April 30, 2015


As I made my rounds at 2014 New York Comic Con seeking horror artists and art pieces that would capture my eyes, I stumbled upon Comic Artist/Illustrator ALEXIO GESSA booth, where a huge Texas Chainsaw Massacre Leatherface painting adorned his booth alongside with classic Universal Monsters paintings, and suddenly I was mesmerized by his artworks.  Here is a in-depth personal interview with Artist ALEXIO GESSA.

How did you start making art? 

I started making art as soon as I could hold a pencil, or crayon more appropriately.  As a young boy growing up in a working class Passaic County, NJ family I was surrounded by the stresses of work life, driving, commuting, shopping malls, and the mediocrity of everyday existence.  I knew there was adventure in the world and more to life than just paying bills and going to the grocery store.  Drawing in my notebooks, and reading superhero comics were a way out.  I always wanted to break free, and art was where I felt free as a young boy.  As I became a man, the feeling only grew.

What inspired you to make art especially horror art?

The first movie I can remember watching was Arnold Schwarzenegger's Predator.  I saw it with my Dad when I was 5 years old.  Was this a war movie?  It had so many soldiers in it.  Was this a horror movie?  It was really scary.  Was this a sci-fi movie?  It had the coolest alien creature I had ever seen and still have ever seen.  Horror, is anything that can scare people; which puts the directions and implications solely in the hands of the creator of the work.  I started with horror type subjects as opponents for my superhero characters to fight.  As I entered middle school, I began to embrace horror movies more and started drawing/painting from them.  I still do.  Since then my Dad has passed from Leukemia in 2009.  Whenever I make a piece of one of the classic universal studios monsters, they remind me of him.  We used to check those movies out of the library on VHS tape.  Remember VHS!?  His favorite was always The Creature From The Black Lagoon.  

On your website, and also at at NYC Comic Con, you have lots of pieces of Universal Monsters such as Bela Lugosi (Dracula), Frankenstein, Phantom of the Opera and Warhol Frankenstein, what about these monsters appeal to you?

Well, these monsters remind me of the better parts of my childhood.  They make me remember my Dad when he had his health before the ravages of cancer and chemotherapy treatments.  He was an outdoorsy guy, he liked to take his small rowboat on the Passaic River by my grandmother's house in Montville, NJ.  Maybe that's why he liked The Creature From The Black Lagoon.  Maybe to him it was The Creature From The Passaic River haha.  I don't know. My favorites are Dracula and Frankenstein.  I also love how all these monsters are human at their core.  I feel it makes them more accessible.  Dracula was a man; Frankenstein is made from people; the Wolfman is a tortured soul; and so on. 

What's your favorite piece of work you have created?

I would have to say my Wolverine VS. Ninjas oil painting.  I've never painted that many characters in the same piece before and it was a fun challenge artistically.  However, the best is yet to come!

Can you tell us your process of making your horror creations?

One of my best selling prints is my portrait of Leatherface from the 1974 classic The Texas Chainsaw Massacre so I'll focus on that one.  I created that work some years ago but I recall it like yesterday.  I had just discovered the work of Basil Gogos.  I was looking at his album cover of Famous Monsters for The Misfits and all his horror monsters of filmland.  Initially I would need the likeness of the character so I took a still of the movie.  I printed it out in black and white and drew it on my canvas.  With my knowledge of anatomy and values(light and shadow) I added a chainsaw for Leatherface to wield.  I wanted to experiment with being a,"Modern Basil Gogos."  So I planned on making use of his color palette, but with more contemporary characters like Leatherface.  I loved how Basil could use multiple colors; as long as your values(shadows) are on point it will work.  I feel that I accomplished that endeavor because a lot of people love that print.  Democracy at it's finest I feel!

Who are your favorite Horror Visual Artists out there?

"If I could see farther than most, it is only because I stood on the shoulders of giants," Sir Isaac Newton.  My favorite horror artists would be Basil Gogos, Bernie Wrightson, all the old Creepy and Eerie magazine artists.

Who are your favorite horror filmmakers?

My favorite directors of horror would be John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and Tobe Hooper.  In their works it is the story and plot/character development that engulfs you in suspense with terror.  Their ideas were original and not just something recycled from 30 years ago like we don't notice. 

Any favorite horror films of all time?

My favorite horror film of all time will always be John Carpenter's Halloween from 1978.  With a young Jamie Lee Curtis and a new-fangled William Shatner mask, he made horror history.  If you notice from the start all the scenes with Laurie Strode and Michael Meyers are all wide shots that get tighter and tighter until the closet scene at the end.  That is a tremendous example of building tension.  Furthermore, in Halloween there are times when you wonder where Michael is.  This is a horror movie, you know he's going to slash and kill.  That's not scary.  Where is Michael?  That's a terrifying question.  That is what real horror is made of.  In every scene you see Michael, he's not always killing people.  Sometimes he disappears, sometimes he does much worse.  

What are you working on at the moment?

Presently, I am working a line of horror/sci-fi inspired T-Shirts and my Renegade Graphic Novel.  The T-Shirts will be available from my website and also Comic Cons I'll be exhibiting at later in the year.  The Renegade Graphic Novel is set for release on Halloween of this year.  

Do you have any tips or inspiring words for artists?

You have to want success like you want to breathe.  You gotta fight your way to the top; nobody gives it to ya.


EMAIL:  alexio5487@hotmail.com