Naomi Von Monsta
|Absinthe Horns, Naomi von Monsta|
When you were younger, you illustrated your grandfather’s poetry and historical articles. What was in these illustrations ?
I grew up in Wales and was really lucky to be able to go adventuring around the countryside every weekend with my family, often led by my Grandfather. A lot of my Grandpa’s poetry and stories were inspired by that landscape and by Celtic mythology, so most of the drawings were of places or buildings we visited such as standing stones, Celtic crosses, castles and churches; very different from what I draw and paint now, but I think that this was the foundation for my interest in folk lore and myth.
|Toadstool Creatures by Naomi von Monsta|
I love that many of your fairies and creatures have details that make them “non human” and look perhaps a little dark, but that much more possible. Is there a story or “why’ behind these delightful details?
Thank you! I really wanted my faeries to be otherworldly and distinctive and rather removed from humans in their appearance as they really are so different from ourselves; they’re a force of their own and live in the ‘between’ so it makes sense to me that a lot of them would appear very peculiar and unexpected.
I’ve always grown up with an interest in the darker side of faerie and fairy tales and after reading a lot about folk lore and its evolution through the ages I discovered how the more sinister and terrifying world of faery was hidden away and twisted into the more sweet and nursery friendly variety we are much more familiar with now, and I strive to get back to their raw origins, which are often overlooked today.
I also believe that faerie is intrinsically linked to the earth and to their surroundings, so I wanted to make the earth, fungus, flora and fauna an evocative part their physicality.
|Imp by Naomi von Monsta|
If you could paint a mural on the side of the building, what would you paint?
I painted a rather large mural on a wall inside Afflecks Palace which is an alternative market place in Manchester, UK and it was a lot of fun, however it certainly wasn’t as large as the side of a building! If I had that opportunity, I’d perhaps paint a huge, towering, looming forest, full of strange creatures and beasts and twisted trees and creeping vines. Or I’d love to paint a huge scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream!
|Eluned by Naomi von Monsta|
Do you have a favorite piece out of all the art you have created?
Perhaps ‘Unseeliefiend’. Mostly because it was the first piece I had painted that I have ever truly liked and still continue to like! I spent many years destroying and throwing away my art until I painted this. When I’d finished it, I promised myself that I’d never tear up another drawing and I actually haven’t, and that was perhaps three years ago, now! So there’s quite a significant moment associated with that piece.
|Unseeliefiend by Naomi von Monsta|
How long does it take you to do an image and what is your process?
There’s not one specific way that I do things. Sometimes I plan and research in the library or online or outside or wherever I need to be and then sketch a creature or idea first and develop it from there. I get a lot of ideas just walking around, maybe in the park, or I’ll see a beautiful or odd or creative face in the city and I’ll just want to draw them and other times I just start drawing and see what happens. I do keep a sketchbook that I try to keep with me at all times so if it’s quiet or I have a spare moment I’ll have a doodle or I’ll sit in a museum and draw, and things often come out of those scribbles to become a finished painting.. There’s usually some form of narrative that I have in mind when I’m creating, or at least a sense of character, and hopefully that’s apparent in my work.
An average sized painting, so A4-A3 takes between a couple of hours to 5 or 6 hours for the drawing depending on how detailed it is, and then about a whole days’ worth of work for the actual painting part.
|Blue Portrait by Naomi von Monsta|
Which artists do you think have had the most influence on you and your art?
Without a doubt Brian Froud-I grew up literally obsessed with Labyrinth and the incredible creatures and worlds he’d created and when I discovered ‘Faeries’, the book he illustrated with Alan Lee, I knew I’d found what I wanted to do with my life. I also poured over Alan Lee’s illustrations in my illustrated Lord of the Rings and would wish that I could paint like he could. I was enthralled by fairy tales and folk lore and loved to read as many versions of folk tales that I could get my hands on, and through this I discovered Arthur Rackham, Edmund Dulac, John Bauer and Warwick Goble. In highschool, there was Klimt and Schiele; they made me want to draw strange women with elongated limbs and contorted poses, which I think has stuck with me right up to the present day! I could rattle off a dozen more!
|Toadstool Stealer by Naomi von Monsta|
What do you enjoy doing when you are not painting?
Exploring; anywhere from my local park to hilltops and forests; pottering about museums; reading about folklore, myth and fantasy; making costumes; getting dressed up to go out dancing; playing with my four rats.
|Green Faerie by Naomi von Monsta|
Want to see more of Naomi’s art, visit her shop or follow her?
Thank you Naomi, for taking the time to do this interview. I’ve enjoyed seeing your art and getting to know you. Please feel free to grab the badge below for your website or blog. It’s also available on the side bar with the code already done for you.
Drop by every Friday to meet more fabulous artists. Next week I’ll be featuring artist, Vicki Visconti Tilley.