Tuesday, July 12, 2011

July Guest – Stuart Kolakovic!

1) What was your first published work?
Not 100% sure; I think it was a boring editorial illustration for some Pharmaceuticals magazine in America.

2) Who or what inspires you?
Black Sabbath, Thrasher, my friends.

3) What would be your dream job to illustrate?
Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein" or Stoker's "Dracula" for a solid publisher, like The Folio Society or something like that. That'd be pretty cool.

4) Tell us a bit about the illustration you've sent?
Most of my illustration work is deliberately quite "Kitsch", flat and graphic (and is usually influenced by my interest in Eastern European folk art) in the hope of trying to make a living drawing commercial illustration. But I feel quite disconnected to my work. When my friends that aren't "artists" see my work, they usually say "That's gay". So I took a few months off to draw a bunch of pictures that I think are a bit more, er, "me". I've drawn them under a pseudonym, "Herman Inclusus", so as not to get people confused with this new body of work and my illustration portfolio and not to scare any Art Directors away. The work was on show installed in a wooden church at London's Nobrow gallery until 22nd June. The work is also available to view and buy online at www.hermaninclusus.co.uk.

It's all pretty dark stuff, inspired by my love for Metal, my interest in the occult and folklore and generally just an excuse to draw gnarly old monk dudes and naked chicks being burnt at the stake. I enjoy playing around with type, but I didn't feel comfortable writing some of the stuff I wanted to say out right. So I wrote everything out in a type of really primitive anagram/code. It's definitely not a complex Tolkien-esque language, but I dig that a lot of people aren't going to bother wasting their time trying to read it. I suppose it's the opposite from what I'm meant to do as an illustrator, ie, draw everything as obvious and as easy to read as possible.

It's still got that eastern european aesthetic though; unashamedly ripping off bits of Eastern/Greek Orthodoxy and Iconography that I've infused with a gothic/occult outlook. I remember being pretty freaked out by the chanting and chalices and beards at my Grandad's funeral. I'm an atheist, so I'm waiting for a bunch of Russian Orthodox fanatics to send me a bunch of hate emails. I quite like the idea of some sort of medieval, traveling, illiterate Monk wandering the vast plains of Russia who created his own religion; stealing bits of folklore and copying the Byzantine style from the few churches he's wandered past.

5) What can we expect to see from you next (what are you working on)?
I'm meant to be working on a comic book called "Lichen" which will be published by Blankslate books. I'm finding it pretty difficult to make time to work on it though. I haven't worked on it in a good few months and every-time I look at it, I cringe. If that ever gets finished, I want to continue festering over my own personal projects and develop the Herman Inclusus stuff.

6) If you hadn't become an artist what do you think you'd have ended up doing?
I'd be a Serial Killer.

7) Where can we see more of your work (web links)?


  1. Wow! This is beautiful stuff, really evocative.

    I wonder if you're reading this Stuart, could you expand on the metal influence at work here? Be interested to hear more on that.

  2. This is fabulous work! And I agree that you should see about getting a Folio Society edition. Check out the Dracula that is currently available on their website. No offense to the artist who illustrated it, but your work would be MUCH better suited to the title. You should contact Folio.