I am always craving to discover something dark that affects me emotionally. I am always looking for a sound that has a vibe that makes me eerily intrigued with discomfort, because that is where I find comfort. I can spend hours, days in and days out, looking and looking and to no avail. Then there are those rare times where you’re just on your front porch and end up meeting and building friendships and learning about people and then finding out they are totally creative, talented, and hit that warm, dark spot. Well, that’s pretty much how I got to know some of what the Magar’s are all about.
Rebecca Magar has some of the most talented eyes and hands that I have seen anywhere. Her work is creative, imaginative, and memorable. There is no shortage of her work and she keeps churning out art and never disappoints. I have included just a few pieces here, but bust on over to her sites and check out what she has done and be sure to pick up some things. I could write a week about how much I enjoy her works and how talented I think she is, but I will let you be the judge and hope you will take some time to explore it.
CULTIC! What can I say? When I listen, it really feels like it’s a late 1980 analog recording made in the depth of hell and was recently discovered in the back yard of Tom Warrior’s childhood home about six feet deep by a rabid Goat. The power, vibe, and true essence of the time is captured and introduced to us all over again!
Rebecca is married to Brian Magar, and together they created CULTIC, which is the perfect soundtrack to her artwork, or her artwork is the perfect view of the CULTIC sound. The Magar household is a powerhouse set up right down the street from me, not too far from the seven gates of Hell, not far from Hex Hollow, and not too far from Witch territory! This kind of explains the feelings of what you hear and what you see produced by the talented duo. On a side note, I said it before and I will say it again, I just can’t figure out why there are no true legitimate black metal bands from here.
Without further ado I caught up with the Magar’s and they were gracious enough to answer a few of my questions to share with everyone.
What has influenced your work as most of it is dark and fantasy? (not necessarily artist but any life events?) and what keeps you motivated to come up with new pieces.
Rebecca: I can’t really describe a specific influence that sparked my interest in the dark and fantastic. I grew up in a strictly religious house and I was home-schooled. I didn’t really have much access-to or knowledge-of comic books, role playing games, music or other media that one would typically think of when they imagine fantasy art. I do remember spending countless hours drawing doodles of dragons, pirates and unicorns as a kid. I even built a full-sized dragon with a movable head out of wire and tin-foil. I was a lonely kid with a lot of time to practice and I was rebellious. I may have been drawn to it because it was taboo, but I think it had more to do with daydreaming and wanting to imagine a dark and mysterious world outside of my own.
I stopped doing fantasy art altogether as a young adult and ultimately resorted to painting pictures of pets, floral arrangements and landscapes. These were easy to sell, and they were good practice but it never felt meaningful. I think there is a gray area between learning a technical skill and the process of creating. I learned a lot at this point in my life, but I wasn’t really creating anything.
I started painting dark subjects again at a very dark time in my life. I had just come out of an abusive relationship, was a single mom and was working long hours as a web developer. I had not drawn or painted anything in several years, but I needed a creative outlet and I was exploring how to translate my state-of-mind into my art.
I eventually met my husband [Brian] who was working (contractor) as a Flash developer for Century Media records. He has always been involved in the music scene and meeting him led to opportunities to do album cover art for some bands. It was a natural evolution from what I was already starting to do. Brian has been my biggest fan and my most constructive critic too.
I wouldn’t say that I always feel excited or inspired to make art, but I definitely always feel compelled to do so. I live with the idea that I don’t want to die before I have created everything that I was meant to create. That’s not to say I don’t feel inspired, because I do experience inspiration and excitement on a regular basis. But I don’t rely on these feelings to drive me. I think a darker sense of urgency is a more reliable motivator.
Do you create an outline of an idea before you create, or do you just start based on a mood and a blank piece of paper so to speak?
Rebecca: When I am working on a piece for myself, my concepts usually come from sudden bursts of inspiration. I have a lot of these, so I have to weed through these to choose which ideas will actually be realized. Commissioned work is a different process. Usually, clients have specific ideas about what they want (or even photographs), so with commissioned work the inspiration comes more in the process of formulating an inspired vision of what someone else has described.
I always start with a pencil and paper. I used to jump right in with my first idea and go straight to executing that vision as a finished drawing, but I recently learned that my first ideas aren’t necessarily my best ideas and I’ve begun to force myself to explore different compositions and layouts by doing fast little concept sketches (I call them ugly doodles).
When I was 11 years old, I took some art lessons with a woman who lived nearby and she told me, “your painting will only be as good as your drawing is.” I used to think she meant this very literally, but I’ve since realized that it’s not the execution of the drawing that she was talking about … it’s the value of planning, exploring and expanding on your ideas that makes (or breaks) a piece. This has been a recent and critical shift in thinking for me and it has changed the way I work.
I now spend equal time concepting, doing the finished prelim drawing, working on the under-painting and then coming in over top of that with the final colors. People frequently ask me how much time I spend on a piece. It always varies, but I normally spend somewhere close to 40 hours total on a painted piece.
