We first came across horror artist Sam Shearon when we used one of his art pieces in a story about a Mothman sighting. He had created a movie poster image for a film about the legendary creature.
After looking at several of his works, we were intrigued. From monsters to horror legends, Shearon captures not only the darker sides of the genre but also its finer details. Those nuances have developed over the years he tells us because of real experiences, some supernatural, that began when he was about 10-years-old.
We will let him tell it:
iHorror: When did you first become interested in art?
Sam Shearon: I don’t think I’ve ever really ‘not’ been interested in art. In all honesty, I don’t think I can really pinpoint exactly when my life as an artist began… I’ve been drawing monsters since early childhood. But professionally, career-wise I’ve been doing this for about fifteen or so years now.
iHorror: Where are you from?
Sam: Originally I was born in Everton, Liverpool, in the North West of England. From the age of ten, I grew up in Lytham St.Annes further up the coast, a little Victorian town which I like to consider as my home-town where my parents still reside.
How did you become fascinated with the supernatural, especially cryptozoology? Have you ever had an experience with legendary or elusive urban monsters?
Early childhood experiences with ghosts in my own home and growing up on the edge of an ancient woodland with its own collection of stories, was my introduction to the supernatural. After that, I spent my childhood and onwards to this day collecting and reading books on all manner of the unexplained. I’ve since illustrated the cover artworks to more than ten documentary films from Small Town Monsters and more than thirty books authored by paranormal investigators David Weatherly, Ken Gerhard and David Hatcher Childress among many others.
I’ve been out in the redwoods of North America on numerous occasions over the past decade, looking for Bigfoot across five different states in the US… Though I’ve yet to see one, I can absolutely accept that there’s something out there yet to be discovered in terms of a new species… I like to think I’ve ‘heard’ one up near Mount Shasta… but again, I’ve yet to see one.
My fascination with cryptozoology, in particular, stems from my childhood interest in natural history and my rich upbringing of visiting various museums and galleries with my family. Again, growing up near woodland and the countryside, in general, was my first-hand experience of wildlife.
When combined with the study of the potential for monsters being ‘real’, cryptozoology became a huge interest of mine to this day.
What is your favorite medium to work with?
I have to say I do love pencil and ink… though my main output is digital for most of my client work and published cover art, it’s hard to not love the organic raw freedom and almost irreversible marks of ink on paper… It takes an unpredictable life of its own sometimes, as though it’s not even me doing the drawing… Almost like a sort of ‘automatic writing’ from an unseen force. A sort of instinct and gut-feeling moves the pencil and pen with such ease when drawing from the mind, it makes me wonder!
Have you ever met Rob Zombie? What is he like?
Yes, I’ve actually met Rob a few times over the years here n’ there. I’ve created artwork for him for a number of releases, merchandise, posters etc. I have my artwork in his ‘Hellbilly Deluxe 2’ album sleeve, I did his portrait for the record when he had blonde ragged dread-less hair!
RZ is a super nice guy, very down to earth and level-headed. He’s one of those true artists in his own right. He’s managed to help shape teenage minds through both music and film for several decades, with a heavy dose of nostalgia and homage to legends that have come before him… While at the same time, inventing his own unmistakable style. You see a movie or hear a track and you KNOW it’s his! Gotta love the guy.
Is your cryptozoological art based on actual eyewitness accounts or do you take artistic freedoms?
My cryptozoological artwork has always been based on witness descriptions, there’s no other way to know what these uncatalogued creatures, as yet unrecognized by science, look like. But also, the only artistic license I would ever implement is to portray these unknown animals with reference to real, known biology and natural history references and examples – This is in order to portray them as accurately and ‘believably’ as possible, as a real, living, breathing animals.
What’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to you?
I honestly can’t answer that… it’s hard to think of something that I haven’t gotten over or looked back on and thought that it wasn’t actually that scary. I guess having someone collapse in your arms is pretty scary, not knowing if they’re going to be okay or if something serious has just happened to them… I personally don’t fear death, I fear dying. I want to live a long, long life and fulfill all of my goals and dreams. I think the realization of how short life really is only hit me when I turned 40…
So perhaps I can say THAT is the scariest thing that’s happened to me… figuring out that IF I live to around eighty years old, that at this moment I only have around two thousand weeks left!
Q: What is your favorite scary movie?
This is possibly the worst question in regards to scary movies. There are just far too many to list and for far too many reasons… But SCARE factor I’d have to say the original ‘Grudge’ and ‘Ring’ movies from Japan… ‘Ju-On’, ‘Dark Water’ and ‘Ringu’… those among many other Asian horror movies are among my favourites in terms of tone and delivery. The score, the treatment of the atmosphere, the punch of the shock in the pinpoint editing, and the overall solid storytelling make these films by far some of the greatest examples of scary-horror in the world. Other western titles I love include ‘The Ritual’, ‘The Evil Dead Franchise’, ‘John Carpenter’s The Thing’, ‘Re-Animator’, ‘From Beyond’, ‘ALL of the classic Hammer Horror movies’ and ‘Critters’ is a dear favourite from my early teens… (I could name SO many more!).
Q: What are you working on for the future?
A: If I told you, I’d have to kill you…
But in all honesty, there are projects tied up in NDA contracts currently that will change the world…
What I can say is that in the meantime, there will be more in the way of monsters and mythology… Perhaps a few more books of my own to boot!
You can find all the information regarding my store, mailing list, and more via my website: MisterSamShearon.com
*All photos and artwork are provided courtesy of Sam Shearon.