Those who know me well know that I am a pretty big horror buff where all media forms are concerned. My biggest passion is quite definitely horror film, but I am also an avid fan of horror literature, comics, and art. Even my favorite forms of music usually have an element of the otherworldly or sinister to them. This is not to say, by any means, that I don’t appreciate other aesthetics of various art forms. Quite the contrary. You see, the reason I latch onto the horror genre—in all formats—is because there is something about its aesthetic that moves me or strikes a chord in me. Such was the case when I was in London a few months ago and came across the artwork and comic serials of 44Flood. There was a book I found in a shop called simply, Lust, and the artwork in this pseudo-comic/art book was nothing less than breathtaking. It was through this book that I found the work of artist menton3 (Menton J. Matthews III). I found his other widely released works (Monocyte and The Memory Collectors) at the same shop and binge read them.
Writing for a blog/site such as Horror-fix really has its perks sometimes. One of which is the ability to validly ask people of interest in the genre for a moment of their time and a bit of their cranium. Ever since finding those books in that shop in London I have admired the work of menton3. I connected with it on a deeper level than I have with most paintings of a similar aesthetic. So, it was quite a pleasant surprise when—after asking for an interview on a whim—I was given the “go ahead” to hop on Skype and pick at Menton’s artistic mind a bit.
Normally I would have condensed the information a bit for the website, but the conversation we had was both honest and interesting. Therefore, I present to you—my readers—the unedited interview between myself and painter, menton3.
CB: I hope your meeting went well, I heard that you just had a meeting.
m3: Yeah we have a Tuesday 10:30 [am] 44Flood meeting every week with me, Kasra, Tyler Crane, Keith, my office assistant Kristy, and usually a few other people. We just figure out what we’re going to do for the rest of the week. ‘Cause, you know, running a Kickstarter campaign, a lot of times…you get some people who think it’s really easy, but it’s a lot like running a presidential campaign. It’s a lot of work, and I feel so honored by the people that are backing us or trying to help us out. I want to give them stuff back, and we’re trying to figure out the politics and the financials and we’ve just gotta do that every week, so…I mean seriously, if you don’t make it in the media, you’re pretty much fired.
CB: Yeah, exactly. I completely understand that. I mean, especially in a job where…art is something that you have to expose before people are going to make it a commodity. So, you need to make sure that people buy it so you can make yourself a living.
m3: Yeah, I mean that’s a whole interesting subject, I think. ‘Cause, I think people have collectively forgotten what art can do. I think that they think computers and television kind of take its place, and it’s actually very hard to articulate to people. So, a lot of the times when somebody new comes in working for Flood I’ll take them to the art museum; kind of walk them through; and by the end of it they usually have a different perspective of art. You know? But, it’s kind of like…the thing we want to do at 44Flood is, we don’t want to educate people. That sounds kind of ridiculous and preachy, but we want to bring people back—people who want to know—to what art can do. What owning art can do, and what producing art can do. And, how it affects our lives, and enriches our lives in a certain way that kind of no other thing can do. When I say art, I don’t mean just paintings. I mean poetry and music, dance and fashion. All of these things kind of play a part, but paintings have kind of taken a back seat at times. And, when I started this career of trying to be an artist, you kind of think you’re a little crazy because…like there’s computers now and who cares about oil paintings? But, I kind of like that aspect to it, and it’s the only thing I really love doing. So, I didn’t really have a choice in that.
