Artist Interview: Christopher Lovell

[Author’s Note: This interview was originally printed, in German, in a 2014 edition of Virus Magazine. As with all of my interviews, instead of bombarding the reader with images, I prefer providing links to the artist’s website and social media, so that the reader can view and follow the work via the appropriate channels. Christopher Lovell’s official website is www.christopherlovell.com. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.]

At what point in your life did you feel an inclination to create dark art, and was there a particular inspiration for that?

Creating “dark art” was really a natural progression for me. My interest in this area of my art developed subconsciously over the years. My inspiration has come from everything from dark movies, forests, nature to occult imagery. I just found myself connecting to that kind of stuff more and the endless ways I can incorporate these elements into my work. There are some aspects of fantasy art that can come across as cheesy, don’t get me wrong, I love this style, but I found adding a darker, macabre twist to things kept what I was creating a little more edgy and maybe in the outer realms of fantasy art. I love how I can draw a simple image of a beautiful naked woman, for example, yet add a few bones and some macabre elements and the picture starts to tell a story and I love to go to town on that aspect of things.

When you began to create darker art, how was it received by your family and friends? Were your gifts encouraged?

My friends and family have always known me to be dark in a lot of ways, I wouldn’t say personality wise, but very much in terms of what inspires and interests me. To be honest most of my closer friends (or people I regularly interact with) don’t have any interest in my art, so its usually the reaction of the public and people who do that gives me the indication of whether what I create is well received or not. If anything it appears the darker the better in terms of response. I often find myself holding back in some ways, as I could go too dark and it might be too much for some. Not in a gore way, but in more sinister terms that could open up all kinds of interpretations. However with the personal work I plan to do over the rest of the year, I plan to not hold back as much as I have previously. My family has always been encouraging of what I do. Growing up, my parents saw me drawing monsters and immersing myself in comics, anime and horror films, so they were aware that I had a strong interest in darker art and encouraged my need to create.

What do you feel distinguishes your style from others?

With my personal pieces I believe I have a distinctive style that shines through. My work can be very detailed and elaborate at times. I’m trying to find more of a balance lately with extreme simplicity and hyper detail only where necessary. I find it helps the images breath more and draws the eyes in to the right places. My aim is to engage the viewer so they come up with their own interpretations and stories to the images. I like to litter my pieces with various focal points that create a vibe and potential story to the viewer. This is an aspect of my work I plan to take much deeper now. I guess I want to be a storyteller with my art and hopefully that will help me carve a strong identity.

How long does an average project take, and do you prefer to work digitally or manually?

In all honesty I have very little interest in creating images digitally, it gives me a lot less satisfaction than working traditionally. I like things to be tactile, and alive before my eyes. I have never really had any interest in digital art, I purely use it as a tool in terms of various client work and prepping things print wise. However it was through digital art I got my brake and this helped kickstart my career. Digital art has great advantages, I love being able to test ideas risk free and tweak colours. I often feel very detached from digital pieces however, like I sold myself short when I see it existing as numbers behind a screen when it could have been a physical piece hung on a wall. Where I can however, I will always draw out the images in pencil and ink first and scan them in for colouring. Then I can play around with things and prep stuff accordingly to the clients needs.

The time scale of projects can vary quite considerably depending on a number of factors. Ideally, I like to spend no more than a week max on a client commission. Sometimes, there are revisions that can take a lot longer than desired but thats part of the game. If I am enjoying creating a piece then It becomes a blur of productivity, as I get into a creative zone until the piece is finished. Naturally there will be some briefs that I don’t thrive off and that week can feel like a month!

Do you listen to music while you’re working? What are your favourite songs?

I watch a lot of movies from a projector onto the wall above my desk, but find movies can be a bit distracting. I watch an awful lot of toy reviews and nerdy things on youtube too. Again very distracting! Music however helps me get in to a groove where I am at my most productive. Film soundtracks, ambient drones and soundscapes are great. Band wise, I love everything from extreme metal to Chris Rea. I’m obsessed with two bands in particular, Savatage and Byzantine. Savatage are an old school prog metal band that has been the soundtrack to my life for years. Byzantine are my favourite metal band for about 10 years now. They are incredible musicians and songwriters. Their music to me is a perfect blend of groove, heaviness and melody to get me into a nice artistic flow. I’m doing the artwork for their next album too which is a nice personal pat on the back for me  🙂 Always a great feeling to do artwork for bands you adore.

Are there any artists out there who inspire you? Do you have a favourite?

Without doubt my favourite artist is Simon Bisley. His name comes to mind instantly when I am asks that question. His imagination, art dynamics, ability and style blow my mind. Truly one of the best artists on the planet. I also have the pleasure of calling him a friend. Other artists I love are Ian Miller, John Blanche, Paul Bonner, Les Edwards, Jim Murray, Brian Bolland and of course HR Giger RIP.

What’s your favourite horror movie?

God what a tough question… almost impossible for me to answer as I would struggle to put together a top 20. I would say The Terminator is a perfect film and a very strong contender, not sure if Its really a horror though. The music, mood, atmosphere, cast and endo skeleton are such perfect examples of genius film making.  Alien and Predator are both incredible in atmosphere and tension. All three of these have exceptional villains in them. I love nostalgia and the childhood memories these films bring back. I could probably draw any of these characters pretty much detail perfect from memory as I drew them hundreds of times as a kid and teenager. I really can’t chose one. I could talk about horror movies and monsters all day long!

Which piece do you feel was the one that earned you the most recognition?

I would say things really started to gather momentum when I started posting a few of my “Dark Nature” personal pieces on my Facebook page. These seemed to go viral and really helped me develop a strong and supportive fan base for my work. I think it was my “”” that made a lot of people react positively. The slightly occult hints in the artwork and macabre elements seem to arouse interest in people and provoke reaction. I’ve also noticed that my fan base engage far more in my traditional personal pieces, than the typical digital client work I produce.

Of your whole gallery, which piece is your favourite?

Hmm tough question, in a weird way I kinda quickly go off each piece shortly after its done, nearly every piece is my favourite piece as I create it, but once its finished and I’ve moved onto something else i find them quickly forgotten. I’m very fond of a number of Horror icon pieces I created, such as Jason and Michael Myers. They are great fun to do in a nostalgic sense and I love the challenge of trying to capture the character and essence of the film in an image. Horror fans are die hard and can be very hard to please, so its very rewarding when you get positive feedback and even people getting tattoos of the images. Maybe if I had to choose one it would be my “Pulvis Et Umbra Sumus” piece, as it is a nice mix of everything I love to draw and has an ornate theme running through it and despite its darkness it has a gentle beauty to it. But in all honesty my favourite piece is the one I’m creating next.

Disqualifying commissions, are there any factors that influence how you choose your next art piece?

There are many factors that influence my personal pieces. I took a big plunge recently and relocated to Spain to get inspired and focus on exploring my  development as an artist, without being clouded with commission work and deadlines. My current studio is isolated and free of distractions and I am surrounded by nature and beautiful scenery, which is the perfect environment to inspire me. I have a dozen large blank canvasses which I am dying to get my paint and brushes on. I take influence from anything and everything, I always take reference photos of things around me wherever I go and I collect images online of things that jump out and inspire me. I’m never short of ideas and on these canvasses I really plan to push myself to new limits.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: