Horror Artist

It is a great honor for me to introduce next HoTS ‘In the Spotlight’ Artist: our own Justin Schock!
Justin has done a tremendous amount in the background for House of Tortured Souls this year, so he well deserves this title – and much more! As with many artists, his talent spills over in more than one genre. He records metal music!
Here is a brief bio of Justin “Schock” Terrell:
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jackolanterns-300x300
Schock was a nickname given as a stage name in the early 2000s and kind of just stuck with me all these years… I was born in 1982. I was born and grew up in Anderson, IN. I still live nearby but try to disassociate with the town. Haha! I have one kid, a daughter, who is 9 years old and acts like she’s 14. Kids… I’ll tell ya. Currently, my normal day job is the Loss Prevention Supervisor for Kohl’s in Anderson, IN.
And now for our Q&A:
House of Tortured Souls: When did you start drawing?
Justin “Schock” Terrell: I started drawing at a young age, like stupid young. I can remember drawing at 3 years old or so.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-beardskull-300x300
HoTS: What was the first picture you remember doing?
Schock: When I was younger, I would draw comic strips like Garfield and Peanuts while attempting to mock the style. I then moved on around, 4 or 5 years old, drawing Spiderman and Wolverine mostly before developing my own techniques.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jason-300x300
HoTS: Who inspired you when you began?
Schock: I just started drawing things always utilizing pencil only. I use to not care for markers and such. The traditional look of pencil appealed to me. I honestly can’t say if I had anyone influence. There were, of course, comic books and cartoons, but I never got the names of the artists. My uncle, Mike Ball is an amazing traditional artist. I mean he doesn’t use computers. He was always showing me tricks as a kid, and I admired a lot of the work he did.
HoTS: Who do you follow now?
Schock: Now that I’m older and pay attention to things, some of my favorite artists are James Rowe, Alex Ross, Nikki Bruin, and Scott Anderson. Then there is this one dude, not sure of his real name, but his store is called Electric Zombie. And Ghoulish Gary is hands down amazing, as is Jason Edmiston. Really, there are a lot of insane artists out there.
HoTS: Do you have a favorite creep?
Schock: Favorite creep…hmm well I’m always all over the monsters. It’s hard to pick, ya know? Ever go shopping and you see Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein stuff everywhere, but then there’s that one off Leatherface item, so you’re torn? Do I pick up the traditional monster thing? Or get the slasher? I’m a horror fan, and it’s just too hard to pick.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lollipop-300x300
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-ballerina-300x300
HoTS: What is your most prized piece?
Schock: I have a couple pieces that are prized. One is a full pencil/colored pencil piece I did of Reagen from The Exorcist, and the other is a non-horror pencil drawing of ballerina legs/shoes. Both of those are amazing to me because I didn’t know I could produce such work.
HoTS: Do you do art shows, comic cons, or any vendor’s markets?
Schock: I have never done any of the cons or markets namely because it takes a lot of money to get started and I totally don’t have that kind of loot. But, one day, I will be all over it. I have never done an art show. The art world is a cruel mistress. Fun fact about my region of the world, er, the city: I was told by an artist collective here I was not allowed to join their little club of artists because of my work being mainly horror-influenced. And I went from traditional pencil and paint to almost all exclusively digital coloring, even using Wacom pens to draw without paper. Very snobby artists here. So art shows would only happen, again, if I had the money for it, and if I was more well known.
HoTS: Are you working on something now?
Schock: As of now, I am working on some watercolor paintings, the annual Drawlloween pictures which I’m doing all pencil this year, images for HoTS. As well as working on my next record. I make hardcore/metal music also. All written and recorded by myself called xSCHOCKx, which can be found here: xschockx.bandcamp.com I jump around mediums, drawing, painting, music and even writing. Working on a collection of short stories with a friend. No title yet, but its very X-rated and scary all at once.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-regan-300x300
HoTS: Do you do commission work?
Schock: I do, indeed, do commission work. I’m always open to anything graphic design in advertising, drawings, logo design, the list goes on and on. A list of services and prices can be found on my site (listed below), and it does not have to be limited to horror works. That’s just my thing. I’ve done stuff for the MS people, Diabetic Youth Foundation, and even random churches. A good artist doesn’t limit his focus.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Twitter? Instagram?
Schock: I am all over the social media and Internet. Heres a list:
Damn that’s a lot. Nah, but I do a lot of different things artistically and sometimes they blend together. I use my nickname for both my artistic and musical endeavors, so that it’s easy to promote both.
Folks, be on the lookout for more of Justin. He is amazing, and we here at HoTS plan on keeping him around for many moons to come.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lady-300x300
SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

SPOTLIGHT: Justin “Schock” Terrell

It is a great honor for me to introduce next HoTS 'In the Spotlight' Artist: our own Justin Schock!
Justin has done a tremendous amount in the background for House of Tortured Souls this year, so he well deserves this title - and much more! As with many artists, his talent spills over in more than one genre. He records metal music!
Here is a brief bio of Justin "Schock" Terrell:
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jackolanterns-300x300
Schock was a nickname given as a stage name in the early 2000s and kind of just stuck with me all these years... I was born in 1982. I was born and grew up in Anderson, IN. I still live nearby but try to disassociate with the town. Haha! I have one kid, a daughter, who is 9 years old and acts like she's 14. Kids... I'll tell ya. Currently, my normal day job is the Loss Prevention Supervisor for Kohl's in Anderson, IN.
And now for our Q&A:
House of Tortured Souls: When did you start drawing?
Justin “Schock” Terrell: I started drawing at a young age, like stupid young. I can remember drawing at 3 years old or so.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-beardskull-300x300
HoTS: What was the first picture you remember doing?
Schock: When I was younger, I would draw comic strips like Garfield and Peanuts while attempting to mock the style. I then moved on around, 4 or 5 years old, drawing Spiderman and Wolverine mostly before developing my own techniques.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-jason-300x300
HoTS: Who inspired you when you began?
Schock: I just started drawing things always utilizing pencil only. I use to not care for markers and such. The traditional look of pencil appealed to me. I honestly can't say if I had anyone influence. There were, of course, comic books and cartoons, but I never got the names of the artists. My uncle, Mike Ball is an amazing traditional artist. I mean he doesn't use computers. He was always showing me tricks as a kid, and I admired a lot of the work he did.
HoTS: Who do you follow now?
Schock: Now that I'm older and pay attention to things, some of my favorite artists are James Rowe, Alex Ross, Nikki Bruin, and Scott Anderson. Then there is this one dude, not sure of his real name, but his store is called Electric Zombie. And Ghoulish Gary is hands down amazing, as is Jason Edmiston. Really, there are a lot of insane artists out there.
HoTS: Do you have a favorite creep?
Schock: Favorite creep...hmm well I'm always all over the monsters. It's hard to pick, ya know? Ever go shopping and you see Frankenstein and Bride of Frankenstein stuff everywhere, but then there's that one off Leatherface item, so you're torn? Do I pick up the traditional monster thing? Or get the slasher? I'm a horror fan, and it's just too hard to pick.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lollipop-300x300
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-ballerina-300x300
HoTS: What is your most prized piece?
Schock: I have a couple pieces that are prized. One is a full pencil/colored pencil piece I did of Reagen from The Exorcist, and the other is a non-horror pencil drawing of ballerina legs/shoes. Both of those are amazing to me because I didn't know I could produce such work.
HoTS: Do you do art shows, comic cons, or any vendor's markets?
Schock: I have never done any of the cons or markets namely because it takes a lot of money to get started and I totally don't have that kind of loot. But, one day, I will be all over it. I have never done an art show. The art world is a cruel mistress. Fun fact about my region of the world, er, the city: I was told by an artist collective here I was not allowed to join their little club of artists because of my work being mainly horror-influenced. And I went from traditional pencil and paint to almost all exclusively digital coloring, even using Wacom pens to draw without paper. Very snobby artists here. So art shows would only happen, again, if I had the money for it, and if I was more well known.
HoTS: Are you working on something now?
Schock: As of now, I am working on some watercolor paintings, the annual Drawlloween pictures which I'm doing all pencil this year, images for HoTS. As well as working on my next record. I make hardcore/metal music also. All written and recorded by myself called xSCHOCKx, which can be found here: xschockx.bandcamp.com I jump around mediums, drawing, painting, music and even writing. Working on a collection of short stories with a friend. No title yet, but its very X-rated and scary all at once.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-regan-300x300
HoTS: Do you do commission work?
Schock: I do, indeed, do commission work. I'm always open to anything graphic design in advertising, drawings, logo design, the list goes on and on. A list of services and prices can be found on my site (listed below), and it does not have to be limited to horror works. That's just my thing. I've done stuff for the MS people, Diabetic Youth Foundation, and even random churches. A good artist doesn't limit his focus.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page? Twitter? Instagram?
Schock: I am all over the social media and Internet. Heres a list:
Damn that's a lot. Nah, but I do a lot of different things artistically and sometimes they blend together. I use my nickname for both my artistic and musical endeavors, so that it’s easy to promote both.
Folks, be on the lookout for more of Justin. He is amazing, and we here at HoTS plan on keeping him around for many moons to come.
horror-artist-inthespotlight-justin- schock-lady-300x300
Posted by Tammie Parker in FEATURED ARTIST, IN THE SPOTLIGHT, 0 comments
Artist of the Month – October 2017: Gabe Warfield

