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Art Should Always Inspire: Exclusive Interview with Painter Vaughn Belak

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Blood in the Air Crows

Vaughn Belak‘s artistic creations draw you in with a luminous, large-eyed gaze, spatters of shadow and light creating an alluring blend of fae mischief and gothic gloom. His upcoming collection, Dodging Knives and Throwing Bullets, will give art fans a close look at not just Belak’s art, but also the mind of the artist.

Ed Grabianowski: Your artistic style has really crystallized into a very iconic, recognizable form. As your work evolved over the years, was there a particular moment when you realized, “This is it, this is my style”?

Vaughn Belak: Not that I can pinpoint but I am keenly aware of an artist’s need for their own voice. What I think a lot of people comment on first in regards to my work is the speckled effect I use. That truly has become a part of my personal fingerprint. In my mind what I’m doing with the spatter is attempting to frame a moment. If you’ve ever watched an old black and white film where there’s a musician or a singer in a darkened, smokey room on a stage where you can see the dust particles in the spotlight….that is my spatter.

EG: Can you tell me about the techniques that you use to create your art? What role does digital technique play in your work?

VB: I very recently switched over from conventional brush work to airbrush as my primary tool. I use acrylics, inks and charcoal as my mediums. As far as any digital stuff I’d say primarily just in my sketching. Recently I have been doing all of my primary sketch work on a tablet in Procreate. This helps me to be more fluid and to make more choices before I get into the paint. I guess it helps me remove all the bad choices before things get permanent.

EG: The dark fae characters you portray have so much personality to them. Do you have your own mythology or backstory about them? Have you ever considered expanding on that aspect, whether through a graphic novel or short stories?

VB: Thank you. Those pieces were part of a solo show I did called “Changeling” a few years back. In that show I wanted to explore some mythologies I’d never really read about before. Primarily the Huldra. Huldra are similar to satyrs in appearance but female. Very aggressive and insidious creatures. The dark fae in the series I wanted to be strong and have more menace to them than an average fairy type image. They are not very nice beings in my world. I have been approached by people to illustrate books about darker myths but have yet to find a good fit stylistically. Totally open to the idea though. Darker the better.

EG: What can fans expect to find in Dodging Knives & Throwing Bullets?

VB: My hope is that they find some inspiration. Art should always inspire. There is some personal stuff in the book that speaks to how I came to where I am in life at this moment that I hope can inspire as well. This book is a dream come to life for me and a few years ago I was unable to see any future from the bottom of the bottle I was in. Art saved my life in a very literal way. It truly is a form of magick that when used in certain ways can bring about miraculous things.

EG: Are there any movies that you like to watch to set the mood or put you in the right frame of mind for your work?

VB: There is an animated film called Rock and Rule that inspired most of my recent work. Particularly the song My Name is Mok sung by Lou Reed. This film has been a part of my world since I was a kid and there is so much I love about it. Post apocalyptic Ziggy Stardust rat world meets Mad Max. Check it out.

EG: Do you ever attend horror conventions or other shows where people can buy originals or prints of your work?

VB: I will be at Spooky Empire in October here in Orlando. I’ve been getting more involved with the convention world and you will certainly see me there more. I feel most comfortable somewhere in between the horror and comic book worlds. My primary outlet is selling my work online. Most of my audience has found me on Facebook and I use that as a storefront as well as a way to connect with friends/fans. The thing I am most excited about right now is the Kickstarter for my book Dodging Knives and Throwing Bullets. This is a total dream come true moment for me here. Thank you so much, Gothic.net and everyone for all the years of support leading up to this book!

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Posted by on Friday, September 8th, 2017. Filed under Books, Headline, Images, Lifestyle. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

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