Archive | February, 2011

The Social History of ‘Night of the Living Dead’

26 Feb

So, in Ireland part of the Leaving Cert exam for History is a special essay topic. I decided to go against the usual subjects, as I tend to do, and chose Night of the Living Dead! My teacher took some convincing (from another teacher) but it eventually came into being. It’s about two years old and my writing’s developed since then, but anyhow, I thought I’d post it here.. seems like a fitting host for it. Spoilers are abound if you haven’t seen it. (You may have to click to read the rest at the end of the post)


”The politics of it were striking at the time, they have a black lead…the clear anti-Communist hysteria that’s running through that film…And there was so much going on in the movie that it wasn’t your typical horror film”.  – John Landis, director of ‘An American Werewolf In London’

The 1920s saw the age of horror triumph in Hollywood with simple monster movies, like ‘The Bat’ and ‘The Monster’. During that period people enjoyed the short escape from the anxiety of World War I. Soon Hollywood took the horror further with the aim being to truly scare the audiences. It was in 1931 that the now classics ‘Dracula’ and ‘Frankenstein’ were released. Following on from their success, boundaries were pushed again. Bela Lugosi’s ‘White Zombie’ would set things in motion for a string of zombie movies to follow. It used the voodoo sorcery myth to explain the walking dead. This mythology was soon to change with the introduction of George A. Romero to the genre.

Horror movies had always been something abstract, something that didn’t occur in everyday life. The last thing Cold War America wanted was for the horror to be introduced into the mundane. People were terrified of the threat of a Communist take over and the “zombie was the perfect monster to encapsulate such anxieties”. Films at the time reflected these fears, like ‘Invasion Of The Body Snatchers’. Hitchcock‘s ‘Psycho’ internalised terror and showed that the real threat was not “in the skies” but in everyday life. That the monster “is not simply among us, but possibly is us”. This idea influenced Romero and just a few years later “Night Of The Living Dead” was made, pushing all the previous boundaries far beyond where they thought imaginable.

Night Of The Living Dead’ (NOTLD) was made on a low budget by the production company, Image Ten Inc. The film tells the story of a group of seven people who take refuge in a farm house while fending off the hoards of the walking dead that gather outside. Romero wanted to show the end of the world, but felt that “rather than opening with the fait accolpli, it might be more interesting to observe the world during its collapse”. This reflected fears at the time of America’s Capitalism crumbling at the hands of Soviet Communism.

They didn’t just set out to make a normal horror movie. They wanted to ensure it would attract attention and stand apart from the other movies at the time. Co-writer John Russo stated, “We wanted to make sure it got noticed…forcing the picture into more daring areas than other films had gone”. It’s worldwide acclaim and worship proves that they indeed achieved their goals. It influenced many budding film-makers that went on to create some of the most notorious horror movies we know today.  Among these was Tobe Hooper, director of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’,  “It had a profound affect on my life…as a result of seeing that film…I decided to do a horror film”.

Many people in the movie industry began to realize that horror movies could be so much more, even containing an underlying political statement as this film had. NOTLD explored the anxieties of the people as the threat of Communism seemed to be forever looming overhead. The next few years saw an abundance of ‘Dracula’ and ‘Frankenstein’ sequels trying to recapture Old Hollywood horror. However, the horror movie industry was forever changed. Boundaries were continuing to be pushed. ‘The Exorcist’ (1973), ‘Jaws’ (1975) and ’The Omen’ (1976) were released in the years following NOTLD.

When the film was released it was met with much condemnation. Christian fundamentalist groups accused the film-makers of being “Satanically inspired” due to the gory scenes of feeding and the circumstances under which Marilyn Eastman’s character is killed. This film was unlike anything that preceded it. The audience, especially children who had been left in the cinema for the double feature, had “no resources they could draw upon to protect themselves from the dread and fear they felt”. Reading Roger Ebert’s review gives great insight into how utterly shocking and terrifying it was; “The movie…had become unexpectedly terrifying”. One of the most striking scenes is when Helen’s daughter becomes one of “those things” and brutally murders her mother with a trowel. As John Landis, director of Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, said, “You didn’t see that stuff in movies at that time”. Click to read on


Artist #10: Camilla D’Errico

23 Feb

Putting together this post was hard, let me tell ya! Trying to pick just a few pieces by the phenomenal Camilla D’Errico is no easy feat, but there’s links-a-plenty for you to click and enjoy. The first time I saw Camilla’s work I was instantly in love with her style – I spotted one of her Nightmares & Fairytales covers and just had to have it. Her signature style is nothing short of beautiful, but the surreal aspects of her work gives each piece a twisted edge. This month, she released a book of artwork, Femina & Fauna, which is a must have and is really high up on my wishlist – along with pretty much everything in her online store! I was delighted to be able to feature her and I hope you’ll adore her work like I do.

– – – – –

What first interested you in art?
I’ve always been “interested” in art for as long as I can remember. It’s who I am, it’s what I think about, what drives me.  I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil!

Did you get much encouragement to continue or make a career out of it?
Unfortunately not. I had a lot of opposition to it from my parents especially in the beginning because they were worried I couldn’t make a living as an artist, especially a comic book artist. There’s no money in comics.  They warmed up to the idea of me doing art after I took my degree in design and illustration, but even then they were skeptical 😉

Have you studied art or are you self taught? Do you have any plans to study it?
I didn’t really study art. I’m mostly self-taught, especially insofar as drawing comics and characters goes. I took an illustration and design degree a few years after I graduated highschool and this gave me many tools that help with graphic design, etc. but in terms of creating art and painting, I’m totally self-taught.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’m inspired my anime and manga, music, my relationships, and lots and lots of visual stimuli I find on the Internet, in art books, and in the world around me.

Who are some of your favourite artists?
CLAMP, Terada Katsuya, Yoshitomo Nara, Ashley Wood, Raphael, Da Vinci … so many!

What are your hopes for your career in art?
I’m living my dream already. I have my career and I’m making the most of it.  Helmetgirls, as a graphic novel, is my biggest aspiration and even that is happening as we speak.

Which of your pieces or projects are you most proud of?
I’m very proud of my Tanpopo series. I’ve created something completely new and different, something that you wouldn’t think could work – but people love it. Mixing literature with a new story. 

How would you describe your style?
It’s manga influenced with a touch of renaissance.

What made you focus more on that area more than another?
I’m focused mainly on comics because it’s what excites me. I want to do things that are exciting and that I love. Comics is that. Painting happened by accident, in some ways and has become the “other” area. So comics and painting and I love them both because they give me different ways to express myself.

What’s your favourite medium to work in?
Comics – a regular ‘ol BIC pen and paper, though I’m now starting to work with “pro” comic pens. Taking a while to get the hang of them but I like them. And when painting, I use Holbein DUO water soluble oils on wood panels. 


Are you working on anything at the moment?
I’m working on Tanpopo volumes 4&5, a manga for a Spanish singer, Helmetgirls character sketches and concepts and an illustration for the Transmetropolitan Art Book.

What drew you to the characters you base a lot of your work on?
I created those characters in my mind, and as I drew or painted them. They come from my imagination and my hand.  I wasn’t drawn to them specifically, because they come from within me.

Can you give me an idea of your creative process?
I start any project by doing tons of research. I spend hours doing research on images, visuals, stories, etc. that inspire me for the work. Then I sketch out the concepts and when I’m happy with one that I feel will have the most impact or that best represents what I want to do, I begin working on it.

How did you get your career start?
I got my start in comics by working for a small publisher, Committed Comics, for free, while I was coming out of high school. I kept at it, and did work for them out of passion. Not for money. Then, when I went back to university to get my degree in design and illustration, I got some jobs through the program, did a bit of local freelance work in Vancouver and got noticed. I also approached a gallery in Vancouver, Ayden Gallery, with my paintings that I had done for a university project and they agreed to show my work. That’s what got me my start painting.  I was discovered by an LA art collector in 2007 and he got me into the LA Pop Surrealism galleries. The rest is history.

Artist #9: Bec

22 Feb

Stencil maker, photographer and an artist incredibly capable of tricking the eye into thinking one of her drawings is a photograph, Bec is an artistic triple threat! Her deviantART is full of unbelievable renderings of Amanda Palmer & The Dresden Dolls, Tegan & Sara and Radiohead. As well as that, she’s taken some great photos and knows her way around a stencil. And these stencils are painstakingly made, just check out the one below… you’ll know the one.

– – – – –



What first interested you in art?

Being able to create things that are limited only by my skills and imagination.


Did you get much encouragement to continue or make a career out of it?

Not so much from my family, but definitely from friends and people who see my artwork online.



Have you studied art or are you self taught? Do you have any plans to study it?
Self taught. I’ve considered studying art many times in the past few years, but I’m happy with the career pathway I’ve chosen for now and any study I do would be for my own personal interest/as a pastime.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
The many amazing photo-realistic artists whose work I’ve seen online. I feel like they help to push me and improve my skills because they give me something to strive towards.

Who are some of your favourite artists?
Alyssa Monks, Banksy, Andy Warhol… and all of the people I follow on deviantArt.

What are your hopes for your artwork? Do you see it in your future as a career or just a hobby?
I hope to just continue making art as a hobby, maybe taking a few commissions. Perhaps one day when I’m sick of working in science I’ll make the switch and focus more on my art.

Which of your pieces are you most proud of?
My ‘Brisbane City’ stencil, mostly because of how long it took to create. I never thought I’d finish it.

How would you describe your style?
I’m not sure, maybe photo-realism. Whether I’m drawing or stenciling, everything I do is based off a source photo with the intention of creating something that’s very close to or resembles the original.

What made you focus more on your focused area more than another?
Doing a sketch based off a photo was the first thing I did in a high school art class that really impressed my teacher, who convinced me I had a skill that I should practice.

What’s your favourite medium to work in?
Graphite pencils.

Are you working on anything at the moment?
I have a stencil that I’ve slowly been working on for months, and I just finished a sketch today.

What drew you to the themes or people you base a lot of your work on?
Music. Almost everything I draw/stencil is based on a musician.

Can you give me an idea of your creative process?
For my sketches, I usually search for a photo that has interesting textures and contrasts, then start penciling in the main outlines and shapes to get the proportions right, and then go back and fill in the detail. I constantly re-do and alter minute details until I’m happy with how it looks. For my stencils, I usually select multiple photos and edit them in Photoshop to see which would work best as a stencil, then design and print out the layers, cut them out and spray them.

Book Review: ‘FLU’ – Wayne Simmons

21 Feb

You know that old saying: Give a man a fish he’ll eat for a day, give a borderline mysophobe a copy of Wayne Simmons’ FLU and she won’t be able to take a comfortable bus journey for a week. You’ve heard that one, right? Well, it proved true for this unsuspecting reader!

I had bought my copy from the man himself at Octocon last year but put off reading it out of a mixture of being in the middle of the first book in the Millennium Trilogy and the minor panic that accompanies reading about a mutated flu virus during winter. Well, February rolled around and I was stuck with my reading, only in the middle of the second Millennium novel at that point and getting nowhere! Deadlines were halting my reading and I needed a change. Luckily, or unluckily, I rediscovered the joy of reading on the bus some months ago. It used to make me feel ill reading in a car or bus, which majorly sucked on long journeys, but now I can while away the time while I travel.

This all seemed rather pleasant, flicking through a good book and blocking out the children and conversations around me. And it was until I decided to slip this particular book into my bag. The monotonous drone of a conversation in the background is much easier to ignore than the occasional sniffle, cough or sneeze. It just so happens that those three little guys are star players in this story.

Okay, enough back story ramblings, time to get to the books itself. I loved it.

From the get go we’re on a different playing field – Belfast. The opening line grabs you roughly and drags you through that crowd with those first two characters. The way it’s written, rather cleverly I must say, leaves it open for interpretation. Have you been plopped down into a crowd of the undead before you’ve even read a paragraph? You’re surrounded, your breathing’s heavy and everyone appears to be pissed with you.

What a lovely welcome, eh? Well, don’t expect it to let up from there.