Artist of the Month – October 2017: Gabe Warfield

This month we are showcasing our youngest ever AotM. A whole 13 years old!! If you are around teenagers much, you quickly learn that the only thing they are interested in is rolling their eyes!! So Gabriel is a rare gem indeed!!
A brief bio of our special artist:
  • Name: Gabe Warfield
  • Born: Akron, OH, USA
  • Age: 13
  • School: Home schooled
And here is our Q&A:
House of Tortured Souls: Your art is very unique. Were you inspired more by Toy Story or The Purge? 😉
Gabe Warfield: I've never seen The Purge, so I'll say Sid from Toy Story for sure, but I was the most inspired by the work of Tim Burton.
HoTS: How old were you when you started dabbling into your beautiful creations?
GW: All my life basically. I used to take my toys apart and add or subtract things even when I was very young.
HoTS: Who is your favorite artist?
GW: Salvador Dali. I really love his painting called "The Persistence of Memory."
HoTS: Who is your favorite monster, villain, or immortal creep?
GW: Jigsaw from the Saw movies is my favorite.
HoTS: Do you have an Etsy shop, or do you sell any pieces or do commissions?
GW: Not currently, but I am working on getting an Etsy shop online, and I've got plans for commission pieces where people can send me their broken toys so I can "fix" them.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page, Twitter, or Instragram so fans can keep up with your projects?
GW: Yes, I have a Facebook page called FrankenCreatures
Gabe Warfield's FrankenCreatures
HoTS: Peanut butter or Nutella? 😛
GW: Nutella, fo sho!
HoTS: Are you working on a project right now?
GW: Yes. I'm working on several. Pictures will be uploaded on my Facebook artist page as soon as they are done. My mom and I just moved from North Carolina to Ohio last week, so I haven't had a lot of time to work on them but hopefully they'll be done soon!
HoTS: Do or did you go to art school or have any training in this?
GW: No, all of my art is self-driven.
HoTS: What do you like to do when you are not creating masterpieces?
GW: I play the bass guitar, and I like to work on writing music and song lyrics.
KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK, GABE!!!
Posted by Tammie Parker in FEATURED ARTIST, 0 comments
Artist of the Month – September 2017: Ryan Case

