From a saucy looking Oscar Wilde to a tea needing Frankenstein, the mastermind behind Adistic Occult Couture is an artistic genius.
We caught up with the artist Adam Clarkson for a quick chat about his projects so far and those coming up.
S.D: Thank you for speaking to Snapdragon today, how are you and what have you been up to?
A.C: its awlays a pleasure to chat with you.
Other than a serious lack of social interaction and live music exposure and beer I’m pretty good. Been working really hard with the launch of Adistic occult Couture, running the art work for Facemelting Entertainment and the Liverpool M2TM alongside training for a marathon not been finding time for much else at the moment but really hoping to break out the gig jacket soon and let my hair down.
S.D: Your artwork is very similar to old movie posters in places, would you say this is an influence?
A.C: I have somewhat of a romanticized obsession with horror and its iconography, drawing from all aspects of the genre from the macabre fantasy’s of Mary shelly and Poe through to the silver screen golden age of Universal movie monsters all the way up to the blood and gore of 80’s Slasher flicks.
And I would defiantly agree it’s a big influence on my work. And has been for some time. I based my Photographic degree work around the genre in a Cindy Sherman esque ‘Untied film still’ kind of way. I have also been working and reworking on two horror film scripts for the past 5 years as to weather I will ever finish them is another question.
I have a tendency to put endeavors on hold and go back to them with a fresh mind a year or so later and overhaul the whole concept, for example I currently have a series on hold taking inspiration directly form old B-movie horror posters where I’m using the imagery, iconic characters and themes to prompt political and or social commentary. So you could say it’s more than an influence but an obsessive dynamic force behind the work I create.
S.D: What is your background, when did you decide to start become an artist?
A.C: A lot of people assume that I have always been able to just draw and its just a natural talent, but that’s not the case, its something I’ve worked at for a very long time. In the same way some people are naturally musical gifted and can pick up a guitar and master it quickly and other people earn there talent through years and years of hard practice.
I however picked up pencils instead of six strings. But where did it all come from? Stan Lee! As a kid I was terribly dyslexic and couldn’t read or write but I loved comic books, I could follow the story arc with out the words, and here where these amazing characters that where just so cool and idyllic to a young bullied kid struggling at school. When I was about 12 I took part in a one on one study about dyslexia in children and after the study the woman who conducted it bought me a book to say thank you ‘how to draw the marvel way by Stan Lee’.
Not I studied this book for years doing every exercise over and over again it became my bible. And I still use the very same techniques today so I owe everything to that Man. And his influence can be clearly seen in my work. I have other artistic influences from Freeda Karlo, Botochli , Lucian Freud but at the end of the day no one has been a bigger inspiration on me and my art then Stan Lee.
S.D: What has been your favorite project so far?
A.C: When I was 18 I painted a working toilet covered in sex slaves and swear words with a big extruding cock made from tony Blair’s and Former war mongering President Bushes faces, I enjoyed that one quite a lot, or whilst doing my degree is created a series of film still recreation as if they where performed on stage by clowns, and as part of the process I dress in clown make up for several months inhabiting clown like adaptations of infamous movie characters like Travis from Taxi Driver or Leatherface from the Texas Chain saw massacre before reshooting still from there films as low budget circus recreations which was a really fun project.
And recently I got to design a T-shirt for Fetol juice for Albert Grindstine and as a fan of the band that was just awesome and he was such an interesting character to draw. But truth be told I’m never more happier and content than I am when I’m locked away in my cozy dark studio listening to doom metal just drawing Birds, naked ladies and animals with ink pens.
S.D: What mediums do you use/which are your preferred ones?
A.C: I don’t like to rule mediums and materials out but I am a sucker for the simplicity for a pencil and a black ink pen. I’ve had a Rotating drawing fountain pen for about 9 years its pretty much all I draw with these days. All the designs for Adistic have been drawn with that one pen.
S.D: Tell us a bit more about Adistic, how did this come about?
A.C: The job market sucks! So I thought why not turn my love and my passion into my job. So I set out being self employed artist and graphic designer this way I can listen to metal all day why I work and have creative control over the whole process. But the issue there is there’s not always work coming in.
So I set out to create an Alternative clothing line with a little more class wit and sophistication than the Camden market tatter and other alternative brands. Hence Adistic occult Couture was born. And although it’s in its early stages and I am still trying to grow the brand it’s doing ok. And got a lot more products in the works, with bags coming out very soon and dresses to follow soon after and later bespoke silver jewelry too. I’ve also Addressed an issue with Adistic facing a lot of start up bands face, I’ve been frequently asked to design t shirts for bands and them say they cant afford to pay yet and then they cant afford to get the things printed right away and then they sit around on it and nothing ever comes of is, this waste my time and there’s, now I’ve solved this issue, and under Adistic I offer a process where I will design the t-shirt for the band and then upload it to my website and sell it for them, and after a sufficient amount ( as agreed by the band) has been sold to pay my fees I will then sign over the copy write to the band for the design.
Yet they can continue to sell online via Adistic with the profits from those sales now going into a pot to buy physical stock for them to sell at their shows. This cuts out all start up costs for the band in regards to merch and the hassle of getting them printed and shipped leaving them to just worry about the base player.
S.D:What are your plans for the rest of the year?
A.C: I got a lot of work on at the moment as regards to Adisitc Oucclt Coture to grow it as a company and a brand, but im also working along side Francessca Dunn to create a series based around blasphemes adaptations of religious iconography, so I’m producing a lot of work atm that you could imagine Nergal putting up in his living room.
So this year is about working hard, if I can get the funds together and the time I would like to make it back out to metal days again this year and possibly some other festivals too. Already got Bloodstock tickets booked although not sure what to make of the headlines this year at all. Don’t get me wrong I like Rob Zombie but I just don’t feel his right for the festival.
S.D:Thankyou once again for speaking to us.
A.C: No thank you for showing the interest.
Please check out the site here : http://www.adistic.co.uk
Adistic Occult Couture is a registered trademark of Adam Clarkson.