Black Forest spoke to London based Artist MICHAEL COWELL about his influences,
inspirations and future projects...
When did you start drawing?
I’ve been making artwork for as long as I remember. Some of my earliest memories are of contentedly sitting on the floor with a sketchpad...
What inspires you?
A great number of things find their way into my work. I spend a lot of time looking at other artists who work in a variety of media (Film-makers, photographers, painters, illustrators, etc) and I read a lot. Currently a lot about early Christian separatism, but also a lot of occult history. It seems I’ve not read any fiction in quite a while.
Have your inspirations changed over the years?
A great deal but all the twists of my development are still very much present in my work. When I got serious about becoming an illustrator I started off looking almost exclusively at comic artists such as Dave McKean and Ashley Wood. Shadow, light and loose gestures were very important to me, but as I’ve grown more into creating artwork to be screen printed, it has shifted to people like Gustav Dore, Aubrey Beardsley so I’ve absorbed a lot more pose and iconography. Also, due to the nature of community, I find inspiration through a great many of my peers. It is my fellow artists more than anything, I think, that drive me to improve my skills and ideas.
What work have you been commissioned to do?
As I’ve worked predominantly in gig posters as a medium, I’ve worked for a great variety of bands over the years. Everyone from Queens Of The Stone Age and Kyuss to The National and Dandy Warhols.
What are you currently working on and what are your plans for the future?
I’m currently finishing up a couple of album sleeves to be released by the end of the first quarter of this year. Also there are a few more screen printed art prints in the pipe-line as well as a very exciting project illustrating an early Alchemical manuscript that is requiring a remarkable amount of research.
My plans for the future are to continue making as much work as possible, diversify into working with publishers of the kind of literature mentioned above, and continue to exhibit as widely as I can.