Horror Shock Lolipop recently had the chance to interview dark artist Zombie Rust about his creations, inspirations and more...
|'You're It!' by Zombie Rust|
First of all, thank you for doing this interview. Could you introduce yourself for those who are unfamiliar with your work?
Hello, I am Zombie Rust and though this is not actually my real name, I’m still Zombie Rust. I illustrate stuff.
You're a self-taught artist, but what first made you want to start improving and practicing your skills seriously?
I guess I always had that urge to draw. I used to draw cartoons right after I read tons of comic books back when I was very little. That stopped at some point for no particular reason. Later, when Rouble (http://roublerust.blogspot.com/), my life partner, picked up some brushes and started painting, I got back to it too. We’ve been enjoying that healthy artistic relationship ever since.
|'Zombie Kill' by Zombie Rust|
Do people ever think more/less of your work because you are self-taught, or is it irrelevant?
I never had a comment concerning that. I guess when people stumble upon some art that they like on the internet, don’t necessarily search the artist’s background, so I believe the self-taught artist factor is more of irrelevant.
Are there any other artists that have inspired you?
Inspiration to me comes from many different levels. Comics, movies, music, real life struggle. My list of inspirational people would be endless and much versatile. To name just a few: Robert Crumb, Basil Gogos, Steve Ditko, Rick Veitch, Jack Kirby, Gil Kane, Alex Toth, Frank Miller, Brian Bolland, the recently deceased Gene Colan, Alex Ross, Neil Adams, both John Romitas, David Mazzuchelli, Joe Orlano, Daniel Clowes, Scott McCloud… Those are pretty much the greatest artists of all time in comics, but people like Alice Cooper, Herschell Gordon Lewis, Johnny Cash, Woody Allen, Alfred Hitchcock, Edgar Allan Poe, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Bob Dylan, Stanley Kubrick and their equals also make the list.
Although you do create some pieces that are unrelated to horror, most of your art is pretty spooky. What drew you to this style?
I really don’t want to be strictly associated with horror only. I guess I tend to it more. I have a dark mind.
Your fan art mostly features icons of classic horror. What do you think of modern horror?
I like modern horror, some times as much as the classic stuff. There are some brilliant people out there right now making movies, some of which will be considered as classics too in some years from now. Sure the oldies are unique and incomparable, but times are changing and every era has its own needs. There’s always been great art in every time period.
|'Dr. Frankenstein and the Bride of the Monster' by Zombie Rust|
What are your favourite horror movies/books/games?
That would be another of my endless lists too. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1974, Dawn of the Dead 1978 (the re-imagined 2004 version is pretty neat too) and everything in the Romero undead series, the 1930s Frankenstein series (even the later ones), Halloween 1978, almost everything Hammer Horror produced in the 60s, Herschell Gordon Lewis’ gore, Jack Hill’s exploitation flicks, Italian horrors like Bava, Argento and Fulci. I could go on forever.
When it comes to books I’m pretty much predictable. Poe, King, Lovecraft, Matheson, Barker and definitely horror comics like Eerie and Creepy, Steve Niles’ work, stuff like that.
The most recent horror game I have enjoyed is Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare. Zombies in the wild west, how much more awesome than that could it be? Resident Evil and Silent Hill were always among my favourites too.
|'Brains! Live Brains!' by Zombie Rust|
Would you like to illustrate movie posters or DVD covers if you had the chance?
Definitely! Record covers too. I’m surrounded by thousands of them in my house and I’ll never get tired of watching them. Combining art with text is always a great challenge.
It's a separate type of art, but would you consider painting horror props and haunted house scenery/sets?
Sounds very interesting and it has crossed my mind in the past but never got around to it. I’m especially interested in masks. If I ever manage to make some I’m going to wear them all the time…
What are the main differences between drawing/painting a stand alone artwork and creating a piece for a comic?
Sequential art requires you to be more disciplined and determined to reach your goal. Finishing a comic page gives me greater pleasure. Knowing that I had worked methodically and succeeded to finish can’t compare to any single piece’s creating procedure, no matter how good it is or how hard I have worked on it.
|'Towel Dipped in Blood' by Zombie Rust|
Why did you choose to write a comic based on the members of the Manson Family?
I’ve always been interested in the case. There have been so many books about it, films, documentaries and I think I’ve seen and read most of them. I find it truly shocking how those incidents unfolded and one thing lead to another, ending up to people losing their lives.
Have you had any negative reactions to that decision?
Yes, but thankfully not much. I’ve been called a Manson fan, which I’m not. I don’t blame people for being upset over that, it’s a very delicate matter and I don’t expect everyone to understand my intentions. Glorifying crime is not one of them.
|Excerpt from 'The Boogeyman's Real'|
By Zombie Rust
In 'The Boogeyman's Real', the dialogue between the blind man and the pumpkin-headed figure is quite like the scene between the blind man and the Monster in 'The Bride of Frankenstein'. Was that intentional?
Yes it was. It’s a kind of an absurd tribute to one of my most favourite films. There will be more stuff like this in the comic.
|'Halloween' by Zombie Rust|
The pose in one frame of that scene looks similar to your digital work 'Halloween'. Are the ideas connected? Did you develop one from the other?
Yes and thanks for noticing that! I like the cliché character I created for this comic. Having the hermit in the place I had in the self portrait, caressing the so called Boogeyman, sort of symbolizes how I care about the character and how the story develops.
Will you be posting more of your comics online soon?
Hopefully. I’m kinda taking a short break to clear my mind for a while, but soon there’ll be more from the already in progress ones, as well as some new ideas I have developed and haven’t talked about publicly yet.
'The Black Album' has a very distinctive dark and sketchy look. Did you use this style on purpose, or was it something that developed by accident?
|'Untitled' by Zombie Rust|
Indian ink is such an amazing medium. Experimenting with it and a couple of certain brushes that I like only seemed like a good idea for the pieces I wanted to create. I like to see this Black Album style as my art stripped down to the core. So, it’s definitely on purpose.
If you weren't an artist, what would be your ideal job?
Tough call. I guess owning my own comic book store, or record store, or movie store or all-these-in-one store would be nice. No bosses, no problem kind of attitude. But in times when the economy sucks and less people care in buying physical products than downloading them illegally from the internet, this idea doesn’t seem so good.
Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to become an artist?
No, I’m not the best of people to do that, I can barely advise myself.
When you're not busy creating, what do you do in your free time?
Reading, watching and listening to stuff, procrastinating, playing video games, quality time with Rouble.
Lastly, could you give a message to fans of your work?
No other than big thank yous to everyone who has supported my art so far in any way. I’m grateful for every single print or tee or whatever I have sold so far and for every little comment I ever had. I intend to get better by the time and feedback is always helpful.
For more information on his work, you can visit Zombie Rust's Website: