INTERVIEWS                     GUESTBOOK


DAN SEAGRAVE is the guy who did the great and obscure ENTOMBED, GRAVE, PESTILENCE, GORGUTS, MORBID ANGEL (and lots of more) covers
I remember I spent hours looking at his artworks and trying to find all the details and sometimes it was fucking dreamy!
As we don't hear so much of his artistical news nowadays and as I'm also into artworks, I decided to do this cool interview. Enjoy!



1. Introduce yourself, your paintings activities, your artistical background...

My background with art is self taught, I did try to get into art college but was unable , I ‘ve been fortunate to meet many artists in Toronto ,where I currently live who have had an education in the arts. So I think my education has patialy come in a second hand way through being around other creative people .and checking out what’s going on out there.
I suppose I would describe my work as fantastic realism. But that’s just a quick fix tag – it’s obssesive, uncomfortable, dreamlike, cynical, ironic, and many other things !!


2. When you're painting, do you try to express some special emotions, or do you only search for the visual impact and cleannes of the stuff?

It has to come from both of those places, I cannot paint something for myself if I don’t belive in the idea behind it, this is a problem for me because I can spend months on some of my paintings –so I have to really get deep into the concept before embarking on the technical side. The actual act of painting is almost a non issue becaue I don’t think about how I paint, I’m thinking about what it is I want to see.

It can be easier with a cover art commision because those are illustrating someone elses idea ,its a bit like being an actor playing a part. I can deliver an idea that works well for the album, because it is for that album. The painting doesn’t alway stand as a testiment to my personal ideas as an artist , it kind of lets me off the hook a bit  Most of my covers I do consider personal though  having been given free reign over many of the projects –those are the most satisfiing to me.

3. What kind of arts do you enjoy looking at? What do you take ideas and inspiration from?

I like looking at art whatever it may be, but that’s not to say i like alot of what I see. Someone said to me today that when they go into a gallery and see something so simple like, for example- a few lines on a canvas it makes them angry, because apparently anyone can do it, and perhaps they have a point and because its not terribly interesting I suppose not many of us acctually would do it –hence its left to the artist to take the stand. But art like that does’t faze me one way or another, I’m not offended by this or its simplicity,let it be what it is, but it may not leave me with an inspired mind. I like to see what’s going on in the contemporary world of art, but I would say that its hit and miss. But its comforting to know that anything goes, because otherwise we might not feel its possible to get all our ideas out there on the table, and we all have differen’t things we’d like to express at  different point in our lives.

As far as inspiration goes cities like London with many layers of history, or New York. Other cultures and architectural styles interest me. I do like the idea of things going back to nature –so anything in a state of decay or abandonment I find facinating –forces of nature ,internal things the state of mind and how it affect the body and self image.

4. When you're working on a cover for a band,
do you listen to their music, do you speak with the band members to know their vision of what they'd like to see on their CD? Or do you do it with your own impulse?

I do’nt often listen to the music beforhand . I prefer to be given a title or the album name, and a breif discription which get the brain in gear. If someone has to specific an idea I can struggle with it and it can not be  my best work in the end because I’m trying to hard to fit their idea and not just enjoying making a good painting. Plus some of the ideas people have are just awful, so I have to turn them down. Better off leaving it up to me –trust me ! like you would a doctor.

5. Did you sign a deal of exclusivity with a label such as EARACHE or are you totally free. I mean, is there a label for which you're strictly working only?
For which labels are you working? Does the asks for artworks comes from the bands or from the labels?
How is this part of the thing organized? Tell us everythings!

I am a free agent –nobody has me under contract, so either a band or a label will contact me if that’s what I’m doing, or someone looking for a private commission. –Work comes via e-mail through my web site or word of mouth, I never advertised myself.

I did at one point in 1994 get an agent in London when things dried up in the Death Metal scene who got me published in a book, but little else followed . Having visited with other agents and licensing companies my conclusion is its better to run things for youself and have creative control. I dealt with getting my Temple series posters published with Swiss company W&G ,if an agent had done that for me there could be all kinds of hidden issues with payment and its kind of repressive because they (the agents) can be useful but have you belive that you’re uncabable as an artist to deal on a normal level with clients or publishers. But its also true that companies have a stigma thing about dealing directly with the artist.

