Sr. Editor, Christine Caprilozzi recently caught up with horror/heavy metal artist, Daniel Mercer to discuss the different mediums of his art.
Horror News Network:Â Your art is very versatile, from gloomy goth, to a very classic horror style.Â Who or what influenced you as an artist growing up developing your talents?
Daniel Mercer:Â Thanks! I definitely grew up exposed to lots of artistic styles & subjects considering that my mom, sister and aunt are are all incredible artists. My influences are really a weird mix of unrelated things I guess. At an early age I became obsessed with the old renaissance artists like Da Vinci & Michelangelo but at the same time I also loved the dark styles of 90â€™s comic book artists like Todd McFarlane, Sam Kieth, and Jae Lee. I think music also plays a part in the influence as well, especially my obsession with album art, which might be why I find myself doing artwork for some of the bands that I loved as a kid back in the early 90â€™s. G&Râ€™s Appetite for Destruction has that incredible insert by Robert Williams, Metallica always had those cool skull designs by artist Pushead, White Zombieâ€™ La Sexorcisto and Astro Creep: 2000 have those mind-blowing fold-out inserts all drawn by Rob Zombie himself, the list goes onâ€¦ Basically I’ve always enjoyed drawing various subjects but horror and hard rock art are probably the most entertaining for me at this point. Learning different styles of drawing also keeps it interesting & enjoyable and can help you to be a more marketable artist as well.
Horror News Network:Â Youâ€™ve worked with different mediums, and different types of artists. Is it easy as an artist to adapt your style, but leave your own mark in there?
Daniel Mercer: Sure, I think leaving your mark just comes naturally without having to really try for it once youâ€™ve figured out who you are as an artist and what mediums youâ€™re best with. After that, adapting your style just involves doing a little research on who youâ€™re designing for and what they like (if you donâ€™t already know). Find out what theyâ€™re really about and then give it to â€˜em – your mark will hopefully establish itself naturally.
Horror News Network:Â How did you start working with Rob Zombie, Sheri Moon Zombie, and on the â€œTotal Skullzâ€ t-shirt line?
Daniel Mercer: In late 2011 I won first place in the Zombie’s Total Skull art contest with my “Winged Death” design. Originally, the winner of the contest was to receive a signed RZ comic book etc. but Rob’s wife Sheri was so impressed with my portrait of her that they decided to produce it along with my “Skull Nâ€™ Bolts” design for their t-shirt sales. Both designs quickly landed spots in the Best Sellers category and was the first and only time in the 6 year history of Total Skull that the Zombieâ€™s reached outside of their merchandising company for t-shirt designs – pretty cool! Soon after I was asked to design a Halloween header for their www.TotalSkull.com website and a logo for their “Happy Halloween” promo video.
RobZombie.com also recently highlighted my new â€œRob Zombie: Lords of Salemâ€ artwork for the UKâ€™s Shock Horror Magazine cover which was also very cool! Check the article out at http://robzombie.com/2012/12/shock-horror-magazine-features-rob-zombie-exclusive-interview-and-zombie-cover-art-by-daniel-mercer/!
Iâ€™m certainly grateful to the Zombieâ€™s and their management for the opportunities, especially since Zombie has been in my CD/tape player for 20+ years since the White Zombie days. And through these dealings I’ve also come in contact with some really cool & talented people – Kenny Caperton from www.MyersHouseNC.com (Total Skull’s former web manager who wrote an incredible script for a stop-motion project that Iâ€™m currently working on titled â€œSkeleton Kidâ€). Also Rob Zombie’s very talented web manager Emma Page of Nineteen76-Designs (http://www.facebook.com/1976designs), who has really turned RobZombie.com into an awesome website with all of the extras, special features and updates. Theyâ€™ve both been really great with their support as well!
Horror News Network: How is it adapting your art to a clothing line?
Daniel Mercer: Itâ€™s great! When creating designs for clothing itâ€™s just a basic rule that you should put yourself in the buyerâ€™s shoes: â€œWould I buy that? Would I wear that? How can I make it look even better than the other stuff thatâ€™s out there?”.
Horror News Network:Â Have you always been a horror fan?
Daniel Mercer:Â Yeah, definitely! Being very young kids back in the early 80â€™s my sister & I religiously watched Scooby-Doo, Addams Family & Munsters â€“ great times! Also Salemâ€™s Lot, Troll 2 (scary in all the wrong ways, Ha!), and Nightmare On Elm Street were a few of our favorites back then. My mom enjoyed the old classics from her childhood like Creature from the Black Lagoon & Frankenstein, so we watched those as well. And my elementary school library also had those awesome 70’s Crestwood Monster books (the orange hardcovers with all of the classic monsters). The librarian finally banned me from checking them out after a few months of hoarding them – Ha!
Horror News Network:Â Whatâ€™s your favorite piece that youâ€™ve created or are most proud of?
Daniel Mercer:Â I really like the Sheri Moon Zombie â€œWinged Deathâ€ t-shirt design. And, more recently, the â€œRob Zombie: Lords of Salemâ€ cover for www.ShockHorrorMagazine.com. Iâ€™m also extremely excited to be working on some designs for the band Ugly Kid Joe! Hopefully this new art will become official in early 2013. UKJ just finished touring in the U.K. with Alice Cooper, Motorhead, and Duff McKaganâ€™s new band Loaded! Theyâ€™re incredible old school hard rockers and definitely one of my favorite bands of all time! Check them out if you havenâ€™t & keep an eye out for the new designs on my webpages soon!
Horror News Network:Â Where can people check out more of your artwork and about you?
Daniel Mercer:Â http://www.facebook.com/DanielMercerArtFanPage
http://www.DanielMercerArtÂ (under construction at the moment)
Thanks so much for inviting me on Horror News Network!Â You guys are awesome!
Horror News Network: Â Thanks for your time Daniel. Have a comment on this interview? Post it here.