"I remember when I was very small, there were all kinds of products with small characters with big eyes, lots of flowers -- all very bucolic -- and those posters of sad-eyed animals with self-help phrases. They were everywhere, people hung them in their homes. I was horrified"
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.
Barcelona based digital artist Liransz took time to discuss her influences, her background in digital gaming, her fascination with pop surrealism, and the importance of dreams in her work.
Can you tell us about the influence of dreams and nightmares on your artwork?
Although only a couple of occasions I based directly on real nightmares and dreams I had, I do try to give my paintings an oneiric look, because in the dreamworld everything is possible, magical, and real at the same time . When I wake up (or as I read once, can not remember who said it, “liberated from one reality to make way for another”) I remember the dreams as if they were single frames of a movie, static, but full of all the feelings it produced. I can not remember the entire dream, or even find an internal logic between frames, but I do remember how I felt at all times, and that is how I think my images should work.
What is it about pop surrealism and pop-noir that you enjoy?
I remember when I was very small, there were all kinds of products with small characters with big eyes, lots of flowers — all very bucolic — and those posters of sad-eyed animals with self-help phrases. They were everywhere, people hung them in their homes. I was horrified. And every time I went to a place and there was this poster of a hound dog in a hammock with a cocktail, I had to stop to look at it with a kind of morbid fascination.
Eventually, I discovered the concept of kitsch, met artists that brought this aesthetic to extremes that turned these images into art, where cute is actually cute and so wrong at the same time, giving them a whole new meaning . It’s what led me to surreal pop movement and develop my own imagery in this.
Some of my favorite artist are Mark Ryden, of course, Nicoletta Ceccoli, Ray Caesar, La Chapelle among others.
How has your background in digital gaming influenced your style and aesthetic in your artwork? Do you see any cross-over between the work of the two?
In fact, I started with digital illustration at the same time that my work in digital games. The tools I had to learn were basically the same, so during office hours, I was developing a technique, and then, at home, I applied these techniques to my own work. Sometimes, I have had the opportunity to apply my own style in a game, such as Dark Charming, a dress-up doll game that I made with a friend.
How does melancholia and nostalgia work in your artwork? Do you think it’s important? I think it’s reflected in your portraits frequently, do you see artwork as a way to reflect on times past?
I know it sounds cliché, but in my work, I try to explain my own feelings and experiences. And I do not usually qualify as a model of a happy person , so many feelings that could be considered “negative” may come to light. While melancholy itself is not usually the main element, if it is a constant that helps to define the first instance of the mood I’m trying to represent.
Can you tell us about the use of eyes and eyeballs in your work? What do you like about them? What do they symbolise for you?
This question is difficult, it has many meanings, for example, the eye is the principal organ by which we connect to the world and the vision symbolizes the interpretation we make of it: truth, morality, wisdom, and blindness is a major distortion or lack of these elements. I personally believe that all people live in that state of blindness. At the same time, I have apprehension to human organs, e.g. to see someone touch their eyeball gives me the creeps.
Are you dressing up for Halloween, and if so, what as?
As much as I love halloween, I don’t use to dress up for it. I grew up in a place where it is not celebrated and where I live now, is starting to hold relatively recently. But if given the chance, would probably be of living-dead doll.