HORROR WITHIN from the United States
Questions: Wednesday Lee Friday
Date: June 13th, 2016
First published on http://thehorrorwithin.com/interview-with-hammerblaze-artist-aldo-requena/
THW: You clearly have an affinity for the dark and spooky. Why do you think that is?
I have an affinity with what’s beyond our reality, which demands the complexity of design and analysis. I have an interest in myths, science, and the occult. The mystery of the unknown and supernatural offer me a proper playground for studying other worlds and instigate the human psyche without restriction. When you create a surreal piece, you aren’t limited by the conception of our reality. You can deform it into something else. Then the depiction can become intense, dramatic, and oppressive but also romantic and seductive. Whether is macabre, fantasy, or sci-fi, I like to embellish my creations with an obscure essence. However, I never consider my illustrations to be spooky; that’s only people’s perception. I’m just an explorer, a vessel of my talents. I do admit that I possess a varied set of design skills and emotional triggers that allows me to navigate different realms. But it’s mostly my Art that leads the way. I guess from an anthropological point of view, you can blame my early days as a child. I used to be in contact with biology and strange books, skulls, and other stuff. I even had a great-grandfather who was into black magic. So I think it is a combination of different elements, including my natural opposition to religious doctrines. In a poetic term, my creativity is like a pulse of existence, I command, to shake the earth and move the suns.
THW: You’re from Argentina, which is outside the experience of many of our readers. Tell us about the art scene in your part of the world.
It’s a very active scene; we have many great artists here in Argentina working in different fields and international enterprises – art, photography, music, films, animation, you name it. Thanks to the massive explosion of pop culture and social media, a lot of projects and events are taking place. On May 2, I had the privilege to exhibit my work at the 42º International Book Convention in Buenos Aires (Feria Internacional del Libro) during an event hosted by “Cultura Metalica” (Metallic Culture), a local organization that promotes the artistic work produced within the heavy metal community in our country. I have also had the honor to be invited to promote my work at the Jousting Show & Medieval Market in the city of Gräsfnäs (Sweden) on July 1 and 2 (organized by Kerstin Stråhlesköld). Not to mention, many of my friends and partners in bands also reach their audience beyond the frontiers of our land; such is the case with Skiltron, Feanor, Mathras, Naufragant, Interceptor, and many others. For me, it’s very flattering to witness how our work can attract so much international attention, but it’s also evident that our hard work is being taken seriously. It means we are doing something good. I operate as a modern Viking sailing the waves of destiny to conquer foreign lands. So do my countrymen.
THW: Who came up with the phrase “Creativity Against the Norms;” I love it! What does it mean to you?
I did. “Creativity Against The Norms” is my artistic war cry in opposition to the status quo. It’s a representation of the creative force within and the fight of Art to prevail against the doctrines and moral codes of society (The Norm). In the deepest analysis, when the creative spirit is lost, the vicissitudes of life can mortify the sign of prime creation. It’s not by the cards of destiny that actions occur. But by our own hands and determination, any results are possible. There is no savior or secret formula. There is no valid excuse. No man, woman, beast, demon, or god to trust. There is only the faculty to transcend the limits of one-self by maximum personal effort. Understand this: every basis and moral concept from our history was conceived by deceivers with the sole purpose to control and suppress our capacity for individual existence and rational thinking. If the common ethical model is “Not Think but Follow,” any radical opposition that attempts to neglect the established order shall embrace one valid credo: “The Uprising of Will”. For Creativity to prevail, it is necessary to achieve a Non Serviam mental attitude of rejection Against the Norm. Any criterion that’s not true to our distinctive nature is an implicit restriction to the decree of the Over-Will. Furthermore, the supreme principles that govern perseverance for one’s dreams shall be always in disagreement with the mundane habits of society. Even if one walks through the edge of misery and insanity, the path to wisdom and mastery resides in the sacred solitude of self-discovery. It’s only there where the real magic presents itself and the inner-voice is heard (the voice of your calling in life, your talent); enlightening the flame of zeal from which the mind endures and rises in disobedient discontent against the world. Thus, accepting that genuine creativity originates through chaos, I rise from my ruins to create and destroy alike.
The road to self-development can be a venture populated by vulturous creatures; who intend to exploit idiosyncrasies and prejudices that compromises the direction of cultural and personal creativity. When parameters of ignorance convey misuse necessities, Art itself has no value. It’s absurd to assume otherwise. Art is a weapon, a gateway of freedom, a direct connection to primal realities to explore the deepest corners of the mind.
So, “Creativity Against The Norms”, in simple terms, is a giant FUCK-OFF to the hypocrisy of the world.
THW: Some of your art involves existing characters like Cthulhu or The Thing. What inspires you to give your artistic treatment to a character?
