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Sam Shearon

Sam Shearon talks with Heavy Music Artwork

Sam Shearon Aka ‘Mister-Sam’ is a British Artist born in Liverpool in the United Kingdom. Specialising in horror and science-fiction, his work often includes elements inspired by ancient cultures, the occult, industrial/art/revolution-eras as well as classic literature and the often controversial side to the study of the supernatural, the paranormal and the realm of cryptozoology. Best known for creating 'Dark-Artwork', his previous clients are varied though all sway towards the darker side of the entertainment industry both in print, music and film. Previous clients in the music industry include Jason Charles Miller, Rob Zombie, Rammstein, A Pale Horse Named Death, Fear Factory, American Head Charge, Godhead, Piranha, stOrk, Crowned By Fire, HIM and Iron Maiden among many others...

He has also created guitar graphics for ESP and Dean Guitars. Other clients include Pro-Tone Pedals, Coffin Case, and Dig Deep Entertainment. Sam’s work has been published by a variety of magazines, books and comic books, including - FANGORIA, LA WEEKLY, HEAVY METAL Magazine, The Fortean Times and most notably IDW Publishing. Through IDW he has illustrated cover art including '30 Days of Night', ‘Angel’ and ‘KISS’. He has also fully illustrated the hardback books 'The Call of Cthulhu' by H.P.Lovecraft and 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' by Oscar Wilde. 

His client list continues to grow...

Sam studied at the College of Art & Design in Leeds, West Yorkshire in England where he received a Degree with honours in Visual Communication. He is also a qualified Art teacher gaining his Post Graduate Certificate in Education from Huddersfield University in England shortly after his Art Degree. His exhibition work has sparked outrage and fascination alike, both online and in local and national newspapers due to the macabre content and subject matter. This has led to coverage from both The Daily Telegraph and the BBC, spawning live interviews and online debates as to whether his ‘gruesome’ artwork should even be considered art resulting in the question ‘Is this Art’ to be printed on the front page of his local newspaper. Some have even called to boycott one exhibition in response to the mutilation of toy bears and the combinations of animal remains and mechanical elements included within his sculpture work. Sam continues to create his Dark Art travelling the world, illustrating books, comic-books, album sleeves, guitar graphics, dark portraits and much more...

HMA: Your resume is really impressive, Iron Maiden, Cradle of Filth, Rammstein, A Pale Horse Named Death, etc. to name a few. How did you get started in designing and creating artwork for Heavy Metal bands?

Sam Shearon: I guess the desire to create artwork for bands really started when I began collecting records as a teenager and following these favourites such as Type O Negative and Nine Inch Nails. I was such a fan of these bands that I literally wanted to become a part of their history and contribute something back to help fuel their future so that I can in turn hear more from them knowing I was part of it.

I saw opportunities in their releases where I could elaborate and illustrate their messages and themes with my own work. So few bands do this and it saddens me when you buy an album that has minimal artwork, if I’m buying an album, I want a package! So with the advent of MySpace, it finally gave me a clear channel to reach out to the bands directly and show them my work. Naturally it was an honor to hear back from people genuinely interested in my art… Those first few phone calls you get from the person you have a poster of on your wall, really makes your jaw hit the floor! Then as I grew up through my twenties, things really started to pan out and I saw a career path growing.

HMA: How did the first paid job land on your lap?

Sam Shearon: I wouldn’t say it landed in my lap, I take pride in the fact I’ve done the whole art education route, got the degree, done the exhibitions etc… I work hard – I make things happen. Nothing is ever just given – it all stems from somewhere. On the back of my work being online, some of my earliest band work was a result of being head-hunted by ‘Bravado’ for the bands HIM and Iron Maiden. The company saw my work on my then MySpace online gallery, I then continued to pursue other bands and solo artists from there and in turn other bands began to approach me and the client list grew.

HMA: In your artwork there is a vast amount of symbolism i.e. occult, mythology, science fiction, etc., do you have any personal interests in these kinds of literature? And how does it influence/inspire you work?

