Truly great to talk to you Stephen. You created one of the most iconic album covers for The Cramps and now you’ve graced the pages of our little DIY magazine. Where can you possibly go from here? Just kidding of course. Let’s talk about The Cramps cover. How did that come about?
I used to go see The Cramps whenever they performed in the DC/Baltimore area. I’d always bring along a drawing or a painting as a gift for the band. The artwork for the front and back cover of their Bad Music For Bad People album were two drawings that I gave them at the old 9:30 Club in Washington DC in November of 83. The front cover artwork was drawn on Halloween Day, 1983.
You have a great style and the monsters/creatures you have drawn are very interesting. What goes on inside your mind when creating all these original things?
I’m not really sure. The creatures that I draw always come very easily to me. I flooded my mind with horror and science-fiction films, horror comics, etc since I was a kid. When I draw, I suppose I’m conjuring up all of that stuff.
Were there artists that inspired you as you started and are there currently any that inspire you?
Basil Wolverton and Bernie Wrightson are two of the artists who influenced and inspired me the most. Wally Wood and Big Daddy Roth were also a huge influences. A lot of the current artists inspire me as well. Seeing really nice work created by others gets me fired up, makes me want to push myself to work harder.
So what music are you currently listening to?
Lots of different stuff. I listen to a lot of instrumental surf music, alternative music and garage bands. I play the theremin with two surf bands, Atomic Mosquitos and Killers From Space. I’m always searching out new bands that are under the radar. I’m partial to music that has a creepy vibe.
Where can people find your art for purchase?
I don’t currently have an online store but if people contact me through Facebook, Instagram or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll send out a digital catalog of my available art and merchandise.
What is the best way to keep track of your art show and convention appearances?
I post all of my art show and appearances on Facebook and Instagram.
I’m loving the Funny Fiends project you are working on currently. Tell us more about that.
My friend and fellow artist John Detrich and I have been big fans of the Ugly Stickers that Topps released back in the 60s. We wanted to release a set of stickers that are inspired buy those. We wanted to create images that look like they could be long lost images from the Ugly Sticker series. It’s very natural for me to create these images since I learned how to draw by studying the Ugly Stickers when I was a little kid.
Are there any other projects in the future that you can share with us?
I’m currently working on around a dozen different projects, mostly album cover and T-shirt designs. The main thing I’m concentrating on for the time being is the Funny Fiends series.
This is my absolute favorite project that I’ve ever worked on.
What has been the reaction from fans you have met?
Everyone is always really nice. I really enjoy meeting people who enjoy my work. I’m always being told that they are surprised by how normal I seem. I guess they assume that I’ll be just like the monsters that I draw.
Since that iconic drawing was done on Halloween we have to know what has been your favorite Halloween costume growing up?
I used to create my own original Halloween costumes, usually some sort of living dead creature.
What is your favorite horror movie?
I’ve watched horror movies since I was a kid, and the one I always come back to is the original Night of the Living Dead.
I just love that film so much.
Who is your favorite horror icon?
That’s a tough one. So many great horror icons to choose from. I guess I’d have to go with the Creature from the Black Lagoon.I think the Creature design looks as good as any Hollywood monster design of today.
I'm a huge fan of The Creature myself. Excellent pick. Thanks so much for taking the time for us Stephen. I’ll be seeing you around at a show soon enough, I’m sure.
Absolutely, see you there!
To our readers, the Funny Fiends project was fully funded on Kickstarter and will later be made available for those that missed it sometime in March. Stephen also did album art for Maryland based horror punk band PAIN!, who were featured in our Halloween issue.