Influence #1: Lucio Fulci
The influences that I'm going to post in the coming months are in no particular order and are in no way exhaustive. I'll kick off with one of my favourite film directors, Lucio Fulci.
Possibly the first thing that springs to mind about Fulci's films - if you're in any way shape or form aware of them - is the gore. The extreme gore. The extreme gore that the director dwells on for a rather disturbingly long time. And don't get me wrong, I do quite enjoy that kind of thing, but it's not necessarily what I want to paint. I prefer an approach more along the lines of psychological horror. So, I hear you say, what's Fulci doing as one of your influences? Atmosphere.
Yep, it's all about the atmosphere that he and cinematographer Sergio Salvati create. It elevates his films above other horror films made at the time (and indeed now). Take the above image from the exploitatively titled Zombie Flesh Eaters: there is a strong feeling of dread but it's backed up by the poignancy of the figures that walk toward the viewer as shadows of their former selves. Imagine a different lighting scheme and the figures charging forwards teeth bared and that emotion is lost. I can't say that this film was consciously in my head when I painted 'Descent From Möbius Wood' (see below), but looking at it now it obviously was an influence on me.
The low budget nature of these films that were filmed in the late seventies and early eighties has led to a grainy grungy look that has been lost in modern horror films that are generally coated in a high-def CGI shine. I think that this is one of the reasons I've decided to focus on traditional paintings rather than working solely in Photoshop. It is easier to dirty things up and imperfections in the illustration board actually add to the overall effect.
Another noticeable factor in these images is a lack of saturation. The colours are mostly very subtle shades of grey. I actually spend a lot of time on subtlety in the colours through the mixing of the paint and the use of very thin washes. I mix my greys using the three primaries and although it can be time consuming getting exactly the right colour tint - just a little bit of paint can dramatically shift the colour - it is visually interesting and adds movement to an image.
So if you don't mind a bit of gore try watching some Fulci films. There are some stunning shots contained within them. The last shot from The Beyond is so indelibly imprinted in my brain that its influence has crept into my next painting that will be revealed very soon.