Thursday 12 October 2017

INTERVIEW: Artist Rebecca Magar, AKA Wailing Wizard at Shadow Woods Metal Festival September 14-17, 2017

By: Mark Ambrose

First, please introduce yourself to our readers and maybe give a brief overview of your work - what media you're using, where you're located, and how you became involved with Shadow Woods Metal Fest.

My name is Rebecca Magar (a.k.a. Wailing Wizard) and I hail from Yoe, Pennsylvania! I’m a traditional artist working with acrylics, oils, pastels, pencil, charcoal and pen/ink. I was introduced to Shadow Woods through my husband’s band The Owls A.N.W.T.S. (who played both the first and current years). I have been fortunate to be able to attend this incredible event all three years!

Could you highlight some of the musicians/bands who you've created artwork for and what that process is like?

Some of the bands I have produced commissioned and licensed work for include Tengger Cavalry, Wrath of Typhon, The Owls A.N.W.T.S., Layr, Misconductors, Ursprung, Night & Ooo. I’ve also had the pleasure of working on book covers, shirts, posters, and private commissions. It’s is always a fantastic experience working with bands because they understand the creative process so well. I think a good album cover really starts with the music and the band's own ideas or feelings about what they created. I like to take those ideas and visualize/expand on them starting with a concept sketch and eventually progressing to a finished piece. It’s a wonderful amalgamation of musical and visual concepts!

"Blue Wizard" was used on the Tengger Cavalry single, “A Blade of Time”

In what ways does music influence your creative process? Do you have "go to" bands or albums when working?

If I’m working on a commissioned piece for a band, I usually listen to their music during the conceptual phase. I’m all over the map with my musical preferences, but when I paint, I specifically like to listen to things that are slow, dark and folky (these sounds inspire all kinds of visuals for me). Right now, I keep The Hare And The Moon, Ursprung, Albatwitch, Sun and Moon Dance, Bound for the Ground and Wardruna on a constant loop. I think I might add Foehammer into the mix as well (this year at SWMF was my first time hearing them, and I loved it! Also, I paint at about the same speed they play).

Are there any artists, visual or otherwise, who distinctly influenced your style, medium, or process?

I was actually brought up in a fairly strictly religious homeschooled environment. Though I’ve always painted and made art, I didn’t initially have any influencers outside of my own teenage angst and sadness (simply because I wasn’t given any real exposure to the arts). I’ve always loved painting and drawing dark fantasy themes and animals, so these naturally made their way into my work, but over the last few years I really took an interest in exploring other artist’s work and trying to learn/expand on my own understanding of art. Right now, I’m particularly excited by Artuš Scheiner, Arthur Rackham, and Brom.

“Hearth” is the artwork for The Owls Are Not What They Seem, “Hearth”

There have been several blogs and articles calling attention to appropriated or "repurposed" artwork, generally taken without credit to the original artist, specifically in the world of "music artwork". Could you speak a little about the current attention to this issue and your feelings on artistic credit in general?

I have mixed feelings on this subject. I think I would be lying to myself if I didn’t admit that I’m influenced by things that I see, hear, or read on a daily basis. I think people do their best work when they are expanding on these influencers, and as a whole, this is how art movements evolve. However, there is a very distinct difference between taking inspiration from someone’s work and completely appropriating it. I think if you are directly copying another artist’s work you should definitely give them the proper credit. I personally would not directly copy anyone’s work unless it was just for the purpose of experimentation and practice. Profiting from appropriated work feels morally wrong. On the flip-side though, I am always disappointed when a well-known artist complains about younger emerging artists mimicking their work - it really is a form of flattery, and if you have reached the pinnacle of success, it seems you should have better things to do than to chastise your own fans.

Who was your "must see" act going into Shadow Woods? Who was a pleasant new discovery for you?

I’m going to go ahead and be predictable by saying The Owls Are Not What They Seem (I’ve been waiting all year to actually see their full set!). I was extremely impressed by Panopticon, and Foehammer (Bearstorm was a big surprise for me too). I have a soft spot for folk/acoustic sets too (Take to the Woods and Dee Calhoun were a great start to Thursday night). Can I just go ahead and vote for all the bands?

“Two of Wands” is the tarot card for the Dark Art Tarot Project.

Finally, where can readers view and purchase your work?

I have a profile on pretty much every social media site that exists, but the best places to see updated information are on my website at here, or from my Facebook page at here. I sell prints, shirts, jewelry, original art, and other oddities online and at select events or exhibits.

I recently had the honor of contributing a tarot card to a collaborative tarot deck featuring 78 different artist’s work. The Dark Art Tarot Project was successfully funded on Kickstarter a few months ago and is going into production soon. If you are in Seattle, WA from now until October 8th you can check out the original Two of Wands painting I did for this deck (along with a whole collection of incredible Tarot art) at the Ghost Gallery’s "The Art of Tarot II" exhibit. I’ll also be vending at Albatwitch Festival in Columbia, PA on October 14th.

More info: official || facebook