Whiley Dunsmore is a self-taught artist from Ireland. After many years of painting with traditional media such as oil and acrylic, he has now turned his attention to digital painting.
What first drew you to horror illustration?
My love of horror dates back to an experience I had at the age of eight. I was trying to sleep when I heard screams and the chant, “We’re going to get you,” echoing from the living room into my bedroom. The next day I found the source that had scared me to death. It was Evil Dead. I watched it, loved it, and it drew me to horror illustration forever after.
What’s your most famous work and what are you most proud of?
The work I am most proud of is The Queen of Heart. After two years of teaching myself to paint digitally, I finally managed to merge my traditional techniques into digital. It definitely set a personal standard that I have been developing since. I’d say the fame of this painting is reflected by the amount of times it has been pinched on the internet.
Talk us through your artistic style.
Although I mostly use the digital media now, I deal with a digital painting with the same techniques and approach I used with oils. I enjoy Photoshop for the endless customizing of brushes, etc…Of course the major difference between traditional and digital is drying time. On top of that the scale of a digital painting allows me to go mental for details.
What are you working on at the moment?
Like every other artist…looking for work to pay the rent. Painting wise, I’m working on a portfolio piece of a zombie in London.
Which horror artists do you most admire?
To be honest, I don’t have an artist I most admire in this field. My admiration goes more to the writer Clive Barker. Growing up reading his books has encouraged me to let my imagination express itself.
How much detail do you like to put into your graphic depictions of horror and how much do you imply?
Way too much! Since switching from canvas to LCD, I can put so much more into a painting. Now more than ever, I push the viewer to appreciate every tiny detail (they don’t of course). But I hope they see the story I try to suggest in almost every painting I complete.
Why will people like your work?
To be honest I have absolutely no idea. If I knew what people liked, my paying the rent problem would be solved. I once had a half-arsed painting completed in a week which I hated, but I threw it out there anyway. The public response was huge: they loved it. I also threw out there another painting, which I thought was a masterpiece of mine (it took me six weeks to finish it) and no love came for it at all.
What makes a good piece of art?
Something that stands out. Although I let details and technique rule me, I certainly look at other artists in a completely different light. The one problem with trying to be a perfectionist is that it overwhelms the imagination and it suffers because of it. I love and envy the works of Banksy for example. He truly is, in my opinion, what every artist hopes to achieve: simple and direct; he speaks to everyone who stumbles upon his work.
Do new digital technologies such as the iPad and Kindle provide an opportunity or threat to traditional art?
I completely support digital art as a way forward. However, I would never have been comfortable with this media had it not been for my years of experience working in the traditional media. The one thing that concerns me is how many digital artists have never picked up a pencil and drawn from life. If a digital artist is only inspired by digital art then the resultant work looks less lifelike and less individual.
Recommend a graphic novel.
I would recommend 30 Days of Night written by Steve Niles and beautifully illustrated by Ben Templesmith.