Richard “Gene” Barbera grew up in the Portland, ME area, where he first started to develop his artistic abilities under visiting artists, such as Jamie Wyeth at the Portland School of Art. Barbera continued to practice drawing and painting while he attended the University of Southern Maine, afterward he received his degree in graphic design from the University of Hartford. Barbera moved to the New York City area after college where he designed large scale branding identities for companies such as Topps Card, Toys ‘R’ Us, and The National Hockey League.
To make one of his creations, Barbera tries to piece shapes together like a puzzle to form the image. By keeping the visual to a minimum, Barbera is able to represent simplified and identifiable forms in his work, which allows the viewer to construct the image in their mind. Barbera draws most of his inspiration from recognizable images of the coastal environments he grew up in and when he is not working on his art, Barbera enjoys traveling to Madrid, Spain with his wife and two young children.
“Working on many branding projects, I've learned a few things working graphically; keep your work simplified and use identifiable shapes. I grew up drawing and painting figures and faces starting out with fast sketches but was always really drawn back to that one identifiable feature.” – Richard Gene Barbera