The Scribblers' September Artist of the Month
Alexander Z Kautz
AZK: I was told that from the moment that I could walk and hold a crayon, my mother was chasing me around the house and washing the walls. The passion for art was with me from the very beginning.
TDBS: We're sure you kept your mother very busy! Did you attend art school or take art courses or is it all natural/self taught?
AZK: I attended art classes at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, Ontario, Canada as a youth and then later studied fine arts at Kwantlen College. As you know, it's impossible to teach anyone how to be an artist, they can only provide method and techniques.
AZK: Music has always been a huge inspiration and I always have something playing when I'm working. Depending on the project and required mood, it can vary from classical music to film soundtracks to heavy metal music. With much of the horror related work being inspired by dark metal bands such as Type O Negative, Sisters of Mercy and Deathstars.
TDBS (Feind): Ahh striking right at my heart Alex! I'm a long time Type O Negative fan. RIP Peter Steele. While I'm at it here's one of my favorites...
AZK: The smallest ink illustrations that I do are 10x14 and can take as little as an hour or as long five hours to complete because I love detail and will not stop until it feels right.
TDBS (Feind): Personally I am in awe of artistic people as I can barely draw stick figures so are you naturally gifted or has it been hard work that has gotten you to the point you’re at now?
AZK: Art has always been a part of me and although I did attend some courses, the passion was a gift and not something that takes any great effort. In many ways it's just an act of creation and flows from the soul, into the mind's eye and through the hand. Firstly, it's a simple desire to create and then to share.
TDBS: Do you have a particular medium you like to work with more than another? Pencils, ink, chalk, paint?
AZK: Well, I love pencil, ink and oils the most. I could never relate to chalk or charcoal because the feeling always reminded me of that scene in the 1976 film Jaws, where Quint scrapes his fingernails down the chalkboard. Just the thought makes me cringe.
AZK: Favorite artists? That is not a simple answer! I grew up reading old horror comics and magazines and some of my first influences were Bernie Wrightson, Frank Frazetta, John Severin, Alex Toth, Russ Heath and the horror film poster artists from the 40's - 80's.
TDBS: All excellent artists! Any particular period of art you find to be your favorite at all?
AZK: A favorite period? That's tough... I would have to say that the Golden Age of comics to the Bronze would be my favorite. I have also always been fascinated by the horror film poster art during the 40-80's.
AZK: Although Morbid Angel is a talent upon themselves, I'm not as familiar with them as I could be.
TDBS (Feind): That's alright Alex, I found myself in a bit of the same boat as I have a few of their early works but not much else.
AZK: Horror films have always been a passion. Since early childhood I would sneak out of bed to watch those movies of which, mother said would corrupt or terrify my young mind. From the Universal classic monsters to Roger Corman's Poe adaptations and those wondrous Hammer films, I was utterly absorbed and fascinated and remain so, even today. A favorite film? I am a huge fan of Vincent Price and although I do love so many films, The Abominable Dr. Phibes and Dr. Phibes Rises Again are my absolute favorite. As for a specific type of horror film? I have always loved Roger Corman's Poe adaptations and Hammer Films, Dracula, Frankenstein and The Mummy, collections.
TDBS (Feind): Vincent Price was among my first horror loves but also introduced me to Poe at an early age. I'm a huge fan of the Dr Phibes films as well! Good taste sir!
AZK: I have never been a fan of re-makes and to be quite honest, anyone attempting to alter a classic is blasphemy in my eyes. That being said, if I were to attempt anything, I would take an existing B movie such as 1976 Grizzly or the film The Crater Lake Monster and modernize and create something that would scare the pants off people!
TDBS (Feind): Personally I don't mind remakes but I'd rather see redo-s of films that suffered from small budgets rather than anything else.
AZK: Now this question is much easier to answer! I love all and anything ever produced by Warren Magazine Publishing, Vampirella, Creepy, Eerie etc. And Bless Dark Horse Comics for re-releasing those wonderful works of yester-year and also producing new and brilliant work!
TDBS: We couldn't agree more!
*My apologies for throwing this at Alex but he was a good sport answering despite the ridiculousness. - Feind
TDBS (Feind): I see that as well as creating your excellent artwork you also write, do you prefer one to the other or is it about equal? Obviously Cult & I both write so sorry to put you on the spot but it's ok, you can tell our fans Feind is the better of the two of us, right? HA! But seriously have you read any of our work and seen anything that particularly tickled your fancy? (Feel free to skip this one Alex, we won't be offended as time is usually the key factor here.)
AZK: Having never had the pleasure of reading anything written by either of you, as of yet, I can't comment, but rarely see one as better than the other, simply different. I have always loved writing, but art is the fire that burns brightest within my soul. It would be a shame to ever have to chose between them, but should I have to, sadly the stories would end first.
AZK: I have very little experience with the publishing industry. Most of my work is published by friends and it has all been a wonderful experience. I know that there are many venues, but have always felt best working with a publisher rather than attempting to market and produce my own work. As we all know, a publisher does not only make your work available to the public, they advertise and promote.
AZK: Currently, I am putting together a horror anthology entitled; Whistle Past the Graveyard, including such talents as poet Rich Orth, author Beatrice Wakefield and artists Mark Kokopelli Watkins and Jerry Langdon. this will be the only work produced with a large selection of my short horror stories and illustrations, together. Although I have done work with other's on previous projects, my loyalty remains with friend Rich Orth and my work can be found in his previous works, POEtry Girls and Bloody Tis' My Valentine, available through Amazon. Once again, I thank you both for the interest in my work! I wish you all the very best and look forward to many more years of shared art and inspiration, my friends.
TDBS: We do as well Alex and let us know when Whistle Past The Graveyard is ready for purchase so we can let our 4 fans (or is it 3? HAHAHA) know where they can get their copy. Thanks again for taking the time and responding so quickly.