Friend of HorrorSexy, and artist extraordinaire, Chris Garofalo, of Quiltface Studios, was kind enough to chat with me today. Chris has a great collection of work involving movie posters and branching into t-shirts as well!
What got you into the darker side of cinema and when did you take the plunge into horror and the darker genres?
I was always drawn to those genres mostly due to the practical effects and the monster makeup. I’d walk into the video store and I’d see these boxes, with these monstrous creatures and maniacs on the front. And those just appealed to me much much more than comedy or action, which I love also, but the curiosity was there early on from being drawn to the look. Then once I rented a few of those movies, I was completely on board with seeing as many of them as I could. I’ve always had a draw to it purely from the aesthetic. Monsters were always cool to me, and I never got out of that.
Very nice. It kind of baffles me how the next generation is going to get into the genre, since they don’t have the whole video store experience to deal with.
There was something really special about it for sure. A friend of mine has a place up here called Viva Video, that is setup like an old video store. They grew up with that so they did their store just how you would see. It’s very nostalgic. And you can get lost in there REALLY easily, feeling like it’s a time warp. “Wow, I just want to stay here and look at everything.”
What drove you towards your signature style?
I always liked the classic one sheet style. In the newspapers, I’d go to the movie section to see what was playing. They were always dark and gritty. Grimy almost. The resolution was all in a shred, or distressed. I just loved that look. Something like that shows that it can stand the test of time. Where something really clean can be iconic, but something distressed looks like it has been put through the ringer, but still manages to hold its longevity.
I love how they did the old 70’s 42nd Street grind house posters, with a couple of images and then the text. Kind of the weirder the better. I loved how it was always more about the concept about the image rather than just an illustration with all of the characters from the movie on one sheet. Those always looked nice, but I always preferred a concept or a hook. It’s almost a teaser. Those posters should work like a trailer for the film, making you want to see it, without giving it all away.
I agree, and I think you are successful with that, especially with your Event Horizon piece. It draws you in and you need to know more about that!
People actually message me about that one, “I don’t know what the hell this is, but I feel compelled to see it now!” And BINGO! That’s exactly what I’m going for! The people that have seen it immediately relate and those that haven’t want to see just what all the fuss is about. If I’m able to do that for someone that hasn’t seen a movie through a poster, I’m pretty happy.
I know that you’ve been hitting up quite a few conventions, such as Monster Mania up in New Jersey, and Cinema Wasteland in Ohio. How important is it for artists to embrace the convention circuit?
If you are a genre artist, which I consider myself as, it’s obviously a subject that I love, but if you’re a horror artist, and you aren’t going to a convention, you should at least to mix it up. You are missing golden opportunities to get out there. Conventions are integral. I don’t need to do them as far as making a living goes, but I love to do them. It’s an entire weekend of you, surrounded by people just like you, and you are putting out art that they have a predisposition to anyway.
I always tell people that if you are “working” at a convention, you are doing something wrong. You should be setting up and just hanging out with all of your stuff, whatever that may be, posters, t-shirts, movies, what have you. For creative folk, if you setup, hang out, and aren’t a salesman, you are going to do great! People will just embrace you. “Wow, I’ve never seen that.” Or “I’ve seen that on the internet but I didn’t know that was you!” I love conventions for the personal interaction. That is most important. I love putting faces on people’s names. “I thought that was sold out!” And then they grab one.
With the convention side, it is all about the personal side. You can have a web store, but it’s all impersonal. There isn’t any eye contact, hand shake interaction. But in the genre of horror, it’s important to stick together, and with conventions, I get that for three days straight, whether I’m working a show or just visiting a show. I had a guy come up to me in Chicago at Days of the Dead, asking “How do you get into the scene?” You just have to do it! Get a table and setup. Don’t care about results with your first show. Just go and embrace the entire experience. And by the end of the weekend, you’ll know exactly what you did right, what you can improve on, but it will always be fun! And if it is fun, that’s not a wasted opportunity in my book.
I loved your contribution to the “When the Lights Go Out 3” show for Bottleneck Gallery. Any future contributions to other gallery shows or collaborations with other artists?
That was fun! There are a few collaborations that are in the works. I recently teamed up with AtomiCotton to put Event Horizon on a t-shirt. They’ve sent me some process shots, and if it hasn’t been printed by now, it should be shortly. They started showing me their process and I’m excited to see that print on t-shirts. I’m also doing Chainsaw 2 mask design with Pallbearer Press, a few more friends of mine. I love collabing with friends, where we can be at conventions and hang out, then toss out ideas. That brings me back to the topic of conventions. If it wasn’t for conventions, I would have not talked with them. The project may not have happened had we not been there doing our thing.
As far as gallery shows, there are a few licensed shows that nobody is really at liberty to talk about yet. And then there are a few private commissions that I can’t go into too many details about, but they are about some subjects that I’ve been VERY excited to tackle. My plate is definitely full. Including a poster for this Point Break screening coming up that I’m really excited about!
Hopefully going to have a few more releases with Grey Matter Art, those guys have been wonderful to work with. They are everything you could ask for. I will do releases through them from here on out for sure!
Where can fans go for your work?
On my personal site, but also when I do collaborations, I’m sure to share the links of how to get it from them. I always make it a point to let people know where to go so they aren’t confused as to where something drops. I try hard not to spam it out there and be annoying, but I want to make sure nobody misses anything.
Are you available for commissions?
Currently now, it’s not the best time as I have a lot on my plate, with gallery shows, prints, collaborations and my already scheduled commissions, I’m booked solid up through July. Which is a good problem to have, I’m not complaining by any means. But I would like to start taking more in the future. I think they are a lot of fun and people really enjoy getting something unique. I’m all ears to take more if time permits! With email being the best way for someone to get in contact with me.