In the Spotlight: Alex Pardee (ART)
- by Ninja Ross, 14 August 2013
I was first introduced to Alex Pardee’s art in last year’s Juxtapoz magazine Halloween issue. Not only was his art featured in all of its glory, he was also asked to curate the issue. Which he did superbly, bringing in some top notch talent like Jhonen Vasquez and Nychos. I’ve been following Pardee’s career ever since with great fascination. Why am I only just writing an article about it? Shut up, that’s why.
While he’s gone on record to say he hates being asked what his influences are, Pardee has stated that he takes a lot of influence from pop culture. His most notable influences, as far as I can see, are comic books, older horror films, music and Gothic art. Of course, there are many other influences since everything is influential in its own way. But these are the most obvious.
Take a look at this, for example:
That’s Charlie Sheen wearing a tiger’s skin with blood running down his face. Obviously referencing Sheen’s tiger blood break down. The tiger skin and warrior like expression is very reminiscent of the fantasy genre whole the word “Winning” is written in blood and looks like something from an '80s movie that Charlie Sheen would have starred in. Pardee doesn’t really do subtle, it seems.
But subtle isn’t something that’s essential to art. Sure it’s nice to find subtle undertones and metaphors because that makes everyone feel clever. I mean, there’s probably something I’m missing here but let’s not dwell on that.
Pop culture is kind of our thing here at Trash Mutant and it’s clearly Pardee’s thing, too. But he’s got more than just a few pieces from his own twisted imagination.
I’ll be honest; I’m not sure what can be said about this piece. It’s a thing holding a narwhal. It’s holding the narwhal with a lot of love and tenderness, though and that gives it kind of a sweet quality that counters the more horrifying side.
This piece is also a great example of one of the things that makes Pardee’s work stand out; the use of colour. Horror and gore and all that gross stuff doesn’t have to be dark and gloomy. Pardee uses a lot of bright blue, red and yellow in his work to help contrast the dark and grotesque themes of his work.
Of course, horror, monsters and nasty stuff isn’t the only big part of his work. I’d argue it’s not even the biggest. One of the main themes in his work, as far as I can see, is humour. That much is pretty obvious in pieces like the above Charlie Sheen one and even the narwhal one.
Pardee has said he suffered from depression and anxiety from an early age. He gives credit for his improvements to his art work and it’s pretty easy to tell that this is where a lot of it comes from. The sense of humour especially. It’s born of a darker place, with its scenes of gore and horror. People without a history of mental illness probably don’t normally draw things like this:
Of course, his art isn’t for everyone. The creepy style, use of gore and his dark sense of humour can easily put people off. Stuff like this doesn’t go down too well at most posh galleries full of upper class posh people, I’m guessing:
“My word, this isn’t right! I was promised a gallery of sexual metaphors in the form of long paintings!” And then a monocle explodes somewhere.
Alex Pardee has also worked in movies and music. His style is exactly the sort of thing you want to see on an album cover, next to some kick ass lyrics or in a movie right? Here’s a design for Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch:
In my opinion, his work is perfectly suited for movie designs. It’s fresh and very stylish. His designs were actually the best thing about Sucker Punch. I’m in no way insulting the movie here (I quite liked it) I’m just saying Pardee’s designs are pretty incredible.
You can also see his work on a poster for The World’s End!
Pardee has also done some amazing work on album covers and interior art. He’s worked with The Used, Cage Kennylz, In Flames and more. Here’s a little something from In Flames’ A Sense of Purpose:
And that's just some of the pieces of Pardee I like. Did you enjoy them too? I bet you did. Check out the slideshow below for a few more, and make sure to visit the links at the bottom, where tons more of Alex Pardee's art can be enjoyed!
Make sure to visit:
- Alex Pardee's official website
- his Facebook fanpage
- and catch him on Twitter!
And leave your thoughts and comments below!