Welcome to our Featured Fearsome Artist series. In honor of the freakiest of all seasons — Halloween — we here in The Terrifying Land of Blog have decided to sit down with some of the most talented artists from the Redbubble community who specialize in macabre or scary art and discuss how they dip into the darkness to create such creepy and cool illustrations and designs. Astrosim, who is based in Norway, and better known by his first name Sian sat down to chat with us about his work. We discussed changing palettes, holding a torch for ’80s style, and why he keeps returning to depict different faces.
I notice you create mainly portraits, or images of heads and faces? What is it about the human face that is so interesting?
There is something special about the face, it conveys so much, even if it’s just a blank stare from undead eyes. You can say so much, without showing much at all. People can make up their own stories and lore, fill in the blanks and flesh out a character with their own imagination. I do a great deal of normal portraits and studies too, but when I share my creations with people, it’s the creatures (be it monster, folklore characters, or zombies) that get the attention and get people intrigued and interested.
Monsters, ghoulish figures, and the undead appear in your artwork, where do you draw inspiration from?
I’m heavily influenced by the environment and time I grew up in. The ’80s was the age of the iconic movie “villains” or anti-heroes if you like, we had all the greats, like Jason Vorhees, Freddy Krueger, Pinhead, Leatherface and so on. It was truly a imaginative and magical time and I don’t think we have this now, at least not like we had back then. I think the creativity and the DIY mentality of that period was a major inspiration to a lot of us, comics and music where also a huge inspiration and still is. Not to mention zombie movies, I think I still to this day make a point of hunting down every zombie movie I can get my hands on, for better or worse (mostly worse haha) Got to catch them all I guess.
What’s your favourite dark, horror work you’ve made and why?
This was a hard one, I think it’s a tie between “Pesta” and “Soldiers never die!” “Pesta” because because it’s based in our Norwegian folklore dating back to when the Black Death ravaged Scandinavia and the rest of northern Europe. It’s such a iconic character in our collective folk history.
“Soldiers never die!” came about after seeing the Norwegian zombie movie Død Snø (
Dead Snow), I loved how they took on the whole “curse-zombies” theme and managed to make a awesome little movie with a modest budget but with a lot of love and DIY mentality, reminds me of the first two Evil Dead films.
I keep revisiting these two pieces from time to time as my skills improve, I think you can say they are evolving along with my creativity and skill.
You have an extra terrestrial green palette that appears prominently, can you talk about your favourite colours to work with and why?
I tend to have a lot of monochrome pieces, I think the colors (or lack of them for that matter) help a lot to set the mood in my pieces.
Green gives you that musky old feel in a piece, like the smell and vibe you would get from an old cellar with a dirt floor (haha) and I think it looks good.
I have recently ventured into the land of vivid and saturated colors but I tend to usually go back the monochrome palettes for horror themed artwork.
What are you doing for Halloween in Norway? Do you celebrate, or have anything planned?
Celebrating Halloween is a somewhat new tradition here in Norway, when I was a child we used to dress up and go caroling or as we call it “Julebukk” around Christmas time, so it was sort of a similar thing. These days I think more and more Norwegians have joined in on the Halloween fun, and it’s starting to become a tradition here too. My two girls turn 4 and 5 later this year so I’m pretty sure we will have to go trick or treating in our neighborhood.
I dressed up as Clark Kent last year (with proper glasses and and all) and as a troll when we had our carnival at work. Not made any plans for a costume as of yet, but I’ll probably have to have a chat with the girls and hear what they think!