Chris Kiesling of Misanthropic Art creates detailed ink illustrations focused on dark imagery and inspired by the heavy music scene. We had a short chat with Chris on how he creates and what influences him in the process.
What projects are you working on at the moment? Are there any specific pieces or bodies of work you can discuss?
Shirt designs, a logo redesign, cover art and a few layouts. I can’t really get into detail about it until it’s actually finished and I have the Ok to release the art.
What dark, outsider, or occult themes do you employ in your work? Are these themes central to your process?
It depends on the commission that I’m working on. In particular, it depends on the concept the band provides me with. If I’m approached to do an occult piece, then of course I have to think about it. Generally speaking, I’m not into occultism or any kind of spiritual worship; but nature, music, and visual art are very essential to my thinking.
What type of creative patterns, routines or rituals do you practice to aid your artistic process?
I listen to music. Other than that, nothing specific. I don’t have a candle lit dungeon with occult sigils written in blood surrounding me, if that’s what you’re asking ;) Though I do have cats that help me with my work on a regular basis.
What tools do you use to create your art?
I use traditional materials such as pen and ink or acrylic ink; but I also use modern media like Photoshop and my Wacom tablet.
What artists and photographers do you like (darkly themed or others)? What works inspire you?
I’m a huge fan of old masters like Albrecht Dürer, Gustave Dore, Caspar David Friedrich, etc. I use them a lot for inspiration. Old turn of the century and art nouveau illustrations are also some of my influences.
It seems as though a lot of your works are for music clients (Mantar, Mortuary Drape, Kampfar, Pig Destroyer, etc.). Does heavy/dark music spur your artistic creation?
Yes. I constantly listen to music, most of the time it is to Heavy Metal. If the band I work for provides me with their music, I use it during the concept phase as well.
Who are some of your favorite music poster artists and graphic artists? Are there any artists from your local area (NY) that you think we should check out?
Hard to say, I’m not huge into poster art. I like old German Expressionist (horror) film art and also a lot of 70s/80s movies, but that’s basically it when it comes to poster art. I know there’s a big scene out there when it comes to screen printing / fine art prints, but I frankly don’t have the money to spend on stuff like that. Regarding graphic artists in general, there are a few that I like. For example, I like Karmazid, Zbigniew M. Bielak, Glyn Smyth, Denis Forkas, and a few others.
What role do you think artists or designers have in society?
A small one. Since I always try to act in the true sense of creative freedom, I do what I want to do regardless of the role society forces upon me. To be honest, I don’t really care about reputation or what impact my art has on society. I work mostly for underground Metal bands. The only thing I care about is that my clients are happy with what I do.