Sam Shearon: I’ve grown up collecting books on mythology, the occult, the supernatural, the paranormal… cryptozoology, demonology, ancient civilizations and cultures. All genres of the unexplained fascinates me. So naturally these elements find their way into my work with purpose. There are indeed hidden messages and codes in the artworks... all will be revealed in good time. As a child I’d spend days on end reading about Aleister Crowley or Dr. John Dee and other strange characters from history… then spend a week burying my head in natural history books drawing my own conclusions about bigfoot, sea monsters and other unknown animals of the world. This age of wonder and fascination never really left me and so a lot of my art is highly inspired by these subjects and continues to fuel my work.

HMA: Do you often get direction from the bands?

Sam Shearon: Not always, but occasionally and I prefer they didn’t… I’m not a painter and decorator. It’s ok to have a discussion about what the album concept and theme is, if the band has an idea for what they want to see then cool… But if it’s paint by numbers with them holding my hand every step of the way – I’m not interested at all! Again, I consider myself an artist – I’d rather be hired as one.

HMA: What is your artistic vision and philosophy?

Sam Shearon: In short – I’d like to show the beauty in the unknown, remove the fear and increase the fascination… from that, we can all learn and enjoy... I’d like to welcome the monsters from under the bed to join us and stand proud. We fear what we don’t understand, but that doesn’t mean we have to shun it!

HMA: What are your views when it comes to experience music and the visual arts?

Sam Shearon: I think both audio and visual arts go hand in hand and are often left aside from each other. Some bands succeed with pure sound, but it makes me wonder just how much more successful they’d be if they had visuals to complement and accent their messages and subject matter. It seems an awful waste to create a full length album and then not even attempt to fully utilize the opportunity of having an array of images to accompany what could be a very powerful package. On the flipside, I’m always thinking about soundtracks and music to accompany my own work for gallery shows and online releases – I think National galleries should pump the relevant music into the rooms that correspond with the eras that the art in question were created in. The great in gesture to the great is a missed marvel to me.

HMA: Your style and technique is described as Dark Steampunk and/or Dark Surrealism, can you give us more insight?

Sam Shearon: I think these labels are merely the interpretations and pigeon-holes people have created in order to understand and categorize my work. Naturally the subject matter that I illustrate most is both horror and science fiction related and thus it is labeled accordingly by reviews from the press and the general public. ‘Steampunk’ in general as a movement, has grown out of control and has become this ugly pop-genre that almost forgets where it came from and so my work doesn’t necessarily fit into that ‘scene’. So I’ve been labeled as ‘Dark’-Steampunk. It seems people feel more comfortable with something if they can put a label on it, even if it means stretching the boundary or mixing the genres. Though I wouldn’t describe my work as anything more than, ‘Dark Art’.

HMA: In terms of style and techniques what are your inspirations and why?

Sam Shearon: I think in terms of techniques, I find greater strength in trial and error than anything. Art in school honestly only really opened my eyes to possibilities not techniques. My skills are self taught and I’ve had a pencil in my hand since I was able to hold it. My inspirations again, come from the books I’ve collected and buried my head in since childhood. But I do draw from experience in life a great deal as I travel around the world, whether it be at Comic Conventions, Rock Festivals or sat at the top of a mountain in the middle of a redwood forest looking for bigfoot… reality and personal experience is the best influence.

HMA: Are you involved in any art group or organization?

Sam Shearon: Nope. I’m a one man Army.

HMA: What are your immediate artistic goals, in terms of style and perfecting even further your talent?

Sam Shearon: I think if anything I’d like to be able to set aside more time for my pencil and ink work. I love freehand drawing and illustrating from life, people, nature, ruins etc. A lot if not all of my creation time these days is taken up with digital enhancement of my work and there leaves little room for hands on dirty art such as sculpture or even film work. So this is something I’m aiming to manage and return to in the new year.

