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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Visceral Visionaries: Aaron Crawford

With a body of work that includes commercial design, T-shirt logos and illustration, fine art and much more, Aaron Crawford is one of the most versatile horror-themed artists out there. He has been hired by a variety of rock bands, and recently opened up his own online store. Comfortable with all different media, Crawford is definitely a creator on the rise. I'm grateful to him for consenting to be The Vault's latest Visceral Visionary...

Talk about some of your inspirations...
It comes from random horror movies, my friends, people I surround myself with, other artists, books--everything. I just try and observe and absorb everything. Sometimes I get silly ideas and sketch them, and it SOMEHOW turns into something. Weird. Some of the artists I'm always looking at would be Mark Riddick, Aaron Horkey, Greg Simkins, MunkOne, Alex Pardee, AlexMDC, and I've been stuck on TASTES LIKE GOLD's work a lot lately, too. There's a bunch of them out there doing AMAZING WORK. Hard to keep up with all of them, honestly.

Why horror themed stuff in particular?
It's just something I've always been fascinated with, and grew up watching. I remember being a kid and watching scary movies well into the early morning hours when I was supposed to be asleep for school the next day. My fascination really sparked with movies like Friday the 13th, Halloween, The Thing, Creepshow, Night of The Creeps. Then there's the Goosebumps books, which I was OBSESSED with. I used to try and redraw the covers, and usually fail, but it was fun!

How did you get into doing work for bands, specifically? What percentage of your work is that?
I just started trying to network with bands and show them my work around late 2002, early 2003, then a few bands bit the hook, and wanted me to design something for them. My first designs were HORRIBLE, but, I guess it's good to look back and see how much you've grown. I'm almost always working on shirts for bands and clothing companies, but in between that, some fine art stuff does creep in. I try and balance both aspects, 'cause if you take a break from one thing for too long, you'll loose your niche.

Does the style of music make any major difference, and if so, how?
Usually it does. Say, if you have a death metal band, a majority of the time, it will be a darker, maybe more gore themed design. But other times, I will base the design off of lyrics, song titles--whatever the band would like me to do. It varies.

Which clients are you the most proud to have worked for?
I'd say Knights of The Abyss, Into Eternity, and pretty much every band I've worked with. They gave me a chance to draw a picture for them, have it placed on a T-shirt, and sold at their shows. That's beautiful to me.

How would you best distinguish between your commercial work and your fine art work?
My commercial work is usually traditional, pen and ink, photoshop, but then for the fine art, I still use inks, more watercolors, acrylics, and whatever else I can get my hands on. With the commercial work though, there are usually color limitations. With the fine art stuff, I can do whatever and make a mess.

Of what work in particular are you the proudest?
I'm really proud of some of the Knights of the Abyss designs I've done, and also the new Maylene & The Sons of Disaster shirt I recently finished. I'm just trying to take more time with my work, and push myself with each design. Sometimes, you get the urge to punch your computer screen and melt all of your pens, but you have to push through it.

Now that you've opened your online store, what's the stuff you find there's the most demand for?
Lately it's been paintings, the smaller 11 x 14 watercolor stuff, usually. Sometimes, you'll get someone who wants just line work. Either way, go check it out! I'll be updating it often with newer works: http://www.aaroncrawford.bigcartel.com

Tell my readers about some upcoming projects you have lined up.
I'm currently working on a ton of shirt designs for various bands and clothing companies, and a painting for my lovely girlfriend, but one of my most exciting projects I've taken on is a shirt for the most metal photographer out there, JEREMY SAFFER. I was asked to design his very first shirt, which will be so metal, you won't be able to peel it off your back without every layer of skin coming off with it. Just think wintery, black metal, ice, IMMORTAL, GRIM! I've said too much. You get it.

* Thanks to Vault dweller 1twistedmind for putting me in touch with Aaron!


BJ Colangelo said...

fabulous interview, and brilliant work as always aaron

Christopher Zenga said...

The illustrations are great, very organic and alive!

I cant's wait to see more!

Later days,
Christopher Zenga

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