Midnite Collective interviews Shaun Beaudry, Illustrator
Medium: Pen & Ink, Watercolor
Based in: Savannah, GA
Years Active: 4 Years (for bands), 7 Years (freelance)
Most Recent Clients: Bastard Sapling, Kylesa, Metal Blade Records, Shining, Live Nation
Albums in current rotation: 12 – Kylesa: Ultraviolet, Bastard Sapling: Instinct Is Forever, SICULICIDIUM
You have been doing art for 5 years now, actively pushing the boundaries of creativity surrounding the illustration game and specifically within the darker aesthetic realm. How did you first discover your abilities and how did you hone them through the years in developing your current style and artistic path?
I don’t believe I discovered any inherent ability to draw well as a child. Drawing was an activity I did casually when I was little. My high school art teacher, Gayle Hamlin, really cultivated my understanding of art and illustration. In fact, I felt more challenged by her teaching then many of my classes at Savannah College of Art and Design. So I definitely believe luck plays a part in everyone’s creative path, but without hard work, luck falls short. I really honed my ability through long hours of isolating, hard work.
Intricate macabre scenarios with a connection to nature and sometimes esoteric themes in your work detail an organic aesthetic with an intense amount of detail. Where do you extract your inspiration? And, how do you typically plan for a piece?
I extract my inspiration from music, the natural world, and mythology. Occasionally, I get a blurry image in my head that comes to me in a flash. Most of the time it’s figuring out the concept, then hammering out a bunch of small thumbnail sketches. This goes on in till I have figured out the basic theme and composition planned.
With such an eye for detail and a cross-pollenation of styles within your inking (and sometimes mild paint inclusion), where do you find your largest influences? In our modern world of art, where do you find your eye wandering most?
Goya is my favorite artist, especially his black paintings. Jos A. Smith’s “Pen and Ink Book” is the best book I have ever read on the medium. Möbius, Pushead, Mucha, Harry Clarke, Franklin Booth, and Aubrey Beardsley consistently motivate my illustration work. My eye wanders the most on Instagram. It’s great for keeping up on artists’ work in progress and finished work. Some of my favorite illustrators on Instagram are Jeremy Hush, Allison Sommers, Caitlin Hackett, Jeremy Bastian, Abbey Watkins and Rotten Fantom.
Much of your subject matter seems very thematic and overarching. There is nature embedded within the darkness of your pieces – death and nature are always tied together in classical themes, but what pushes you to include fungi and weeds and branches, etc within your illustrations?
Fungi is a strange and wonderful creature. It has long been associated with Mysticism and some mystery religions. In fact, the largest living organism is a fungi covering over 2,000 acres. I also have an affinity for weeds. These are the unwanted plants that seem to thrive and prosper, even though they are disliked and attacked.
Most recently, you have been sharing pieces that are all related – Solomon’s demons. What initially inspired and attracted you to this recent string of pieces? What is your plan with them once you complete them all?
The Goetia is a old grimoire from the 17th century. This book contains the 72 demons king Solomon summoned to build his temple. Most of these demons were old pagan gods that were conquered then “demonized” by the newer religions. I always wanted to illustrate all 72 of them and develop the illustrations into a book.
Shaun will have a number of pieces, including the Bell Witch event’s “Daphne” piece, at this year’s Midnite Communion at The Complex in Los Angeles on November 15th. For more information, including a large portfolio of past pieces and a store for Shaun’s work, as well as to reach out to him for your own commissions, please visit www.shaunbeaudry.com
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