I grew up on a pretty steady diet of comic books, horror movies and sci-fi and I was drawing my own comics as a kid. Eventually I graduated from Kent State University with a BA in art. I worked with pretty traditional materials like pencil and ink, acrylic paint and air brushing until 1998 when I moved out to Los Angeles to work at Full Moon with JR Bookwalter. This is when I was first introduced to Photoshop and I've pretty much been working digital ever since save for pencil sketches that I use as a base for my digital artwork.
Q: I like it that there's a lot of horror themed illustrations on your site. What is it about "the fantastic" that most appeals to you?
I've always loved the themes of horror and fantasy. The thing that appeals to me most about the "fantastic" is the endless possibilities of it. It's a cliché, but in exploring those themes you're only limited by the extent of your imagination. That and I just think it looks cool. I remember in college we were always expected to give these long winded, over blown explanations as to what inspired our work we were presenting. Most of the time in my own mind, it was just that I thought it looked cool.
Q: You did the posters for LIVE EVIL and GHOST MONTH. How did you get involved with those filmmakers?
GHOST MONTH is a Danny Draven film. I've known him since we were both working at Full Moon, which is for about 10 years or so now. I was in the post department doing low end CGI in After Effects and he was in the web department. When Full Moon shut down the post department not long after our meeting, he began freelance editing for Full Moon, which eventually led to him directing low budget features for Charlie Band and Stuart Gordon. Sometimes he would ask me to come up with concept sketches for his films. When GHOST MONTH came along, he needed box art and asked me to do it. Unfortunately the distributor ended up going in a different direction and did their own thing.
With LIVE EVIL the producers got in touch with JR Bookwalter of DEAD NEXT DOOR fame and asked if he knew anyone who could do poster art for their film. The one they had originally they thought didn't really reflect the feel of the film, as their movie was more action oriented. The artwork they had previously made had more of a SAW feel to it. Anyway, I had known and worked with JR for many years and he recommended me.
Q: And you recently did the book cover for Danny Draven's "THE FILMMAKER'S BOOK OF THE DEAD" from Focal Press.
With Danny Draven's "FILMMAKER'S BOOK OF THE DEAD", I initially did drawings for the chapter pages that were supposed to be sort of "necronomicon-ish" looking like old drawings on parchment. He then contacted me later and asked if I would do a cover on spec because he wasn't crazy with the publisher's ideas for the cover. I think they wanted to simply use a photograph of the monster from his movie DARKWALKER. Danny and I came up with the idea of the zombie hands holding the slate. I did a pretty complete initial design and Focal Press liked it a lot and had me go ahead do a full front and back cover design.
Q: In a certain regard I would think a dvd box and a book jacket would be somewhat similar. What are the challenges of each? How much "direction" are you usually given with what the client wants?
Book jackets and DVD covers are similar, especially if the book only needs front artwork. I'm mostly doing small press stuff right now. That usually requires full wrap around art, since the authors don't have the name recognition of a Stephen King, where on the backs of his books they usually put a large picture of him. The backs of DVD boxes are fairly simple since the space is generally taken up by the film's synopsis, credits and stills from the film. As far as direction from clients, it varies. Most of the time they have a pretty clear idea of what they want to see. I never mind art direction. I want us all to be on the same page. It makes life simpler. It's pretty rare, at least for me, that the client doesn't have some idea of what they want. Usually they aren't so rigid that there isn't room to take their original idea even further.
Q: What is the weirdest thing a client ever asked you to come up with?
Actually the book and box art has been pretty straight forward. Small press and especially movies, want to get the theme and feel of their story out there using the simplest visual means possible. The strangest thing I was ever asked to create was when I was working at Full Moon. They had a separate label called Surrender Cinema, which was soft core stuff that often landed on Cinemax late night. They wanted to do a movie about a sexually oriented theme park called Pleasureland, I think. They had me creating concept sketches of a theme park with phallic shaped buildings and rides. You can probably imagine what the doors and entrance ways were supposed to be. It never got made of course.
Q: And you also create DVD menus?
I started doing DVD menus for a small DVD authoring company I worked at called Advanced Media Post. We did a lot of the lower end Lions Gate stuff and previously Trimark along with independent films including Cannibal Ferox and Cannibal Holocaust for example. I later worked at Technicolor for a couple of years and got to do a few cool things such as a release of MIMIC for Spain and the STAR TREK ALTERNATE REALITIES box set.
Q: What upcoming projects are you working on now?
Currently I'm working on another cover for Focal Press "KILLER CAMERA RIGS", which is a how to book about building your own camera cranes, dollies, etc. They want an old film noir poster look for that. I finished up a promotional piece for Evil Eye Books called "THE DEAD SHERIFF". It's a pulp western story about a zombiefied sheriff hunting down lawbreakers in the old west. I just turned in a cover for Tim Curran's book "BIOHAZARD" from Severed Press out of Australia. In addition I'm starting work on an anthology, also from Severed Press called "ZOMBIE ZOOLOGY". It's all short stories involving animals turning into the undead.