Sunday, January 15, 2012
King of the Undead - Arthur Sudyam
We here at Zombies & Toys had the great honor of interviewing the Zombie King of Undead art, Mr. Arthur Sudyam himself. If the name isn't familiar, the work is. How do these names sound? Heavy Metal, Batman, Tarzan, Conan, Predator, Aliens, and of course, Marvel Zombies.
Zombies&Toys (ZT): Arthur Sudyam, welcome! First things first, where did the zombie legend grow up?
Arthur Sudyam (AS): The Family is a New York family that goes all the way back to the 16 00’s when the Suydams came over and fought the Indian Wars on the Hudson to establish a trading post on the Hudson , which eventually became first , New Amsterdam, then later New York. The family owned much of what is Yonkers and Brooklyn and eventually spread out a bit locally. http://www.arthursuydam.com/about/legacy/
ZT: Your art is loved especially by zombie fans. What is your artistic background?
AS: Well, I discovered the drawings of Michael Angelo and Leonardo Da Vinci early on and there was a quality in those works that really impressed and attracted me. I wanted that quality in my work. Following graduation I was offered scholarships anywhere in Jersey however I could not find a school that specialized in what I as interested in so though I was offered work at Warren Publishing ) Creepy, Eerie, VAMPIRELLA) I went right to work for their art director, Joe Orlando at DC comics and Heavy Metal in the seventies and eighties. I struggled for year on my own and am mostly self taught in most areas . Then in nineties I discovered the school I was looking for a few blocks form my apartment in the East Village ( NYC), The New York Academy of Figurative Art . The NYAFA specialized in teaching the lessons of the great Renaissance masters in an atelier setting. There I met an instructor named Randy Mellick . I shared with him my artistic goals and he recommend that I study sculpture rather than drawing or painting , which is what I did. I worked on my drawing and painting from my Uncles old Norman Rockwell workbooks and unofficially from my mentor Frank Frazetta. Now I spend a fair deal of time with continued studies , right now I am working on my portraiture and beginning landscape studies . I consider myself a lifelong student. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbUO42Nu0xM&feature=related
ZT: Great artistic footsteps to follow in! With classic inspiration, what got you started in zombies and art?
AS: I guess that would be a love of the Horror subject matter and of anatomy. I spent a fair deal of time working with cadavers at the Hunter medical University with my anatomical studies. I still draw anatomy for further study and for relaxation.
ZT: How did Marvel approach you about Marvel Zombies?
AS: In a way the concept kind of came from the fans. I had just done some spooky covers for Marvel and one of the true great talent and managers up there up Chris Allo worked with editor John Barber , two of the great minds behind Marvel Zombies. They put me together with Kirkman to work on the series.
ZT: Besides the undead premise, Marvel Zombies was known for its unique take on classic covers. What was your overall experience zombiefing some of history's great heroes?
AS: Those were all my favorite Marvel covers . I owned all those books , that is until my girlfriend's little brother stole them out of the attic and sold them for drug money. It was my real pleasure to reinvent and straighten them out in a more sophisticated realistic painted style .
ZT: Why do you feel that zombies literally refuse to die and are popular in movies, books, etc everyday?
AS: I believe because Zombies have always been with us, in religion and elsewhere, something that in a way makes them kind of safe to dabble with...The fact that they move so slow makes them less of a threat and more fun – the fact that they can be reincarnated family or friends is what provide irony and familiarity .
ZT: What's your approach when beginning to apply horror to a movie poster or comic cover?
AS: My personal contribution I believe are introducing painted comic works to the comic field and I recreating iconic visuals in a zombie universe. I ve just expanded what I did with the Marvel Zombies old covers and applied the same concept to my favorite films and historical paintings and other POP CULTURE iconic visuals . No one is safe, ( laughs).
ZT: What are your current projects?
AS: I am usually working on about 3 or four projects at a time . Right now I am working on two of my own Zombies series that I am writing and doing the interiors as well painted work , something I started long ago and have been working on for about 10 years . Also I just finished a cover for a film noir book and am working on a large ERB style trilogy project for a company out of Texas and a few other things.
ZT: What is your most favorite zombified painting so far?
AS: I don’t know that I have any one favorite. I am very fond of some of the pop icon zombie reinventions I've done, the Clint , Baby Nirvana, Lady M and Zombie Deep covers . They are all old friends and special to me .
ZT: Are you a horror fan? If so, what's your favorite zombie movie?
AS: I am a huge old school horror fan . By that I mean horror with monsters rather than slice-em -n’ -dice movies which I have no taste for at all. I don’t find human cruelty entertaining, however I do love it when a zombie gets his just deserts , as in THE Walking DEAD TVseries. I rate zombie movies in two categories , comedy like the Return of the Dead by Dan O’bannon which is my favorite funny horror movie and the Walking Dead which is my favorite serious zombie flick. I regard the series as a movie because of its sophisticated direction writing and cast.
I was planning on putting the TV set out on the curb and not watching any TV until Walking Dead came on . The only thing I watch on TV is Walking Dead and the UFC fights. No time to waste on corporate propaganda and the rest of the fodder n' filler. Too much to work to do. Too much study to get done.
ZT: Well said, Arthur. Thank you for a great opportunity. For more of your favorite heroes returned from the dead, go to www.arthursuydam.com!