Its ludicrus, I mean if you hire a plummer or electrician to come and work on your building ,would you go through their agent !
Right now I just did something for the band Cadaverizer, and I’m working on sketches for another west coast band –Decrepit Birth. Its a bit bizzare though because I just did an art show in Toronto last week where I had produced some large cavases,  certainly a departure from my album art ,more expessionistic, still very dark themeaticly , and I will be doing more work like this for a show next year. But it just feels like I’m juggling my artistic vision, that the cover art I do has become less  personal –more illusrational which means that I’m moving away from all that ,as can be seen in the Temple series ,the mediums changed the design ethics changed. There is still an undercurrent of dread, but its not as obvious as the death metal covers.

6. Does it happen that you have to do some covers for bands you totally don't understand or don't like at all? In this cae, does it happen well? Did you ever refused to do some paintings for the 2 previous reason?

Yes, I just don’t do it if its not something that interests me.


7. Where there some artists that totally blew you away and changed your vision of artworks to the point of strongly changing your style?

No influence has come along with such an impact .the way I paint has slowly developed , I have gone off on tanjents to experiment, but I always come back to my thing . The way my work looks or the style , has changed over time and also switching to acrylic acctually made it change a little because the paint works in a different way than gouache.

In the early days I used to like Escher and justin todd, or Bosch , Dali all the accesible stuff, visits to the national gallery in London where you get an all round experience. These days I just like checking all kinds of things out, as an artist its my duty to become as well educated as I can by seeing different things, I don ;t cut myself off from new and different things . its good to get perspective its allows you to realise why we do what we do.Some of the best shows I’ve seen tent to be in London ,I was back there a couple of weeks ago and saw a show called Body Works , which incorporated the use of many real corpses, which were preserved and posed in varying waysto allow the viewer to relate to the figures and at the same time learn a little about how we tick. Its on until september 2002 ,worth the trip to London.


8. How do you see the evolution of your style through the time.
did you include some new elements, textures. Does it become more or less gore?

I never thought of my art as gore, and that’s not something I’m aimig at, but I guess emerging out of the Death Metal world –as my jump start into an art carrear,it is understandable that people see that , but I like to think that even with my earlier work I was getting beyond simply monstorous creatures and skeletal remains. There is something deeper in alot of those cover paintings, which is possibly why people still appreaciate them today . it was not purely illustration, but happened to coincide with that Music scene at the time, which is really cool I think. When iI update my web site there will be a chance to see how my art has evolved beyond the work of the past which presently represents that site.

9. Did you see an evolution in the kind of bands that ask you for a cover?

An evolution in Death metal ?  Its a scene that can’t stray to far from itself I think otherwise it would cease to be Death Metal – but I do see that the Genre has become more accepted with bands like slipknot-who are huge but to me lack the filth and honesty of the origonal scene,  but thats inevitable too . as things become accepted they no longer appear radical and outside the norm and I kind of think thats where its at right now. Whos going to make it original again .


10. Are you into Death metal? do you think an artist can achieve a good painting for a band with being into the "darkside"? What kind of stuffs are you listening to?

I have not claimed to be into Death Metal , but then I never considered myself to be really into any scene or elitst group . I’m basicly an outsider who neither conforms to one group or another, whether it be music ,art or whatever – I keep an open mind about most things and appreaciate the talent or the craftsmanship  that I see within and edit the stuff that I don’t like.


11. Did you see or felt something special during the 89/92 death metal wave? What were you into at this time?

As part of that I appear to be, I could’t associate with the scene phisicly as I lived in Nottingham, England where I grew up –also home to Earache records. I wasn’t on tour with any of thes guy’s or anything like that , certainly I have met some of the bands –Morbid Angel , Entombed,  Napalm Death etc, but beyond that it was me doing my art thing at home , alone.. The money I made I used to spend coming over to the States and Toronto, making some roots here where I now live for the time being . My point being , I never felt like a part of that wave because I was’t hanging out with anyone in the scene or being reminded of it –things for me were socially normal . with the odd exeption of a visit to some of the record labels and gigs and interviews. Ok so there were a few things !


SeaGrave, is it yer real name or  pseudo?

Daniel Seagrave  - its real , but why wouldn’t it be ?


13. What paintings are you currently working on?

Just did that show , working on a peice called ‘City Roots’ which is a part of my ongoing Temple series, a couple of albums. Then another art show series which will be figurative images from my subconcious..heavy stuff !


14. These are your last words, thanks for taking the time to answer!

The last words should always cout for something –but I think I’m going to save them for next time.
p.s Check out German artist Mati Klarwein (he unfortunately just died recently but had done some great work).