Recently I was sent a link to the art work of Rotten Fantom. When I saw it I was completely blown away. Rotten Fantom’s work is as gritty and earthy as it is mystical and ethereal. Without much effort Rotten Fantom’s art became a favorite of mine, in the same camp as the great Glyn Smyth. I knew I had to get in touch with these guys and ask them a few questions. Luckily, they obliged.
Enjoy. Or Unjoy. Whatever.
Tell us a bit about yourselves.
Rotten Fantom is 2-person project: Helen from Saint Petersburg, and Waldez from Moscow. We live and work in Moscow with a heavy feeling about this place. We often go to SPb and Helsinki to enjoy the cool and calm mood of the North.
How did Rotten Fantom come into existence?
Each of us kept approaching the way of drawing we share now in Rotten Fantom following own path. We have common interests and aesthetic preferences. December 21, 2012, the date of Rotten Fantom’s foundation is the supposed date of Mayan apocalypse when the world was meant to go in flames. That time we decided to unite our creative efforts under one name.
What is the drive or inspiration behind your work?
The main catalyst for creation is the symbiosis of several various factors: local tradition and specifics, new trends and currents of modern culture. All that makes it possible to re-sense the reality through art work. Visual images derive from dream worlds, ancient myths and patterns influenced by the music we prefer. Music plays the crucial part in our work helping to concentrate on creation and setting the rhythm and mood of future objects. Wolves in the Throne Room, Agalloch, the River Runs Black, Dirge, Locrian one can hear from our acoustic systems. Our graphic techniques are inspired by Wilhelm von Kaulbach, Albrecht Durer and Paul Gustave Doré, Viktor Vasnetsov. Among up-to-date artists we should mention Vania Zouravliov, Aaron Horkey, Thomas Hooper, Takato Yamamoto, Mister Beaudry and Glyn Smyth
What is your goal or mission with Rotten Fantom as artists; what are you wanting to evoke in your audience, if anything?
Rotten Fantom’s chief idea is to reflect natural forces’ never ending cycle of decay and resurrection. We bridge cosmic gaps between human, beasts and plant worlds researching the borders between life and death in quest for proto-entities behind dead and living matter. Every work of art for us is the result of trance, mystic sacrifice helping to approach the state behind conditions of life and death, future and past, personality and absolute, when all dead and living create the unique canvas of existence. The purpose is to behold Great Spirit’s embroidery on that canvas.
Your artistic style is my absolute favorite, how did you begin forging your style and what process do you have (or rituals do you perform) when you begin working on a piece?
Thanks a lot! The methodology does not vary significantly from the others: we collect reference from the web, make new photos, use the old ones for making new sketches in order to arrange the composition for new drawings. The finish works are done using artist pens and isographs
What materials do you use, prefer to use, or plan to use in the future and why?
Now we use a lot of dot work which is very decorative and creates necessary effect. It does not mean we’ll keep using it. We always seek for new visual methods and plan to combine various techniques and materials, looking forward to painting and street art.
Is Rotten Fantom your only artistic project(s) or do either of you work in other arenas
Waldez leads several music projects like experimental drone bands Teryah and Nanoot Har, and of course Aethyr playing black-doom metal.
How can CVLT Nation readers purchase some of your works?
Time to time we print our stuff so you could purchase it as posters, cards and T-shirts. Recently we released an exclusive series of stretch dresses with our prints that can be ordered at http://rottenfantom.bigcartel.com/
Anything else you think we should know about Rotten Fantom?
May 15 – 29, 2013 we have carried out an exhibition in one of Moscow’ art-areas. It was a great piece of experience for our young project. We imagine it as a helicopter-view of a city you live in – you are able to see the building surrounding yourself in comparison to each other. In other words it makes us understand the grade we are in currently and the way we want to move. And we shall move in any case