HMA: What is your set up i.e. software, computer, live drawing, studio, etc.

Sam Shearon: I work from a home studio, surrounded by my inspiration and personal collections. I have my books, my taxidermy and skull collections, (given to me by loved ones and friends), antique oddities, boxes of mechanical junk and electronics, circuits and wires. My paints and pencils and of course my machines… Everything seems to find its way through a machine these days.

HMA: What are you currently working on?

Sam Shearon: Right now I'm creating artwork for a variety of bands as usual including the new album sleeve for the band MINISTRY and also for ORGY and Jason Charles Miller (formerly of GODHEAD).

I'm also creating the movie poster artwork for a cryptozoology company Small Town Monsters for the their latest film regarding the Flatwoods Monster. I've previously created all of their film posters and DVD cover artworks including The Boggy Creek Monster, The Beast of Whitehall and The Mothman of Point Pleasant among others. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the famous Patterson Gimlin film footage of Bigfoot, I've also created a wrap around piece of artwork for David Weatherly's new book 'Wood knocks Volume Two' as a follow up to his first release that I also created the cover artwork for.

I recently did some work for Stan Lee's 'Lucky Man' TV show and also wrapped on the new Clive Barker's Hellraiser anthology hardback, both were a mixed bag of insane inspiration and motivation - love those guys! Right now I'm creating a variety of cover artworks for Vesuvian publishing who also released my own adult coloring book 'Creepy Christmas' which is available via Amazon now. 
Aside from all this, I'm creating portraits for people, merchandise designs and logos for bands... there's so much more going on that some days I don't know what day it is. I'm also in the early stages of putting together my own solo art exhibition that I've been invited to show at the Dark Art Emporium next Halloween...!!!

HMA: Do you have any exhibitions or special events programmed for the future?

Sam Shearon: I’m always appearing at Comic-Con San Diego or New York each year, also the NAMM music trade show in Anaheim California. I never charge for autographs, I’ve never understood that, it’s not work it’s pleasure! These events often have my work on show on various products and releases whether it be, guitar graphics or comic books… so again, keep an eye out via Facebook for all that up-to-date info!

HMA: …any final words?

Sam Shearon: Nothing is final.

Sam Shearon store

Copyright 2012 © Interview with Alex Milazzo from Heavy Music Artwork all rights reserved.

Maciej Kamuda

The art of being yourself

Most of all I'm self-taught. I did finish the Academy of Fine Arts, I also did take some art lessons back when I was a kid and all that was helpful, but I spent more time on learning, training and developing my skills by myself. Reading books, training, exploring the art of other artists, and drawing, drawing, drawing - actually I'm still learning, this process never ends. That's because I always try to learn new things and just be better than my last artwork.

I draw as far as I can remember and I also listen to heavy music since my early years. I love music so much that I always wanted to do something with it. I'm a shitty musician, so I decided to do what I do best, draw cover artworks, t-shirt designs, posters etc. I started to work professionally. for good, like 6-7 years ago, maybe a little bit earlier - small local bands, nothing really special. But it was Weedpecker's debut album from 2013 that put me on the map. Since then I work on regular basis, with a lot of great bands, labels etc.

I work both traditionally and digitally. But to be honest, the equipment doesn't matter, I always try to draw like if it was traditional way, you know. Even if I work on a tablet I try to do it like if I was drawing on paper, with pencils, inks etc. It's all about setting up your tools. So I use everything I feel good with. I don't want to waste too much time on talking about the equipment because it's the results that matter. So you know, I could start listing all the software I use, digital tools, traditional pencils, inks, papers., etc., but is that really important?

I don't like when directions are too specific and even literal. I prefer when bands give me just some hints and I have more space to be creative. I also like when they give me carte blanche, but it's very dangerous and you have to discuss with the band every little step you make. Many times bands give me some music samples (for example early versions of songs), lyrics, just to help me to get into the right mood and feel the atmosphere, to understand the theme etc. Yeah, that really helps, actually it helps even more than just simple "draw this and that".