Artist of the Month – September 2017: Ryan Case

Ryan Case is an artist and co-owns Sink or Swim Art Gallery in Louisville, KY, with his wife, writer/artist/poet Bridget. In their own words:
I am Ryan. It took me many years to feel comfortable enough to call myself an artist, but that is what I am. I create mainly with ink and acrylic paints, but I'll use whatever is laying around the studio from time to time. My subjects are an entire spectrum of the adorable and abominable. I am a homeschooling dad of 2 girls by day, and creative monster machine by night.
Bridget is a writer, poet, abstract painter, and jewelry designer/maker. She is known for her fierce attack in your face poetry. She is active in the animal rights, LGBT and Women's equal rights movements, and her passion is reflected in her works and words.
AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-01House of Tortured Souls: When did you know you were meant to be an artist?
Ryan Case: I've always been drawn to art. it was always my escape and my friend.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-08
HoTS: And why do you still do it?
RC: It's a passion/obsession. I can't not paint. I'm drawn to it, and it makes me feel better. It's my own private therapy. I'll always create.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-03
HoTS: Where do you pull your inspiration from?
RC: I absorb movies and music. though not all my paintings are of monsters, horror movies have been a huge influence on my work since day one.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-04
HoTS: Do you have a piece you have done that you are the proudest of?
RC: I think I am most proud of my pet portraits.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-02
HoTS: Why is that?
RC: They are usually commissioned after a pet has passed away, so I want to give them the life they once beamed out.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-05
HoTS: Who is your favorite artist?
RC: My favorite living artist is Chet Zar, and my favorite dead artist is Salvador Dali.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-07
HoTS: What advice would you give to young artists out there?
RC: Never ever ever give up. Every piece you do is another step closer to where you want to be. Fuck rejections. Fuck toxic people. Kick all that out of your life and mind. Focus on your work and what you want to accomplish.AotM-Ryan Case-horror art-10
Check out this gallery opening video to see a little bit more of what you can expect at Sink or Swim Art Gallery.

Stop by their Facebook page and give it a like.
And don't forget to visit their Sink or Swim Art Gallery to see more awesome horror art - some of which is available for purchase. And Halloween is just around the corner.
Posted by ZombieGurl in FEATURED ARTIST, 0 comments
INTERVIEW: Rick Styczynski of 13x Studios

