Artist Interview: Gary Pullin

[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. Gary Pullin’s official website is www.ghoulishgary.com. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.]

You’ve done a score of work since your last interview in 2006. Is there anything you’re particularly proud of?

There’s certainly been some big changes since then! To catch up, I left Rue Morgue as art director in 2010 to start my own company and pursue other projects. It was a difficult decision because I felt my artwork has had a big hand in the success of the magazine and it was my identity for over a decade. I was worried that I may lose my following, friends that I have made or even contacts within our little industry, but luckily, the exact opposite happened. I couldn’t be busier and I’m doing all kinds of things that I never had the time for in the past.  I’m doing more conventions now and getting my work in front of as many people as I can. The good news is, I’m still very much a part of the magazine. I write a monthly art column for them called The Fright Gallery, and I occasionally still contribute artwork and ideas. I often feel as though I haven’t left. Working on my own has been nothing short of incredible though, and at times, it can be a lot to handle by myself, especially now that I’m printing and shipping my own posters. But, thankfully I have an amazing wife who helps me with the business. I’ve been able to work with many different companies, make new friends and work with old ones. Ultimately though, I’m mostly proud that I’m able to work every day and contribute creatively to the genre that got us all here in the first place – HORROR.

I’m curious to learn the history of one of your more recent works: The ‘Survive’ poster you did for Fright Rags in the fight against domestic abuse. Could we discuss what inspired that, and how you chose the look?

Ben Scrivens from Fright Rags knew I was a big Friday the 13th fan and felt I would be a good fit for it. It was for a great cause, so I was even happier to contribute. I knew I had to feature the first four “final” girls from the film, and wanted to them to look a bit classical, so I have them lots of wavy hair and added the boarder. I sometimes try and sneak in some hidden details or a “hook” to the concept, such as the Camp Crystal Lake sign or Jason’s mask in the reflection of the water. I always love it when I see things like that in other people’s work, and as  a fan of most of the stuff I get to work on, I get a lot of pleasure out of watching people react to it.

Could you tell us a little more about your experiences with Tales from Beyond the Pale? Aside from the logo design, did you handle all the cover art? What was your favorite episode/piece to design for?

Larry Fessenden and Glenn McQuaid approached me with their concept for audio horror. I love those old radio shows like Inner Sanctum and War of the Worlds, it’s a different medium so the nature of the project sounded fresh and really interested me. They are innovative guys and have contributed some amazing things to horror so when they asked if I would create the art for the show, it was a pretty easy decision. I created all of the posters for season one and and half of the posters for season two. I really liked doing the poster for Trawler. I liked the episode a lot but I’m a lot but I’m also a sucker for underwater creature features.

On your website: Is the demon priest logo on your website a nod to the family priest that gave when you your first set of pencils and felt-tip pens?

Yes, the priest is a nod to that. That’s an older logo but I’m planning to rebrand in the new year.

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

My parents and family were very supportive of my interest in horror and are to this day. They get it. Both of them enjoy the films and as long as I wasn’t watching something too extreme, they pretty much let me rent anything I could get my hands on.  my mother was always reading Stephen King novels so at an early age I would read them when she was done. In school, most of my teachers encouraged it – I can remember one of my teachers let me skip a class or two to draw in the library posters of Freddy and Jason so she could hang them around the class room at Halloween. I had to use an overhead projector to do it.

You previously mentioned you had done your first silk-screen with Mondo. What was that like for you? Did silk-screening alter the way you approach your creative process at all?

It was a challenge and a little tricky but thankfully, I have a lot of artist friends to ask advice when I need it. You never stop learning new ways to do things with silk screening.

Is there any ground (i.e. a particular film or medium you’re still curious about.) you haven’t covered yet?

It’s really inspiring to see so many of my friends becoming filmmaker”s so I do want to direct a film one day, perhaps an animation. I got a taste of it when I created the illustrations for the animated sequences in the George Romero documentary, Birth of the Living Dead. I worked closely with director Rob Kuhns and Larry Fessenden and I had a lot of input into how to tell the story. I really enjoyed it. I’m lucky to be in an industry where when the time comes, I can hopefully call on people and work with them on something. I’d also love to do a coffee table art book, I have a proposal a good friend wrote up for me, so a I just need to get motivated again to pitch some publishing houses.

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