It is very exciting to get submissions from artists all over the world. Often the work that comes in is very inspiring and in the best case, it leads to a good interview. This is one of those times. I had never heard of Samuel Araya before but it is name that I will now not forget.
How did you get your first paying art job?
I submitted my work to a couple of publishing companies and I was lucky enough to
have my first job offer two hours later.
Have you always worked in your current style and if not how did you work before?
I’m currently in the process of reinventing my style, in the beginning, I was really
influenced by Dave McKean and Christopher Shy, and I’m afraid took that influence
a bit to at heart, but that doesn’t work for me anymore, as I want to find my own
voice in the dirge that ends this world.
Who are your artistic influences?
Dennis Forkas Kostromin, Phil Hale, Timo Ketola, Santiago Caruso, The pre-raphaelites,
except Rosetti cause he kinda sucked. Jan Saudek, Bosch, Bruegel Dave Choe, Mike Mignola, Stephen Kasner,
and my two favorites Austin Spare and Junji Ito.
Also the Writings of Thomas Ligotti and H.P. Lovecraft.
What words best describe your artistic style?
Decadent symbolism and the triumph of death.
Tell us about your studio space?
Its a cluttered library full of dead animals and art supplies. Buried between these is also some war-gaming
miniatures, which have been an obsession of mine for some time now.
I shoot all my photography with natural lighting, so there is not much of a photo studio… I do like to keep
the computer desk in fashion of an altar, after all, its all about the sacrifice of time, sacrifice always
Do you work full time doing artwork?
Yes, its going to be 11 years now… I plan to move to fine art in the coming years…
How do you create your work? Take us through the process from concept to final.
I usually start with very loose sketches, nothing detailed, once I get a familiar concept I just go with it
and compose and arrange the image mostly by instinct. Most of the time I also take some specific photo shoots
of whatever elements the image needs. If I need to take pictures of a model, I often ask her to do an specific pose
and shoot images during the posing rather than the pose itself, I found out that these spontaneous shoots
often carry more interesting information than the actual pose, also these images often help me to find a new,
fresh direction for the current project or future ones. Lately I have been experimenting with some vintage
photography, and it was good and rewarding, but I admit I always find alienating not working with photos that I did not
take… its just not my thing, I guess.
Finally I arrange the whole thing I photoshop, where I heavily overpaint over the photo collage. I always downgrade the image quality,
as photography tends to be overly detailed, and I like to simplify and edit informations in order to improve the design of the image.
Do the bands give you any direction?
Yeah, most of the times, from time to time they do approach with very clear ideas, but soon enough we find that these ideas have a life
of their own, and once the picture making starts, concepts mutate and directions change.
Its inevitable to find your direction with the band, after all, everything they do ends up influencing their work, from their music to the lyrics, even
if they do not have a definitive idea of what kind of image they want, their music always does. Art, indeed, has a life of its own.
Do you have an advice for artist’s who wish to do artwork for bands?
Don,t do it unless you plan to devote your life to it. The world does not need another half-assed effort. Also learn to draw if you are a photographer and learn
photography if you only draw or paint.
What are you currently working on?
I am finishing a poetry book with Dani Filth (Cradle of Filth), also starting the cover art for an italian band… in the meanwhile I’m helping a well known RPG
game designer, Greg Stolze, to develop a new setting/game
Do you have any dream projects?
Of course, I would love to work with my favorite bands, as everyone. But one of the most important dreams projects would be to do any art for the writings of
What are your favorite bands of all time and what bands are you listening to right now?
Morbid Angel, Cradle of Filth, Bathory, Root, Teitanblood, Watain, Celtic Frost, Candlemass, Tom Waits, Sisters of Mercy, Moonspell, Tiamat, Samael, Repugnant,
Year of the goat, and so it goes, world without end.
Right now I am listening to Dead can Dance – Live happenings III, brilliant stuff as always.
Name one artist you would you like to see interviewed on Metal Band Art and why?
Timo Ketola, because the man is a mystery and produces some of the most powerful imagery ever to be associated with music. He is a titan.