Not only is Paul Allender the main songwriter (music-wise) as well as guitarist in Cradle of Filth but he is also a very talented artist. His designs have graced a lot of Cradle product in the past including their DVDs and t-shirts. Recently he joined forces with rock photographer Cindy Frey and formed a partnership which goes under the name of Vomitorium. Cindy takes various pictures and Paul brings them to death (opposite of life in this case) through the power of Photoshop. It's dark art at its finest with blood and the undead as central subjects. It's also extremely well done. Keep the lights on while viewing, kiddies. I had the opportunity to ask Paul about Vomitorium recently and here's what he had to say:
antiMusic: How did Vomitorium come about? How long have you known Cindy Frey and what was it about her photography that made you want to work with her?
Paul: I was playing a festival in Belgium called "Grasspop" and Cindy was there taking shots of us for a magazine. She showed a lot of interest in my artwork and asked me if I would send her some images.
antiMusic: When did the idea first come to form a partnership?
Paul: After I had sent Cindy some images, she then contacted me and suggested that we go into partnership to produce dark art.
antiMusic: Can you explain the process of how one of your images gets created? How close is the relationship between the two of you in terms of the finished product? Does she shoot the piece and then it's just you working on it to completion or is it a collaborative process?
Paul: What usually happens is that when we have a project to do, we will get together and Cindy will shoot various subjects (albeit living or dead). I will art direct the shoot and then both of us will come up with some pretty strange and wonderful ideas while the shoot progresses. I will then take the images back to my studio and get to work on the art side of things. It's usually left up to me what the final image looks like, but as any good working relationship we are both open to suggestions.
antiMusic: How much time is spent on average for each one?
Paul: It all depends on what the project is. It's really hard to put a time frame on what we do. Some images take a morning to do and some take a week.
antiMusic: When you see one of Cindy's photos do you immediately know what you want to with it or do you let it sit for a bit and try out different possibilities?
Paul: Usually I can pretty much tell what the image will be like from just looking at Cindy's photography. Sometimes I will just play around with some images and cut sections out of various photos to see what fits, Once something fits, I usually see it straight away. It sticks out like a huge flashing beacon! lol
antiMusic: All of the pieces with "people" in them have the commonality of eye "problems" and blood. Is there a general theme that runs throughout your work or does it just all fit under the banner of Dark Art?
Paul: I think it pretty much fits under the whole banner of Dark Art. When I produce images, I try to do make as many in the same style as possible while the creative juices are flowing. I know when my inspiration has gone for that run of images, the next lot I do will come out quite a bit different, so I will then try to do as many as possible of them too.
antiMusic: What software is used and what is your computer set up like?
Paul: I use Photoshop CS2 for most of my art, Cinema 4D R10 for 3D work, i.e. making up backdrops and stuff that Cindy can't shoot. I have a G5 Mac running duel 2GHZ processors with 6GB of ram, Duel monitors (30" Titanium flat screen, 23" Mac flat screen) Gforce 256mb Graphics card and a Wacom tablet.
antiMusic: How long have you been into computer art and art in general? Did you take art in school?
Paul: I've been into art ever since I can remember. I've never really been any good at producing the images I see in my head on paper, but since I was introduced to computers and Photoshop, I found myself creating images that I saw in my head. I did take art at school but I didn't do anything with it. Everyone was always better than me. I have always been into dark art and all the school projects were still life s***e! lol
Everyone thought I was really weird at school and I had no interest in gay school art projects. I remember drawing this picture of a graveyard and the s*** I got for it was incredible. They suggested therapy and stuff, all it did was make me laugh and give me the passion to produce some really sick images.
antiMusic: Any particular photos/pieces from somebody else that were an early source of inspiration to you?
Paul: I like dark art in general but I do really like H.R Giger, Mike Bohatch and Matt Lombard, all these guys are a true inspiration to me.
antiMusic: Do you require long periods of time to work on these pieces or can you work on the fly – stop/start?
Paul: I can usually work on the fly. I mean, some pieces take like 4 hrs to do and then some can take up to a week, depends on what state my creative juices are at, at that present time.
antiMusic: Considering the dark nature of this work do you have to be in a certain mood to craft your pictures? Can you work while on tour? Need privacy or does activity not distract you?
Paul: I can produce images in any mood. It's like when I write music, as soon as I get ideas I need to go and produce otherwise I get so frustrated. I actually made most of the Vomitorium images on tour in Europe so I don't really need privacy. When ever inspiration hits me I can usually keep it going until I have finished what I'm doing.
antiMusic: What is the significance of the name Vomitorium?
Paul: I figured that the name "Vomitorium" suits our images the best. I see what Cindy and I are doing like a room in cyber space full of sickening images, hence "Vomitorium".
This is based on the origins of the name which is Latin.
1 - each of a series of entrance or exit passages in an ancient Roman amphitheater or theater.
2 - a place in which, according to popular misconception, the ancient Romans are supposed to have vomited during feasts to make room for more food.
antiMusic: Is there one of your pieces that is particularly special to you?
Paul: Yes, Nightmare. I can quite safely say that after doing that picture my art skills have grown a lot. We have a few of our images online in various art sites and they are getting 5 star ratings all the time, which is amazing.
antiMusic: What are your hopes and dreams for this partnership? Do you plan on selling your artwork to other bands/businesses? Anybody using it right now?
Paul: I hope that we will be partners for a very long time. I have never met a person like Cindy before, someone that I have clicked with straight away. We share all the same passions and flare for the same goals in art. It's like it was meant to be.
We are selling prints right now. Since we set up our website (www.paulallender.co.uk) and MySpace page (www.myspace.com/vomitorium666), I have been getting at least half a dozen emails a day asking to buy our prints. There is a tattoo studio in Germany that has brought eight of our images and there are more tattoo studios sending me requests on print prices.
antiMusic: Do you have a schedule or "quota" that you have set for yourself in terms of output or do you only work when you come across images that inspire you?
Paul: To be honest, I only open Photoshop when I'm inspired. I've tried the whole "must do more images" routine and they usually come out crap. It's much better time management for me if I only create when I'm inspired.
antiMusic: Might we see more of your work on Cradle product in the future?
Paul: I'm afraid not. I don't want to get into doing cover art for my band. I mean, I do all the art/design for the shirts, website and build and author all the DVDs. Plus I write most of the music, so you see, even if I wanted to I just wouldn't have the time.
antiMusic: Anything else you would like to tell us about Vomitorium that I didn't ask?
Paul: We are available to create band art, book jackets, etc. Our prints are now on sale so if anyone is interested please go to www.paulallender.co.uk or www.myspace.com/vomitorium666 and message us from there for a quote. All our prints come in A3 size with frameless clipped glass. They are all numbered (all our images are limited to 50 pcs) and come with the Vomitorium logo engraved on the bottom right hand corner. Another price can be arranged if the frame isn't required. We can also do commissioned work.
In the near future we will be showing our work in exhibitions through out the UK, Europe and the USA, plus the "Book of Vomitorium" will be released soon showing all our Dark Art in full sickening colour.
Morley Seaver and antiMUSIC thank Paul for speaking with us.