INTERVIEW: Rick Styczynski of 13x Studios

Rick Styczynski of 13X Studios Talks Camp Blood Celebration 10/13/17

"His name was Jason. And today is his birthday."
-Pamela Voorhees
Jason Voorhees has been a household name since the 1980s. From the moment he emerged from the lake and made Camp Crystal Lake his home, he has terrified us, and endeared himself into the hearts of every horror fan on the planet. We all know his signature hockey mask and weapon of choice: the machete. No matter your favorite film of the franchise, whether you prefer "walking Jason" or "running Jason", Jason on land, Jason in space, or Jason in New York City, it is guaranteed that this slasher will live on as a legend.
One of the greatest parts of his fandom is the unique, one of a kind art created by the people who know and love Jason best. Rick Styczynski is no exception. His company, 13X Studios, creates specialty one of a kind hockey masks celebrating our favorite force of nature. Whether the theme is sports, horror, music, and yes even serial killers, Rick can create just about any mask that you can think of. The sky is the limit.
For most of us Jason fanatics, Friday the 13th is just as a big a holiday as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Rick feels the same way. And with the help of Gods and Monsters, a fantastic shop filled with collectibles/comics/toys and even a bar, we will all be celebrating Friday the 13th Camp Blood Celebration in Orlando Florida! The event will have it all! Fan films, cosplay, trivia and celebrities. It will not only be a place to wish Jason a "Happy Birthday", but proceeds from the event will benefit both 13 Hearts and Give Kids The World charities.
13X Studios has teamed up with Matt Allen and me, owners of Freakshow Designs and Sideshow Sauces, to create a brand new hot sauce that will be making its debut at Camp Blood this October! We're calling it Hodder Than Hell. The greatest news is that Kane Hodder himself has personally given his permission to use his name on this heavenly concoction of scorpion pepper and pineapple. We are extremely thrilled and grateful to Kane for his support on the newest addition to our hot sauce collection.
I had the pleasure of speaking to Rick to find out about all of the incredible things that made his business flourish, and what we can all expect from the Friday the 13th event!
House of Tortured Souls: It's very obvious you're a "Jason Guy". Tell us how that fandom began and how it influenced you to start 13X Studios.
Rick Styczynski: After Halloween this past season, I put a few pictures of me cosplaying Jason on Instagram and someone contacted me about buying an outfit and guess a lightbulb went off.....13X Studios was born. I started messing around with masks and just went with it. It started with Jason and Friday the 13th but that also lead me into Pop Culture Custom hockey masks. In 10 months as a new business, I have sold over 1000 masks, sold out at 3 conventions, and have my masks in retail stores Gods & Monsters in Orlando, Florida, and Halloween Megastore across the US. The coolest thing that has happened is that my Silent Bob mask was noticed by Kevin Smith, and I got an exclusive deal at Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash. This is only the beginning of 13X Studios.
HoTS: What is your hottest seller?
RS: My biggest sellers are all the Jason and Friday the 13th masks. Because of the affordable price and great quality/detail, they hands down sell the most. Outside of the Jason world, My best sellers of pop culture are: Joker, Deadpool, Freddy, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, and Punisher. I love making new styles as it changes everything up for me as a artist. One day I'll do Jason. Next day I'll do pop culture.
HoTS: Everyone is looking forward to the Camp Blood Celebration at Gods & Monsters. What can the attendees expect from the event?
RS: One day I went to visit Todd at Gods & Monsters and told him I wanted to do a Friday the 13th event. It took a pitch of 8 seconds for him to be part of it. I wanted to bring a celebration to the event where all of us horror fans can come together. I really have been just going with the flow and have been adding fun stuff daily. We will be having artists/vendors, contests, cosplay meet up, movie screenings, Friday the 13th themed bar and menu... Again, I'm just going with it. The buzz on this event is huge!! We just added Jeremy Palko from The Walking Dead for pictures and autographs. You don't want to miss this event. For more info just search: Friday the 13th Camp Blood Celebration on Facebook.
HoTS: You've recently partnered up with Matt Allen at Sideshow Sauces for your name to be on a Jason themed label. How were you inspired to reach out and how did you feel after hearing that Kane Hodderr himself gave his personal thumbs up to distribute the sauce using his name Hodder Than Hell?
RS: Back at Spooky Empire in April, I was across from Matt with Freakshow Designs. I know he has a sister company with Sideshow sauces. As my mind is always creating ideas, I came up with a cool hot sauce idea with Jason and 13X Studios on a label. I brought the idea to him and he said that Kane Hodder could be involved. So from there it just took off to bring you Hodder Than Hell sauce. Having your name and Kane Hodder's name on the same product is so cool. Kane Hodder is the biggest name in horror. He changed the game. And seeing how he is with fans is why you love this guy even more. I have known Kane for almost 16 years. As I said above, he changed the game. And very happy to be involved with Matt and Angie from Freakshow Designs. This is just the beginning. I'm sure we will come together many more times in future.
HoTS: What are your plans, future state, for 13X Studios?
RS: As I grow my business, I will start looking for more things to add. We just started a podcast called Spitting Blood. Our second episode already got 11,000 views, so I'm on the right track. Next episode will be Sept 6 at 9pm. Jeremy Palko from The Walking Dead will be a guest. We do a Facebook Live Podcast (you can add me Rick Styczynski). For my masks, my goal is to get into many more retail stores. What's cool is that most think this is more of a Halloween business. Actually it's a year round business with all the conventions. I wake up every day and smile knowing that this is my job now. I have no idea where this will bring me in life, But I will give my all no matter what. You can check my online store at www.13xstudios.com and my Etsy store.
13x Studios - Hodder Than Hell / Photo: Sideshow SaucesKane's Hodder Than Hell sauce, as well as many other handcrafted flavors can be found on Sideshowsauces.com. And as always, skull lamps, baby groots and other fun items can be found on our site Skulllamps.com. As Rick stated above, you can find his masks on www.13xstudios.com, and be sure to find him on Facebook and enjoy the Spitting Blood podcast! Stay tuned for my coverage of Friday the 13th Camp Blood: The Aftermath. For now, stay freaky! Much love from your Lamp Lady and I'll see you soon!
Posted by Angie Calabrese in INTERVIEWS, 0 comments
Artist of the Month – August 2017: RF Pangborn