As you’re introduced to the other survivors you gather up more of the story, of what happened to our cheery green isle. This collection of remaining souls is as varied as they come, too; two cops, a punk, a young woman, a  guy in a ski-mask, a churchgoer, an ex-IRA gunrunner and of course the army. A veritable Breakfast Club… Or so the undead think, anyway.

The characters are as real as they come. Heavily flawed, prone to erratic behaviour and some swearing enough to make a sailor blush, but at times charming. Human, essentially. It’s basically how any one of us might act if our world was suddenly void of life and overrun with the sniffling and shuffling of the recently deceased.

There’s points when you hate them or what they’re about to do and wish that your shouting into the book would actually do some good. But there’s also moments where you find yourself smiling over their actions. I found this a lot with Lark, the tattooed punk with enviable footwear. He’s also got a foul mouth and manners that leave a lot to be desired but at the same time you don’t want him to get hurt. I also liked Geri for selfish reasons. Is it so bad to hope a leggy redhead would survive a zombie outbreak? And many brownie points to Simmons for using Red Sonja in a simile, a literary rarity.

I’ve ignored it enough, time to talk mucus. The undead are just plain nasty and they get nastier. As if a lethal dose of the flu wasn’t a bad enough way to go, these guys return to unlife, hacking up vital organs and other unpleasantries as they drag themselves around town. Needless to say I gave myself plenty of time between eating and reading, just in case. Unlike most zombies, their post-life shenanigans aren’t anything to do with genetic experimentation, a satellite that’s crashed to earth or some ancient voodoo. It’s the flu. See, a little too realistic, right? This book was released just in time to play off the fears of the flu pandemic – take your pick of which animal is the source. It’s even dedicated to “the birds, the pigs, the mad cows”. Vampires have lost much of their gravity where horror is concerned, but terror grounded in such truth as this cannot be so easily pushed aside. You’re left wondering how things would play out if this actually happened. Of course, it didn’t help that a show was on television recently telling us how to act if there is a global flu outbreak… I could have done without that!

The setting definitely added to the overall anxiety and scare-factor of the story. Most zombie apocalypses seem to be focused on the heartland of America and not Northern Ireland. I’m not overly familiar with the geography and landmarks of Belfast, but Simmons so ably paints a map for you as you read that you know just where you are. The housing estates and apartment blocks are a welcome break from the usual safe houses occupied by survivors as well as creating a rather dreary atmosphere. For any readers in Ireland or England, this really brings the terror home.

It’s not only the change of scenery that adds something new to the story; it’s the history and politics that go with that scenery. The opening scene could have just as easily been on the news during the height of The Troubles. The tension between the cops and some of the other characters is well founded, as is the concern regarding the IRA and the authority of the Army.

I love to be scared or made uncomfortable by a book or film – and instantly regret it, especially later on when I’m alone in the dark – but this book hits you in a whole different way. A ghost story can be batted away with disbelief. A monstrous tale laughed off with recollections of bad make up in old movies. But something so deeply set in reality, that’s a discomfort you have to fight to shake off. I really liked that the story didn’t revolve around a group of survivors setting out for some uninfected haven, which is so often the case. It was just them. Don’t take that to mean it was a snooze-fest – it was anything but. It was real, as much as I’d like to say it wasn’t. Since we’re dropped down into these different groupings of people, we’re as much in the know as they are. There’s no real explanation given for the source of the virus or how the  final days of humanity played out. The reader has to trust in the characters and hope for the best. But the news of a coming sequel, Fever, leaves room to delve deeper into this post-apocalyptic world.

The ending was a real treat. For me it was a torturous treat though, having finished all but the final chapter before reaching college. Two hours later, I got to finish it. It was well worth the wait, and I’m talking about since October.

It may be short, but it’s a non-stop thrill ride stalling only to lull you into a false sense of uninfected security. Well written and action-packed, cruel and sentimental, FLU is a must have for all lovers of horror, zombies or those in search of something a little scary and sweet.

You can buy FLU, and his other apoc-shocker Drop Dead Gorgeous, from amazon and Book Depository. You can also follow Wayne or like his fanpage on facebook.

