A New Jersey based artist, Dan Harding’s art is scary, gooey and magnificent in all it’s gory details. The flesh on his creatures melt and drip down their skeleton armature, while bones jut sharp through the transparent and sometimes frail, skin. Bodily fluids glisten and congeal with a masterful realism, flesh rots in a mottled, bruised and peeling despair and reptilian scales form in unexpected transformations. One can feel the creative and imaginative trance Dan must immerse himself in while working, luminous layers of color and radiation flow into his fantasy brain children.
My favorite art memory from my childhood is…
One of my favorite things to do when I was a kid was to stay up late on Friday and Saturday to watch Fright Night and Chiller Theater. I would have a pad of paper so I could draw while I watched all of these great horror movies. I’d try to draw what I saw and at the same time was inspired to create my own monsters. That was a blast!
My interest in art started ….
As far back as I can remember I always loved to draw. I always had some paper and a crayon, pencil or whatever. One of the first things I remember drawing were these little stick figure, battle scenes. I could go through an entire pad of paper in one sitting doing that !
I am often inspired and motivated by….
Aside from horror movies, textures play a big role in inspiring me. Whether it’s a piece of wood with some cool pattern to it or just the way dried out grass looks. I get a lot ideas from that and it definitely gets me excited to start sketching a bunch of concepts or jumping right into a painting.
If I could spend the day with any artist (dead or alive) it would be… And we would….
It would have to be Frank Frazetta and we would definitely sit down and paint. To watch him paint would be a dream come true! Plus a huge learning experience. I was lucky enough to visit his museum in East Stroudsburg, PA and see his work up close. The man was brilliant!!
The tip or art technique (a specific tidbit of craft, advice or mechanical expertise) that has helped me the most is ….
Don’t try to fix a mistake with more paint. Sounds funny but after I heard that things got a little easier (lol). I remember saying “all of this looks really cool except for this one spot” and instead of wiping out that section, I’d try to work it out with more paint and wind up ruining the whole damn piece! When I first started using oil paint, I did that a lot. It’s way less stressful and a lot cheaper to ” wipe it out”. I “wipe it out” by putting some thinner on a rag and gently scrub, removing the part I don’t like. Being careful not to use to much thinner so I don’t get drips on the parts I want left in there. I can’t tell you how many pieces of canvas and masonite I’ve thrown away or painted over, before I discovered this. For me, it always killed the idea too.
If I could own one piece of art, out of the world’s collections, it would be …
Again, it would be a Frazetta. I know there is so much amazing art in the world but none of it had the affect on me the way Frazetta’s “Death Dealer” did. When I saw that for the first time I was so blown away! I knew then I wanted to become a better artist. Though, if I had that I’d get nothing done because I’d be staring at it all day (lol).
My favorite piece of my own art is…, because…
“Skull” (below) - because it was at that point I started to let go of what I thought I was supposed to be doing (to get a job doing art) and just start to paint what I wanted. I learned a lot doing that piece and it re-inspired me, after feeling frustrated with my art for a long time.
My ultimate project or fantasy is …
Probably something in SPFX. (Special Effects) I’ve always loved creating creatures and to have an opportunity to do that – whether it’s concept drawing or sculpting – would be awesome!
The last song I choose to listen to was…
Sulfur from Slipknot.
The last book I couldn’t put down was ….
“Dispatch” from Bentley Little. Lots of really cool imagery in there.
Air… and cheeseburgers.
It’s not hip, but I really love …
My favorite motto (or quote) is….
“A man who limits his interests, limits his life”. Vincent Price
Your “monsters” are some of the best out there, any insight into how they evolved?
I really just paint things that are fun or interesting to me and love doing it. Monsters have always been a part of my life and getting more creative with them over time is a natural progression for anyone I think. You get better the more you do something. I have a long way to go but I’m happy with the direction my art is heading.
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