CB: I think it’s really nice actually, that you stick to the oil just as much as you do to the digital, because with art—at least with paintings—it is a physical medium just as much as it is a visual medium. So, to have those originals—for instance—that you would sell, that’s definitely good for collectors and to really consume the art as intended by—you—the artist.
m3: Yeah, and no matter who it is, no matter how bad you think a painting is, there’s a piece of that artist in the work. You know? So, if I go look at a Van Gogh piece, I’m actually seeing a piece of that guy. With oil, I think that as iPads become more prevalent, iPhones, technology, I think that books are becoming cooler. If you walk into somebody’s house now and they actually have a shelf of books, you’re like, “Okay!” That’s really becoming a socialized thing at this point. I think owning an oil painting is starting to become the same thing. It’s like, “This is not something that’s easy to do. Nothing helped me do it.” On the same front, I will say that digital art is a main thing. It’s not just pushing a button and it all just happens. I spend an enormous amount of time doing that, but owning a piece of that and owning a piece of somebody’s psyche that you wake to everyday or you have dinner next to, it enriches your life in a way I think that nothing else can. Like, people will go to the museum and they’ll see a piece and they’re like, “Oh my god, this is excellent!”, but imagine waking up to a piece like that every day. What it does to you every day and interacting with that part of your psyche and that part of their psyche, and how all of it is just like this amazing experience. As an artist I’m also an art collector, and my room and house are full with other people’s art that I love and adore. I’ll have stories behind it and I wouldn’t sell them for anything. They’re literally priceless to me. And, I hope one day to be like that for somebody else. It’s a long stretch, but I’m working on it.
CB: Well, you’ve certainly made a fan out of me. I mean, if I had the wallet for it I’d have more stuff on my wall, I can tell you that now.
m3: Thank you. I hate how much art costs. Me and my art director try to make my art as cheap as we can. Some guys really up their prices when they’re able to and it’s really hard to get me to up my prices. We almost have to because of supply-and-demand, and I kind of agree to it. But, I want everybody to be able to afford art. That’s like another reason I do art books. It’s like, in that book exists all the paintings. You don’t get the experience of being with the painting. No scan or photograph ever really truly duplicates a painting, but I think there’s something to be said about all of them being together in a book that allows you to experience all of them at one time.
CB: I actually had the pleasure of getting kind of “half” of the serials in paper form of Monocyte and The Memory Collectors. I got the remaining issues digitally. I was really impressed with how you developed this rather complex and intriguing story world with both of these series. Could you say a bit about how you came up with the concept for this storyline?
m3: When I start talking about this stuff I start sounding like an 80 year old woman who collects cats. I meditate a lot, and pretty all of my work—paintings especially, and writing—comes from stuff that I either experience in dreams or in mediations or in a hypnagogic state. I go to the internality. A lot of times it doesn’t even make sense to me at first. There will definitely be paintings I make and it will be a month or two later that I’ll figure out what it was trying to say. I study , cabala, and certain kinds of alchemy…[unfortunately Skype lost connection at this point. However, we got back on track very shortly after]
So, yeah I studied these types of symbology my whole life. So I’m familiar with the language but it doesn’t mean it always makes sense when it comes out. Monocyte in particular…the story about how Monocyte came together is a really strange one. I had gotten my first oil painting commission to oil paint a superhero comic book character, and—I won’t mention the character’s name, but—I was really excited because he was a comic book character that I really loved as a child. I was very excited about it, so I went to the comic book store and I bought a bunch of the comics. I came home with these things from my childhood, right? And, I was reading them over again just to get familiar with it and to figure out what I wanted to do with the character in the painting. I very quickly realized that a lot of the stuff I had thought about this character was completely wrong. That I had invented a bunch of shit psychologically and just placed it on this character when it wasn’t there. I felt a little crazy, but I was really disappointed in the character. So, I started kind of thinking to myself while sitting there in my bed reading these comics, “What are all of these aspects? What is it? Why did I put these there?” And, at the same time the thought came out, “What would be a cool superhero to me as an adult?”, and as all of the things I liked and so forth. Literally within about 15-20 minutes there was Monocyte.
