They say good things come in pairs, and this certainly seems to be the case. Married to the very talented Jessica Ward (whose work I’ve covered before), Apricot is inpired by the kitschy side of sci-fi and horror movies to create his very own vision of B movies in vivid colors and strong cartoonistic realism.
Apricot’s work is about more than just the painting, though. His process includes carefully staging a photo of the scene he wants to paint and the use of a wide array of fabrication techniques to build his own unique custom frames to continue the concept and theme of the piece beyond the paper.
Apricot was a really good sport and not only did he answer some questions, but he also provided me with some of his staged photos to help shed some light into the work that goes into his creations.
I love how each painting has their own personalized frame. The frames are done as an extension of the paintings but when you come up with an idea for a painting, do you already think of the frame, or do you only think of that after the painting is done?
Well, when I first started doing this kind of work, yes, I would come up with the idea for the frame after the drawing was done. I would let the piece speak to me and tell me what to do for the frame. However, my process has changed within the past couple of years due to time constraints a project may have because of a show date and also due to me just getting a little wiser with my workflow. As I kept on developing the connection my frames have with their counterpart drawings I realized that It was better to work the whole idea, drawing and themed frame at the same time. This allows me to form the piece better as a whole and I can switch back and forth with working on the frame and drawing. I really like to get my hands dirty and use some powertools once in a while and colored pencils just don’t fullfill that need.
You go through a lot of prep work on your pieces, going so far as having a proper shoot, do you kinda of create a backstory before painting?
Oh hell yeah, I have to! It just makes things more fun and interesting for myself when I am working on the picture. I love watching movies and playing video games and letting those types of things inspire me. Most of the time I do my drawings based on movie characters I like. Like my drawing, “The Only Good Bug is a Dead Bug” is inspired by the character Michael Ironside plays in Starship Troopers, Jean Rasczak. I say inspired by because I don’t draw them exactly from the movie. I make my wife and model dress up like the character and act like the character for a photoshoot with dramatic lighting and the whole lot. It makes for fun nights for the two of us when we get to play dress up and shoot fun pics. So sometime I have her playing the role of a dude, it is one of my ways of putting a little twist on the movie they are based on. I did the same thing for my drawing that was based on Bruce Campbell’s character Ash from Evil Dead. These help me to get the somewhat photoreal blend into the drawings.
How do you feel being taught by a special effects movies guy has influenced your work?
Rick Hilgner has taught me many fabrication and faux painting techniques they use in movie prop making industry. His love for traditional movie magic making has really inspired me to push the envelope of my frames. Saying that there is no limit to what I can do with the right materials. More than that though he has really made me think more deeply about my artist statement and what I am trying to show the world in my work. Someday a lot of these traditional movie prop making techniques will be gone and much is done on the computer already. So I have thought of a way to combine these traditional special effect making techniques into my art to show the world the stuff they have used for special effects making in a different way. A fine art way:)
It is my hope that I build more frames that allow me to make them even more interactive with the audience.
Have you ever considered trying to do a comic, I could easily see your work lending itself nicely to that.
Thank you very much that is exciting. I have never really thought about doing my own comic even though I did take a sequential art class in school. It was fun, but man you definitely have to be an excellent story teller as well. For now I think it would be the most fun to just do some comic covers for some cool comics. I was actually approached by an independent comic producer from Italy and I did just finish making my first comic full spread cover for him (featured below). It is called, “Love is in Control” and you can get it here.
You’re heavily into sci-fi, horror and b-movies, so poking through your brains, what are your favorite movies in the the genre and why?
I have to say my favorites are two of Sam Raimi’s films. The first Evil Dead because it is scary as all hell with a little bit of cheesiness due to the low budget nature of the movie. The second Evil Dead because it is horror and comic genius at the same time something that Raimi really works in perfectly. His latest horror movie Drag me to Hell is amazing as well. I just love his filter on things. Showing scenes from whacked out perspectives to make the viewer uncomfortable and scared.
This has made me think about drawing my art from really weird perspectives too. I like to make it look scary, but dynamically stylized at the same time. This style is inspired from Raimi’s eye for weird angles. As far as sci-fi goes its gotta be the original Star Ship Troopers for it’s over the top cheesiness but with all the coolness of a big budget action movie.
Not to ramble on too much, but I love talking about this movie stuff. Also any and all old B horror movies and sci-fi/horror (too many titles to list). I get my greatest inspiration for color from the way these movies were dramatically lit. No matter how bad the scripts or acting might be they always do the best job lighting scenes with warm and cool color harmonies. Like reds and greens and oranges and blues. I love this stuff and I carry it through into my artwork as well.
You can get more Apricot info: