Interview with Daniel Valencia – Fenomeno Design
Daniel Valencia born in 1981, also known as Fenomeno Design, is a designer/artist from Santiago, Chile. Known for his work with a lot of symbolism and full of darkness for bands such as Blut Aus Nord, Merrimack, Glorior Belli, Kill, Perdition, Inferno, etc.
HMA: Heavy Music Artwork welcomes Chilean artist and designer Daniel Valencia.
Daniel Valencia: Hi Alex and readers interested in the dark arts.
HMA: When did you make the decision to pursue a career s a designer?
Daniel Valencia: Since 13 years old I am bound to metal music. When it came to the decisión what to study at University I wondered what area is more related to what has always been part of my aspiration. I still remember the day when I made the decision, I was wearing a shirt of Mayhem. On the actual day I had the interview with the design director of the University, my question was clear “can do something like this?” and I showed him the design of my shirt, he told me yes, that was when I really decided to study design and follow this path in my life, I was always attracted to the design, graphics, art, etc.
HMA: What do you think of the current music/art style and aesthetics?
Daniel Valencia: Art has become more professional, there are a lot of great artists and there are a lot of options that a band can decide. Bands today are much more concerned with aesthetics, in some cases this greatly favors the bands, an example is Watain, they use the aesthetics at all possible options, from the covers to the staging.
HMA: Your art is very much inspirited by medieval etching and maintains a constant monochrome feel and the use of gold colour. Why is this important to you?
Daniel Valencia: I love everything old, I like many old artists such as Gustave Doré, Albrecht Durer, Jakob Böhme, etc. About the monochrome, it’s true, I do not use many colors, I feel that my designs lose seriousness and darkness, I prefer to use the fewest possible colors, even with high contrast graphics like the ones I use. I prefer accentuate specific colors, like gold. Is a color that has a strong religious connotation but also finesse. All the above is important to keep the graphics look dark and maintain the ideology relation that I search with the bands.=
HMA: How is this achieved in your work? What methods do you use?
Daniel Valencia: The method is part of a decision, in fact it is part of the concept. I use many mediums, from digital retouching to the pencil, I do not usually think of a method before reading the concepts, I just try to reflect the ideas according to my understanding with the bands, the result is what really interests me, this the reason that in many ocations each work looks different, some of my designs have more contrast and others have more details.
HMA: You have made also designs for Norwegian Metal fashion house Anti Sweden. Is high fashion beginning to appreciate the beauty in extreme Metal?
Daniel Valencia: Even though I already designed something for them, I do not think that high fashion should be unrelated to extreme metal, even though they appreciate this. The Metal for me is not related in any way with fashion or something like that. I separate the things in this work, it’s like when I had to design some pieces for big trademarks, I saw it this way, but under my another facet aligned with my more “dark” way.
HMA: Some of your finest work includes work for French Black Metal finest Blut Aus Nord. Was this achieved by the sound for their music? Was the band involved in the art also?
Daniel Valencia: This was one of the works that gave me more recognition, Blut Aus Nord is what I consider a weight band for his musical and ideological complement, is precisely the kind of bands that I like to work. Music is an influence, after receiving the concept I dedicate myself to listen the band’s previous albums (if they have any recording before) or even in some occasions I receive samples of the album on which I work. Blut Aus Nord was involved in the art, in this case the band didn’t published the lyrics on the album and I did not have access to these, so I had to dig deeper about the concept, and we talked a few times with Vindsval on some ideas that he had, I sent my proposal for the cover, they approved it and then I designed the rest of the layout from that cover, I really like the final result.
HMA: We also find a substantial amount of symbolism, occult and Necronomicon elements in your designs, do you have personal interests in these topics?
Daniel Valencia: My art has ideological weight, at least is what I search and is really what interests me, even when certain bands are not directly related to my vision. Each and every one of my works start with a prior research, I seek information from texts, images, symbols, etc. Most of my experiences are with bands for this reason I attempt to delve into these issues as much as to develope good work. What kind of artist/designer can express or reflect something that does not understand or know?
HMA: Without falling into any categories, how can best describe your style?
Daniel Valencia: “The Art of Persuade and Perpetuate the Darkness”
HMA: Have you done work outside the Heavy Metal community?
Daniel Valencia: Sure, I worked several years in publicity agencies, marketing and scenography. I have worked with big brands like Coca Cola, Unilever, Electrolux, etc. Today I dedicate my full time for a company called Antaeus Labs www.antaeuslabs.com Is a supplement and cosmetics company, this has no relation to metal but they are great!
HMA: Do you have any secret ambitions that you wanted to share with our readers and us without running the risk of being killed?
Daniel Valencia: Soon some of my work will appear in a app called Pandemonium “An Extreme Metal Art Gallery”, also with many of the best extremes graphic artists in the world, possibly will also be released as a book. The rest of my ambitious secrets… I can not reveal, is a secret, no?
HMA: One questions we always eager to ask… “What on your operating table”? In other words… what are you working at the moment?
Daniel Valencia: I just finished the layout for the new Inferno album (Czechoslovakia) and I’m starting with the new Demonical album (Sweden).
HMA: Thanks for this interview and for your interest in Heavy Music Artwork.
Daniel Valencia: Thanks Alex and Heavy Music Artwork for the interview and your interest in my works.
An Tenebrae, An Vacuum.
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