I started kicking around the idea and I had recently made a new friend in art in Kasra [Ghanbari]. I told him about the idea. He started asking really interesting questions about it and challenging me on the story. It became very evident very quickly that we should do it together. So, I asked him to write it with me and we started writing it. I would meditate and do stuff with the characters. Then I would bring that to him, and he would try to translate that and try to add and take away with that. So, literally Monocyte has a lot to do with the things that are going on in that world. I think that internality is a really unexplored territory. I think we know more about the bottom of the ocean than we know about our own psyches. That’s kind of the reason I make art and write. It’s to try to figure out more about who I am and discover aspects of myself that I would be unaware of, and combine imagery and symbols out here in a manifested way that doesn’t normally happen anywhere outside of dreams. And, that’s what Monocyte it is. We got a lot of flack for Monocyte, because a lot of people were like, “I don’t understand the…I don’t know what the fucking story is about.” To us, we knew that it made sense, and we wanted to make the book we wanted to make and weren’t going to apologize. I think there are too many people trying to make stuff just so people like it. As opposed to trying to make something that’s directly from themselves. Music’s a really great example of that in the sense that there are so many bands out there trying to make a hit. As opposed to bands trying to make a song that really moves them. And, not to say that it shouldn’t move anybody else, but what I try to do is make stuff that I truly like that moves me and that externalizes internal stuff so that I’m able to learn about it from myself.
But, there is a narrative to Monocyte. Monocyte isn’t just a single story. There’s a book I put out originally called Ars Memoria that begins the whole story, and then Memory Collectors and Monocyte do take place in the same world. There is a huge overarching storyline that I’m attempting to get out eventually if IDW wants me or if 44Flood lets me do it.
CB: Yeah, I noticed that at the end of issue #3 of The Memory Collectors it says “End of Chapter One.” Are there going to be more chapters in the works for Memory Collectors specifically or do you want to branch it out into other stories within this universe to sort of paint a wider picture of the world?
m3: That’s a little bit politically fucked up for me to answer, because I’ve had a few issues running into that. However, it is my intention that if it doesn’t come in the form of an additional part of Memory Collectors that I will eventually do what I can to tell the rest of the story. I mean, like, Lapis is a major part of it. The character of Lapis is in all three stories [so far], and the bird…we make it pretty clear in the books, but it gets missed a lot that Monocyte has a head: he’s got one part that’s an eye, right? That’s the “Mon”. And, then there’s a bird skull on the back, and if you look at the color of the text inside Monocyte—the comic—there are different color texts that come from his head. The blue is when Lapis is talking and the other is when Monocyte himself is talking. So, Lapis is in every part of the story. He’s a major, major part of it, and telling his part of the story is something I will do. If I have one audience member and that’s it, I’ll find some way to tell the rest of the story because it’s something I really want to get out there.
With Edith [from Memory Collectors]…I have a lot more to do with Edith. Really, the first Memory Collectors chapter was a set up. It’s kind of hard writing from that perspective because you’re trying to make a set up be a full story. I feel like I did it, but at the same time it is a difficult story to write. The next chapter of the story is a lot easier to write. I think it’s more fun, and you start seeing a lot more characters and people from Monocyte in it. It starts…hopefully it starts cluing you in on what’s really going on.
CB: Yeah, I look forward to seeing more of that. I especially enjoyed how you brought it out, or at least in the order that you brought it out. I haven’t read Ars Memoria yet, I’ve yet to grab a copy, but I did really enjoy how you had Monocyte and you went to Memory Collectors afterwards, because with Monocyte—at first—when you’re starting to read it you are just kind of thrust into the middle of this situation. And, the world is just set. What I appreciated about that is that you didn’t really just sit and try to define a world, because it is a world. I just liked that now you have The Memory Collectors, which seems to rewind the tape a bit and show you a bit of how the Olignostics came about and what Beatrice’s role was with Lapis and everything. I think it’s an interesting way to do it and I’m interested in seeing where it goes from there.
m3: Thank you for paying attention, and thank you for your kindness of saying that. It means a lot, and every time I hear anything like that from people it means a lot. Sometimes at conventions I’ll have somebody come up to me and they’ll say similar stuff, and it’s so overwhelmingly amazing to hear that. So, thank you, very much.
