I’m beyond thrilled to announce I’ll be attending MondoCon in Austin Texas, September 20 -21. Mondo‘s first ever convention is truly unique in that it celebrates poster screenprints, toys, vinyl records and the creators and artists behind them. I’m really looking forward to meeting the many artists I admire and some friends and filmmaker’s I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I’ll be exhibiting with a full booth and have a few new things in store, so if you’re there please make it a point to drop by and say hi! The convention just so happens to coincide with Fantastic Fest and we’re excited to catch a few flicks while there. Oh, and speaking of Fantastic Fest, I’ll have a very special treat in store for a certain screening, so keep your eyes open for that by following me on Twitter and FaceBook. To snag your MondoCon weekend or day passes, click here!
I was recently featured in Virus, Germany’s leading horror magazine. The article was published in issue #60 and features a poster centrefold of the Birth of the Living Dead artwork. Check out the English translation below.
Virus: You said the last time you interviewed with Virus, it was for their Slither (2006) issue. You’ve done a score of work since then. Is there anything you’re particularly proud of?
There’s certainly been some big changes since then! To catch up, I left Rue Morgue as art director in 2010 to start my own company and pursue other projects. It was a difficult decision because I felt my artwork has had a big hand in the success of the magazine and it was my identity for over a decade. I was worried that I may lose my following, friends that I have made or even contacts within our little industry, but luckily, the exact opposite happened. I couldn’t be busier and I’m doing all kinds of things that I never had the time for in the past. I’m doing more conventions now and getting my work in front of as many people as I can. The good news is, I’m still very much a part of the magazine. I write a monthly art column for them called The Fright Gallery and I occasionally still contribute artwork and ideas. I often feel as though I haven’t left. Working on my own has been nothing short of incredible though and at times, it can be a lot to handle by myself, especially now that I’m printing and shipping my own posters. But, thankfully I have an amazing wife who helps me with the business. I’ve been able to work with many different companies, make new friends and work with old ones. Ultimately though, I’m mostly proud that I’m able to work every day and contribute creatively to the genre that got us all here in the first place – HORROR.
V: I’m curious to learn the history of one of your more recent works: The ‘Survive’ poster you did for Fright Rags in the fight against domestic abuse. Could we discuss what inspired that, and how you chose the look?
Ben Scrivens from Fright Rags knew I was a big Friday the 13th fan and felt I would be a good fit for it. It was for a great cause, so I was even happier to contribute. I knew I had to feature the first four “final” girls from the film, and wanted to them to look a bit classical, so I have them lots of wavy hair and added the boarder. I sometimes try and sneak in some hidden details or a “hook” to the concept, such as the Camp Crystal Lake sign or Jason’s mask in the reflection of the water. I always love it when I see things like that in other people’s work, and as a fan of most of the films I get to work on, I get a lot of pleasure out of watching people react to it.
V: Could you tell us a little more about your experiences with Tales from Beyond the Pale? Aside from the logo design, did you handle all the cover art? What was your favorite episode/piece to design for?
Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid approached me with their concept for audio horror. I love those old radio shows like Inner Sanctum and War of the Worlds, it’s a different medium so the nature of the project sounded fresh and really interested me. They are innovative guys and have contributed some amazing things to horror so when they asked if I would create the art for the show, it was a pretty easy decision. I created all of the posters for season one and and half of the posters for season two.
I really liked doing the poster for Trawler. I liked the episode a lot but I’m a lot but I’m also a sucker for underwater creature features.
V: On your website: Is the demon priest logo on your website a nod to the family priest that gave when you your first set of pencils and felt-tip pens?
Yes, the priest is a nod to that, but I’m rebranding this year.
V: When you began to create darker art, how was it received by your family and friends? Were your gifts encouraged?
My parents and family were very supportive of my interest in horror and are to this day. They get it. Both of them enjoy the films and as long as I wasn’t watching something too extreme, they pretty much let me rent anything I could get my hands on. My mother was always reading Stephen King novels so at an early age I would read them when she was done.
In school, most of my teachers encouraged it – I can remember one of my teachers let me skip a class or two to draw in the library posters of Freddy and Jason so she could hang them around the class room at Halloween. I had to use an overhead projector to do it.
V: You previously mentioned you had done your first silk-screen with Mondo. What was that like for you? Did silk-screening alter the way you approach your creative process at all?
It was a challenge and a little tricky but thankfully, I have a lot of artist friends to ask advice when I need it. You never stop learning new ways to do things with silk screening.
V: Is there any ground (i.e. a particular film or medium you’re still curious about.) you haven’t covered yet?
It’s really inspiring to see so many of my friends becoming filmmakers so I do want to direct a film one day, perhaps an animation. I got a taste of it when I created the illustrations for the animated sequences in the George Romero documentary, Birth of the Living Dead. I worked closely with the director Rob Kuhns and Larry Fessenden and I had a lot of input into how to tell the story. I really enjoyed it. I’m lucky to be in an industry where when the time comes, I can hopefully call on people and work with them on something.