Handful of News

20 Feb

This post has a lot of visual treats for your face, much like my recent artist profiles, and some tantalising tunes for your ears. Excited?.. Shall we start, then?

Bitter Ruin

This pair should be newsworthy everyday, but today I have a specific reason to fawn over them. Do I hear a new song? I think I do! Galloping ferociously into a place in my favourite songs list comes Leather For Hell. Listen, enjoy over and over again, go show your support. Follow, like and be sure to give the rest of their music some attention if you like what you’ve heard.


Again, this group of talented guys and gals deserve to be the topic of much discussion whenever talking about good music. “Good” doesn’t seem like a strong enough word, but I’m really emphasising it. Good. Anyhow, these lovely folks have released a stunning new video for one of my favourite songs of theirs, Rosary. It’s beautiful, moving and just plain messy. I’ll repeat myself once more (but not the last time) – follow, like, listen, support.

Dead Island

Now, zombie videogames are a dime a dozen, with news of more and more popping up daily. Their popularity has spread, very much like a disease, since the release of Resident Evil, and even before. A lot of their premises follow the same old tired story, often involving genetic experimentation, secret government organisations, or  all three rolled into one. But the new game, Dead Island, certainly holds its own in standing apart from the rest. The trailer alone is enough to send a shiver up your spine as well as making your trigger finger twitch in anticipation of getting your hands on a copy. It’s harrowing, scary and exciting. I don’t know if I’ll be able for this one…

Oz, the Great & Powerful

Okay, I’m not one for my cherished childhood memories to be rewritten by current Hollywood execs with little or no imagination left rattling around their noggin… Buuuuuut when you have Mila Kunis and James Franco on board for a prequel to The Wizard of Oz with Sam Raimi at the helm, it does make it that bit harder to fight against the idea!

Ah, redemption!

Firefly news is always a cause for much joy! Word that The Science Channel had gotten the rights to air Firefly again, start to premature finish, spread through the internet like wild fire….fly. Sorry. This gives us Browncoats new hope to cling onto, and we’re grasping it with a grip even the Vulcans would envy! Accompanying this announcement was a short and sweet interview with the Cap’n himself, Nathan Fillion, over on EW. It’s funny that my plans for a lottery win are the same as Fillions. Huh.

Artist #8: Ruth Redmond

20 Feb

I discovered Ruth and her uber pretty artwork at Nom Con when I attened the convention in August last year. I instantly loved her stunningly colourful piece (second last image in the post) stuck to the wall in one of the corridors and even got a print off her in the Artists Alley. Later, I found more of her work online, on her deviantART. She’s also part of Milky Tea and Zenpop Manga, both of which are driving forces behind a new generation of Western manga artists. She’s got lots in the works so keep your eyes peeled for her books hitting shelves in the future!

– – – – –

What first interested you in art?
Forgive the cliché but I’ve been drawing since ‘I could hold a pencil’ hahaha~ Though I did lose interest in art for a while when I entered secondary school. I regained my passion however when a girl in my year thrust a copy of the manga DNAngel into my hands – I suddenly found art exciting again! I ate up every manga, western comic or art book I could get my hands on and drew ferociously (just in time to almost mess up my junior certificate exams, yay!). I like to think my interests in the art world have diverged a lot since then, but I will always attribute my passion to manga. Thanks Japan! Hahahaha

Did you get much encouragement to continue or make a career out of it?
My Parents wanted me to be cautious at first and as they put it to ‘not put all my eggs in one basket’. Basically they wanted me to keep studying and keep my options open. But now they fully support me in all my artistic endeavours and let me know they are proud of me. I am very lucky to have such cool and understanding folks.

Have you studied art or are you self taught? Do you have any plan to study it?
I am mostly self-taught but this school year I made the bold move to change from biology to art (bold just because it means I left myself with just nine months to catch up with the rest of the class in art history before my final exams). It was one of the best decisions I ever could have made though, it’s only possible to learn so much by studying art by yourself. Having a teacher guiding me has really helped me to focus on what I need to work on the most. And yeah, I plan on studying animation after school. I’m working on my portfolio at the moment. It’s so nerve wracking! Especially since I have something like 9 weeks left before I have to submit it, urk!