Do you do commissioned work and if so what will, or won’t you do (style wise ect).
I definitely do commission work and I also offer licensing for the pieces that are already in my portfolio. I don’t really have any limits in terms of subject-matter, but I do have a very concrete style. I don’t intentionally try to mimic other artworks, but I have been told that I my work looks like it should have been done in the 1980’s and people usually compare it to Frazetta, so, I assume these are fair descriptions (though I could certainly never hold a candle to ol’ Frank). If you look at the work in my portfolio, you’ll have a pretty good idea of what you are getting stylistically.
What is your preferred medium and why?
Rebecca: Most of the work in my current portfolio is done in acrylics. This happened mostly due to having limited financial resources and wanting to take advantage of the quicker drying times of this medium. I have just switched to using oils again because I was missing the softer quality and the bolder colors that oils provide. I also like using oils because I have a tendency to narrow my focus too much when I’m painting (adding too much detail throughout a piece). Because oils take longer to dry, they force me to see the bigger picture. By ‘blocking-in’ large areas of a painting, I can keep more balance between the shades and colors. It also allows me to play with detail in the parts of the painting that I want to be the focal point while letting other areas remain in the shadows. I think the new piece I’m working on right now will reflect some of these changes to my process.
Aside from paint, I also like to work with graphite or charcoal, and occasionally with pen/ink and pastels. Every medium has it’s own unique challenges.
How does your family (past and present) feel about and support towards your art?
Rebecca: I think my parents and siblings are supportive, but I don’t think they really understand or like my work. Overall, I am very different from the rest of my family. I have completely opposite religious and political views, I generally have very different taste in movies, music and media, and I have a very different set of values and life experiences. Art is completely subjective, so I get why they don’t relate to what I’m creating.
My son and husband are my biggest advocates. All three of us are creative people, and we all have a really deep passion and dedication to our chosen medium. The best kind of weekend for us, is one where I’m in the attic with a paintbrush, Brian is in his office with a guitar and my son is in his bedroom with a computer building his own video games. At the end of the day we eat dinner together and talk about what we’ve all been working on. It’s nothing for our passions to come together in joint projects too. My husband writes a lot of soundtracks for our son’s video games, and I do a lot of illustration for my husband’s bands. I’m really excited to work on the cover art for our upcoming full-length Cultic album.
Tell me a more about Wailing Wizard, I see you do vend at some events and what you offer and where people can get merch.
Rebecca: I use the name Wailing Wizard as an alias for my artwork and illustrative efforts. I do vend at select events a few times a year and I also sell prints, products and original works through my Etsy shop. I recently started doing speed painting videos and I like to blog about these efforts in my spare time as well.
I also have a collection of druid-themed pieces in the works that might eventually become an illustrative book. I’m calling the project, “Seasons of Sacrifice.”
You can access all of my social media, shop and video links through my website at:
Here’s some direct links too:
Etsy Store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/WailingWizard
Cultic reminds me heavily of Hell hammer / Celtic frost and I love it. However how would you describe your music style as and what are the musical influences? Who do you think the band would appeal to?
Definitely a big HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST influence! The original vision was to create a WINTER tribute band. It quickly morphed into something a bit different. At it’s core, Cultic is a 3 chord, down tuned punk band playing sardonic metal songs. I think we appeal to people who can appreciate that form of crossover.
Brian : Power & war. I have a propensity to write lyrics about modern politics through a “swords and sorcery” lens.
What is it like writing music with spouse?
Brian : I love it! Becky and I have always worked well together. I’ve been playing in bands on and off for 30 years. Between CULTIC, The Owls ANWTS & Albatwitch, the last few years have been the most “fun” for me.
Becky: I love working with Brian! We’ve always gotten along well and we’ve spent a LOT of time working together. Before Brian and I were dating he subcontracted me to help build a flash website for DEATH ANGEL’s KILLING SEASON album. He was working as a contractor for CENTURY MEDIA / NUCLEAR BLAST at the time and I was freelancing. So, I guess we actually worked together before we played together.
What are your top 5 Albums (referencing your influenced by not all music out there).
Top five CULTIC influences would be the two WINTER albums “Into Darkness” and “Eternal Frost. CELTIC FROST’s “Morbid Tales”. COFFINS “Buried Death” and CIANIDE’s “The Dying Truth”.
What would tour would you like to see if you could hand pick the bands and the bands were all alive an active?
Iron Maiden with Paul Di’Anno, Screaming for Vengeance era Judas Priest, Black Flag with Rollins, and Septic Death.
Anything you want to add ?
1. We’re working on a FULL LENGTH.
2. Likeminded folks/bands should get in touch!
3. Our Demo is free on Bandcamp at: https://cultic.bandcamp.com
4. We keep a dragon in our basement.
Take the time to check out Cultic and check out Wailing Wizard. Hit me up with comments! firstname.lastname@example.org