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Interview: Artist Jenn Harding

Artist Jenn Harding took time to do an interview with Horrornews.net. Jenn Harding is an artist, a Hot Topic Creator, and more. Check out what Jenn had to talk about.

Hi Jenn, it’s so great to talk with you. I spotted your stand at Monster-Manias Little Mall of Horrors. I thought it was so amazing, original, and I wanted to know more. I also spotted the JIGSAW, and your work is so detailed.

J.H.- That was one of the ones I prepared for the first Monster-Mania. I was so nervous; I went in with hundreds of drawings. I spent months where nobody saw me, and I spend months filling my sketchbook. I tried to do every kind of horror movie because everyone has their niche.

How did you get started in the world of Art?

J.H.- I’ve always been an artist, as far back as second grade. I’ve always loved to draw, and that’s the path I chose. I always wanted to do advertising and I went to art school, only to find out that cooperate art wasn’t for me. I stopped drawing for about seven years. It wasn’t even horror that got me back into art, it was music. I don’t know if you know who Lee DeWyze is?

Yes, I do.

J.H.- I listen to heavier music now. Lee is more of a singer-songwriter. He won American Idol a few years back. I started getting inspired by his original music to start drawing again, and then through that I became friends with him, and I started getting this huge following because of his fans. That started my excitement for art again, and posting my art. I started to do more art for myself. I’ve always been a horror fan, and I grew up on horror movies. I just prefer scary things. I started incorporating more of myself into the art. In 2019, it just blew up, I did my first convention. I sold a painting to Tony Todd on my first night. He was walking by and I stopped him to introduce myself. He ending up picking out a painting, and buying it. On the last night of the convention, Ted Raimi was walking by and he fell in love with a Yoga Skull that I did. He ended up buying a painting, and he had me sign me. A month later, I became a Hot Topic creator. I’m in my second batch of designs. My 2019 was so good, I feel I used up all my good luck.

No, don’t feel that way. That is awesome! COVID was wicked for everyone. It was like a torturous madness that took over. Do you feel something positive has come out of all of this for you?

J.H.- I do feel something positive but not necessarily for my art. I do work a full-time stressful job. I didn’t stop working through COVID because I was working from home. As an introvert and having a family, I found COVID better for our family. During that time my family just seemed to have gotten along better. We’re usually on the go. My husband and son race mountain bikes, so our lives are usually spent traveling to different races. It was better for us; we were stuck in the house. We had nothing to do but spend time together. We didn’t have outside distractions. I found that to be more positive.

What’s next for you? Will you be at any other conventions this year?

J.H.- Yes, I will be at Monster-Mania in Hunt Valley, Maryland in September. I’m hoping to have new stuff. It’s not official but at this past outdoor event, I met the owners (Chris Rowan) of the Buffalo Bill’s house. They we’re drawn to my banner. I did a death moth a few years ago, and I put that on my logo banner. I didn’t have that piece available because it was sold years ago but they loved it. I’m starting a piece to donate and it will be hung up in the house. I’m very excited to start that.

Chris and his wife Deanna are wonderful people. That’s so exciting.

J.H.- I’m very excited, I’m going to try a new medium. It will be different than what I normally do. I’m going to let it be a secret.

What is your dream art job?

J.H.- I’d love to do art for bands or movie posters. That’s my dream job. I love anything in the entertainment industry. I love people that are creative so, I love doing things for other creative people. I have something that I’ve been working on for a few years. My sister is a writer, she does poems that are creepy but witty. I’m working on illustrating a book with her.

That’s awesome. Congratulations.

J.H.- Thank you.

Please tell me a little bit about who influenced you in the horror world professionally?

J.H.- Yes, growing up, my favorite artist was always M.C. Escher. He always had a creepy look to him. He got me into the creepy stuff and the witchy stuff. Right now, I am obsessed with the art of Mike Cortada, he does all of the artwork for Ice Nine Kills, and he works with a lot of other bands. I’ve reached out to him a few times and he’s been nothing but supportive. He has my dream job, so right now he’s one of my biggest influences.

What do you want to say to everyone? People that have seen your art?

J.H.- Just seeing people come up to me and talk to me, and buy the art. It’s more encouraging than they could ever imagine. I’m extremely hard on myself, especially being a hand-drawn artists. I walked around the vending booths at the convention before we opened, and it kind of made me a little down. I’m seeing all of these people who have been doing this forever. I walked around thinking these people are so amazing, and their so much better than me. Since, I do everything by hand, I sit there and I see all the flaws. When people do show excitement and want to come up and talk to me, it helps to reassure me. I would love nothing more then to be able to do art full-time.

The work you do is incredible. I think so many of us are so hard on ourselves. What inspires you when you draw or what is the process like?

J.H.- My process is a little chaotic. I always have a notebook with me. If I’m at work or at a bike race, sometimes I see something, and I’ll get an idea. It can just come out of nowhere also, and I jot it down in my book.

I’m looking at the Hot Topic t-shirts and it’s so cool to see that you are part of Hot Topic. How does it feel for you?

J.H.- It feels amazing. Hot Topic aesthetic was my vibe, and that’s always been my vibe growing up. You would have never known it though. I had a friend who saw something online that they were looking for creators. She talked me into filling out an application. I didn’t expect them to call me, but they did. I always appreciate my friends and family for supporting me but you know when a stranger shows interest, it’s exciting. I’m actually reaching other people. My son gets so excited about it when we walk into Hot Topic. It’s exciting.

How did you feel being at Monster-Manias Little Mall of Horrors? Was there a moment that stood out for you? I guess sort of a moment that happened or that we were all even at Monster-Mania.

J.H.- I was thrilled to be back, I missed it. I don’t know, I think the things that stand out the most… I guess like when you came up to talk to me, and handed me your card or the people from Buffalo Bill’s house. I never expect people to buy from me, just talking to the people makes me happy. I found that a lot of the people who did stop by and they took a business card, they are following me now. That made me super happy. I liked meeting the other artists, everyone is so nice and helpful.

I have met so many amazing people through horror and conventions. I made so many wonderful friends. They are just awesome people.

J.H.- I always find that funny. People assume that when you’re into horror and you like scary things. They think you’re just going to be scary. I don’t show that on the outside, and sometimes people that don’t know anything about me, they get shocked to know that I like scary things or I listen to heavier music some times. I have friends in all areas. Most of my life now is around athletes and bike people but people assume that all horror people are metal, rude or too hardcore. I find those people are the most humane if that makes sense. They have been nicer, and they get the creative people.

Indeed. I was looking at your Instagram page and it’s awesome. Doug Bradley was one of the guests at Monster-Manias Little Mall of Horrors. What can you tell us about the photo of Doug holding the painting of his legendary character, Pinhead?

J.H.- Yes, I drew that with pen and then I used mod podge it. He was gracious enough to stop.  It’s always validating when you can show somebody what you did. That’s why I love Monster-Mania so much. I’m a huge SCREAM fan, that’s my favorite. When I did Hunt Valley, there just happened to be a SCREAM reunion. I never met any of them before [the cast of SCREAM] so, it was pretty much a life made moment.

That’s awesome. I love SCREAM too!

J.H.- I’m SCREAM obsessed.

I thank you so much Jenn. It was so great to talk with you. You are insanely talented. Thank you for taking the time to talk with Horrornews.net.

J.H.- Thank you so much.

Follow Jenn on Instagram @jennmhardingart

Jenn will be at Monster Mania in September. https://monstermania.net/

All artwork photos provided by Jenn M. Harding



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