Artist Interview: Gerald Brom

[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. Gerald Brom’s official website is www.bromart.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?

I have always been drawn to the darker elements, never a conscious choice, it was born in me. There is just an inherent drama in “things that can hurt you” that I have always found fascinating. A good example would be if you were to ask a group of school children to draw a toaster what would the do? Most likely they would groan and moan. But if you asked them to draw an evil toaster instead, then suddenly everyone is very interested to both draw the image as well as see what everyone has come up with. Again, it is that inherent drama in things that bite.

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

As a child my entire family enjoyed horror films. My older brother had a library of fantasy and horror magazine and novels. Much of what I do today was inspired by those early films and books. I was fortunate that my family always enjoyed my dark humor and sensibilities.

Which horror magazines and novels did your brother own?

This was in the seventies. We not only collected the classic Creepy and Eerie magazines, but also the really campy, debased titles such as Tales of Voodoo, Terror Tales, and Tales from the Tomb.

Which of those did you enjoy most?

When I was younger I tented to the more graphic stories, as I entered into young adult hood, it was magazines with better art, such as Richard Corben, Bernie Wrightson, Mobius, such as underground comics and early Metal Hurlant.

What’s your favorite horror film?

Hard to answer that. I love so many films. I tend to like the silent classics a lot, such as Nosferatu and Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

What do you feel distinguishes your style from others?

I believe every artist’s voice stems from the individual way they interpret what is around, their experiences and influences, for me I believe it is a unique combination of horror, fantasy, fetish, punk rock, and old world illustration.

Not many artists use black in their work as effectively as you do. I’ve often found it gives the subject matter way more definition than you’d find in most other dark themed works. Whenever I look at one of your paintings, the way you use black to add darkness, or to contrast is very distinctive. Could you perhaps expand a bit on how you choose your palette?

I cheat. I tend to paint things very monochromatic then add bits of color to the area I want to add emphasize on.

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

The average painting runs about a week from start to finish. I work traditionally in oils and acrylics.

Do you listen to music while you’re working? Do you have any favorite songs?

I listen to music and audio books. A wide range, but when painting I prefer moody immersive dramatic music with a strong narrative, like Nick Cave, Joy Division, the Horrors, the Handsome Family, or Johnny Cash.

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

The list is ever growing, a few dead artist I like: Waterhouse, Mucha, Howard Pyle, Norman Rockwell, Frazetta.

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

That’s very hard to say. I am most proud of the works I created for my own novels, such as the Plucker and the Child Thief. The Plucker was inspired by common childhood beliefs, such as toys coming to life in the land of make-believe and monsters under the bed. I was fascinated by the idea of the two happening in the same room. With Child Thief I was captivated by the idea of Peter Pan told in a gritty visceral way, to show what it might be like for a child to be stolen and taken by a charismatic sociopath to an island where they would have to kill to survive.

Of your whole gallery, which piece is your favorite?

I really enjoyed bringing Krampus to life for my latest novel Krampus, the Yule Lord. Probably my favorite images to date. Published in German by Knaur: http://www.amazon.de/Krampus-Roman-Brom/dp/3426653346

Could you tell us a little more about what led to you writing Krampus, The Yule Lord? Did you grow up knowing about Krampus? How do you feel about the fact that Krampus is becoming more popular?

I only discovered Krampus about a decade ago. I love that Krampus is becoming more popular. Christmas evolved out of Yuletide, and the Yule goat was the original form of Krampus. Krampus preceded Santa Claus by hundreds of years so he deserves his place in our holiday cheer. And that is a lot of what inspired the novel, my fascination with the roots of myths and legends. When I first heard about a Christmas spirit that beat naughty children and put them in sacks I was smitten. And the more I researched the more I discovered just how ingrain Yule and Yule tide traditions are in our modern Christmas celebrations. The novel itself is about Krampus coming back to modern times to reclaim his holiday from Santa Clause. He is tracking down Jolly old Saint Nick to do him in.

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

I respond to the things around me, a fleeting glimpse of a figure or image can inspire my mind to fill in the blanks, leading to invention. Most often it is the latest vision or dream that pops into my head.

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