I don't have any philosophy besides drawing whatever I want. And I don't have this so called "artistic vision". I also don't have any mission or things like that. To me the most important thing is to draw and create whatever I feel and stay true to who I am, it's simple as that. The art gives me that kind of freedom, I can be myself. Maybe that's it, maybe that's my philosophy.

All art use some kind of symbolism. That's just the way of saying things, a method of expression. It also gives a viewer many opportunities to have their own interpretation, because to me art is not about trying to figure out what the artist wanted to say but it's about what you see in it. And symbols, they have so many meanings, they can say a lot, much more than a simple, literal image. That, of course, brings a lot of depth into an artwork.  I read a lot of books, comics, watch a lot of movies, listen to tons of music and that influence is absolutely natural. It's a huge part of my life and my personality.

There is no method, routine or anything like that. I guess I just let it all happen naturally, without pushing it. Actually, you can't be creative all the time, no matter what. Sometimes it's good to take a break, a moment of breath, refresh your mind, throw away your pencils, go somewhere, focus on something else, I don't know, like reading. Sometimes you need to take even few days off, just to go back with new energy. You have to build that need of creating. It's a bit like with addiction, the longer your break lasts, the more you want it. But I don't know if that's the best answer I can give you.

I always try to avoid imitation, so I never look for inspiration in other artists works. That's a very dangerous thing because there is a thin line between imitation and inspiration and if you get too deep into it, you will lose control. Of course, there are exceptions, like when you look for inspiration in paintings, drawings or graphics of famous artists for the purpose, knowingly. But other than that I seek inspirations elsewhere, in movies, books, you mentioned mythology, that is also great stuff to get ideas. Above it all, the biggest inspiration is music. Music has a huge influence on me and it keeps me creative, I just push the play button, let the music flow and wait until images start to grow in my mind. It really stimulates your imagination, that's how I found most of my ideas.

As for technique - when I was younger I used to draw and paint in techniques of famous artists, I tried to study the masters, that's how you learn, but today I try to develop my own style and work on it, to get the results I want (which never happens actually because every drawing starts to live its own life at some point and it can go in directions I've never expected it to go). One thing I know for sure - I'm more of a drawer than a painter.

I've been involved in some small exhibitions but nothing serious really. No, I don't have any plans for exhibitions, I don't feel the need for it now. Maybe someday, later, in next couple of years, who knows. It's not that important to me. I've got some ideas for the future, I would love to make an art book with totally new artworks specially made for this occasion. I think it would be even better than an exhibition. I also work on a comic book and I believe I will finish it around the year 2420. Yeah, I've got more, I've got a lot of ideas and I try to work on them but there's always not enough time. 

Interview by Alex Milazzo - Copyright 2017 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.

Cosimo Miorelli

Man at work

Like most people, I always drew as a kid and I simply never stopped since. I did study some art in my teens and early university years but it was mostly my family and the surroundings in which I was raised that influenced my tastes and triggered my curiosity for various expressive media. My father has been curating, for over twenty years now, a pretty unique art festival on the mountains between Italy and Slovenia, Stazione di Topolò - Postaja Topolove, which I have attended every summer since I was a kid. Stazione gathers a lot of experimental musicians and filmmakers so that was probably my real art school. I also grew in a house packed with comic books (mostly Italian and French authors from the 70-80, Moebius, Bilal, Toppi, Manara, Andrea Pazienza, Zezelj,...) and always considered drawing for a living a tasty option.

I have been professionally active for around 5 years now and my activity has drifted from generic illustration jobs to a dedicated research into live-storytelling and collaborating with musicians. I occasionally do some cover artwork for music bands but it is mostly the live and storytelling quality of music that attracts me. First of all, I am mostly a digital artist. I am experimenting a lot with traditional painting tools these days but it is a hard learning process for someone like me who never had a traditional painting training and jumped right into tablet & Photoshop.

With time I have become quite "painterly" and almost lost the feeling for drawing, for enclosing figures into a thin line. I was once obsessed with the delicate line work of Moebius or Otomo but I guess the digital tools have forced me to approximate the contours and focus on color and drama instead. Also, I usually paint with light into dark or even black backgrounds. This emphasizes a dark and dramatic feeling in my works and it is functional to my projected live-painting shows as the story grows out of the darkness and there it returns. Painting with light is a spectacular privilege of the digital medium.

Live-storytelling performances in collaboration with musicians and sometimes actors are my current focus. For these performances, the keys are continuity, fluidity, speed and again the digital tools allow me great results and portability. I have transferred my live-painting approach to more constructed and refined video productions that have been used for documentaries, museum installations, and theater scenography. For both live and "studio" works my setup is laptop + monitor + WACOM tablet.

When I work on album covers I often receive very precise directions and even references to other images. Most music bands obviously stick to well-established genre tastes and image standards.This makes my job easier as there is little thinking to do but it is quite castrating and -if the references don't resonate with me- even frustrating to deal with. I prefer much more to be left alone with the music I have to illustrate and get my ideas and images straight from it. This happens much more frequently when I prepare live- storytelling shows as they are more about the collaborative effort than creating a commercial product.

I just love to create images and collaborate with other people who tell stories, whether they are visual artists, musicians, writers or just good storytellers. I am anxious to explore more collaborative possibilities and hopefully find new exciting techniques to convey those. Apart from that I take it pretty easy and try to enjoy my work wherever it takes me. I remind myself of how lucky and privileged I am to be making a living from drawing and not having to wake up every morning at 7. I am trying to keep alive the positive excitement that comes with working on new projects, the overwhelming obsession that comes with image creation and story development and to throw away all that useless self-inflicted frustration and "I-am-not-working-hard-enough" thoughts that used to haunt me. I am just drawing and painting, after all, not saving human lives.

The connection between drawing and music was always obvious and fascinating to me. As a kid, I watched over and over the "Qatsi" film trilogy by Reggio and Philip Glass where images and music dance together and take you for a ride. Music can trigger emotions and reactions like no other medium as you can't really take shelter from it. I always envied musicians for their power and since I never learned to play any instrument I had to find a way to join them into the gig. When I paint live on the music it is like playing along for me.

I don't' think I have a real occult set of symbols that I bring into play or "hide" into my work but certainly, all illustrators and visual artists have to confront the meaning and recognition of symbols if they want to communicate with an audience. I fall into periodical fascinations, mostly driven by a certain project or accidental discovery I made. For example, I worked on several projects related to World War I and II the past year and had to deal with a lot of graphics and symbols that characterized one or the other army and that people would recognize from decades of war filmography and literature. I searched into war posters and propaganda to find the essence of war imagery. When I worked on a show about Portugal and I was all about ancient navigation, constellations and pre-Colombian motives. When telling a story with images and sounds you have to take into great consideration what people would recognize the signs and images you make.

Ideas and inspiration can come from everywhere. Looking at other illustrators or painters might be a direct source of influence (if you understand what is that you really like in their work, which might not be as easy as it sounds...) but I sometimes find more effective to change the pool I fish from. Photographs or films often stimulate me more than illustration, which is an image somehow already digested by somebody else, with his own vision and style. I always find effective to go out and see some work in real person. There is no internet search that makes me want to paint like a visit to a museum. Sometimes also a walk down the block is enough to get the brain spinning. You see how the sunset light bounces on a concrete building and ZAC! you really want to paint something as warm, comfortable and yellow as that concrete wall.

I have a strong fascination for epic tales and never really grew too old for liking warriors. knights and ancient myths. Moving to Berlin has flooded my images with cityscapes and traffic lights but I guess there is still a flavor of chivalry in my figures. I admire the illustration and comic work of Sergio Toppi because of his fierce characters and the way he brings detailed weapons and objects into his unmistakable compositions. Another crucial influence is Danijel Zezelj who first showed me how to sculpt figures with light and shadows and how to paint along the music.

