The Goblet of Shock
By Michael Aronovitz
Horror Author, College Professor, and Rock Critic
Talk about coincidences. Sunday, I was on my Facebook page taking my usual short browse, and I saw a painting being displayed by one of my FB friends: Vickie Flaugher. I had never had contact with Vickie outside of this platform, as I use social media to meet fellow artists that I don’t know yet! As for my posts, they are either about my books, this rock column, or pics of places I would like to visit someday, like Amsterdam or France. Anyhoo…I liked her painting, so I shared her post. She thanked me for the share, we talked a bit, and she was quick to suggest that I do an article on horror artist Lynne Hansen.
I sent Lynne an invitation for an article, and miracle of miracles, she exclaimed, “I know you already! I did the cover art for the Cemetery Dance edition of ALICE WALKS.” I freaked. Though I had not associated the name with the pic, that edition has always been my favorite. Here it is! What a warm and wonderful reunion for everyone!
Amazingly, after Lynne and I celebrated this “one in a million” type of occurrence, she emailed back and said, “Mike, believe it or not, you are on my schedule for this month as well. Cemetery Dance hired me to do the cover of your upcoming collection DANCING WITH TOMBSTONES.” All I could think was, “Are you kidding me? What luck!” A few months ago, I discussed cover concepts with my contact at Cemetery Dance, and the last I heard, it was going to be a demented toy ballerina positioned before a broken music box at the foot of a headstone. If it turns out that way, I am totally psyched. If Lynne decides to go in another direction…surprise me! It is like Christmas, my birthday, and the 4th of July all at once!
Here is her philosophy in her own words:
“My art tells the stories of things that never happened. I bring a stylized real-world sensibility to the darkest humanity has to offer, while somehow managing to make the most twisted nightmares beautiful.
Most of my art is inspired by the novels of some of today’s best horror writers, starting out its life as commissions for book covers. Twisted villains, suffering heroines, creepy landscapes, and confounding monsters abound.
Early twentieth-century surrealists like MC Escher and Salvador Dali have inspired me to seek the symbolic in the stories I bring to life. The work of iconic horror book cover artists like Alan Clark and Jill Bauman have encouraged me to explore character and tell a vivid story in a single image that may be seen both as small as a thumbnail and as large as a living room wall.
I consider myself a multimedia artist, blending techniques such as digital collage, graphite, ink, and digital oils to create my paintings. I love to juxtapose the warm, rich color palettes and textures of the old masters with concepts that are often cold and distancing. I seek the emotion in the story I’m trying to tell and aspire to infuse that throughout my work, in hopes that people languish in my art, and the stories that inspired it.”
Here is Lynne’s bio:
Lynne Hansen is a horror artist who specializes in book covers. She loves creating art that tells a story and that helps connect publishers, authors and readers. Her art has appeared on the cover of the legendary Weird Tales Magazine, and her clients include Cemetery Dance Publications, Thunderstorm Books and Raw Dog Screaming Press. She has illustrated works by New York Times bestselling authors including Jonathan Maberry, George Romero, and Christopher Golden. Her art has been commissioned and collected throughout the United States and overseas.
Although Lynne is often booked out months in advance, she’s always open to considering new horror commissions. You can reach her through her website at http://lynnehansenart.com/ And if you’d like to get free art from Lynne every month, subscribe to her newsletter here (https://bit.ly/LHANEWS) and you’ll receive a new Creepy Calendar you can download and print out, just like this one from January.
To follow her art adventures online, you can find her on social media:
Now is the time that we all usually retire to the bar (or the keg in the woods) to swap stories and experiences. Ironically, Lynne is such a part of my vision already, that long explanations are not needed. I have always felt that the cover art does not just “sell the book,” but rather, it joins with the story to make a better story. Lynne has gotten that down to an…art!
I can’t wait to see what the cover looks like for my collection coming out this September!
Thank you, Lynne.