Welcome, dear readers, to the grand opening of our Sleeping Village Gallery and/or Curiositorium! For our inaugural exhibition, we're very pleased to present assorted examples of the artwork and design of UK based artist Meg (of Sludgework fame,) alongside an interview with the artist herself.
If you frequent various online metal communities, there's a good chance you've seen her easily recognizable work: black and white, and often featuring viscous lettering and skulls (or other gory oddities.) I mean, check out that logo. Meg's freelance work can be found gracing the halls of many a band, podcaster, streamer, author, or online personality. A sampling of said designs are featured here today, and if you like what you see, you should absolutely check out the Sludgework website for a more complete catalog. And, needless to say, if you're on the hunt for a top-notch artist for your logo, cover art, poster, tshirt, etc., you should get in touch, 'cuz this stuff is, as ye shall soon see, quite good.
I'm personally a big fan of the stark Sludgework aesthetic, and, as such, was very excited to chat through a variety of topics related to both her work and inspirations. Without further ado, then: let's dive in!
SVR: This is our first official artist spotlight, and we greatly appreciate you taking the time to chat! Right out of the gate, how are you doing during these (always increasingly) unprecedented times?
SW: Wow, that's a nice thing, being the first artist spotlight. I'm all nervous now, haha. Thank you guys though. Personally I've been very lucky not to have been affected negatively in terms of employment and health during this never ending pandemic, so I myself am doing fine, and I am aware each day of the need to be grateful for that. I've known friends and family that have been more adversely affected, so that in turn has been unpleasant however.
SVR: Your work has been popping up all over the place as of late--you're remarkably prolific! In your Heaviest of Art interview back in 2018, you mentioned being pretty busy, and from an outside perspective it certainly seems like business is only continuing to pick up. Is that indeed the case?
SW: Yes, my workload has been increasing steadily and positively since 2018. I am grateful for each request that comes through and all the connections and awesome people I've had the chance to work with and for.
If I'm busy with Sludgework, I'm a happy lady.
SVR: Piggybacking off the last question: has the pandemic had an impact on people's interest in your work?
SW: I can’t say I've noticed any huge difference, apart from the number of commissions and projects I am a part of has been increasing gradually. Not sure if it's directly related to people being at home more and having a bit more free time, I mean it could be.
I did worry a little bit back in March 2020 that with the sudden downturn of the world that people's creativity and drive to work on their own things may decline or take a step down, but it seems the opposite. It's awesome.
SVR: Having free reign over a project can feel simultaneously liberating and suffocating--the blank page is, in my experience, a little intimidating. To that end, do you get excited about projects that give you total creative control, or does having a fleshed out idea to work from prove more enjoyable?
SW: Both, for different reasons. If I'm sent a request which is very open ended and general and told I can run with it, then I love the research and digging (concepts and what they like and enjoy within their brand) to make sure I'm making something that fits that person or brand. I do initially ask if they have any reference pictures or specifications just to double check though. The blank page in that case is exciting. It's often the case I'll draft up something and check in with the client and it's at that point they will give feedback and find that they now have more clarity or ideas and then we have a direction to go in. I can honestly say I don't feel worried or anything by a blank brief.
With requests where the client knows exactly what they want, I love those because I can put pen to paper and get going off the bat. That's then more about ensuring I am following it correctly. I find myself reading and rereading their messages to make sure I'm on the right track. I never have a problem with redrawing or redrafting and revisions, because without those then neither the client or me can be happy that the end result is right.
SVR: While the satisfaction of creating art for other people is often wrapped up in their reception to the piece, is there a piece or design that you are particularly fond of from an aesthetic standpoint?
SW: I really enjoyed and love the three album artworks for Lunar Cult because they all follow a theme and build on the previous. I think on a shelf they would be quite satisfying. I also like the banner and logo for Riffspreader on Twitter. It turned out great with the skeleton and flying V hanging from the letters.
SVR: If you had the opportunity to remake a popular brand logo in your skull-ridden style, which brand would you like to tackle?
SW: I don't think there's any I would remake, but there are a few bands who I like of which I'd love the opportunity to make a logo for them in my style either for them to use instead if they liked it, on a shirt or as an alt piece, if that makes sense. I wouldn't like to swoop in and be like "I'll do this better."
