Please note Mr. Clayton is not dead and this photo is his chosen piece, Visceral Selfie

Introductory Background:

I’ve been an artist since I was super young. I picked up on it early in life, but it wasn’t until I was in high school that I decided to pursue it as a proper career. With my art I really like to combine the disturbing and the provocative. When it comes to designing monsters, particularly monsters in my INFERNAL series, I always aim to sexualize, but still keep them incredibly disgusting to look at. That being said, there really isn’t a purpose to the creatures and beasts that I create aside from the pure love of designing creatures and seeing what I can do next, almost like I’m trying to “one up” myself in how far I can push my designs.

Eldritch Mermaid Artist - John Clayton
Eldritch Mermaid

I grew up on horror films like the ALIEN franchise, Hellraiser, The Thing, and more, so horror has always had a special place in my heart. It wasn’t until high school that my art gravitated towards horror and probably near the end, my art became surreal horror. Since then I’ve been constantly improving my creatures and building my aesthetic for them. Having attended uni and putting a lot of work into my art, it is a dream of mine to one day have this be a full time job. At the moment unfortunately, it’s not. It’s sort of like my part time job; I sell my work at particular conventions and sell prints, as well as do commissions when I can.

You mention the Alien franchise. Does this mean you are familiar with H.R. Geiger?

I am VERY familiar with H.R. Geiger’s work. I’ve been a huge fan since ALIEN and even the Species franchise (the first two films). His use of phallic imagery and his bio-mechanical environments and characters are a huge inspiration for me.

I noticed Geiger’s influence. That and Silent Hill. What is the major deviation between your drawings and inspirations?

Over time my art deviated from all my inspirations allowed myself growth into my own art style and aesthetic. Now when people look at my art, they see my aesthetic, but you can still see the echoes of said inspirations. Little things here and there peak out from underneath my designs. The sexual and phallic imagery of Geiger inspired me, but my art is sexualized differently. My monsters are more fetishized, with latex and leather.

Pennywise the clown with his creepy face and balloons 
Artist - John Clayton
We All Float Down Here

I’ve noticed that while you have some gorgeous original art, a lot of it is fan work. Is that mainly because your interest in the series’ you draw or to garner more attention at the conventions attended?

Thank you! I went through a bit of a phase for a few years where I focused mainly on my original art, wanting to build up my portfolio of my creatures and monsters. I rarely did any fan art and when I did, it was something that really got me siked. Recently I started doing more fan art as I started selling my work at conventions. That’s how I got back into doing fan art. I like seeing how I can reinterpret a character or story and put it into my style. Now I make sure to have a nice balance between my original art and my fan art.

Why are so many of your pieces in black, white, and red?

High school me drew some fan art for Silent Hill 3, one of the monsters called Valtiel. At this point I used cheap markers to colour but for this one, I chose red and black sharpies. I dug the colour combo so much that from then on, I mainly focused on using red, black, and white. While in uni, I experimented with how I can utilize such a limited colour palette, like using red to pull focus on a specific character trait or an object in frame. I use colour in my work every now and then, mainly when I do digital work, but I prefer red, black, and white palette since it’s so striking.

Evil looking centipede art
Artist - John Clayton

Are you planning on publishing some kind of art book?

At one point I thought about publishing an art book, but in recent years I’ve moved towards wanting to publish a field guide for my take on magical creatures. It’s a series called Fae Anatomy with my reinterpretations of Fae Folk and Magical Creatures. I also have a series of monsters called INFERNAL that I would love to get published one day. INFERNAL is in the same vein as Fae Anatomy, except it’s less in depth. It’s more of a “survival guide” if one were to find themselves in the world of the INFERNAL. Getting these published won’t be for a few more years, but it’s nice to think about, having a few books under my belt.

What are your plans for animation? I’ve noticed on your Youtube channel you have more than one available.

Follow the link below for the beginning of the nightmare.

I would love to do animation full time on Youtube if I ever get the chance. I love telling stories, but over the years my way became more and more abstract and surreal. It mainly stems from the lack of funds for voice actors and such. To to compensate, my animated films and series (one of which I’m currently working on) focuses more on visual storytelling in the character’s expressions, body language, symbolism-filled imagery, and the world around them. Now though, I prefer my abstract way of storytelling as a lack of spoken words leave room for interpretation. It’s always interesting to see what people make of the work.

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About the Author

Hi. I'm judgemental and have a horrible sense of humor. Read my stuff and validate me pls.

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