CB: You’re very welcome. I was wondering, you mentioned music and I was glad you mentioned that because I also picked up your work as Saltillo. I find it really interesting. As a musician on the side I think that, in a way, it was a logical step that you created a musical companion to Monocyte, but, at the same time, the way it seemed to really connect on an audio level to the visuals that you created for Monocyte was really nicely done. I wanted to know, is there a difference in that creative process when you’re trying to bring Monocyte alive through sound as opposed to the drawings and the paintings that you made for it?
m3: Yeah, there’s definitely a different creational process. I don’t know that that’s a word…”creational” [“It is now”, says CB], but there’s definitely a different modality that I get into when I’m a musician than when I’m a painter. You know, kinesthesia really screws with your life. But, it’s not hard to make them of the same place, because I just kind of go to the same place on a psychological level to create from. So, when I’m making the soundtrack to Monocyte I’m just going to the same internal architecture to pull those sounds from that I do the visuals. However, it was very hard. That was the hardest music I’ve ever made. I mean I’ve scored movies and I’ve made records, but with a soundtrack it became very hard because any time you introduce any type of lyrics or vocals it could come across very Disney. Like, “Monocyte is saying this!” You don’t want to have anybody who was singing anything or saying anything that was from the perspective of [the characters] that wasn’t particularly right. So that was a very difficult record to do. And I will not, I will never do a soundtrack to a book again.
CB: Ok, yeah, that was a follow up question, but you already answered it. So that’s not a regular trend that we could see for Memory Collectors or anything?
m3: No, that was way too hard and way too limiting. I’m proud of the record, but it could have been a better record if it wasn’t limited in that way. I am doing another record called Katabasis that’s kind of based on the same solo show, but there’s not a story. There’s not a narrative in a sense that you can read that goes along with that. So, I’m free to make the music that I want to make to go along with that internal architecture in a way that it needs to go along with it. As opposed to being limited with certain ways that I feel people perceive it. Because, you do worry about that. I mean, you try to stay in a vacuum and [think] like, “I’ll only make the art I want to make, and if other people like it, that’s good too.” But, at the same time, you do have a responsibility to the people that do enjoy your work. So that it’s at least understandable, or that it’s not cheesy. I think that the biggest responsibility you have is to be…to remain honest, and if you’re not remaining honest then there’s a real issue between you and your audience. That’s really important, and it was very hard to do with that soundtrack. With Katabasis it’s a completely different ball of wax.
I love making music. Music is a great thing and I love making it. I love my violin. I love my cello. I play them every day. However, for me, I consider myself a painter first. And then a musician. I know that people do hate hearing that—however pretentious that sounds—but it’s just who I am. I’ll never stop making music at all, I love it, but nothing completes me as a person than when I sit back from a painting that I think doesn’t suck.
CB: Yeah, I mean there’s nothing wrong with a preference to what medium attracts you most. You can be attracted to multiple things, but there’s always—in the mind I would think—a bit of a tier system to what really pulls me in more at this time. If that’s painting for you, by all means. I don’t see how anybody could judge that.
m3: Yeah, I mean it’s sad because I grew up with a lot of dreams of musicianship, but what happened—not to get too personal—was I was really…I grew up very badly, and I did paint as a child. But, there was a lot of controlling stuff and a lot of like pushing of religion and there were paintings that got burned. Stuff like that. So, one of the ways I could control that was by stopping to paint. And, I moved to music. I didn’t really realize until later in life, until well into my 30s pretty much that I really wanted to be a painter. I really kind of blocked that off from myself and didn’t know. There was a lot of crying and therapy and things I really needed to go through, because I had locked those feelings away from myself. There is about a 10-15 minute period where, in every painting, it’s just magical and it fills that gasoline, that void I’ve always tried to fill up my whole life, that thing that’s never going to be full. It’s always empty. That gets filled by painting. Sometimes music does it.