I’d also love to do a coffee table art book, I have a proposal a good friend wrote up for me, so a I just need to get motivated again to pitch some publishing houses.
I am thrilled to announce I am an official guest at this year’s Feratum Film Fest, Mexico’s biggest and baddest horror and sci-fi film festival.
I am also pleased to say I will be exhibiting a career retrospective of art work for the first time in Mexico, which spans my fifteen year career creating horror inspired imagery.
The exhibit will feature many original drawings published on the covers of RUE MORGUE, silk-screened posters of some horror film favourites and art print that have gained international recognition.
In addition, Feratum will be screening the George A. Romero doc I illustrated, Birth of the Living Dead and I’ll be on hand for the screening and the Q & A.
When WaxWork Records contacted me earlier this year to create the artwork for their upcoming vinyl release of Richard Band’s score for Re-Animator, what was a fan of the film like I to do? Grab some Re-agent for inspiration and pray brain death doesn’t kick in until the job is off the slab. I watch Stuart Gordon’s Re-Animator once a year and I crave it like a sick snack. Loosly based on H.P. Lovecraft’s short story, The Strange Case of Dr. Herbert West, Gordon’s adaptation is a demented and explosive mix of gonzo gore, pitch black humour, and features one of the craziest sex scenes ever filmed for a horror film. On top of all that is Richard Band’s orchestral score which I’ve always felt elevated the film from pure camp to instant classic and much like the movie itself, when the score is over you never forget it.
In creating the artwork for Waxwork’s re-issue, I knew I wanted to do something completely different than what had been created for the film in the past. The original illustrated poster for Re-Animator has always been a big inspiration. It’s a perfectly painted image and who can forget the tagline, “Herbert West has a good head on his shoulders… and another one on his desk.”
Google “Re-Animator poster” and an abundance of images and concepts pop up. Just about every avenue or direction has been taken with the material since it’s release in 1985. Some clever ones include the glowing green needle shaped as a headstone cross, or Herbert West holding up Dr. Hill’s very alive and very severed head in victory. All great stuff, but one thing a lot of these posters and fan-made artwork all have in common is Herbert West as the focus. It makes perfect sense of course, he is the lead character in the film and Jeffrey Combs gleefully demented portrayal of the young surgeon couldn’t have been more perfectly played. I wanted to make sure my bases were covered conceptually with the artwork and V.1 features West as the hero on the cover. Doctor Carl Hill, his evil nemesis, also perfectly portrayed by David Gale, makes up the face on the back cover.
In V.2, we were going for a more minamilist approach to the design but we felt it just didn’t have that over-the-top impact of the film, so it too landed on the morgue floor. After a quick discussion with Kevin at Waxwork Records, we settled on the final concept, V.3. An explosion of Re-Agent forming the evil Dr Hill, one of horror cinema’s most demented villains. Doctor Hill is an incredible foe to watch. The film shares similar themes with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the jealous Dr. Hill eventually becomes the monster that West creates using his trusty Re-Agant serum and ultimately must be destroyed. We also wanted to find a way to feature Combs,Bruce Abbott and Barbara Crampton who all deliver performances that have continued to contribute to the success of the film with their dedicated performances. Their faces became the tendrils of serum and before you can say “Cat dead.”, we finally had a concept that spoke to Richard Band’s sprawling orchestral score and the insanely over-the-top spirit of the film.
Thanks for reading and I hope this sheds a little green light on the work that went into presenting the new re-issue of Richard Band’s memorable score. Pre-orders are available from WaxWork Records here.
See you in the dark,
I’m honoured to have a piece in Mondo‘s Universal Monsters art show, which opens on October 19 and runs until November 10. It’s their biggest and baddest show yet and I can’t wait to see all the amazing artwork on display. I’m happy to say I’ll be in attendance for the opening, along with my talented pals Justin Erickson and Paige Renyolds from Phantom City Creative and our good buddy, Jason Edmiston. To say we’re excited about this particular show is an understatement. In case you haven’t noticed, we happen to like classic monsters, a lot. Here’s the flyer with all the artists and info.
I was recently commissioned by TIFF Bell Lightbox to whip up a quick poster for their In Conversation series with legendary horror director George A. Romero. Co-presented by Rue Morgue, Living Dread: The Cinema of George Romero starts it’s run on Halloween evening with Creepshow on Wednesday October 31, a screening of Martin with an introduction by Romero on November 1, Monkey Shines on November 2, all day screenings of Night, Dawn and Day of the Dead with intro by Romero on November 3, and finally the director introduces Michael Powell’s creepy classic, Peeping Tom on November 4.
The poster will be available only in the TIFF store during the event, so grab one while you can.
Limited to 100 copies, measures 18″ x 24″, signed and numbered and is printed by Toronto’s Kid Icarus. The poster will be available only through TIFF, but watch for some artist copies to appear right here on my site after the event. Hope to see you there!
Have a safe and happy Halloween!