Interview with Alexandra V. Bach from Ravendusk
Alexandra V Bach (born December 24th, 1978 in Chalons) is a well established illustrator and graphic artist heading from France. At the head of Ravendusk Design, her own company, she has been providing graphic design and fine dark illustration for metal bands and alternative artists for the last decade. Her technique is a specific combination of photomanipulation and digital painting, creating a realistic, though dreamlike result. Her style can be described as a delicate, achieved and ethereal vision of the beauty in darkness.
Alexandra is one of the major dark fantasy artists in France and has created artwork and logos for renowned actors of the metal scene, such as Kamelot, Adagio, Melissa Ferlaak (Therion, Visions of Atlantis) but also Aesma Daeva and Solisia to name a few.
The art of Alexandra V Bach draws its originality from its surreal, feminine though dark and inventive essence. Also commissionned for book cover art through many publishing companies in France and Europe for authors such as Anne Bishop, and with a solid portfolio, Alexandra has also been part of many art shows (solo and collective) in France (Paris, Bordeaux).
HMA: Thanks for joining me in this interview and for your interest in Heavy Music Artwork.
Alexandra V. Bach: Hello Alex and thanks very much for this interview.
HMA: The site aim is to promote Heavy Metal as art and culture, what are your views in this contest?
Alexandra V. Bach: Well of course I totally support your website’s purpose. Metal is so often regarded as a subgenre, or often totally ignored by a greater audience, so I suppose that promoting metal as both an art and culture are a great way to change people’s opinion regarding this music and way of life. For I do think that the majority of people is not aware of the cultural aspects of the metal genre so it’s good to take graphic artists out of the shadows and offer them some good exposure, for they really need it. And thanks to your website I even discovered artists I didn’t know before !
HMA: Would you say that that other alternative music style such as Goth and Classical music share similar ambitions?
Alexandra V. Bach: Definitely, they are both musical style with massive cultural backgrounds that needs to be considered at a higher level. Comparising all of them would be risky but they all share inspirations and goals.
HMA: In your experience, what realm of creativity the future holds for the creative arts within the music industry?
Alexandra V. Bach: I am quite confident. As long as musicians (and labels if they survive the crisis in the music industry) will release albums, there will be a place for artwork. Even id the cd disappears and tends to be replaced by non physical supports such as mp3, bands will still need to illustrate their music in some way. And I don’t know any musician that would not care about that. I have always had the chance to work with people really interested in the artistic side of their release, so I cannot conceive the disappearing of creative arts in the music industry. Formats may change, and we artists will have to adapt to that change, but art will remain.
HMA: Must be a real challenge to conceive new and fresh concepts?
Alexandra V. Bach: Indeed. To be honest with you I sometime think that almost everything has been done in terms of visual art and it’s very difficult to stand out and propose innovative, unique, and original stuff all the time. Sometimes bands come out with their own ideas, sometimes I let myself be inspired by their music and lyrics. Let’s say it’s a collective work of art. Fortunately bands that are desirous to work with me are open minded and ready to take risks and go a bit beyond the usual clichés. I like to propose something different.
HMA: ….any creative rituals that you might want to share?
Alexandra V. Bach: First I like to have plenty of time. And I mean 10 or 12h of complete art dedication. I also like to work with music, depending on what I create I can listen to prog rock/metal, movie soundtracks, etc…And lots of black tea. A dozen of stock pictures, and apart from that nothing in particular …let’s say that I let the magic happen.
HMA: Given the right budget and the time to execute, what is your highest ambition as a creative?
Alexandra V. Bach: As both a graphic artist and a illustrator, I’d say something quite complex as, a full massive boxset, with engraved or gilded writings, use of different materials such as leather or wood, with a large artbook…You know, having the opportunity to propose more than just a cd, but a beautiful and collectible piece of art. That would be killer and I would consider this as a real achievement.
HMA: You have been part to a number of art shows, tell us the experience and what kind of reception do you normally have?
Alexandra V. Bach: Indeed, I participated in many artshows, especially in France, and twice in Paris to be more precise. It’s always a great pleasure for me and an honour to be part of such art shows, may they by collective like the last one, or solo. Though my nature is a bit solitary I really appreciate those moments when art goes out of the ‘virtual’ and finally becomes something a bit more real. Reception is always great, and having the opportunity to meet people, art appreciators, bands and future clients is always a fantastic time. I’d love to do more of them though planning those events is always a big thing and requires a lot of energy and dedication.
HMA: Do you have any more planned exibitions and art shows?
Alexandra V. Bach: Not yet, I have some opportunities in Paris in 2013 but my artwork schedule is a bit to full to organize a new art show. I’ll probably have signing sessions with the authors of the books I illustrate, this has to be set up, and let’s see what the future brings 😉
HMA: About your art and style, what specific techniques do you apply?
Alexandra V. Bach: My art is photomanipulation combined with digital painting. I always start up with photos, that I manipulate, cut, retouch, repaint to create something dramatically new. With a background as traditional illustrator, I’d say that it helps for the painting part done with the graphic tablet. Regarding my style, I’d say that it’s quite versatile, but still empowered with vibrant colours schemes. I call it dark fantasy, for it combines elements of pure gothism mixed with fantasy characters such as mermaids, princesses, elves, and so on. I love colour for it brings life to an artwork. Bands often tend to like very dark colour schemes, or even black and white but they forget how a great use of colour really enhances an artwork and could drastically impact on the viewer’s eye.
HMA: Your art is quiet complex and elaborate, do you have people that help you with your creations?
Alexandra V. Bach : Thanks for the compliment, considering that I am a self taught artist. However I work alone, Ravendusk Design is my graphic studio, that I lead and manage from A to Z. I like to have the complete control on what I create and have never felt the need to rely on any exterior help.
HMA: What is on the creative table right now? What are you working on?
Alexandra V. Bach: Right now I am back from a well deserved holiday break, but my 2013 schedule is rapidly getting full. I have two cd artwork projects, one being for a major gothic band base in the Netherlands, as well as many book covers for french and international publishing companies. So I try to develop my skills as a book cover illustrator, and to improve my photographic skills. In 2013 I really would like to develop my own license and am working on some merchandising (postcards, posters)…Things are on their way.
HMA: What’s the one question I should be asking but didn’t and what is your answer?
Alexandra V. Bach: Have you ever considered quitting ? And I’d say yes, many times, for being a freelance artist is not always a bed of roses, but as long as I will feel the need to create and paint, I will go on.
HMA: What kind of attention do you get from the media?
Alexandra V. Bach: I think that I got the attention I deserve, I mean no more, no less. I got interviewed by famous metal magazines in my country, did the front cover of Elegy Mag, was featured in french local and national newspapers, and I say that it’s quite sufficient. I am not that interested in the mass media for you cannot control what they say, and, having done art for 10 years now, I know that people, and former clients are my best advertisers.
HMA: Thanks for your time and interest in Heavy Music Artwork. Any final words?
Alexandra V. Bach: Thanks Alex for the interview and I wish you and your website’s team a vrey great and creative new year 2013. Keep up the great work!
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