The thing with Saltillo that is so strange is that I put out that first Saltillo record and I kind of gave it to David Pippen at the record label and I didn’t think about it. It wasn’t until I joined a website called lastfm.com that I realized that people were listening to it. It had like millions of plays with all these comments and I was completely blown away, I had no idea. Then I just started doing searches for Saltillo, and there were all these reviews and people talking about it and a Facebook group with like 15,000 people on it. I got in touch with the guy and I’m like, “Hey man, thanks for making the group.” And, he gave it to me. I’m like, “I don’t know what to fucking do with it.” I really had no idea that there was a fan base in any way for Saltillo. I was completely ignorant to it at all.
CB: About Nosferatu Wars, real quick. You’ve worked with Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith through the collaborations that have revolved around and through 44Flood…
m3: Ben’s just on this wall over here [pointing behind him]. I love Ben. Ben and me are connected on a lot of levels. I love that guy. The thing about Ben that’s amazing is, I’ve met a lot of people in my life but I’ve never met anybody sweeter than Ben Templesmith. You wouldn’t know it when you meet him at a convention, because he has like a convention face. He’s like the sweetest guy you’ve ever met. Steve is awesome too, man. Steve is a great guy, and it was kind of a dream of mine to work with Steve. We’ve gotten to do two properties now together. We’ve gotten to do Transfusion at IDW and then we got to do Nosferatu Wars at Dark Horse. I guess what they’re doing at Dark Horse right now is releasing that as…because it came out in Dark Horse Presents, which is a kind of an anthology kind of thing. Now I guess they’re putting them all together into one thing and they’re going to release that. But, yeah, Steve is great, man. Steve is a great guy, and I love working with him. We’ve talked about…I don’t know if he’s going to get mad at me for this, but he sent me a picture recently that gave a title and just said, “Everybody dies.” And that was the only thing it said in the email. I was like, “I’m in. I’m in. Let’s do this!” He’s a great guy, very funny. He’s very professional, and he works very, very hard on what he does. I think that he’s one of the guys in comics that takes writing extremely seriously. I’m not ashamed to say that I think there’s a lot of bad writing in comics…a lot of bad writing in comics.
CB: I can definitely concur with you there. I’m very picky about what I read, and what I buy at the very least. So, it’s always a pleasure for me to find a good writer, and I definitely think you hit the nail on the head there. Steve Niles is definitely one of those guys that always catches my attention when I read the words he puts on the paper, no matter who he’s working with.
m3: He puts himself through pain. It’s painful. We’ll be on Skype when we’re working together and he’s pissed off, he’s irritated. He’s trying to get this part of the story out that doesn’t exist yet. He’s not just writing conjecture and silliness. It really means something to it, and I respect the fuck out of that. I think art is hard, and I think people who don’t know that…if what you’re producing isn’t bothering you or hurting you, you’re not doing it right, brother! You’re doing it wrong.
CB: I like that quote. that might be my headliner. I was wondering, though, because I also got ahold of Lust. Did Steve do all of the prose for that?
m3: Yeah. Me and Ben did pretty much all of the images, and Steve had to write to those. It was totally opposite of the way it works. That was really hard for Steve, man. He did a great fucking job, too. I think that’s very overlooked. That was really fucking hard! Me and Ben almost randomly came up with shit we thought had a narrative to it, and then separately he came up with his own thing and it all gelled up together. That was really hard, and I think Steve deserves a pat on the back and a hand job for that.
CB: I’ll definitely make sure he gets that via the website. Now, you spoke briefly about Katabasis earlier, that’s your big project right now, correct?
CB: What could you say about that? Because that’s a live solo show you have set up in New York for the Last Rites Gallery. How did this come about? How did you do it, and what did you choose this exact theme for the show?
m3: Goodness…you really want me to blather, don’t you?
