Interview with JUHA VUORMA
[THE ZODIAC CHRONICLE webzine 1999, by Scott Crinklaw]
In the scene of heavy metal, art has always been an important element of the music.
In the old days, skulls and fire dominated album covers and in the early 90's death metal cd covers began being seen with free hand art that was infinitely
more interesting and complex. Artists like Dan Seagrave and Andreas Marschall gave us some truly amazing cover work.
Later, free hand art became much more rare in the realm of metal. Cover art gave way to the computer age and the use of pre-existing photography.
It seemed that some of the very soul of metal was missing. A few true artists surfaced in the later 90's like Wes Benscoter and one new talent from Finland, Juha Vuorma.
Juha Vuorma's art had an immediate visual impact on me. His art is incredibly hard to describe. It appears full of movement, great depth, and individual style. While Juha has several different techniques, it was his more abstract work that caught my interest most of all. His paintings are the kind you long to touch and examine the surface closely, eyeing each stroke ofthe brush and knife. Juha's work is quite dark, yet not in a traditional sense. His cover work speaks of surrealism and nightmares that one would conceivably never see on the mortal/physical earth, yet the paintings have strong connection to something organic, something real. I interviewed Juha about art and music and certainly learned a few things from this modest and gifted artist.
What is your background in art? Do you come from an artistically talented family? Did you attend college for art?
Well I don't think anyone in my family has been really talented in art, or even interested in art. I've studied everything myself, never attended any kind of art school or college. That's why I've learnt quite slowly and still have a long way to go.
How do you describe your art for people who have yet to see it?
From what I can tell, you have 3 main styles, the black and white comics, the traditional paintings (Darkwoods My Betrothed, New Eden etc),
and then the more avant-garde types (such as the Dew-Scented, Nightingale or Immortal Dominion cover works). Do you prefer one of these styles
over the others?
Getting into technique, what kind of paint and surfaces do you prefer to usefor your work?
Mostly acrylic on canvas. But with this avant-gardish style (as you definedit) I use oil, and not necessarily on canvas...I experiment different surfaces.
Can you describe the technique for your avant-garde style? How do you achievethis depth, texture
and richness in color? It often reminds me of RobertVenosa's work in how the light actually seems
to reflect back from the canvas.
These paintings seem very organic with all the forms that appear as roots, plants or some strange microscopic life. Is nature an important factor inyour inspiration to create?
While being very dark, your paintings are more dream-like than horrific(perhaps excluding In the Garden of Eden). Where do these images come from?Are they well planned or more spontaneous?
Where do they come from...that's impossible to answer. Not 100% planned,that's for sure. Many times something just clicks and painting like finds it's own way. But it does not come easy, much of what I get done is just rubbish that I throw away (of the avantgardish stuff that is). And not all my paintings are dark, cd cover paintings usually are as that fits with metalmusic.
What are some artists you admire, both past and present?
Tell about your comic work, In The Garden of Eden, Blanco, and Blue Hood, can you tell a bit about each?
Just what is the character of Blue Hood anyway? Would you ever like to work for a major comic company like Image or Marvel?
What do computers represent to you in the realm of art creation? Do you everfeel they endanger your profession as a free hand 'real' artist?
Should'real' artists have to drop their paintbrushes andmove to a mouse and keyboard merely to adapt to the digital world?
Tell about your comic work, In The Garden of Eden, Blanco, and Blue Hood, can you tell a bit about each? Just what is the character of Blue Hood anyway? Would you ever like to work for a major comic company like Image or Marvel?
What do computers represent to you in the realm of art creation? Do you everfeel they endanger your profession as a free hand 'real' artist? Should'real' artists have to drop their paintbrushes andmove to a mouse and keyboard merely to adapt to the digital world?
Are you a fan of metal music? Some artists such as Dan Seagrave were not fans of metal, yet became well known in the metal scene.
Does music itself inspire your work?
What are some of your favorite bands or musicians?
If a person wants to hire you, what are your prices? Are you anywhere nearmaking a living doing your art?
I'll negotiate it with interested band/label. No, I'm not making a living, not a chance! That would be impossible. Just a rather expensive hobby(financially a hobby, of course art itself is more than a"hobby" for me).
Questions and introduction by Scott Crinklaw.