Without trying to sound too cliché, every so often an artist comes around that defines a generation with his/her deep, and meaningful contributions to society in the artistic form. Dark artist Andy Sciazko seems to be that “dark” horse in the running with his compelling illustrations that have graced numerous publications that scream both nostalgia and speak to your soul on a deeper level than feel-good fuzzies. Personally speaking, he first made waves with me when I discovered his art through a new book release in conjunction with author Jake Tri entitled Nightmare Soup back in 2016; and this Scary Stories-esque collection of tales with art rivaling that of Stephen Gammell, sent my nostalgic heart into a whirlwind. The stories were on par. The art, incredible. So yeah, I was hooked and have been following ever since.
Sciazko’s new art book, “The Calibration of Old Wounds”, is a fifty page ode to letting go and the impact felt by the very powerful force of nostalgia. In combination with his love for the morbid and horror, the pages are filled with the kind of art that makes you really reflect on how humanity perceives these feelings. The poetry entailed within, grabs you by the balls; unearthing your full-attention with a craving to decipher every word strung along in the sentence.
It’s a really wild, and humbling ride throughout the artist’s perspective that I think a lot of us in the horror genre, can really relate to. This collection, along with his other art book, “We’ve Always Been Here/This Was Never Yours” ode to Witchcraft, are two pieces that I will forever cherish in my gothic reserves.
In promoting the new book, Reflectingonacoda.com was released last month, filled with hidden content for those who signed up early and fans of Sciazco’s work. The ciphers you’ll find on each page that need to be decoded will lead you down a rabbit hole. A select few have solved it to the very end (I’m not one of them).
Like with many things that fascinate us, I had to ask a few questions about this artistic process to the creator himself.
NN: What or who inspired you to put this collection together?
AS: Years ago I decided to compile a bunch of old writing/poetry to coincide with illustrations into a book, which I titled
“A Lyric Booklet.” I loved the little extras (additional album art, hidden tracks, lyric inspiration) you would find in most vinyls or CD inserts booklets. While compiling, I noticed that most of my writing dissected films, books, and the stories they were portraying thematically. Deciding to run with that idea, it eventually became the foundation for my subsequent releases “We’ve Always Been Here//This Was Never Yours,” “I Have Seen the Dark and I Long For its Ache,” and my latest “The Calibration of Old Wounds.”
Each book breaks down a collection of films with similar themes and imagery. For instance, if you look closely at WABH//TWNY you’ll find that all the films I picked have a strong female lead character.
NN: What message or conversation are you trying to tell/ start with your audience?
AS: While at the end of the day everyone will have their own interpretation of the book, I’m hoping the illustrations and entries create an immersive experience for the reader. Like with my previous releases, I never flat out state which films I’m referencing, but I’m sure to include Director/Writer’s names on the “Thank You” page of each book as hints. Narrowing down on the films will give new light to the artwork titles and entries for anyone that is interested.
NN: This collection strikes me as a deep and thought provoking battle with several mental illnesses. Maybe I’m looking into it too deep, and this is what my subconscious sees, but is there any truth to that?
AS: There is definitely some truth to that! With “The Calibration of Old Wounds,” I wanted to explore the idea of time as both an over abundant and fleeting resource. Why are certain events in our lives nostalgic to us? Did we somehow know living in the moment of the event that it would have such a nostalgic impact? And because all memory becomes muddled and worn, are we even recalling the events correctly? One of the films i dissect is Charlie Kaufman’s Synecdoche, New York which is riddled with references and allusions to mental illness and delusion.
NN: Some of the art seems to be on par with throwing back to a few classic nostalgic horror films- care to share any Easter eggs in there?
AS: Absolutely! In addition to drawing inspiration from the films I’m dissecting, imagery from a few other favorites definitely trickled in. There are vibes of “Don’t Look Now” (1973) and “The Changeling” (1980) in some of my illustrations.
“The Calibration of Old Wounds” drops in Andy Sciazko’s dark art shop at AndySciazko.com on June 21st, 2021.