Avelina de Moray - A gothic artist extraordinaire

Published: 07 September, 2010 - Featured in Skin Deep 184, April, 2010

Influenced most by the works of Hieronymus Bosch, H.R Giger and Salvador Dali, Avenlina De Moray chooses the dark and sometimes murky world of Vampires, Goths and Death metal to help her create her captivating artworks.

Not being one for the company of others and hating the formulaic constraints of art colleges and Universities, Avelina heads down to her subterranean studio to create her fantasy influenced paintings with the aid of music from the likes of Cradle of Filth and HIM.

Avelina is a relative newcomer to the Gothic arts having only started to create paintings via digital and traditional means just over a year ago, but she has come a long way. Her works of art have been indelibly facsimiled onto skin by some of her more adoring fans.

Not a stranger to a camera, she also sits in front and behind the lens both with stunning results and has just been signed up for celebrity clothing company Affliction Clothing.

Can you tell me a bit about your history as an artist?

I don’t think I’ve been around long enough to have one. It hasn’t even been one year since the release of my first vampire artwork ‘Vampires of Rookwood’. I am very pleased to say that I have been able to develop a very loyal fan base, and have just signed my first licensing deal in the USA, so I am really looking forward to see what 2010 yields.

Are you self-taught and have you had any formal art training, college?

I hated high school and couldn’t wait to get outta that joint. I didn’t study art in school, that period of my life was very much about my guitar and song writing; I was messing around with Photoshop back then, but never took it seriously.

The thought of leaving high school, only to go on to study at university or college was unfathomable.

What mediums do you like to work with?

I’m always receiving comments from fans and other artists asking what mediums I use. Some think that I draw; some think that I paint and some think I take photos, and they’d all be correct. I fuse photography with digital drawing and editing. Some artworks have more of one medium than others, and some pieces are entirely drawn with no photography whatsoever. I am comfortable will all three mediums and simply use whichever one is needed to create the desired effect.

Are all your subjects in your paintings from real/the afterlife?

Nothing is from real life. I find reality about as interesting as tits on a bull. But the afterlife is perfect as it’s open to interpretation. Everyone has their own spin on the subject and you’re allowed to change your mind as you go along, even Anne Rice has abandoned her vampires for subjects with more Christian values.

What drew you to painting vampires and gothic imagery?

I just never saw myself painting fairies or fruit baskets, ya know? When the time came to choose the subject matter for my art, I just looked around my studio and saw skulls, candelabras and pentagrams, I went to my bookshelves and saw Edgar Allan Poe, Anton LaVey’s Satanic Bible and Anne Rice’s Vampire Chronicles. My art is simply a visual representation of the shit I’m into. I mean, I could probably draw you a fruit basket, if you really, really wanted me to, but the fruit would be rotten, the colours would come from a dark and menacing Bosch pallet, and the basket itself would be sitting next to the stone throne of some cool naked vampire demon that’s just brought forth the extinction of the human race…that’s just how I see it. Hmm, I think I just came up with my next art work: “The Fruits of Extinction”...

Who are your favourite artists/painters and what is it about their work that inspires you?

I love H.R. Giger, his shit is just so dark and fucked up. Although his influence probably isn’t that noticeable in my art, not un-like Hieronymus Bosch, I think his influence is clearly visible in many of my pieces. The thing that I love about his art is his choice of colours and his sense of irony and humour.

I see you are tattooed; do you plan on getting any more and if so, who would be your choice to do the work?

I have quite a few tattoos myself. As soon I was 18, I had a flower tattoo on my chest which was a birthday present from Von, my fiancé. A year later I got the Japanese dragon on my left shoulder, which is definitely my favourite. They should have told me that the pain was addictive, within a year; my right upper arm was sleeved! The last tattoo I had done, over 3 years ago now, was the rose on my right wrist. I’m already looking for new designs for my next tattoo, and will probably go with black and white, as the tattoos I have are very colourful, I’d like to ‘Goth’ them up a bit.

Who are your favourite tattooists?

