Posted Under 'Artist Features'

Posts highlighting some of extreme music’s most talented graphic artists, photographers and designers.

Featured Artist: Saint John / Inkshadows

November 22nd, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features0 Comments

image copyright

Saint John is the man behind Inkshadows, which has provided album art for black metal bands like Svartsyn, Arckanum and End. His style of simple pen & ink, black and white illustrations is easily recognizable, and like many artists who use similar techniques, the rawness and roughness of his work makes it perfect for metal music. Many of Arckanum’s recent album covers, such as those for ÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞÞ, Grimalkinz Skaldi and splits with Svartsyn and Sataros Grief were all Inkshadows creations.

Aside from his album cover work, he’s also done numerous illustrations for various books and magazines. While his other illustrations are pretty decent, there’s a certain ‘ugliness’ that he imparts on many of his metal-related creations that I think really set them apart and give them a uniquely dark feel. His recent work with Arckanum and End is probably the best example of what I’m talking about.

The Inkshadows website seems to be down at the moment, but you can get in touch with Saint John and see some examples of his work on the Inkshadows MySpace page.

Featured Artist – Robert Høyem

August 25th, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features0 Comments

Robert Høyem is a Norwegian artist whose design company, At The Ends of The Earth Designs, has done illustration and design for numerous metal bands. Some of his clients include Shining, Drautran, Iskald, Galar, Agua de Annique, Den Saakaldte, and Reverend Bizarre.

Høyem’s style varies quite a bit; he apparently uses several different techniques and is very flexible. Some of his work, such as the cover paintings created for Elite and Iskald, is pretty similar to the style of Travis Smith and similar artists, featuring various elements blurred in and out of one another and great use of color. Other pieces, such as his covers for Galar and Drautran, are more landscape-oriented and minimal. He also has some works that are mostly photorealistic with some additional noise and effects added.

You can see a great deal of Høyem’s work at his website, Be sure to check out the section of unused artwork, which might come in handy if you’re looking for album cover art in a hurry.

Featured Artist: Mark and Mike Riddick

July 11th, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features0 Comments

Mark Riddick is one of the better known and certainly one of the more prolific artists in the world of extreme metal. He’s been providing illustrations for the metal community for almost 20 years, and his work can be seen on album covers, merchandsise, and in various metal publications.

Riddick’s uses a rough, often black-and-white pen and ink style, which gives his artwork a very old-school, underground quality. Corpses, zombies, demons and other similar creatures are frequent subjects of Riddick’s illustrations. Probably the most prominent example of Riddick’s style is his recent work for Arsis; Riddick designed pretty much all of the band’s recent cover art and merchandise. In addition to Arsis, he’s worked with numerous other extreme metal bands, including Devourment, Beneath The Massacre, Kataklysm, Dying Fetus, The Black Dahlia Murder, Hypocrisy, Internal Bleeding and Psycroptic.

Riddick has published a few art books that are worth a look. “Killustration” and the more recent “Rotten Renderings” feature large collections of his illustrations. Both books include much of Riddick’s work for various extreme metal bands, as well as unreleased work and other illustrations. Riddick also compiled and annotated “Logos From Hell,” a book featuring many of metal’s most influential band logos. In addition to Riddick, the book includes logos by Chris Moyen, Christophe Szpajdel, Kris Verwimp, JonZig and many others.

Check out Mark Riddick’s website for a gallery of his work, some cool wallpapers and an extensive store featuring books, t-shirts, posters, CDs and other good stuff.

Mark also has a twin brother Mike Riddick who is equally active in the music scene. The brothers work together through to provide professional design services for music media. Mike also created, a pioneering digital extreme music label, and operates The Fossil Dungeon, a record label specializing in ethereal and gothic artists.

Featured Artist: Erik K Skodvin

May 19th, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features0 Comments

photo copyright Erik K Skodvin

I’ve run across several Flickr accounts belonging to various bands and musicians while looking up extreme music artwork (Niklas Sundin‘s, for instance), but Erik K. Skodvin’s photos are easily some of the most interesting. Skodvin is the man behind creepy experimental/ambient act Svarte Greiner, he’s one of the two members of Deaf Center, and he also runs the Miasmah label.

In addition to his musical pursuits, Skodvin also handles all the artwork for Svarte Greiner, and has also done graphics for several other Miasmah releases. Part of what makes Svarte Greiner’s music so effective is the disturbing artwork that accompanies it, and Skodvin’s talent at finding and capturing stark, haunting images is evident in his photography. His account contains plenty of photos of normal stuff like friends, live performances and travel pictures, but there are some beautifully eerie photos mixed in too.

