Eric Robert Reinert is a horror artist from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is also a musician, and has played drums in numerous metal and punk bands. He currently plays with black metal band Goatfisted.
Back as a child, I watched a lot of old black and white horror movies late at night on Saturdays. I would draw pictures of the monsters in school and get in trouble for it. A few years later, I took an interest in the covers of novels and other horror and fantasy books that were being produced in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I also enjoyed reading the books and sneaking them into my parents’ house. This included the horror magazines that I knew they would flip out about, such as Creepy and Eerie, because the artwork and covers by Frazetta were so intense at the time. In high school, I was introduced to the novels of Robert E Howard, who I was already familiar with from reading the Savage Sword and Conan the Barbarian comics. That brought me to H.P. Lovecraft. From there I was captivated by the drawings of Dave Carson, and, 25 years down the road, I have been drawing the horrors that everyone seems to enjoy today.
What’s your most famous work and what are you most proud of?
I would have to say my green print Cthulhu drawing. So many people keep asking me about having it printed on a black t-shirt. It is very simple but I still love it the most.
Talk us through your artistic style.
I like doing a lot of single colour prints. I also enjoy doing stuff that has thousands of dots. To me, I have more control with dots than lines. I never really know how I am going to do a piece until it seems to flow: if it doesn’t I may try to redraw it two, three, or more times until I like where it’s going. There are a few I am still working on that I have been doing on-and-off for years, because [although] the concept is good, I just haven’t put it on paper the right way.
What are you working on at the moment?
I am working on going big. I want to do some large and long pictures. I can get very detailed and technical with large and long drawings. A lot of my previous work has been small; 8” by 11” and under. Now that I have better means of reducing finished work to display it, I can get bigger and still show it off. I am working on pieces dealing with Lovecraft’s mythos again, and some images from Clark Ashton Smith as well.
Which horror artists do you most admire?
Frank Frazetta was always an early inspiration. Dave Carson is an inspiration as well. I talk to him online and remind him of that on occasion. Also, I’ve always enjoyed the artwork of Erol Otus, and Richard Corben.
How much detail do you like to put into your graphic depictions of horror and how much do you imply?
Depends on the piece: I can get crazy with the dots! I usually feel that when a piece is done, it is done, no matter how complex or simple it is. I sometimes have someone tell me I could have done this or that with it… That’s fine, but I felt it had what it needed to be complete. If that’s the case, ask my permission and you can reproduce it and add what you think and we will compare… mostly that never happens.
Why will people like your work?
I think people like my work because I give a sense of character to even the simplest art piece that I may come up with. Sometimes less is more. Also, I like to work darker, and that adds a sense of depth that can give a more evil or dark appearance to the work. So far, I have gotten a lot of praise from both the average person and many artists. Jeff Gaither told me he used my Red Skull picture as a wallpaper for his iPhone.
What makes a good piece of art?
Honestly, a good piece of art is what the artist is most happy with, because if it isn’t satisfactory in their minds all the oohs and aahs mean nothing if five or ten years down the line, they still talk about what they don’t like what they did for that piece. I still believe that if it leaves the artist’s hands unsatisfactory, it remains that way, no matter who else likes it.
I think that the more people that can see what I put out there, the better. If it wasn’t for all of the new technology, I would still have people tell me that I need to find a way to get my artwork out there. I had a lot of frustration getting recognised at all back when I was younger, outside of friends and family, because most book and art people want big names or qualified people. I’m sorry I had to work hard all my life and couldn’t find the time or money to get an art degree that may or may not get me a job. I know so many people with art and graphics degrees that still work factory and general labour jobs, if they [even] have a job. I guess I’m lucky to have the friends I acquired online that have helped out with promotion. If any of them read this, thank you. Anyway, I think it is fantastic that anyone can get their artwork out there now; all they have to do is post it.
Recommend a graphic novel.
Bloodstar, [based on] the Robert E Howard story ‘The Valley of the Worm’, illustrated by the amazing Richard Corben.