In Australia, I’d have to say Dave and Chris Rand from Rand Ink. This father and son team are awesome and have done all my tattoos. Their lines are strong and their colours are very bright, Chris once said to me he loves tattooing me, because I’m so pale, almost transparent, so the colours take really well.

Do you find working with tattooed individuals interesting?

Definitely, I find that working with tattooed models gives my art a modern edge that traditional art lacks. Although, shooting a tattooed model for say a ‘16th century’ themed shoot may be out of place, I’d probably leave the conflicting styles together just because it makes the end result more interesting.

The debate of having modern tattoos within century specific artwork has recently become a topic of conversation for my fans; just recently, I received this email from Shane in Canada, who commented on this exact point:

“I loved your Lucy Westenra!  It reminds me of some close-up shots in The Exorcist, actually - but I wanted to ask you: the hand holding the crucifix in the image is clearly tattooed up to the wrist, and when I saw that I wondered, why is that there? I couldn't find anything else in the piece to explain it although, since it does make the image instantly contemporary, I can see how that may lend it broader appeal to collectors."
Shane, Ontario, Canada

What do you think of tattooists as artists and vice versa?

I think tattoo artists are extremely underrated: not only is their canvas three dimensional but it’s covered in blood, wriggles around and wants to engage them in conversation as they work. For me, that would be fucking annoying! The average human body also doesn’t come with an UN-DO button.

Do you or have you, ever seen your art become a tattoo?

Yes! And I was so excited when I first saw the photo I nearly wet myself! This first happened with a photograph of one of my Ville Valo photos, the singer from finish band HIM. It was such an honour when Ian said he’d picked my picture from many because he felt I captured Ville’s ‘essence’ in that live shot.
More recently, I was contact by a fan named Hans in Poland, who had my artwork “Vampires of Rookwood’ tattooed on his calf! This totally blew my mind.  The tattooist Darek Darecki’s studio ‘Darkness Tattoo’ now displays several of my artworks and he informed me recently that someone has already booked to have “The Exorcism of Lust Westenra” immortally bestowed upon them. Fans having my art tattooed on them is happening more frequently now, I absolutely love it, it’s the biggest compliment anyone could give me and my art, I mean, that tattoo is on your for life!

Who are your main influences and what inspires you?

Other artists inspire me, but my biggest influences would have to be movies, music and literature. I’m a visual creature, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watch a movie only to be inspired by the director’s camera angles or choice of lighting. I also find listening to music heavily influences my art, as an example, I was listening to Cradle of Filth’s ‘Godspeed On The Devil’s Thunder’ record whilst creating my artwork ‘Empathy’ This demonic artwork was definitely inspired by the band’s sound.

Do you have any ambitions with your art or otherwise?

Yes! I mean, apart from world domination, later this year I will be releasing a new range of clothing for both men and women, all printed with my art as well as releasing my gothic pendants which I have been designing for the last few weeks. I’m hoping that the people that buy my art to hang on their wall would also like to wear my vampire clothing. It’s really hard to find cool vampire t-shirts, and this was originally why I decided to start putting my art on clothing.

I’m also thrilled to announce that Attitude clothing have jumped onboard and will soon be selling my clothing range, and look forward to many new opportunities that 2010 may present.

Can you tell us something about your band and music?

Sure! My band is called As Angels Bleed and our sound could best be described as Gothic Metal. Von Lehmann (guitarist) and I have been writing songs together since I was 16 years old. We’ve spent the last few years away from the live scene, and focused on developing our own unique sound within the Gothic Metal genre.

For the last 9 months, Von and I have been busy recording our full-length album, which included the full orchestration of the 11 songs, as well as recording a full church choir.

The album ‘Electric Funeral Fire’ will then be mixed and mastered, and we’re very excited to share these songs with the world.  

The music is the soundtrack to my art, so you can expect it to be just as dark, vampiric and intense. The songs have heavy low tuned guitar riffs, crazy metal solos, and melodic sing-along choruses with gothic and vampiric themed lyrics. If you are into Type O Negative, Within Temptation, Evanescence or Cradle Of Filth, I think you will enjoy our album.



Interview: Neil Photography: Avelina