I am a solitary worker although I often meet with other people to prepare a collaborative performance or piece. Still, I sometimes suffer from this loneliness. Sharing the studio with other artists is helping a lot and I have realized how much better and happily, I can work while sitting close to another working mind. Chatting and beer breaks are fundamental to generate fresh ideas as much as concentration and silence are.

Summer is the golden season for live shows and performances and I have a few dates over the next months. On the side I am working on a comic book which will be published during the late 2017 in Italy and a couple of other illustrated book projects ready to start. I'm not as constant as I should be but I tend to announce my upcoming projects on my facebook page and post the results on my website

Der Träumer KOLN: 

Der Träumer ACQUA: 

Webdocumentario "Nella sabbia del Brandeburgo": 

Interview by Alex Milazzo - Copyright 2017 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.

Rainer Kalwitz

Phantastic Realism

I had studied graphic arts at the university of applied sciences in Düsseldorf/Germany. I also worked for 3 years as a technical illustrator for the Ford car company in Cologne. Meanwhile, I am teaching illustration and drawing at several art schools and academies in Germany.

My start was actually not for a heavy metal band but for a melodic progressive rock band from Germany called Lorian. They were/are friends of mine and asked me if I could do the artwork for their debut album 'Virginal Mind' in 1995 when I was still a student. When the album was released it aroused interest at several other brands and new labels. I also sent small portfolios with photo-samples of my work to record labels and soon I had a bunch of commissions for album cover artwork from bands and record labels from all over the world. That was around 1997/1998…

I am a classic traditional illustrator which means that I am only doing handmade artwork and I am working in a mixed-media style using acrylic colors, pencils, inks and the airbrush technique (acrylic inks).

Well, some bands leave me almost complete freedom at the artwork, e.g. the cover that I did for Vangough album 'Between the Madness'. Bands have very detailed ideas and are very picky about every smallest piece in the background. And other bands have some rough ideas in mind but they are open for other ideas or modifications of their original artwork concepts. Shadow Gallery, for example, came up with the idea of an office with a computer monitor and on this monitor a sword spearing a globe of the world for the artwork of their album 'Tyranny'. I felt we should keep it a bit more simple, iconic but eye-catchy and I came up with a rough pencil sketch of a burning map of the world and a snake winding around a sword and forming a dollar-sign. They loved the idea and the artwork can be seen on their album "Tyranny".

Symbols are just a good way to transport or visualize an abstract message or theme but mostly I don't have any deeper interest in this kind of topics. I am not the occult or religious person although I am often quite fascinated by their symbolism. But I go to churches only to view the building and to breathe in the atmosphere, not for praying.

Regarding style and technique, I find the most inspiration in the works of the "old masters".  I am also inspired by literature like e.g. Edgar Allen Poe, historical novels, old legends and fairy tales, by films, by trips to exciting cities e.g. Riga, Tallinn, Cologne, Münster etc. (I could mention much more). But the best inspiration is often nature: almost every evening I am driving around with my mountain bike and see interesting stuff. Hunting owls, bizarre trees, and plants, clouds in the moonlight, sunsets, thunder, and lightning etc. Such stuff is my main inspiration and I want to caption the mood that I experienced in these moments in my paintings.

The painting that best defines my own style at the moment is an unpublished one called 'The Astronomer': I think this image transport my vision very well. I would call the style "Phantastic Realism" since it combines realistic elements and details in a fantastic, dream-like composition. This painting is somehow also full of nostalgia and some sense of old memories and longing. I guess I am a romanticist.

I am a member of the German image copyright society and collecting company Bildkunst and they are associated with Artists Right Society in New York Such organizations are much more important for artists who make their living by their art (and they don't charge any money from the artists).

I also had and still have in mind to join one of the illustrator's organizations but I am still not sure if they can offer me enough benefit for myself, keeping in mind that they charge around 200 bucks each year from their members.

