Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Johnny Hellion, Facing the Darkside

Introducing : Johnny Hellion

I met Johnny through a mutual friend and artist, Ugly Shyla, online. We often have conversations about the current state of the art world and the frustrations thereof, which led to some very fascinating conversations including one where Johnny explained that he donated some of his uncle ashes to the Museum of Death in Los Angeles, California. His uncle being a cohort of Charles Manson, his notoriety lives on in a glass urn that you too can gander at when you visit a most famous and popular Los Angeles attraction in California.

In a previous blog I introduced my scariest paranormal experience ever having to do with one of my closest friends was the nephew of Charles Starkweather, and that he took his life when we were just young adults. I often wondered what my friend Chris would be like today if he could accept and perhaps embrace the dark nature and continue to funnel it through art as he was an accomplished musician. I was lucky to work with him, and he composed music for my only solo work in my dance company performances.

Johnny is living proof that one can bring light to the darkness so we can consider what is there and work with it. Is it just the dark side of our nature that we push away and not accept that causes it to funnel out in avenues such as addictions, bad habits, and negativity? What if we faced it explored it and exorcised it through an art medium?

It was his 3-D sculpture of Captain Howdy coming out of an Ouija board that literally scared me. I shared the picture with friends, as I knew they would also appreciate the nod to the demon star of the movie “The Exorcist”. A movie that totally terrified me, not so much for the demonic possession that starts with a “harmless” Ouija board, but for the archaic tests for Epilepsy that I turned my toes of my own personal fears of just being diagnosed. His art scares me on many levels and I being that type who likes to face things head on, his art speaks to me in that way that art does when it heals through obsession, repeating something so that it no longer has a hold on you and desensitizes you from the fearful image.  I find it healing, like my seizures, when at first glance can be something terrifying but in another view can be seen as a release of energy. Perhaps when trapped, can cause a shakeup of earthquake proportions. When let out little by little and shared in these smaller dosages we face our own darkness on level ground. 

In his own words, Johnny describes his work thusly:

“My name is Johnny Hellion. I paint in different mediums, mixed media and also make art pieces such as wall masks from plaster. I’m inspired by horror, serial killers, death and the macabre. Some of what I do come from known horror icons or characters but I also have a lot of original pieces that just come from the imagination. At times I feel in trance when I work on my artwork. It’s like a meditation at times, most of the time I don’t even know what I’m doing till I’m done and have to sit back and figure out what it is or the meaning. I think people enjoy it and it’s what matters. It’s all an expression of myself and my influences or inspirations. Anyone can reach me at johnnyhell666@yahoo.com or check out my artwork from the links at http://about.me/johnnyhell666

A watercolour by Johnny Hell , all rights reserved by Artist, used with permission.
                                                        Assemblage in a silver frame

Examples of mask work


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Jamey Stevenson- For the love of Animals

On the day my day my inspiration Heather Dawn Oswald, for my Santo Paintings: Memento Mori, passed away, 11 years ago on November 5th, I started compiling Artists who are also inspired by something outside of themselves that drives them to create …in between regular blogs, I would like to dedicate some space for the next couple months to Artist Spotlights. Artists like myself whose touch with the Spiritual or Supernatural influenced a life of art making. Stay tuned as every few days I will be rolling out a new Spotlight complete with pictures and an address where you can see more of the Artist’s work.

 Introducing Jamey Stevenson:

I was lucky enough to meet Artist Jamey Stevenson in an online community. She fancied my leather book cover I made for school and she commissioned one for herself. It was then that she explained the art that she does. A very humble person, Jamey is not one to boast or speak much of the dedication it takes to complete a piece. She is the ultimate recycler , collecting the unfortunate animal casualties of the Oklahoma roadways, cleaning and decorating them with a mosaic of sparkling crystals. When she posted a female lynx skull she had just finished I was hoping that she would be open for barter, perhaps we could trade? I ventured and she was excited to. As the last coat of finish dries on the leather, I would like to introduce you to my first Artist Spotlight.

How do you describe what you do? 
I take beautiful animals that have passed away naturally, and celebrate their life by making them beautiful again with crystals and jewels.

How do you receive your inspirations? 
I have always loved animals and tried to do whatever I can to help them. I am a certified wildlife rehabilitator and went to school for veterinary technology. There are an abundance of animals that are killed here in Oklahoma, most people don't care to stop or even take a second look after they have hit something. I always try to stop and see if maybe the animal is still alive, if it is I try to help it or take it somewhere it can be helped. If it has passed away, I get it off the road and take it home to decorate at a much later time.

When did you first notice your connection to the Spirit World? 
I really don't know. 
I do know I started having empathic abilities around 9. It has caused me to be kind of a hermit and stay to myself in "real life". I have finally started to embrace myself over the past few years. I am now in my learning phase.

If you feel comfortable, can you share your faith or path with us?
I am what some people call a Hedgewitch connected to the Goddess.
I am a lifelong learner and will continue to be open minded to everyone and their beliefs.

How does this faith/path express itself through your art?
I am not sure my skull art expresses my path directly, but I do believe it shows my love for animals, their life, and the importance of celebrating life after death.
How can you be contacted about your work from interested collectors?

In Southern tradition, many artists add small tokens of appreciation, called a Lagniappe- along with the piece purchased, or in my case traded for. Jamey created this beautiful red Swaroski Lynx claw which will have an honoured space in my Medicine Bag.

I'd also like to take this time to make the suggestion that the supporting the local American Artist is a great way to help the Economy as a whole, by supporting an artists they in turn take that money to purchase more supplies which keeps folks at the local arts and crafts shops in business. Instead of visiting big box stores that sale cheaply made product , why not give something truly original and made with love?