Amer Shihab is an up-and-coming artist hailing from the UK who specializes in gory and explicit horror imagery. His art has already been featured in Girls and Corpses Magazine and Bizarre Magazine, and he’s only just begun! Utilizing Myspace.com, he’s already built a solid fanbase that are rabid for more of his bloody works.
Check out our interview with him below and find out what makes his twisted mind tick!
Fatally Yours: Amer, when did you start painting and when did you seriously consider a career as an artist?
Amer: I started drawing and painting from as far as I can remember, both my parents are artists in their own rights. My mother is a fantastic painter and my dad is a brilliant sketch artist. Unfortunately, they never embarked on their talents career wise, so I guess I got the best (or worst) from both worlds.
I went to college studying Art and Design, to which my artwork was mainly frowned upon. It was then I realized to myself that art should never be graded. A piece of shit might be a piece of shit to most, but to others it could be gold. I dropped out and decided to take matters into my own hands.
I have made a lot of friends and contacts through MySpace. It has helped me so much to be able to stand on my own two feet and become an independent artist with no limits.
My artwork is for those that can appreciate what I have to offer. An artist shouldn’t need grades to be appreciated.
Fatally Yours: Do you have any professional training or are you all self-taught?
Amer: I’m completely self-taught. I constantly have a Biro pen in my hand, doodling away in my sketch book, on college work and even tables. I guess practice makes perfect!
Fatally Yours: How would you describe your own art?
Amer: I would describe most of it as contrasting the ugliness of the world with something beautiful, which juxtapose to create something very surreal, or perhaps even, to some, a genuine reflection of the society we live in. It depends how the viewer wishes to interoperate it. For example, I would have people mutilated while a baby is being born, or I would have a mass grave of dead men while beautiful women bathe in a Jacuzzi. I suppose this keeps the balance between right and wrong.
Fatally Yours: Much of your artwork could be considered offensive and shocking (specifically “Mass Grave Circle Jerk” or “Whore Grinder”). What made you want to paint these scenes?
Amer: I believe a lot of my success has come from shock value. It’s very hard to attract attention in the art community these days, with so much brilliant creativity around every corner; this is my way of marking my territory.
I don’t deliberately try to offend anyone in particular, I believe art gives everyone the right to express themselves in any way they wish, as long, like religion or any form of belief or lifestyle; it’s not forced upon anyone. To some, my artwork might come across as offensive, but to others it may somehow make a statement.
Those pieces in particular were commissions for a couple of underground gore metal bands; I guess this trait is what attracted them to my work.
Fatally Yours: What kind of creative process do you go through to create your scenes of carnage and your inventive monsters?
Amer: I usually go against what society generally considers ‘normal’ in our human nature and the human anatomy itself.
Society in general chooses to turn its back on those who are seen as ‘different’, whether physically or mentally. So instead of going with the norm, I try to portray society and the human race in my artwork as ‘different’ as I can, this helps me express that we are actually all equal, no matter what race, color, size, class or sex.
For example, the monsters in my artwork usually have distinguishing traits of human nature, but they usually exaggerate on attributes such as greed, power or sexual desire. So, in other words, these monsters are my way of drawing everyday people, the types of people I would see at a train station or on the street.
Violence is one of the main instincts we are born with, yet we are forced to conceal it, which allows it to build up inside. I suppose this hidden violence in us all helps us to express it in different ways, which in my case, helps me create these scenes of carnage.
Fatally Yours: Where do you gain inspiration for your artwork? What do you count among your influences?
Amer: I gain inspiration from everything around me, but I think movies have inspired me the most, especially Horror and Science Fiction movies. Also, there are so many great artists that continuously influence me.
Fatally Yours: What are your favorite films and books?
Amer: My favorite films are mostly Horror / Sci-Fi classics, such as: The Thing, The Fly, Robocop, Hellraiser, The Elephant Man and Total Recall. I would class those as my all time favorite movies ever, but the list could truly go on forever!
I’m rather ashamed to admit, but it’s very rare I find myself indulged in a book. I guess I play too much Xbox.
Fatally Yours: Who are some of your favorite artists, past and present?
Amer: My all time favorite artists are Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Rene Magritte, Hans Bellmer, Vincent Locke, James Ryman, and of course, last but most definitely not least, H.R Giger.
Also, there are so many great artists I have met through MySpace that have inspired me in so many ways. I always make sure to give them the exposure they deserve by spreading the word and adding them to my top friends for the world to see. A couple that are worth mentioning are Susan Blac (www. myspace. com/suzzan2306) and Mark Cooper (www. myspace. com/sickskin).
Fatally Yours: Besides painting, what do you enjoy doing?
Amer: I am a vocalist in a heavy metal band called ‘Witness to an End’. I enjoy writing poetry and lyrics. I am currently at college studying media, and I love directing and editing short movies, which I hope to one day, add to my site. I enjoy watching movies, building up my DVD collection and playing my Xbox 360. I love spending time with my family, and watching my niece grow older each day. I also like to hang out with friends and I love meeting new people.
Fatally Yours: If you had to live inside of one painting for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
Amer: “Metamorphosis of Narcosis” by Salvador Dali. It is my favorite painting ever by another artist. I love the way it expresses life and death. An optical illusion of a hand holding an egg, next to an old, brittle figure staring at his reflection in the water. I strongly feel that this painting reflects our society and the process of dying. It’s as if I am already living inside this painting.
Fatally Yours: What is your favorite piece that you yourself have created?
Amer: My favorite piece I have made so far is called ‘The Skies Shall Weep Blood For New Life’; I was hugely inspired by H.R Giger when I made it. I originally made it for my band Witness To An End, but it was eventually rejected.
It features two heads facing each other, each of a male and a female, conjoined by feeding tubes. It’s kind of a personal statement on Love and Death, but like always, I leave it for the viewers to make up their own interpretations.
Amer: So far, all I have is my MySpace site. I post almost all of my recent work on there for everyone to see. It has only been a year since I made the account and first exposed my art to the world, and the response has been brilliant.
I will most definitely put my artwork for show in a gallery one day, if any of them would accept my work that is! Thanks for the great idea.
I have been featured in the summer issue of Girls and Corpses Magazine (buy the magazine, it’s awesome!), and have previously had my work posted in Bizarre Magazine, I guess those are the only other places you could check out my art at this moment.
Fatally Yours: What is next for DeadArms Artwork?
Amer: I’m always open to new challenges and love to push myself artistically. I never know which direction I will embark on next, I always allow the art to guide me.
I do hope to have a whole new collection to add to my portfolio in the upcoming year.
Apart from that, my aim is to meet as many people as I can. I love meeting new people and that’s been the most exciting chapter of the experience so far.
Visit Amer and DeadArms Artwork on Myspace!