Skodvin also has a lot of his artwork for Svarte Greiner and other things up in various sets as well, and those are great to check out. The set for Svarte Greiner’s most recent release “Kappe” contains some images that didn’t make their way into the final release (or at least the CD release) so it’s interesting to see some of the images that didn’t make the final cut.

If you browse his contacts, you can also find the accounts of several other Type / Miasmah artists like Xela, Peter Broderick and Grouper.

Featured Artist: Jeff Lowe

May 3rd, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features0 Comments

jeff lowe's 'heaven is for victims', copyright Jeff Lowe (

Jeff Lowe‘s art often depicts twisted, deformed figures and strange, alien landscapes. A lot of the things in his drawings and paintings look like they are composed of flesh, guts, brains or other organic materials. Very bizarre stuff.

Given how weird some of Lowe’s work is, you’d think his work would be a perfect fit for metal. The cover art he created for Portal’s “Outre” perfectly suits the band’s chaotic and disorienting style of death metal.

Jeff Lowe’s official site has extensive galleries of his drawings and paintings, as well as a small shop where you can buy a few posters or a book of his artwork. He also has a page on the beinArt Surreal Art Collective (which is full of weird and disturbing art and definitely worth a look).

Featured Artist: Theodor Kittelsen

April 17th, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features0 Comments

Theodor Kittelsen was a Norwegian artist in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He is known mainly for his illustrations of trolls and other fictional creatures, although he published several books of drawings and illustrations over the course of his life.

His book Svartedauen, which depicted the Black Death running its course through Norway, should be of particular interest to metal fans. The sparse, black and white illustrations often use a hideous old woman or flocks of birds to symbolize the plague’s path. Burzum has used several of Kittelsen’s illustrations for album covers and liner notes, including many taken from Svartedauen.

Aside from his sometimes dark subject matter, Kittlesen’s passion for the natural world and his homeland of Norway aligns well with many bands of today. He wrote:

“Most of all I am fascinated by mystery, fabulousness and majesty of our nature. If I do not combine my work with careful observation of nature, then, I am afraid my senses will involuntary be stupefied.”

For more details about Kittlesen’s life as well as an extensive gallery of his work, check out They have several high-quality scans from the Svartedauen book here. This Kittelsen site also has a very extensive gallery of his work.

Featured Artist: Matthew Woodson

March 29th, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features1 Comment

American artist Matthew Woodson is another artist with a pretty impressive list of clients. He

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Featured Artist: Raymond Swanland

March 13th, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features0 Comments

artwork copyright Raymond Swanland,

Raymond Swanland is a fairly accomplished artist in the fantasy / science fiction space, being perhaps best known for his illustrations for the Oddworld video game series. He’s apparently only done a handful of metal CD covers so far, but the few he has done are pretty awesome. The covers for Psycroptic‘s “Ob(Servant)” and Deeds of Flesh‘s “Crown of Souls” and “Of What’s To Come” are among his recent creations.

Swanland’s website has a really interesting Q + A section which describes some of Swanland’s techniques. Apparently he started out painting with acrylics on canvas, but nowadays he makes extensive use of Photoshop and a graphic tablet, which seems to be what a lot of today’s metal artists are doing.

He also goes into some detail about how he constructs an image, starting with a sketch, moving the main elements into Photoshop layers, and finally applying details. It was interesting going back to the gallery after reading about his process – things like his use of the darkest base for the foreground images to accentuate the subject of his paintings are really evident in the final works. has an extensive gallery with a bunch of his work, but not too much of his metal-related stuff is in there, unfortunately. He doesn’t currently have any paintings for sale but he plans to in the near future, and is taking suggestions for which ones to offer first. So if you see some paintings that you like, let him know!

Featured Artist: Christophe Szpajdel

February 22nd, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features, Personalities0 Comments

Christophe Szpadjel has designed over 7,000 band logos, including the iconic logos of Emperor, Enthroned, Nargaroth, Tsjuder, Horna, Moonspell and Nachtmystium.

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Featured Artist: Meanspark Illustration

January 23rd, 2009 in Art & Culture, Artist Features0 Comments

The images displayed on Meanspark sometimes bear an uncanny resemblance to those of Travis Smith. Honestly if you took a pile of illustrations from Meanspark and a pile of Smith

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