Where do you get your inspiration from?
Wow, so many many places. Nature, music, other people’s work, pretty much everything inspires me, though it isn’t always reflected in my work hahahah~ does that make the inspiration void? Basically there are loads of things that make me feel like creating art, but it isn’t always related to the subject matter of my work. That is what inspiration means to me, something that makes me want to do, but not necessarily draw from. I do often draw my reference from fashion magazines though. The poses in those are often too good to not try!

Who are some of your favourite artists?
Again, that feels like a tough question! Hahah I just love so many people’s work! Sometimes it’s not even their work I love so much as their world view and dedication to what they love, such as Giotto di Bondone or Osamu Tezuka, neither of their styles make me go “wow I want to draw like that!” but I love their diligence and find them very inspiring. But as for people I would like to draw like? There are an awful lot hahaha, Michelangelo Buonarotti would be my end goal I guess hahah~! If I could master human anatomy as he did then I would be one happy camper. But also I really like the work of Alphonse Mucha, Calix Vincent, Oh!Great, Jin-Hwan Park, Wenqing Yan, Sakimichan, Reilly, Bard, and I think I’ll stop there or I might just bore you to tears with an infinite list of names. I like a lot of artists!

What are your hopes for your artwork? Do you see it in your future as a career or just a hobby?
I really hope to eventually make at least a couple graphic novels over the next decade. I have many stories to tell though so who knows! And I’d love to get a job as an animator and work on a film. To have one of my stories turned into a film or series is the sparkly diamond on the hazy horizon for me hahah~ So basically, yeah, I definitely want art to be a career for me. If it becomes a hobby…I dunno how happy I would be with that.

Which of your pieces are you most proud of?

Um. That’s a toughie. There are aspects of certain picture that I really like, but I have very few images that I’m really proud of hahaha~ is that sad? I guess if I had to choose three though I’d say [page one of Hansel & Gretel, this Nom Con fanart and this piece].

How would you describe your style?
I think a lot of people would be happy to lump my style under the umbrella of Manga and I guess in a lot of ways it belongs there! Hahaha~ But I also think it is becoming increasingly European and in any case I think it definitely leans more towards the realistic side of either of the styles. I love doing pretty, almond shaped eyes with big feathery eyelashes hahaha~ Pouty, full lips are fun too and I love hands as well

What made you focus more on that area more than another?
I think I like eyes and lips so much because they are such an integral part of female beauty in fashion magazines, since so few models have much boobage, and as I mentioned earlier I like drawing reference from magazines like that. I think I like hands because, well, they’re just fabulous! Hahahah~ I like all the little bones and the way they can be so dextrous and yeah, just wow.

What‘s your favourite medium to work in?
I love, love love working with markers! I use promarkers at the moment and they do a good job most of the time. But in the future I’d love to have a nice collection of copics. Don’t tell the promarkers I said that. Hahaha I have three copics at the moment and they are my babies~ I also like working with watercolour, screentones (in my comics mainly), coloured pencils for life drawing and crayon is fun too. I’m currently experimenting with photoshop for some tentative attempts at digital work, though I hear Sai is easier to use.

Are you working on anything at the moment?
My aforementioned portfolio mainly. But in the little spare time that I have I’ve been doing the groundwork – character designs, page layouts etc – for a small anthology of various short stories in a few different traditional mediums. Once my final exams are over in June I’ll be diving straight into Project Ponder and hopefully have it done in time to get printed in book form for August. Fingers crossed!

What drew you to the fandoms or characters you base a lot of your work on?
I’ve never really been into drawing fanart, I do for contests and sometimes do images of my friends’ characters but not big fandoms or anything, no Naruto in my DA gallery hahah. So yeah, none of my characters are really based off of fandoms. Oh! Except for maybe Claire, one of my very oldest characters. I think I unintentionally based her off of Hikari from Special A hahaha~ Other than that though I get the vast majority of my inspiration for my characters appearances and personalities from my friends and people in my school and also from feelings I’ve had at one time or another. Some of the time they’re feelings I’ve never been brave enough to express in real life, so my characters are cathartic too.