I have been involved in several exhibitions in the past. My next exhibition is planned for January 2018 in my hometown. It will be an exhibition with two themes: One, I will present many original paintings of cover artworks that I had done for books and CDs in the last years and two, in a separate room I will present the most interesting cases of copyright infringements that happened to my work within the last 5 years, together with many items that I had ordered from the infringers as a corpus delicti. Copyright infringement has become a pain in the ass for me within the last years, especially my image 'Medusa Mask' has been copied and stolen more than hundred times so far (for commercial usages) and this will be my revenge and fun.

I want to experiment with oils a bit more, I must admit that I just used oils very rarely in the past and I want to become a bit more experienced and familiar with this technique. I just need to find maybe a good teacher/artist who can show me some interesting and professional ways of working out almost photorealistic paintings with oils.

I also have in mind to work under a secret pseudonym so that I can work out paintings that are completely different from the work that I have done so far. Work from the past can also be a burden because certain images always pop up in the heads of the viewer when they hear a certain name of an artist. To avoid that I try to work undercover. At the moment I am searching for some kind of management or representative for my work. Any idea or hint is appreciated. 

Interview by Alex Milazzo - Copyright 2017 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.

Lukasz Wodynski

Living beings

I graduated The School Of Fine Arts in my home town Bydgoszcz than moved to study painting at Universitas Nicolaus Copernicus in Toruń.  The visual arts became my life. I work with traditional techniques like drawing and painting. Being in a multimedia culture I also became interested in mix media techniques like digital photography or video and the new possibilities they brought.

I've started to listen to punk, rock and metal music as a young man. Some of my friends were playing in bands at the time. Phenomenon and philosophy of such kind music fascinate me today. I just love open minded music with emotions and expressiveness. Some people just now me or heard about my works and they wanted me to do the visual layer for their music. And so from time to time,  I have had the opportunity to create work for bands. I remember how I've started to work for a Greek band called Aenaon. They found me on the internet and wrote me asking to use my paintings for their "Cendres Et Sang" album. When I listened to samples I just loved their music mixture and their way of thinking as a person and we began to collaborate with their next releases. I think there is also needed some chemistry between people when you collaborate in any project with someone.

I use different methods in my paintings, it depends on the idea. Usually, I use multilayer mixed media technique, based on acrylic background with oil painting layers. Other I use the paint like the action painters used to do. They are all are created by my hands. Drawings and sketches are the basis of my concepts. For drawing, I like to use carbon, cause the expressive effect you can give. Sometimes I have to use some software, especially in video or photography media. Organise photo shooting sessions, inviting models, friends to my studio, then I arrange painting at the base of photography.

When I get propositions from music artists I usually have a free hand for arranging and create a visual layer to the music. I listen to the album and try to feel the atmosphere, the character of the music. Then I think what kind of visual concept would be interesting and accurate. Sometimes one sound gives me an idea to built form.

I'm interested in human reactions and behavior. Their fears, happiness, helplessness and many feelings that are reserved for single, individual units. I'm also trying to catch the moments in time and give those scenes my own feelings by brush and paint, camera or my own body by making live acts. I'm trying to catch the fugitive energy of living beings.

Music and art, I think they should create the dialogue, complementing each other. I would compare it to living organism consisted of different parts. They should function properly when all the parts collaborate with each other. Same music as visual arts, it works on emotions, perception. They just should complement each other – this is one and the only rule I believe.

I'm interested in modern philosophy like Erich Fromm, Zygmun Bauman, Andriej Tarkowski. Rudolf Steiner's "Antroposophy" theory or Aleister Crowley "Thelema" work. I'm interested in eastern religions too. Also from the young years, I love Edgar Alan Poe books and his aesthetics. Human and his metaphysics are always in the center of my interest. Our culture gives us the questions and doesn't bring the answers. But we have to ask our selfs about our condition to understand and know ourselves as units. To be conscious of ourselves. That's why I believe art is so important.