Artist of the Month – August 2017: RF Pangborn

It's hard to believe this Mad Genius works retail by day. I cannot imagine him in any other uniform than an apron or lab coat!
Here is a brief bio: Born in Plainfield, NJ,now residing in Tampa Bay, FL, with his wife, dog and cat. 🙂 He paints in his home studio.
It took a long time for me to get an interview out of him, but I am stubborn like that. 😉 Here is our Q&A:
House of Tortured Souls: Did you go to art school or have any special training?
RF Pangborn: I've been a doodler my whole life. Drawing was a great form of escapism for me when I was a child. During my troubled adolescent years, one of my grade school teachers insisted my parents find an art school. I had the good fortune of living in the town next to impressionist painter Charles R. Nevad who taught privately. Huge mentor to me. After about five years of teaching me, he confides in me that my dad hasn’t paid him since the first two months. He didnt care. After his death, I swore to make art my life no matter the cost.
HoTS: Who is your favorite creep, beast, immortal bad guy?
RFP: Being raised on horror, I have so many favorites. It's hard to pick one or the other. My first obsession as a kid was with The Wolfman.
horror-aotm-rfpangborn-leatherfaceHoTS: Do you sketch your pieces out first in lead or go straight to painting?
RFP: I do a lot of requests, which is just basically copying what you see in a photo. But for my own personal pieces, I do like to fool around with ideas and sketches beforehand. I'm also partial to throwing abstract random brush marks on the board and waiting for the images to emerge. I think Jackson Pollack referred to this sort of thing as psychoanalytical painting, and I find it to be awesome therapy.
HoTS: Do you do any art shows or set up at conventions?
RFP: I’m currently featured at Hamilton Gallerie D'art in Illinois. I've done a few odd shows. Most everyone is on my case about the convention scene, and I want to get into it, but time just isn’t permitting at the moment.
HoTS: What or who inspired you to do horror art?
RFP: I think the horror angle was just a natural progression since I love it. There's a lot of drama and imaginative freedom.
HoTS: Do you have a fan page, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube?
RFP: I have had a Facebook page up since I started painting again after a 25 year hiatus. I tried branching out to a .com, but it was a year of wasted effort. Social media is where it's at. Unfortunately, I only have enough time to really pay attention to one format right now. As you well know, it's all I can do to remember I have an interview waiting for months in my in box... 🙂
HoTS: Are you currently working on something?
RFP: I've been slowly trying to wean myself into full time art, so I'm working on multiple pieces around the clock. Always busy with something over here, thank God!
horror-aotm-rfpangborn-mummyHoTS: Do you do commission pieces?
RFP: Right now, it's the commissioned pieces that are keeping me afloat, so, yeah, I'm doing those constantly. I'm hoping that sometime soon this will open up more free time to work on some more original pieces, which is kind of why one gets into art in the first place. But request pieces help pay the bills around here so they get priority.
HoTS: I'm digging the cover piece to your album. 🙂 Where can we buy the album?
RFP: My album??? LOL, if you mean my ridiculous experimental noisecore, well here if you've got the stomach for it.
HoTS: What do you love to do when you are not creating horror?
RFP: I'd really love to get my hands back into filmmaking though it's time consuming to the extreme and pisses off everyone you know to no end. I can also see myself doing more "music" in the future, but right now I'm putting everything I have into the painting.

