Between the Lines: Interview with Aaron Pocock


        Last time I introduced the artist behind the Trollwood logo, Aaron Pocock (here's the link in case you missed it). After the project I asked Aaron for an interview and he very kindly agreed- Aaron has given a number of interviews over the years so I've tried to ask questions that haven't been covered before.

Dryad (from https://aaronpocock.wordpress.com/)

"1. In another interview you mention the Narnia books as being a big influence. What in particular about them appealed to you?

        Narnia is how I see the world. I can't be sure if it shaped the way I see the world or if it echoed how I see things. There is magic in everything, universal laws are constantly at play AND, dare I say it (for fear of being ridiculed a nutcase) ... I've had many experiences that that have proved to me, without a shadow of a doubt, that there are indeed other 'places', a little removed from our own 3D view of this world.

        Remember that CTW (makers of Sesame Street) cartoon version of 'The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe'? That was etched into my psyche some time before I read the books. I think also, it's a timeless tale, like 'A Christmas Carol' or The Original Star Wars movie, they speak to something very deep within us, a 'knowing'...

 

2. I notice the monsters you draw tend to look friendly or benign- none look genuinely scary. Is that a deliberate decision on your part?

        Yes, it is a deliberate decision on my part. I'm tired of seeing violence everywhere, I've tried to keep my images as gentle as I can, hinting at stronger emotions maybe... I don't believe you need to see so much blood and gore and all that stuff. It's just not me. A friend of mine once suggested that I make my images appeal more to males as opposed to 'for the ladies', as males love their fantasy art; 'Hello, I'm a male, at least I was the last time I looked'. And I don't set out to appeal to any one sex. I just do what I do and the best I can hope for is that people like it.

        Also, I don't paint and draw the stuff I do with sales in mind. Maybe I should? Don't know... What I do know is that, as an artist, I should try my best to bring my own visions to life. There are enough great artists out there painting and drawing that angry stuff far better than I ever could. If anything, I'd like to be instrumental in drawing forth more positive emotions with my own stuff.

3. Which fantasy movies had the strongest influence on you as a kid?

        Wow, great question...

  • The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
  • The Never Ending Story
  • Beastmaster (the original one). That had a lot going for it, Marc Singer was great.
  • Conan the Barbarian
  • Willow
  • The Princess Bride
  • Labyrinth

These were the movies that probably had the most impact on me.

4. As an artist who draws inspiration from the natural world, do you find the Australian bush as inspiring for fantasy work as say, a European wood? What elements of the Australian environment find their way into your art?

        My apologies to any Australians reading this, but no. I don't think I'll find anywhere in the world that inspires me as much as the landscape in say, Cornwall or Wales or Scotland... New Zealand comes very close, I 'feel' a special connection with the land in the UK, spent the first 30 years of my life there.

        What elements find their way into my art? The trees, the green, those little streams that trickle through the woods and into those old rustic towns. I've spent many years of my life in and around those places and the memories (and experiences) will stay forever with me.

5. Your black and white lineart is exquisite. How did you end up specializing in this particular form?

        Thank you Michael. My love of pen and ink is directly related to my love of the work of Arthur Rackham, Charles Vess and an old friend, David Wyatt. All masters of the inked line. David turned me on to those guys in my late teens and through them I found the work of Berni Wrightson, through him, Barry Windsor-Smith, Franklin Booth etc. One thing leads to another... There are some amazing artists working in comics nowadays also. I'm entirely self taught so much of what I now know has come from intense study of these guys work, all cobbled together into a style that has ended being my own.

6. Do you ever make fan art? If so, of which stories/characters?

        Actually no. I used to draw comic characters all the time growing up, Spiderman was my favourite. But I don't have much time for that kind of thing nowadays. However, I'm always open for commissions, so who knows?

7. What do you draw for your own pleasure these days?

        Aside from commissioned work, I love any excuse to work on larger canvases using acrylics or oils. At the moment I have a bit of a' fantasy female' theme running through my work. I loved the Pre Raphaelite guys (used to go to the galleries in London as often as I could and sit and gaze in awe) and those who followed shortly after, (Waterhouse, Dicksee, Rossetti) my personal work aspires to that kind of thing. I intend to pursue that for as long as I can. I enjoy sketching for the sake of sketching and have made somewhat of a habit of warming up with at least one or two or those every day before I get on with my paid work. I also love painting with watercolours, so any excuse I get to use those I take full advantage of. When it comes down to it, I want to be the best I can be, at whatever medium I use, so no matter what it is I'm painting or drawing, I'm always trying to push the technical aspects of what I do. That said, I feel I've reached a point where my style/s are becoming far more intuitive and less conscious, which is a great place to be, so I'm not aggressively pursuing technical ability as hard as I did in my 20's and 30's.

        Subject matter-wise, I'm still painting and drawing the same things I've painted since I stepped onto the fantasy art path, namely, any excuse to paint a beautiful lady, creatures of the forest, a well rendered landscape or mythical beasts."

        Aaron's not just a great artist, he's humble and approachable and a pleasure to work with. His art will be appearing on Trollwood whenever we can secure his services.

Update (02/07/2015):

        I'm excited to announce that Trollwood now carries a wonderful range of Aaron Pocock art prints that can be purchased either as print-only or pre-mounted on high quality matboard ready for framing. Find the whole collection >here<.

        Happy hunting.

        Mike

Other interviews with Aaron Pocock:

5 Questions for Aaron Pocock (wherein Aaron discusses the artists who have inspired and influenced him)

Aaron Pocock Interview... (wherein Aaron discusses the Mythical Creatures stamp set he created for Australia Post)

Interview with Aaron Pocock (wide-ranging interview with Constanza Ehrenhaus of emg-zine)

Artist Spotlight- Aaron Pocock (Aaron talks art with fellow fantasy artist Selina Fenech)

Aaron Pocock’s Fantasy Artroom (wherein Aaron discusses the fae world and mentions a dream encounter with a native Australian fairy)

       

 


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