CB: I do. I want a really long article on the page to impress my publishers.
m3: Ok, so, Last Rites is a really great gallery, and it’s owned by a guy named Paul Booth who’s literally a demigod of art and tattoos and ideas. The guy’s phenomenal. Those who know Paul Booth pretty much worship him, and I have for a long time. The kind of art that I do, I always hoped that it would fit into Last Rites. Last Rites is a big deal to me and I got a few pieces and a few group shows which were life changing for me—there was crying. I guess the pieces sold, and me and Paul became better acquainted. We share a friend named Dave Stoupakis, who is an absolute phenomenal painter who you should check out if you don’t know him. He is unbelievable, and blows my mind and melts my face with every piece he does. I had known David for a really long time and David had done a lot of shows with Last Rites, and David stuck his neck out for me to get me into those group shows. That just led to them offering me a solo show, which is a very big deal to me and it’s very hard for artists to get solo shows at a gallery like that. I was blown away by it…again, there was crying.
For me, the theme…I dreamt of doing solo shows when I was a kid, when I was a painter. I didn’t know to call them “solo shows”, but that was kind of my dream. So, I’ve always been working on ideas for what I would think a solo show I would do was. For a while, I was messing around with some paintings called Indulgence. That was kind of a theme I was working with. I was already working under the idea—a little bit—of Katabasis before they had offered me the show. Because, you know, you’re already working on things on the side. It’s like, “Well, if I were to do a gallery show, what would I do?” I try to approach doing segments of paintings in the way I’m doing solo shows, irrelevant to whether I have one or not. You know? But, it’s kind of where I’m at psychologically, it’s kind of a place that I’m at.
The word “katabasis” was used a lot in Greek mythology to refer to traveling to the Underworld. Like Orpheus did for Eurydice. They would go to Hades and deal with that kind of stuff, and coming out would be an anabasis. For me, it’s like going to the darkest places of my psyche—places that really bother me, or…everybody has fears, god knows I have phobias—and trying to deal with those on an imagery level, and bring those back and paint from them. And, by painting them, try to come to a resolution of some kind about my phobias or fears or memories and pain and stuff. I thought that was the most honest show I could do. I thought that would be a show that—in the process of making those paintings—somehow I would change as a result of it and that the show would be kind of a diary of how I went through that change. I think that’s honest. That’s what I would want to see when I go to solo shows. I think of every painting on the walls as a representation of that person’s psyche and what they’re going through. The other reason to make that the theme for the show is that, since I’m going to the same place to draw back the images, there isn’t a painting I could make that wouldn’t fit in the show. Cause, I mean, not to point fingers—and god knows everybody has a right to make art, everybody should make art—but I have gone to solo shows where I’ve been very disappointed in the sense that there’s a disconjoining. It’s like, I felt that they just put up a bunch of stuff they thought looked cool and that was their show. I think art should be more than that to an artist. I don’t think artists should take…if you want to be an artist, because you want to make chicks like you because you make “cool stuff” that’s not really art. You know? Art is really hard and it’s lonely and it’s a struggle. You spend a lot of time by yourself. You spend a lot of time in areas of your psyche that bother you. You spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to connect those images where people can understand them. Last year I had 9 days off, and the year before that I had 11 days off. I get up anywhere from 7:00 to 8:00 in the morning and I work until about 7:00 or 8:00 at night pretty much every day. That includes Saturdays and Sundays. It’s a really difficult thing. I’m not complaining by any stretch of the imagination, but I do think, “If I’m not struggling to make the next thing, what are you buying from me?” If I’m not struggling to bring out the most honest thing I can bring out, the thing that takes it to the next level for me, then you’re just buying me regurgitating something I know you’ll buy from me. That’s not fair to you. That’s not fair to somebody who is interested in buying work from me. My job is to go further and further, and deeper, and farther and farther, and continue the process.
I hope I answered your question, there.