I’m glad you like my treatment on those characters. When I recreate a renowned character my main approach is bringing to light something that other artists never did. It’s a human tendency to emulate what others do. That’s a pattern to break. I also insert something of myself onto each design; an illustrative trademark signature, a code style, or whatever you wanna call it. Something that people could recognize the illustration like mine. Because all these popular characters you see around, they all contain the code of the original creator and artists that came after. So you have to put something extra-different to make it valuable. It’s like when a band covers another band’s song, they do it on their style. Let’s take Cthulhu for example: how many times did you see this elder entity recreated with the classic octopus’s head? Unbelievably uninspiring… This creature is supposed to be an extra-dimensional organism. It cannot look like a simple octopus from under the sea. That’s why my version is morbid and unbalanced from our biologic perception. I like to think that I made true honor to his creator’s vision… The Thing, Cthulhu, and similar beings can be easily recoded to my aesthetic vision. However, others demand different treatment. Nevertheless, it’s all a visual language that can be reinterpreted. I work with what’s in synchronicity with my matrix spectrum and can be integrated into my mental zone, style, or whatever.
THW: Tell us about Hammerblaze Designs.
Hammerblaze Designs, or simple Hammerblaze, is my multifaceted enterprise of art. It started in 2008, as my design studio and artistic signature for developing artwork illustration and graphics in the diverse industries of music, advertising, and publishing. We mostly work with bands, labels, independent artists, and web publications from the heavy and extreme music arena. We work with people from all over the world on album artwork, merch, tour campaigns, and more. Nowadays, Hammerblaze is becoming more than just a design platform to slowly cover different productions and even artistic representation. Essentially, Hammerblaze was generated as a creative weapon to satisfy my artistic demands and those from our partners. As a symbiotic entity, the studio expands according to our artistic needs.
THW: Can you take us through your process for the creation of a new art piece?
My working process varies greatly; it can be a very controlled habitat or mayhem. It depends on the amount of work, the complexity of the design, and style. Most of the time, everything begins with a simple idea that is roughly sketched for visual purposes. Once there the main piece begins to take form. I let the work proceeds by own will and the happy accidents to occur. Even though I have an idea of what I want, it’s mostly the image itself that guides me. I work better in reclusion and I lost human contact when I am in an extremely creative trance. When my mind is in matrix mode and I am processing a lot of information, I can become irritable if I am interrupted by outsiders from my circle. I prefer to work during nocturnal hours when most of the mortals are sleeping.
THW: Is there someone in particular that you’d like your work to be seen by? Who?
H. P. Lovecraft.
THW: What’s on your music playlist while you create art?
I’m a Metal Warrior so you can find a lot of heavy and extreme music in my arsenal. But also rock, ambient, synthwave, film/game soundtracks, Celtic/Norse folk, and anything dark and epic that can stimulate my mind.
THW: Do you watch any American horror television?
I adore Penny Dreadful. I didn’t watch many episodes of American Horror Story to provide a proper observation. I liked The Strain, the second season was better. I’m enjoying more Fear Of The Walking Dead than The Walking Dead lately. I enjoyed the over the top-sarcastic-nonsense of Znation. I personally liked a lot True Detective (the first season being the best). I quit Salem, not because it was a bad show, my mind was simply not there. In terms of shows and movies, I am very selective when it comes to horror. It must possess the proper dose of suspense and dark ambiance. I have a personal love for dark space terror or anything post-apocalyptic like Terminator, Mad Max, Alien, Event Horizon, Dark City, Hellraiser I & II, Pandorum, The Thing (Carpenter) stuff like that are my visual oasis.
THW: I’m aware that visual art is not your only medium. Tell us about your other creative endeavors.
At the moment, I’m also focusing on Flash-Back 2029, which is a musical project of synthwave with a post-apocalyptic and retro-cinematic feeling from the ’80s. I co-produce this machinery with a partner and friend of mine that goes by the name of Shades O’Brien (Composer/Music Producer). Our first EP “The Dark Years” was released a couple of months ago and it’s purely inspired in The Terminator movie (1984). The EP is receiving very good feedback worldwide and we are already starting to engineer phase 2 (no release date yet). It’s important to mention that even though Shades is the composer and I am mostly the visual creator, we both assist and consult each other in the direction where we want our time machine to travel. We share an artistic vision and goal. We see Flash-Back as a studio project more than just a musical band with normal musicians who battle for ego presence. The main characters in Flash-Back are the music and story. We are simply a bridge for the audience to be in touch with a new world of magic.
Follow us at:
Other than that, I am writing a couple of stories. But I can’t reveal anything. I have other projects in development that I will expose when they become relevant.
THW: Do you have any advice for other dark artists who want to break into the industry?
I don’t know what it means to break it into the industry. I just follow my heart with tenacity. I can only say: do what you feel is right. Work hard and opportunities will appear. Don’t be a douchebag. Pay attention to those who genuinely try to help you and have a real perspective in the business. See what the ancient masters did and understand how and why. However, when you encounter assholes in your way, don’t bother in wasting your time and anger in trying to find the head in those worms who have a rectum on either end. Think positively and take your work seriously. But also find time for enjoyment, do some physical activity, have fun and sex, and all that shit or whatever can give you a scape zone from life’s misery. The most important thing is to practice, practice, and practice. Explore your limits without compromises. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. Fear ain’t your foe but your ally to win.
THW: What’s the best way for fans to reach out to you?
I can be invoked through my network:
THW: Thanks so much!
In gratitude to you guys for this interview and interest in my work.
Be true to your spirit. Deny mortality.
Sharpen Up The Steel!