To do a piece for Birds in Row would be awesome, I'm a massive fan and their artwork is already quite monochrome. Portrayal of Guilt as another that comes to mind too, incredible band and to make something for them would be exciting.
SVR: Do you have a particular aesthetic aversion to color, or is your (instantly recognizable) black 'n' white brand a result of the limitation presented by the tools of your trade?
SW: I love this question because I sometimes wonder if people think I'm anti-colour, haha. That's not the case. There are so many fantastic colour-using artists out there, with various mediums. I know that colour is not my strength nor area of interest so I leave it alone. Also yes, in that I use black ink pens and brush pens my work is black and white by nature. I have added splashes of colour to some client pieces because occasionally it's requested and adds something to it, which is fine, but if someone came to me and said I want a five colour piece I would have to be honest and say its not my area.
SVR: Speaking of, do you have any interest or plans in exploring beyond your pen and ink medium?
SW: Oooooh. Never say never. I mean I have considered trying some pieces using black acrylic paint on canvas, maybe as a personal project. I just love my pens and ink though, as cliche as that may be!
SVR: Moving away from the art side of things: what is it about sludge metal that attracts you as a listener?
SW: One of the main things I enjoy is how it translates live. I've seen a good few sludge metal bands live (when that was a thing - *sigh*) and gosh it makes for a good sound. Big Business were mind blowingly good at Damnation fest 2019. Gurt were incredible on the Sophie stage at Bloodstock 2017. I'm not a musician or a writer/music reviewer so I can't go all technical and wordy as to why I love it haha, but I do.
SVR: In a similar vein, what are a few sludge bands we slumbering scribes should be checking out?
A few of my current Sludgy go-to's are: Old Man Gloom, Conan, Gurt, Cult of Luna, and Big Business. These guys are all well known so I'm sure you know of them. I could list 50 though, haha. Almost everyday I'll come across a new one to look up through Twitter, Bandcamp, etc.
SVR: On to another interest that we have in common: horror! It's an admittedly oversimplified system of categorization, but when it comes to horror films, I personally lump stuff into two vague genres or traditions: "gross gory stuff" and "creepy psychological stuff." Do you have a preference between the two, or are you happy to sink your teeth into anything under the broad umbrella of horror?
SW: I do have a preference with horror, so for me I gravitate towards slow burn, psychological horror that makes you think and draws you in, and also found footage is a favorite category. I have such a soft spot for low budget, indie horror as well where you can tell a team of creatives have put their passion into a film. They aren’t blockbuster polished but they can be so creepy, unsettling and effective. I'm currently working on a poster for Bella in the Wych Elm for Carnie Films and that is a short horror with these characteristics.
That’s not to say I don’t sometimes put on a hack and slash, haha. Old classics are great too. Just as a recommendation here whilst on the subject, Korean horror is something that needs to be way more recognised and appreciated. It’s absolutely fantastic and there are some gems to be watched.
SVR: Favorite horror villain?
SW: Hannibal Lecter is a fascinating one for me, and when portrayed by Anthony Hopkins, just insanely effective.
In contrast, I like the shark from Jaws! It sparked me searching and finding almost every shark movie made and watching them. Sharks are misunderstood. Pennywise the clown is one that sticks with me as very horrifying, and then also Jigsaw is a controversial one which sparks conversation, so I like that one too.
Also sorry, you asked for my favourite and I gave four. Hope that's okay.
SVR: From a professional standpoint, what is the ultimate dream for Sludgework?
SW: To be able to sustain myself and make a living doing what I absolutely love full time. Making art for awesome people and brands. I don’t need to be rich and famous, just happy doing what I do.
SVR: We’d like to thank you again for taking the time! Are there any last thoughts you’d like to leave us with?
SW: A massive thanks for offering to spotlight me on your website. As you know, I follow you guys on Twitter and I've discovered a lot of music from that. Also you guys promo bandcamp Friday and are always so supportive of artists and bands and the like. It's great to see.
I wish you guys all the best <3
If you'd like Sludgework to draw something equally cool for you, here's that link again!
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.
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