You may have already seen the work of Django Nokes on social media - but if you haven't yet make sure to check him out on Instagram. We discovered his work one day through the Dark Art & Craft hashtag and since have been honored to work with him at a few of our past art exhibitions. Django works digitally combining the macabre with whimsy for some of our favorite contemporary montages of our time.
Without further ado, we had the opportunity to ask him some questions about his unique work, process and inspiration.
The basics: can you tell the reader who you are and where you're located?
I’m Django Nokes (the name Django it’s not taken from the old western movie but from Jazz Guitar Django Reinhardt) and I live in a small country next to the sea in Tuscany.
How would you describe your art?
That’s a hard question, but I would describe it as a dark imaginary vision.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Music is a big influence for me, I was running a metal fanzine back in the 90’s and I always loved horror/grotesque movies, ( Argento, Fulci, Sam Raimi, Lynch, that kind of fucked up stuff). I was also into other genres ( Hardcore, punk, dark wave ) but the one I’m really deeply into myself is metal.
I remember buying A Blaze In the Northern Sky by Darkthrone in that period of time and I really didn’t understand what was going on because they were playing death/black metal at the time, but took me several listens to understand that things where changing (in good ways). I still listen to metal and other genres. Maybe I wanted to transfer my emotion and background influences into the things I’m doing, what I have become now, but it’s a hard question to answer. They’re feelings or a mood that I transfer into images and I think people resonate with it, that’s it really!
How did you get started as an artist? Is there a particular age or event that caused you to begin creating?
I started 7 years ago, but I was already doing some stuff (bands logo’s, graphic advert design) at the same time I was working with antiques, making wooden frames and other stuff. Then one day I come up with the idea of making something super weird and sell it in the market with the frames I was making.
I started in this medium while studying design at college and it grew from there very naturally. That was the seed of my inspiration really. When my course finished I was already developing my own individual style that set me apart from a lot of other artists.
Who are some of your artistic icons?
There are great artists I always loved the most influential Hieronymus Bosch, Brueghel, Geiger, Remaking Dürer, Gustave Doré, but the most influential for me it’s when I saw the Pungent Stench First album cover... Joel Pete Witkin!
For the former, Joel Pete Witkin hands down inspires me daily. I was shocked by the Pungent Stench album covers, I find it so sick and grotesque, they were so provocative and elegant at the same time. I’m trying to find the same route, being provocative but elegant at the same time! A mix really of shock, beauty, elegance and horror.
In response to the latter, probably where a live mostly, I’m more productive in the winter than summer because I can go down to the beach and think of something or get the car and go up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere.
Your montages blend a variety of subcultures. Can you talk more about these pieces? Do you draw them or do you find them?
As I said before I get inspired by a lot of things, I recently watched The Neon Demon and the next day I was already doing an artwork inspired by the movie. I like to work with old photographs and also doing drawing, and sometimes I’m doing both for one piece.
How do you select the imagery in your work?
It comes to me from various sources such as films and music that influences me and then it just grows in my mind's eye.
We love to ask this question because who doesn't like following amazing art accounts online? Who are some of your creative favorite people to follow on Instagram?
- Adrian Baxter
What is some advice that you would give to other artists?
I’d say that as an Artist you have to believe in what you produce and just stick at it. As long as the passion is there what else really matters. Never Give up, keep doing what you love.