Kinder-News :: An Interview With Artist Jim Horwat

You guys remember JIM HORWAT, he’s the artist who created the amazing FRIDAY THE 13TH pieces that we shared with you a little while back. He’s got some more amazing work which we present to you today, plus he was kind enough to allow us a quick interview so that we can get to know to know him and his work a little bit better (click images to enlarge)…

UNK: First off, we’d like to get a TRAUMAFESSION from you. What was the first film that you remember really scaring you as a child?

J.H.: The first film that scared me deeply as a child was SALO. I should probably add that I never actually saw this film as a child, or adult for that matter, nor do I have any desire to do so now or even in the future.

In the late ‘70s/early ‘80s I would go on delivery runs with my grandfather. He was a butcher in Morristown, New Jersey and he didn’t drive so we walked everywhere, which usually meant I rode on his shoulders. On our routes we would walk past some of the seedier blocks in town where there was obviously poverty and the early signs of the crack cocaine epidemic taking shape. I vividly recall a sleazy movie theatre in particular that had one of those gold box poster cases out front. Well, there was a poster in it once for the movie SALO with a photo of a little boy getting his tongue ripped out with pliers or something. I remember staring at this poster and it scared the living shit out of me. I must have been like 4 years old and I could tell that there was something evil about that image. It shook me up silently. I knew it wasn’t a “dentist” image. I knew that something bad was happening to that boy. My brain couldn’t process the concept of “torture” yet, but I was sensitive enough to get the chilling vibe of that movie. I think it scared me to realize that there are people in this world that will hurt little kids. That fricken’ poster in that sleazy grind-house display-case made a lasting impression on me. Clowns, monsters, ghosts etc. don’t really scare me, but stuff like that cuts deep.

UNK: Many who have seen your work that was posted on the site previously were impressed by the compositions. How much sketching or mapping out goes into these pieces?

J.H.: Quite a lot actually! -and thanks for the kind words! Yeah, my process is pretty intense -lots and lots of sketching, photocopying and reducing and cut-up and collage and tracing and steps backward to the photocopying stage all over again and again etc. I have manila folders for each project that are literally bulging with prep work. The FRIDAY THE 13TH Part 3 piece would be a prime example of this tedious process. The first two FRIDAY pieces went smooth as silk; they practically evolved by themselves with minimal effort, then the third came along and made sure I wasn’t getting over-confident with this. There were probably 7 or 8 roughs alone of that print.

UNK: Is it easier or harder to sell your horror-based work as opposed to your non-horror-based work?

J.H.: I really can’t say. Even with the accumulated experience I’ve had paying my dues and selling my artwork in the various subcultures, I truly believe that the more I think I know, the less I really know in the end. The business of art can be strange. Appreciators of art tend to have a life of unique experiences behind them, shaping what they like and don’t like to look at. I think this makes the businessman’s calculator quite frustrating when it comes to brass tacks sales of art. Art hits on complex emotions and in the end it forces us to accept that we are all individuals. I’m guessing, from a standard business school investment point of view, that this is scary stuff. It’s certainly a challenge and there’s a bit of an adrenaline rush when things go right because I understand how hard it really is, but in the end I honestly have no idea what might sell. I’m not afraid of failure and I try my best to live in the present. I just do my stuff. I’m thrilled that the horror-based work has taken off!

UNK: Besides the series that you have already covered are there any other horror franchises that you plan to cover? (Fingers crossed for HALLOWEEN).

J.H.: Hell yeah! I’ll supply the practical answer first. I am on the bill for the next Monster Mania convention in August down at the Crown Plaza in Cherry Hill, NJ so my plan is to complete some Nightmare on Elm Street pieces for this convention, being that ROBERT ENGLUND is the guest of honor there + all the cast reunion stuff they have planned. I may skip Part 2 for this series though because it means I won’t have to re-watch it.

I have an ambitious plan to work up a large scale MAD MAX/ROAD WARRIOR piece. There is so much amazing imagery and detail in the ROAD WARRIOR that I have been itching to cut my teeth on. Maybe people will see some humor in the concept with regards to the present gas crisis and all. I don’t know… that post-apocalyptic style has influenced so much stuff in pop culture, from Japanese Anime and action figures to old Motley Crue videos. I happen to dig it. So, yeah my pencils are probably gonna get a work out.

*If you’re hinting at John Carpenter’s original HALLOWEEN flick with JAIME LEE CURTIS, then I will definitely add that one to the future production list. (…and Part 2 of that series is actually not that bad!)

UNK: You’ve done the first POLTERGEIST, who do we have to kill to get you to do POLTERGEIST 3?

J.H.: Let’s pass on a human sacrifice and make it happen! I’ll have to brush up on that one though… dig up all the facts on the “curse”. Isn’t there a book out on that?

UNK:Do you ever look back and want to change/edit a finished work?

J.H.:Yes, absolutely- and then my girlfriend reminds me of the upcoming art shows we’ve got and the 27 half-finished projects waiting in the studio.

UNK: Any advice for other artists working with horror imagery?

J.H.:Be real to yourself. Don’t be ashamed of liking what you like. Have fun with your art because it shows in the end. When an artist is really passionate about a particular topic then it thrives in all the little artistic decisions they make. I guess it comes down to passion. Don’t be afraid to show it.

UNK: Thanks Jim, Your work is truly brilliant and we’ll make sure to stop by the Monster Mania Convention in August!

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13 years ago

Halloween II is a great movie. Decent body count, unique kill plots, and Budd’s inspired rendition of “Amazing Grace.” It’s all in there!

Fabulous interview, chock-o-block full of superior, horror-themed artwork. Yum!