CB: You did, very thoroughly. Thank you. For those who are not familiar with the idea of a “show”, is this an exhibition or are you actually painting in front of an audience? How does that work?
m3: You spend months and months and months painting the work, and then the night the show goes live—which is April 19th—that’s when most of the work is seen for the first time. Then the show stays up at the gallery for a month. So, yeah, that’s what it is. I have painted in public, it’s really weird. Because for me, it’s like, I wouldn’t have sex with my wife in public. It’s very private. I’ll sketch and stuff at conventions and stuff, but it is pretty private for me. Last Rites actually does the live painting stuff at their gallery some times. For me, it’s like I’m embarrassed, to a certain extent, to do it. I’m also like, “This is like me going to the bathroom and using the restroom. Why would anyone want to see that?” I don’t want to know the magician’s tricks. I want to go to the magic show and be captivated by what I see. I think that’s another problem with art. People are like, “But, how do they make it?” And, I don’t really care. For me, I’ve defined art for myself as, “Does it move me?” I don’t care if it’s a photograph, it’s a poem, I don’t care if you traced it, I don’t care if you…you know, I don’t care. Does it move me? Picasso has a great quote where he says, “Good art is borrowed and great art is stolen.” I believe in that quote. I think that you have to…let me put it this way: A lot of people I meet from art school—I’ve never had any formal training, and I’m not dogging it, because god knows it has resulted in some great stuff—are like, “Everything I do has to be unique. I have to be a snowflake, and it can’t be derivative of anything else.” I think if you think that way, you’re limiting the crap out of yourself. When I first started painting I was literally trying to copy people, and I was so bad at it that it came out as something else. That way I developed my own style. Bill Sienkiewicz started out very much like Neil Adams, and Bill Sienkiewicz is one of my favorite artists of all time. The guy blows me away. Ashley Wood—another artist I find unbelievable—kind of started out using a lot of Sienkiewicz’s ideas. They developed their own thing by going, “Look, what [insert name] does affects me, and I’m going to use that to generate my own style.” If you take Sienkiewicz now and Ashley Wood now, they’re completely different animals. But, they’re of the same ilk. They’re of the same place, and they’re unique and they divided their own thing. I started out trying to copy people and I was so unbelievably bad at it that it developed into its own thing.
CB: Ok, so you have the Kickstarter campaign going on for the companion book to Katabasis—for those of us who are not necessarily able to see the show in New York. What could you say about that, because you have a quite a few exclusives going on for the pledges and quite a few updates going on. So, what would you like to say to our readers about that?
m3: Well, I mean, with the book, I tend to paint a lot more paintings for the gallery than I can put in the show. So, the book will have all of them in there. The book is an inexpensive way, I think, for people to own the art. Because, if you go through how much it costs to make the stuff, the materials—I do not use inexpensive stuff. I make a lot of my own oil paints. I can’t fathom selling somebody a piece of art or a painting where I use crappy stuff I bought at some crappy art store. Art winds up being kind of expensive, because of supply-and-demand and so forth. That actually drives me a little crazy. Me and my art rep will actually have arguments. I’m like, “I think this piece should be cheaper”, and he will go through and explain to me economically how that doesn’t make any sense and I have to submit to him about it. So, I’m always trying to figure out ways of making it available to anyone who would be interested in it. So, a thirty dollar book, I think most people could afford that—who are interested in art. Then they get all of the images that go along with that theme. I find it strange that a lot of guys do solo shows and art shows, but don’t do a book. It’s a little bit odd. Obviously, I had to go to Kickstarter to fund it so that there’s the money you need to make the books. Making a hardcover book isn’t cheap. You have to find the printers, and you have to find the people that will ship it internationally. There’s a lot of work involved in it. But I’ve loved solo shows going, “Wow I wish there was a book”, and actually I had an email from somebody that I talk to a lot—I hate saying the word “fan”, because I’d rather have “friends” and I think sometimes “fan” is demeaning, but there was a person who follows my work a lot—who I’m very good friends with and she emailed me going, “Please do a book.” And, I’m like, “I’m going to do a book then.”
