Tonight we have someone that I absolutely love. I met Brandon Watkins through mutual friends in the hardcore scene when Year of the Knife, Jesus Piece, and Vamachara all crashed at my house while touring. We have stayed in touch over the years and there is no one I am happier to have on here tonight than him, as he is taking his art to a new level. Enjoy!
FoF: First and foremost, tell us about yourself.
BW: Im a 27 year old straight edge person
FoF: What do you do? And why do you like it?
BW: I do freelance illustration and graphic design, im full time Candy Corpse employee and i play guitar in Year of the Knife. Drawing is something I’ve done for as long as i can remember, it reminds me of being a kid. My wife and i run Candy Corpse, it’s a delaware based pin and apparel brand. I got to quit my job to work for my wife, its incredible. Year of the Knife is the shit. My band is my favorite band putting out music. All three of these “jobs” have fulfilled some kind of life long dream for me.
FoF: Explain a little bit of your process? Where do you find your inspiration?
BW: Any illustration or design I’ve done for bands/Candy Corpse stuff is usually a collaborative effort between myself and the client or my wife Madi. It usually starts with an idea that we have to agree on. Sometimes i come up with it, most times it’s a clients idea. Then depending on the project i create a reference from a series of photos and work from there until i get something i like. Then i draw and redraw until i get something really cool. Year of the Knife is a lot different mostly i listen to older death metal and slayer and shit.
Most of my inspiration for art comes from movies and comics. Anime and Manga are HUGE influences for me. I’ve been big into horror since i was a kid. Monsters and zombies were something i always drew as a kid. I mostly just draw skulls now… haha
FoF: What drew you to horror in the first place?
BW: As a kid my Aunt and her son would always put me onto fucked up shit. They got me into stuff like Evil Dead 1, 2 and Army of Darkness when i was 9 or 10. One of my moms favorite movies is Thirteen Ghosts so i saw that about a million times the year it came out. We were also Sci Fi channel heads growing up so i was introduced to a lot of cool shit from there. I remember seeing a lot of the Stephen King miniseries on there. The Shining was one i really enjoyed.
FoF: What is your favorite horror work? (Movie, Show, Art, Book, whatever you want)
BW: Picking favorites is always difficult. Some of my favorite books are The Shining and Pet Sematary. Stephen King is my favorite author. My favorite movies change a lot. I think Texas Chainsaw Massacre is one of the greatest horror movies of all time.
FoF: What has been your favorite thing you have gotten to work on doing this?
BW: I do a lot of art for bands that i really like. One of my early commissions was a Ninja Scroll tee for The Acacia Strain. Working that was a trip as TAS was one of my favorite bands when i was 16.i get to do a lot of really cool shit for Candy Corpse too. One of the first things i got to do is the new Killer Kawaii designs. I drew a bunch of crazy shit for it, hard ass weapons but hyper cute.
FoF: What role do you think your specific style of art plays in the community overall?
BW: It’s hard to say honestly. I hope that as i get better and get to do more work for bands that the quality of art for bands gets better. The unfortunate reality of buying merch is that a lot of it sucks. The art will be bullshit or just some rip off design and the design aspects of it will be wrong. I hope people will see my shit and say “damn, we gotta get someone good to do this next shit for us.”
FoF: Anything you are working on that you want to highlight? (Commissions, flash sales, new project?)
BW: I always have way too much going on, i just wrapped up a really cool design for one of the hardest Florida bands of all time. I’m told they’ll have it for America’s Hardcore Fest this year. I’m also currently illustrating for a children’s book my friend Edwin Santos wrote. Candy Corpse just released a ton of Halloween designs. I got to do the initial art for the zombie hand pins, i think they came out really cute. We have a ton of shit on sale right now too.
As far as music goes YOTK is working on a full length that we will be recording in January. It is our most intense stuff to date and i cant wait for people to hear it. I’ve been working on a death metal project called Damnations Domain for a long time now. i sing and play every instrument on the demo which should be coming out sometime next month.
FoF: If you could do anything with any horror franchise, what would it be?
BW: I forgot to mention earlier that videogames have been a huge part of my life, and anything action horror is my favorite. Some of my favorites are the Dead Rising series and Dead Space 1 and 2. I’d love to do any kind of art for a horror game.
FoF: Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you so much to B for coming on to talk and I am so happy to see his art, CandyCorpse and Year of The Knife getting their much deserved recognition!