As horror genre fans, we tend to in general be inherently fascinated and intrigued by the darker side of things, whether it be in films, music or art. And one artist whose twisted vision evokes the strangest of curiosities is LA based painter Clint Carney.
While Carney dabbles in multiple creative endeavors including fronting the band System Syn, filmmaking (having helmed a few of his own videos), prop-making and screenwriting, we first stumbled upon his artwork on display at Hyaena Gallery in Burbank, in particular his gory piece “Split.”
There’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Carney’s work and we wanted to briefly give you a peek behind the curtain.
Blumhouse.com: We first became aware of your work as an artist, but you’re also a musician. You front the band System Syn, you’re a writer; you’re a jack of all trades when it comes to the arts. When did the art aspect take front and center? Has that always been a part of your creative process? Were you drawing early on?
Clint Carney: Art came first, it’s just something I’ve always done since I was a little kid. I think most kids it seems, in the US at least, make art of some form, whether it be in school or whatever, and I just never stopped. I started making art as a little kid and just always did it. Always enjoyed it. It became a big part of who I was, so even in school when I was supposed to be paying attention to other subjects, I’d be drawing on my notebooks.
BH: The paintings you’ve done are intricate and kind of messed up and it’s usually things that I can’t possibly imagine! What’s the basic process for you? Do you sit down with an idea or sketch in mind? Or do you just look at a blank canvas and wait to see what happens? What’s the first step with your art?
CC: In general, I don’t put rules on myself for how the process is going to go. So sometimes I’ll have an idea and decide I want to do a painting with this theme, and go through the motions and start painting. And other times, I’ll sit in front of the canvas and have absolutely no idea what I’m going to paint, so whatever turns out turns out. I don’t put any constraints on what I’m going to do or what the final product has to be. I just allow the art to take shape and hope that it’s decent.
BH: One of my favorite pieces by you is ‘Split,’ which I bought a print of! Something like that image has horror and it’s graphic and just unimaginable. How does something like ‘Split’ happen? With an image like that, is it you purging a weird f-ed up idea?
CC: The idea of it was gnarly and gross and (Laughs) and seemed like something I would want to paint! It seems weird to say it, but that was a “fun” piece to me. That painting is what it is to me. A lot of my paintings have a lot of layers and depth to them, but that one is a guy splitting his face in half. Nothing more to it! That particular one was me fucking around and just making something gross.
BH: In the past at Hyaena Gallery (in Burbank), you’ve done a few live paintings with an audience, right?
CC: Yeah, I used to be part of an art collective called “Blood and Oil.” And that was started by Cam Rackam. And it include me, Cam, Christopher Ulrich, Ted Von Heiland, Krys Sapp, and a handful of other artists. We would get together and tag team a canvas. We hadn’t done that in a while, but I still host a monthly event at Hyaena Gallery called Art Autopsy where I’m basically just live painting in the gallery, we do a live stream, and then any artist anywhere is welcome to come to the gallery and make whatever form of art they want. It’s just a cool place where artists hang out and get to talk shop and watch people work. And non-artists show up to check out the art too.
BH: How much does your artwork influence your other creative endeavors? Does the art influence the music or the film stuff, or do those things influence your painting? I feel like they’re all relative and go hand in hand. When you write a script or a song, do you think of imagery that can go with it? Or do you try to keep them separate?
CC: I don’t deliberately blend or separate them. They’re all an extension of myself. So I think they’re connected in that way as they’re all a product of my psyche. I’ve used my art for album covers of mine, and as a filmmaker aesthetically that’s going to translate into my work. It’s never deliberate, I just do what I do and it is what it is!