Australian artist Nathan Jackson is a talented guy I have been keeping my eye on for quite a while now. His work takes some of the coolest horror and cult film icons and reinterprets them in his own unique style.
I was lucky enough to have the chance for a brief chat with the artist recently, to find out what interests him and inspires his work.
Enjoy our conversation with Nathan Jackson!
HH : Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Please tell the students of Horror Homework a little bit about yourself.
NJ : My name is Nathan Jackson. I am from Melbourne, Australia. I’m a pop culture junkie who just happens to make art in my spare time. I love film in particular. From a very early age, I’ve been obsessed with film and drawn towards the darker side of it. Some of my favorite filmmakers include Kubrick, Friedken, Raimi, Craven, De Palma, Cronenberg, Verhoeven, Romero, and Coppola. I’ve dabbled in art over the years: drawing, painting, and digital art, mostly.
HH : How did you get your start in the art world?
NJ : At the beginning of 2012, my friend, artist Matty Taylor put me on to a Facebook page called “Ozcomics”, run by artist Darren Close.
Each week on the Ozcomics page, there would be a new subject introduced. The challenge would be to produce art based on that subject in a specific time frame. After a while, I found that making art was becoming my favorite way to spend my spare time.
At the beginning of this year, I decided to step it up and create my own art page on Facebook. Since then, I’ve been drawing all of the characters that I love from film and pop culture and putting them up for everyone to see. I’ve had a really great response so far. I’ve met a lot of like-minded and passionate artists and people. I’ve also had a few of my pieces shared by some of the subjects I’ve drawn which has been really cool, too. Earlier in the year, I did a portrait of one of my heroes, Clive Barker. I was very humbled to have him see it and share it with everyone.
HH : You have a very distinct and recognizable style. Have you tried to make your art differently, or are you interested in cultivating your own style?
NJ : It’s not something that I really think about. Obviously, my comic influences have had a huge impact on my drawing style. Every artist wants their work to stand out and be seen as their own, so it’s a huge compliment when people comment on my “style.”
HH : Speaking of comics, are you interested in doing comic book work?
NJ : I really love the idea of working in comics, I just don’t think that I’m ready yet. We have a really great comic community here in Melbourne. I know that when I decide to jump in, I’d have plenty of good support and advice. Comic artists that do sequential artwork have my utmost respect. It’s a daunting prospect for me. Comic art needs to be consistent, and at this early stage, I’m still experimenting with my process to find the best result, which is why I like focusing on one picture at a time. I’ve done a few practice layouts with material written by Elizabeth Howell, some of which I’ve posted on my Facebook page. She has got some great ideas for stories and is a fellow horror buff (who also admins the awesome Facebook page Horror, Metal, Punk and Stuff). So, if and when they do eventuate, you can expect a fair bit of blood, gore, and craziness.
HH : Who are some of the artists that inspire you?
NJ : On the comic side of things, my biggest inspiration would have to be Frank Miller. His work on ‘Sin City’ has had a huge influence on my art. The art of Fiona Staples, artist for the ongoing comic series ‘Saga,’ has also had a big impact on me lately. I use similar processes for my pieces. I think I’ve learned a lot from her. Mostly, though, I’m inspired by all of the new work that I see on a daily basis from artists that I know personally and others that I’ve met through Ozcomics and the art community in general, some of which I’ve discovered through Horror Homework.
You’ve got such a great community of talented artists and passionate followers. It’s a real pleasure to be a part of it in some way.
HH : You are very obviously inspired by many fictional characters. Who is your favorite character to draw?
NJ : My favorite to draw would have to be actor Michael Rooker as Merle Dixon from the television series, The Walking Dead. I like drawing faces with lots of character. If anyone has that, it’s Rooker, especially now with age. All of his character lines make him really fun to draw. He is such a badass! One of my favorite pieces so far was the “Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer/The Walking Dead” mash-up from last year. It was awesome to have him share it on all of his social media pages, too.
HH : Do you have a favorite horror film?
NJ : It is tough to single out one horror film over them all, but if I had to choose, it would probably be ‘The Shining.’ It really does represent everything that I love about horror and film in general. It’s a feast for the senses. Stanley Kubrick is one of my favorite filmmakers and he is at the height of his power with this film. Of course, Jack Nicholson’s unhinged performance is just mesmerizing. I get something new out of it with each viewing. The blu-ray transfer of this film is absolutely stunning, too. It’s like watching it in a whole new light. I highly recommend the HD upgrade. Honorable mentions go to Romero’s ‘Dawn of the Dead’ and ‘The Exorcist’ for missing out on the top spot by a whisker.
HH : What kind of music do you listen to while you create your work?
NJ : Well, I’ve always been drawn to extremes in entertainment. Music is no different. I love heavy music. High in my rotation at the moment are the latest albums from Pig Destroyer, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Cult of Luna, Cattle Decapitation, The Acacia Strain, Fit for an Autopsy, Arsonists Get All the Girls… I could go on. Brutal music is soothing for the soul. It helps me relax. I’ll also listen to film soundtracks. The latest one that I’ve been obsessed with is Cliff Martinez’s score for ‘Only God Forgives,’ which is also my favorite film of the year so far. It’s dark and atmospheric, perfect for creating art.
HH : Where would you like to see your work take you in the future?
NJ : Honestly, I have no idea. I’m just really enjoying making art at the moment. I feel like I’m improving all of the time. Having the great response from everyone just makes me more determined to keep at it. I’ll go with flow and see what opportunities present themselves. Making a living from art is something that every artist wishes for, but the reality of that is quite difficult. I do it for the love it. I don’t rely on it to pay any bills, so there is no pressure. Comic books, pin-ups, t-shirt design, and concept art are all possible avenues for me to explore in the future.
Big thanks to Nathan Jackson for taking the time to talk to us. Be sure and stay tuned to his Facebook page for consistently new and impressive work from this talented and prolific artist!