Stephen Jones speaks with Exquisite Terror!

Stephen Jones, author of The Art of Horror, spoke with Rich Wilson from Exquisite Terror about his inspiration for the book. Read the interview below and let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


00141141This new collection is beautifully put together by noted horror author Stephen Jones, and presents page after page of full colour art, from the earliest carvings of the Egyptians to the digital work of modern masters. As you’d expect, film and fiction are heavily represented, and the book is neatly split into sections — creatures, ghosts, psychopaths, etc. — with accompanying essays providing good reading material alongside countless posters and book covers. Often labelled as trash by the mainstream, The Art of Horror proves otherwise; this showcases superb work by immensely talented people, and richly brings your fears to life. As Jones states in his introduction: “Art will always be there to hold a mirror up to the universe and show us what is really out there…” This is a serious celebration of the genre, and a must-have for those who love things that go bump in the night.

We spoke to editor Jones about his inspiration for the book.

Where did the initial concept and idea for The Art of Horror come from?

Actually, this was one of those rare instances of a publisher contacting me. Elephant Book Company Ltd, a British packager of many classy coffee-table art books, approached me via a mutual colleague and asked if I was interested in writing a book about horror art. I initially turned them down as I was busy on a number of other projects and, having been involved with several art books before, I knew how much work it would involve.

However, they kept coming back, and I started to think that I didn’t want anybody else doing this book! So, in the end, we came up with a compromise where I would conceive and edit the book and we would get in other experts in their particular subjects to write the individual chapters. And that worked brilliantly — up to a point. In the end, it involved a lot more work for me than I had originally envisioned, but I had an incredible team backing me up and the more I got into it, the more fun I had doing it.

How important do you think these images have been in promoting horror literature and cinema in the past?

Oh, incredibly important. But the problem is that they are all over the place — in different countries, from different eras. That was the attraction to me, to bring together this rich vein of illustrative material relating to the horror genre into a single volume, so that people could see how it all fitted together, where the connections were being made.

Of course, even in a book of this size we barely scratched the surface. There is so much more that we could have included, but you have to work within certain commercial restrictions, and it was important to me that the cover price allowed it to be accessible to as wide an audience as possible. I’m very proud that we achieved that without sacrificing any quality whatsoever.

You have a wide and varied collection of artists featured, from legends such as Giger to comic book masters such as Charlie Adlard. Who chose the work to be featured, and how easy was it to obtain publishing rights?

This is where my team came in. Obviously, as I’ve been involved with the horror genre for nearly forty years, I was aware of the work of many of the artists we included, plus many of them were friends and acquaintances who I had dealt with before. But I also had an amazing project manager in Adam Newell (who I had previously worked with at Titan Books) and designer in Paul Palmer-Edwards, who both also suggested artists and various works to be included.

In the end, the final decision was always mine as it was my name on the book, but they brought to my attention artwork and images that I was perhaps not familiar with or had overlooked. On top of that, we had an experienced picture researcher who dealt with all the clearances. I simply could not have done all that work on my own, and without those people backing me up I would probably not have done the book at all. In the end, it really was a team effort.

Were there any artists you wanted to feature that didn’t make the book, for whatever reason?

Yes. There were some that turned us down — mostly because they wanted ridiculous amounts of money. When we found something that I liked, we usually approached the artist or their representative. In most cases they agreed to be included because they wanted to be in the book. As I say, a few turned us down and, in those cases, we just moved on and found a replacement piece of art to fit the specific theme.


Read the whole interview over at Exquisite Terror!

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About HLPAPG

Hal Leonard Performing Arts Publishing Group, the trade book division of Hal Leonard Corporations, publishes books on the performing arts under the imprints Hal Leonard Books, Backbeat Books, Amadeus Press, and Applause Theatre and Cinema Books.

Posted on January 4, 2016, in Film & TV, Horror, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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