1) Your art seems to be both bright and dark, clear and contorted. What do you want to say with your art?
I guess the most important thing for me is to tell the truth as I see it, no punches pulled. Life is both dark and light and this is reflected in my art. It took me a long time to realize the depth of what I could express with my work and now it's impossible for me to be anything but totally honest with it. Figures are often distorted because I myself have felt distorted or imbalanced in one way or another throughout my life. It's a way for these wounded parts of the self to make their voice heard. When I look around me I see incredible distortion. So many aspects of our modern culture seem incredibly twisted and insane and antithetical to genuine human needs. At the same time, I am aware of the spiritual, divine nature of human beings and more expanded ways of perceiving the human race as an interconnected whole. Someone once described humans as halfway between ape and angel and so this is the duality that comes out in my art.
2) What is the meaning of art for you, both your own and that of others. What do you feel should be expressed with art?
Art for me is an alchemical process. You're taking intangible things-experiences, thoughts, feelings, and transforming them into something concrete-a painting, drawing, sculpture, that retains the energy and essence of the original intangibles and communicates them to the viewer. This is a magickal act and I suspect that the great artists of the world have always known this although they may not have articulated it in this way, if they articulated it at all. Specifically, when I take some painful thought, feeling or experience and turn it into a piece of art, I'm fulfilling the alchemical goal of turning "base material" into spiritual "gold" by releasing the trapped energy and freeing it for use in more constructive areas. There always seems to be a big debate going on over "what is art?" or more specifically, "what should art be about?" My answer is that there is no answer. As far as I'm concerned, there is no right and wrong in art, just different. Does the work speak to me or not? There are so many factors involved when someone experiences a piece of art. If a person, no matter how "educated," likes painting A and not painting B, it doesn't necessarily mean that painting B is "bad art." History is full of stories of artists who were ridiculed and reviled and then later on lauded as geniuses, often by the same people who had scorned them earlier.
3) What are you searching for in your mind and your heart when you draw?
Art for me has become a process of allowing whatever needs to be expressed by the deeper parts of my psyche to come forth and put it down on paper. I don't always know what it's going to be. It can be dark, light, serious, absurd, beautiful or grotesque. I'm interested in making contact with others on that same deep level, touching both the pain and wonder of life. If I get a reaction from someone, even if it's one of revulsion, then I know I've succeeded, that there's power in the work and I'm communicating on that deeper level. I'm not interested in images that are pretty or pleasant, although I am interested in the beautiful, the sublime, the transcendent. Art that blandly soothes is anathema to me; it is the "opiate of the masses." I want art to wake me up, not put me to sleep!
4) Are you interested in the dark, magical and occult side of our life and mind?
Yes, I have been involved with the practice of magick for many years. Magick is not necessarily dark, but seeks to encompass all aspects of existence. One must be able to see all sides, all points of view and thus be freed from conditioning and truly free to make one's own choices. For a more lengthy explanation of what magick means to me, see the essay written by my good friend Lucifer at www.alchemicalwedding.com/liberation.html. Needless to say, I am not interested in hurting any living things, nor do I have any delusions of developing Hollywood-style supernatural powers as in the movie "The Craft," for example. In general, I am interested in just about any phenomena of our existence that lies outside the official, establishment paradigm. Occult means "hidden" and very often things are hidden because if the average person knew what kind of power (and I mean inner power) they really had, it would be quite threatening to governments, corporations, etc. Those who wield political power have a vested interest in keeping people unaware. I am also quite interested in psychology and the workings of the human mind. I am fascinated by extremes of thought and behavior, both dark and light. Again, anything that breaks out of the box of consensus thought.
5) Who are some of your artistic influences?
My earliest influences were Marvel superhero comic books and probably my father's caricatures (he is a professional caricaturist). When I was 12, I discovered Robert Crumb and the underground comix of the 60s and 70s and there was no turning back. I love the surrealists-Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Dorothea Tanning, Remedios Varo. Ernst Fuchs was a huge influence. So were Mati Klarwein and Albrecht Durer. I was very influenced by Van Eyck and the Flemish Renaissance masters. I love just about all Renaissance art. Other influences would be the Pre-Raphaelites, illuminated manuscripts, Maxfield Parrish, Basil Wolverton, children's book illustrators like Maurice Sendak, psychedelic rock posters of the 60s, and symbolists such as Felicien Rops and Gustav Klimt. Some contemporary artists that I love are Joe Coleman, Manuel Ocampo, Joel-Peter Witkin, Mark Ryden, Alex Grey, Paul Cadmus, Odd Nerdrum. The list goes on and on...
6) Do you also draw comics and are you in the underground comics scene?
I do not draw comics although my work has been very influenced by them, and I am not part of any scene, but I do love underground and alternative comix and continue to read them and follow them.
7) Your favourite comic books, your favourite films, your favourite bands...
My favorite comix are currently Eightball
by Dan Clowes, Schizo by Ivan Brunetti, Black Hole by Charles
Burns, Weasel by Dave Cooper, and anything by Jim Woodring, Robert
Crumb and the Hernandez Bros. I love animation, particularly Jan
Svankmajer and Bill Plympton. Filmmakers whose work I like are
Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch, John Waters, and Woody Allen among
others. Musicians I like are way too numerous to mention.
8) Do you know and do you like some Italian cartoonists and artists?
Yes, I'm very fond of the work of underground artists Dast, Spiderjack, Prof. Bad Trip, and Stefano Zattera who I've corresponded with. On the more commercial side, there's Manara and Serpieri, Roberto Baldazzini and Giovanna Casotto.
9) Well, David, do you have a message for the Komix' readers?
Pay attention and ask questions.
10) And at the end some of your linx and your contact information...
You can see my drawings, paintings, digital art, illustrations, and poetry and hear my sound collages, as well as see the work of mail-artists from around the world who participated in illustrating the phrase "Nothing is True, Everything is permitted," at my website "The Alchemical Wedding." www.alchemicalwedding.com If you're interested in the Holocaust, my Holocaust series (which is also online at The Alchemical Wedding) is on exhibit at remember.org along with the work of other artists and writers and lots of historical info on the Holocaust. I also recommend the website of Frank Moore, shaman of sexuality and one of my biggest supporters, Frank Moore's Web of All Possibilities at www.eroplay.com/ You can e-mail me at JAron98449@aol.com or write to me at 3330 Dogwood Drive, Willow Grove, PA 19090 USA. Thank you.