I don’t know, the book is something that’s like it’s everything I’ve worked for; everything I’ve done, all of the comics, all of the book covers, all of the time spent learning technique and learning the paints I like. Everything. Everything I’ve done leads up to that point. It’s something that I hope I’ll wind up being very proud of.
CB: So, for collectors, this might be a rather special piece to have on the menton3 shelf?
m3: Not to sound pretentious—because I think it does sound pretentious to say this—but I think it’s the piece. I think it will articulate me as an artist better than anything I’ve done thus far. Definitely.
CB: You’ve also mentioned that there will be the album companion with it as well. Now, I know the book is available through the Kickstarter campaign, and I talked with your staff about the book being available after the Kickstarter is finished. They said the book will be available via your website for those who missed the opportunity to make a pledge. Will the album also be coming with the book through the webpage as has been done with previous 44Flood work [ie. Tome]?
m3: The album is unfortunately not coming with the book. The album comes out through Artoffact Records. So, those guys are great. The guys at Artoffact. And, Jacek [Kozlowski] is a great guy, but he also runs a record label. So, I would be undermining him quite a bit if I did it a different way. And, I like Jacek, so I don’t want to undermine him. So, the album comes out on its own. The album will come out probably way after the show. It’s under the same theme, but I don’t feel like it’s necessary for you to listen to the record while looking at the book or anything. Although, I think Last Rites talked about playing some Saltillo during the show, and I do have some tracks already ready for Katabasis I’ll probably throw in the mix. But, the album needed to be separate, and I also kind of hate crossroading. It’s like, “You like my music, therefore, you’re going to like my art.” I think that’s shitty to do to people. I don’t know, I don’t like that. I think that I have people who enjoy my music, who don’t know about my art. I also think that vice-versa. I kind of like that. I don’t want to beg people, and I don’t want to put people in a position where they feel like they have to like both. It’s just an awkward position to put people in. I give a shit about the people who buy my stuff. I mean, I really don’t like “fans”—like I said—I like “friends” and I answer a lot of emails. As many as I can. If you like my art, that doesn’t mean that I’m above you. A lot of people feel that way, but it just means that we connect somehow. It means that on a psychological level we share shit. So, I’m just as interested in the people who enjoy my work as maybe they are in me. I think that’s really important. I think the moment you start thinking that you’re the shit, you start making shit. I mean influence can come from anywhere, and if I start thinking that it’s all me then I lock out so much stuff. If I make a decent painting, it’s a gift. It’s not because I’m some awesome dude or anything like that. It’s a gift that I’ve got, and a lot of times the people who enjoy it and the people who support me are allowing me to do that. The people that buy my work, book, comics, albums, they are just as important—if not way more important—than/as the paints I use and the brushes and violins I use to do my work.
If you or someone you know is an avid fan of art or of being moved in general, you can catch menton3’s solo show at the Last Rites Gallery in New York between April 19th – May 24th, 2014.
You can find more info on the show and gallery, here: http://www.lastritesgallery.com
Menton3 is also currently running a Kickstarter campaign for just a few more days to fund the full 96 page art companion book to the show, which will feature every piece of art he created with the show’s theme in mind. You can find the campaign, here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/menton3/katabasis
The campaign stops on Thursday, March 6, 2014. So, make a pledge ASAP if you want to get in on the first batch of art books, prints, and various other goodies he has on offer. I find important to give art the exposure it deserves. Our beloved genre might be most prominent on the big/small screen, but it lives in the imagination first. Painters, filmmakers, and musicians alike all bring this imaginative aesthetic to the public via their own means, and as genre supports we should make sure all media formats get equal attention. If I’ve so much as reached one person with this article, I will be happy.
You can find more on menton3, Saltillo, and 44Flood respectively at:
Be happy, be safe, and keep the art going.