I dug this one up, hopes he appreciates my hard work. 😉

I will leave you folks with my favorite piece Vincent Flipping Price!!!!
Posted by Tammie Parker in FEATURED ARTIST, 0 comments
Artist of the Month – May 2017: Maxwell H. Blackheart

Artist of the Month – May 2017: Maxwell H. Blackheart

Mother's Day is coming up. Get your mom and your baby's momma something special this year.
No? She's more of an 'I Love Lucy' kinda gal? Okay!
Or maybe clowns?
Giggles 😀 I, personally, would be thrilled to own any of those pieces. Then again, I am one twisted bitch!
Once again, a previous AotM sent me to this one. And BOY have I hit the MOTHERLOAD!!! Maxwell is flipping amazing!! There be a lot of talent in them fingers – and a lot of demented thoughts in that there brain! I love it!! Maxwell does have amazing skills and you will be thrilled to have been introduced to his work!
I'm in need of a Hall of Blackheart now!!
I was obnoxious enough to get some answers out of him! No really he was kind enough to take the time out to answer some questions and is a real down to earth fellow.
Firing away with the questions.
House of Tortured Souls: How old were you when you started to draw?
Maxwell H. Blackheart: I can remember watching my dad draw quick sketches of faces when I was about six or seven. I didn't know how he did this so I would just watch him draw these random faces. After awhile I got motivated to try it myself. I copied what he did and liked doing it. After many more drawings I started drawing Peanuts characters and just a few years later around eight years old I was drawing Kiss band members, snakes, spiders, and severed heads. It had begun.
HoTS: What was your first piece?
MHB: My first piece that I consider worth calling it a piece of art would have been a portrait of Gene Simmons from Kiss. I was starting to use colored pencils which I love to use to this day. It's really my favorite medium because it's quick and enjoyable for me.
HoTS: When and why did you fall in love with horror art?
MHB: I'm not exactly sure when I did. It was just kind of the path I took. It was the road that felt right and looked interesting to explore. I guess I'd say around eight years old. Godzilla, Frankenstein, and severed heads were always a fun subject for me.
HoTS: Do you draw in lead, charcoal, or the blood of innocent souls? 😉
MHB: I draw mostly with Prismacolor pencils and ink. I also like graphite. I've only produced about 9 or 10 acrylic paintings but I hope to do more in the future.
HoTS: Who is your favorite immortal creep?
MHB: My favorite Immortal creep is a hard question. For some reason Rawhead Rex comes to mind. Nothing like a heavy metal looking head chomping boogie man to torture your soul with fear.
HoTS: Do you do comic cons, art shows or anything?
MHB: I would love to. I wanna meet all the nice people I hear from every single day on social media. It's hard for me to travel at this time. For now you will have to come to me here in Spokane Washington or you can just visit my Instagram.
HoTS: Where can we find and purchase your work?
MHB: If you want to see what I have up or make a purchase, I sell originals and prints here http://www.maxblackheart.com and Etsy as well https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaxBlackHeart. T-shirts are a new item I have been selling also.
HoTS: Do you have any fan pages or twitter account so we can keep up with your work?
MHB: I mostly post my latest pieces on Instagram @maxblackheart. You can find me on Facebook and Etsy also.
HoTS: Are you working on anything right now?
MHB: I am currently working on a painting that is Alice Cooper themed, 'Cold Ethyl' from his song with the same title. If you love corpses or "love" corpses you'll love this piece. Also take a listen to this song if you haven't heard it. It's a real toe tapper.
HoTS: What are some of your pastimes outside of drawing?
MHB: I have lots of things I do outside of my art like spending time with my family. Riding motorcycles music and photography. I also like thinking and doing things my own way. Also really good at eating steak. Medium rare please.
Y'all be sure to go follow, like, poke, pinch, share, love, put your right foot in, put your right foot out... Oh no, wait, that's something else! Seriously go support as much as you can!
Posted by Tammie Parker in FEATURED ARTIST, 2 comments
ARTIST OF THE MONTH – FEB 2017: Kevin Merck