I would say I'm searching, experimenting. Based on past experiences I choose some elements, some fragments of my work and develop them and try to go further, to work with them in a different direction. Also, our way of thinking is still changing and thinking how to set the idea to visual layer. I think keeping you involved is to measure with your restrictions and keep your mind open for new things.  

I choose to paint as my main medium of work. I always liked physical things. To watch at paintings in galleries, live contact with them, contemplate their atmosphere, watching brush strokes, details. Love Renaissance and Baroque masters as Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Goya, Da Vinci, Durer or Masaccio but also modern painting like German Expressionists, Surreal Painting, Francis Bacon or Lucien Freud. I can't tell why but I'm just hypnotized while watching it, compositions, light, colour. Also always loved watching some sort of movies, telling about the dark side of human's mind like David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau, Darren Aronofsky, Roman Polański or Tim Burton's world.

Artistic goals are changing, they evaluating same as you are. The main mechanism I think is to push further your limits in your artwork. It is an endless fight inside of your mind. While I was working at 'Human Light' painting series I have been watching my at my paintings before, trying to catch some elements like some brush strokes and transforming them into more expressive way or command of colours, create wilder matches. Now I have new assumptions based on earlier experiences. You just have to experiment with your art, still searching and changing something, it is the only solution to go further.

I have been collaborating with galleries, centers of modern art and auctions houses.  There are plans for the new projects and exhibitions and they are waiting. I also want to use my body as a medium and planning to continue live acts formula in the near future. 

Interview by Alex Milazzo - Copyright 2017 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.

Max Martelli

Passion for Science Fiction

Ever since I was young I was enamored by the work of Frazetta, Boris, and the various card art used in the game Magic: the Gathering. I was determined to pursue illustration as a career from a young age. I graduated from the New England School of Art and Design in 2011 and have been working freelance in the Fantasy Science Fiction and Horror genre ever since. My technique follows the standards of Imaginative Realism in which I combine imaginative ideation with the realistic study of both colour and light to create a believable image of something that does not really exist.

I am both a traditional and digital artist. I am experienced in various traditional media including pencil, ink and oil painting as well as the digital programs Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter.

I think it is important for the visual art to invoke something similar to the music that will accompany it. My visual art will sometimes be the first point of contact between the listener and the music behind my art and if they both don't exist in the same world then I am doing a disservice to both band and listener.

Two big interests of mine are the mythos of HP Lovecraft and Norse Mythology. On top of that, I am an avid reader of Fantasy, Science Fiction and Horror. I enjoy bringing my whole knowledge base to the table when I am working on a picture. Finding the right symbols to invoke the right messages for a work is often one of the most important and most enjoyable stages of the process.

I try to bank my experiences with a book or movie to later draw on visuals I have either seen or previously imagined. Keeping a sketchbook to record simple sketches or ideas as you encounter them is helpful for sussing them back out at the appropriate time. It is also helpful to expand on an idea and try to take it in all kinds of different directions before settling on that single image you will take to finish. You never know if you will stumble on a more poignant or elegant solution to the initial problem your visual idea is addressing.

There are often so many influences it is hard to single out a few above the others. If I had to name names I would say Greg Manchess and John Singer Sargent will always live at the top of my list. I always loved the writing of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the amorphous mystique of HP Lovecraft. Dune (both the book and the David Lynch movie despite its faults) were huge for me as well. I also always find myself coming back to Norse Mythology.

I am currently in the process of conceiving a graphic novel of sorts as a prequel to a series of short novellas I am also writing and fully illustrating. My ongoing effort to strengthen both my technique and visual storytelling abilities. They shall help me combine my interests of cosmic horror, Norse Mythology and pulp fiction into a single ongoing project. To follow along please follow my Instagram and stay tuned for my Patreon which should launch in late 2017 as a means for you the viewer to delve a little deeper in the creation of these stories. 

Interview by Alex Milazzo - Copyright 2017 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.

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