Can you give me an idea of your creative process?
Certainly! I often sketch out the entire image in a rough form or in separate elements into a small sketchbook (like a lot of artists I carry a small sketchbook around with me at all times). This is when I can work out the basic composition and see how difficult what I want to create will be, maybe make changes to the original idea. Then I do the proper, full detailed sketch onto nice quality paper (130gsm approx.) before lining it with black and/or coloured fine liners, usually 0.05 – 0.3. I rub out the sketch then colour the image with markers or whatever. If I make a mess on the page I can also trace the image onto a clean sheet of paper with my light box (a wooden box with a plastic top that shines light through from underneath). I always trace the lineart onto a clean page that has never had a pencil near it when I’m making B&W comics.

Artist #7: Sylvia K

14 Feb

What can I say about Sylvia? This lady is one of my favourite current artists. Her illustrations are sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking but always charmingly quirky. She’s got a distinctive style that always lets me know, that’s a Sylvia K piece. Through designing some of Amanda Palmer’s official tour posters and t-shirts, as well as animating music videos, Sylvia’s certainly made a name for herself as a unique artist to keep an eye on. Be sure to treat your eyes to the rest of her work on the links sprinkled throughout.

– – – – –

What first interested you in art?
My dad is a graphic designer so back in the days, when I was a toddler, we would have all kinds of art supplies around the house, and I guess I just had to get my tiny, chubby fingers on them and draw for hours on the carpet.

Did you get much encouragement to continue or make a career out of it?
My parents and relatives used to tell me I was really gifted, but that is what I suppose most parents tell to their children.

Have you studied art or are you self taught? Do you have any plans to study it?
I am pretty much self taught but I am getting more and more interested in actually studying art.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
The most random things inspire me. Things like snow, the smell of rain, red rubber boots walking in the fog. Ethnic food and random faces I cross on the subway. It’s hard to really pin it down, sometimes a drawing just pops up in my head and I try to get it on paper as faithfully as possible…inevitably, something in the process always gets lots, but I prefer to focus on the feeling evoked by it. Most of my drawings are terribly naive and melancholic…

Who are some of your favourite artists?
My favourite painter ever is Edward Hopper. Nobody can depict loneliness as well as he did. As for illustrators, they’re really too many to name, but my favourites are Jen Corace and Italian artist Baronciani.

What are your hopes for your artwork? Do you see it in your future as a career or just a hobby?
I’m still trying to figure out whether I could possibly make a career out of illustration, or if it will just keep on being one of my favourite ways to pass the time. Sometimes, I just wish that more people could get to see my art…

Which of your pieces are you most proud of?
I really have no idea. I quite like the Lady Gaga series but also all the drawings of sad kids and the deer trees and experimentation with vintage cloth. It’s quite ironic that often a piece that I am extremely proud of isn’t that well received (well, on my flickr and facebook pages, I mean) while some others I’m not so fond of are quite successful.


How would you describe your style?
Childish yet fresh.


What’s your favourite medium to work in?
I always draw in ink, on paper… though then I scan the drawing and work on it with photoshop. Everyone keeps telling me I should invest on a tablet but I don’t think I’m quite ready to part with paper, honestly…there’s something so delicate about it.


Are you working on anything at the moment?
My project for 2011 is to illustrate a children’s book. I still have to figure out whether I’ll also be writing it, or illustrate someone else’s story… I know that I want it to be a children’s book for intelligent kids but also for grown ups who miss the melancholy of their childhood years.


What drew you to the people and characters you base a lot of your work on?

Music used to play a major role in my art…I started drawing my favourite bands and then often I would interact with them and it made me ridiculously happy. I saw it as a way of giving back to them, because their music was so important to me. Now I get more and more inspired by circumstances and by the people who make my life a fairy tale.



Can you give me an idea of your creative process?
I often get struck by an idea (literally, as if someone threw a tin can at the back of my head) and then I am in a sort of frenzy because I want to make it ”real” as fast as I possibly can. Often this happens when I’m just walking outside, so I scribble everything down, with lengthy written descriptions regarding what I want to draw, and then start sketching on paper as soon as I get home.

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