ARTIST OF THE MONTH – FEB 2017: Kevin Merck

Turkey Merck Mugs have my heart for so many reasons! For one, they are crafted with unbelievable attention to detail. Every mug is incredibly life-like - even to the point where you can hear them scream. Another reason I love Terkey Merck Mugs is, duh!, Kevin is a true horror craftsman, an exceptionally talented horror artist. This art is sure to creep out or flip out any house guests you may have and is a sure fire way to get your mother out of your house. 😉
We float in the same social circle, so it wasn't long before I stumbled across Terk via another Artist of the Month, Steve Turner, who has drawn 'The Screamer' and 'Joe' several times. (And I want each piece!) Then, one of the Walkers I have the pleasure of chatting with on Facebook posed with one of the cups for a shot. I MELTED! There was so much good stuff in the photo!
Check out the glossy, bloodshot eye. And look at how wet that blood appears! And all those wrinkles! What did I tell you about detail?
I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview Kevin Merck, the man behind these creations. Here is our Q+A.
House of Tortured Souls: What got you into designing coffee mugs?
Kevin Merk: Since 2001, my main focus has been to create interesting sculpts on traditional utilitarian ceramic ware. Sculpted character coffee mugs have always been a popular item, but they have become a really hot item over the past couple of years. I probably made my first mug around 2003.
HoTS: How long have you been a fan of horror?
KM: For as long as I can remember. I think the first horror/action movie that I watched was Predator… I was 5.
HoTS: Favorite monster?
KM: The Wolfman... or the Xenomorph... or the Predator... It’s a toss up.
HoTS: Do you mold each mug by hand, or have you created a mold for your different types?
KM: I create many original pieces, and then I choose which design I want to produce on a larger scale. From there I sculpt another model based on my original design and then make the molds and then begin castings. Even though my production pieces come from a mold, I actually sculpt certain areas on each cast while the clay is still damp. My goal is to make each piece look like it did not come from a ceramic mold. Each cast is also custom painted using ceramic glazes and fired in my kiln. I fire each piece at least three times and I apply a different layer of glaze before each firing. I only began casting my designs in 2016 so every piece up until 2016 was a one-off original.
HoTS: Do you own a kiln? And how many incidents have there been?
KM: I own two Olympic Kilns. Olympic makes a really dependable kiln, and they are located just 15 minutes from my house. If you mean exploding pottery when you say incidents, then, yes... but only once... and that was my fault because I rushed the firing. I had a two very good teachers, Wayne Hewell and Jeff Standridge, when I first starting firing my work so I have been able to avoid many possible mishaps due to their instruction.
HoTS: Do you do conventions or art shows?
KM: I have done local pottery shows in the past, but I had to give those up in 2016 due to my busy schedule. I would like to set up at the Atlanta Walker Stalker Con at some point. Having a booth at Monsterpalooza would also be pretty cool.
HoTS: Are you working on any new ones, or have plans down the road?
KM: I work on new designs quite often. Some of the designs make the cut for production and some of them remain on my shelf or are purchased by collectors. I have a couple of designs I would like to release next year. A Batman mug is pretty high on the list and I also have some designs based on The Walking Dead walkers that I would like to produce. I also have an original design, Mad Mike, that is due out in March or April.
HoTS: Did you take some courses or classes on how to create mugs?
KM: On the pottery side of things I studied under Master Potter Wayne Hewell and he taught me how to work with the clay, firing, glazing, etc. As far as sculpting goes, I supposed I would be considered a self-taught sculptor since I have never taken a class on sculpting…I just kind of wing it until it looks right. I have watched a ton of online demo videos by some of the world’s best sculptors.
HoTS: What activities do you do outside of creepy mug creations?
KM: I try to spend as much time with my lovely wife, Kayla, and my two awesome kids, Mara (2) and Grey (1). I am big into the outdoors…I love kayak fishing on the river and hunting…but that has been put on the back burner since I have been so busy this year with fulfilling orders. I am also active in my church, and I am very thankful that the Good Lord has allowed me to make a living doing something that I am very passionate about!
HoTS: Do you have a fan page, website, Twitter account, etc?
KM: You can find my work on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts. My website is primarily used for mug sales so to see most of my sculpts you will need to visit my social media accounts.
Thanks for the wonderful interview, Kevin Merck!
Posted by Tammie Parker in FEATURED ARTIST, 1 comment