symbolic elements in each painting point to an inspiring message of faith, hope and love. Jeff's work has been published by major corporations such as Disney, Pixar, Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, EA Games, Blizzard/Activision, Big Fish Games, American Airlines, Texas Instruments, Pepsi-cola, Frito-lay and Bic pens. He lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington with his wife Sherri and 5 furry children (cats).

"Fantasy art was always of interest to me. Growing up in southern Louisiana I was exposed to the decorative design and color of Mardi Gras, which had a big influence on my love for pattern detail and vivid color. As a kid, I spent a lot of time fishing in warm rivers of the South for bass, bream and catfish. As I would wade down the river fishing, the water and glistening highlights on the river bottom instilled in me a desire to depict dramatic light in my paintings. At school recess, I would find a tree to sit under and draw spaceships and creatures while all my classmates were playing on the playground. When I saw Frank Frazetta’s artwork for the first time, I knew I wanted to do fantasy art. His drama for light, color and stories made a big impression on my imagination.

During the late 70s airbrush t-shirts were really big. I picked up the airbrush and started painting t-shirts, motorcycle gas tanks, helmets, wall murals and even a tractor. Hey, at that age, I was looking for any canvas to paint on. That little airbrush helped me pay my way through art school. Later in my career as an artist, I had the honor of being on the Airbrush Action Magazine staff, traveling around the country teaching airbrush workshops with the best airbrush artists in the industry.

I went to college first at Louisiana Tech University, and later transferred to East Texas State University, where I met Sherri, my wife. In art school I gave my life over to Jesus Christ and began a relationship with God. This step of faith has made all the difference in my life. As each year goes by, I see more and more how God has ordered my steps and blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. My faith in Christ is neither a religious upbringing nor a philosophy, but rather the core of who I am as a person and artist. In college I was blessed to have had classes with some of the best artists who were working professionals in the illustration business; men such as Bart Forbes, Don Ivan Punchatz, Jack Unruh and Mike Presley. These guys were mentors who shared lots of experiences and artistic knowledge, and if it wasn't for their generous instruction, I wouldn't be here today.

After college, I opened Green Acres Studio, a full service illustration studio, and produced illustrations for a wide variety of clients such as American Airlines, Disney, Warner Brothers, Texas Instruments, Bell Helicopter, Frito- Lay, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, IBM, Focus on the Family, Xerox, Bic Pens, Mead paper, and many more. After 14 years of freelancing, Sherri and I decided to closed Green Acres Studio so I could enjoy the stability of working for a company. I went to work for DreamWorks SKG in Los Angeles, California. Steven Spielberg's movies and stories had been an early inspiration for me, so the idea of being able to work for him was a dream come true and an incredible opportunity. As I was exposed to the ideas of entertainment design, motion graphics, visual storytelling, concept development, art direction for interactive game development, my paintings took a brand new direction. For the next 12 years I art directed as well as produced art for video games such as "Medal of Honor", "Small Soldiers", "Need for Speed", "Evil Dead", "Clive Barker's Undying", and "Vegas", for companies such as DreamWorks Interactive, Electronic Arts, THQ and Midway (now Warner Brothers).

One day Sherri found an ad on the internet for a company called "Big Fish Games". Little did I know then that eventually I would work at Big Fish Games directing the Mystery Case Files series. My first full project as Art Director was Mystery Case Files: Return to Ravenhearst. Creating art for this type of games is like creating an interactive novel where story, artwork, game design and cinematography all comes together to make a storybook experience.The idea of moving the camera around the environment in the tradition of the old “Point -and- Click” adventure games like “Myst” was exciting. It was a big commercial success. During the day I would work on these games, and come home at night and work on my personal paintings of whimsical cats and fish. Stories began to emerge that reflect my faith and perspective on life as I created these images."

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