Nestor Avalos's website begins with a parable about his Artistic renaissance. You can read it here but for paraphrasing's sake, he discusses a time of extreme isolation that forced him to challenge his own creative integrity and purifying his Artistic vision. It is through this period that Avalos attributes his work today.
Dark Art enthusiasts are sure to recognize the work of Nestor Avalos. His body of work is rich with terror, blending classic iconography with rich occult symbolism and horror that seems to be brought from Hell itself. We had the distinct opportunity to talk to Avalos about his work and are honored to be offering a series of prints by him in our online store.
Tell us who you are, what you do and where you are located.
My name is Nestor Avalos, and I am Mexican.
I majored in graphic design and by day, I’m a graphic designer. However, I tend to balance my usual work life with my activities as an Artist.
My Art is heavily influenced by the occult and magic and is charged by a strong symbolism where the Spirits and the character of the Devil manifest themselves on the final creations as a manifesto of my spiritual belief.
If you could name your top five sources of inspiration, what would they be and why?
The main source of inspiration it’s the dark side of the spiritual world, “The crooked path”. That force became a devotional manifesto in my life, and it is what nourishes my project. This concept involves whole aspects of existence, the beauty, transformation, love and hate, the horror, the mystic, the death and rebirth and all the mysteries hidden behind the night.
The religious essence has quickly formed a cornerstone into the aesthetics of the project, in an act of desecration (some would even call it blasphemy), where I transform what religions consider holy in what is holy for me.
All of us have those one or two or five images that impacted us as a kid, guiding our way to the artistic light (or darkness). Do you remember those pieces? This can be anything from movies, art pieces in galleries, photographs, etc.
Definitively! You’re right – The first one, was the Catholic religious art, my family raised me as catholic, so I was surrounded and exposed to all their religious imagery and rites since I was a child. Some of the art displayed on the churches were dark, quite grotesque and painful to the eyes of a child, but at the same time you could perceive a beauty behind those “holy” representations.
The second one, I’m quite sure that was the iconic HR Giger’s Alien Xenomorph. It is a quite funny story: after I watched the movie, (the first one) I got mesmerized by the monster, to a level that my child toys were all figures from it. Over the time, I started to investigate to know better the work of mister Giger, because I didn’t know anything about it I just had the vague idea that he was the creator of that malign creature.
Follow up: is this where your affinity for the darker side of things began? If not, where did you began your descent into darker art?
One definitive thing that open my mind to all this world was the extreme Heavy Metal’s music world: the cover arts, the sound, the singers’ growls and atmosphere…It blew my mind and I told to myself that I wanted to be part of it. However, I think that this affinity consolidated during a period of my life when I went through a process of isolation and self-development, where I found myself into the depths of pain. By that time, the world of the occult knocked on my door; it was a world that always intrigued me, even I could say it called me…but it was forbidden and impregnable…and honestly, it also scared me (due to my religious and social background). But I was just me, all by myself, facing an uncertain future and then I decided to jump into the abyss, determined to rediscover the essence of the Self.
Describe the first moment you knew you were intended to be a creative.
I think that it was when I was a child, when I started to draw and tried to represent the things that I imagined or the characters I saw on TV and books and also creating my own comic books.
What media do you use for your process? Describe your creative rituals if any.
It is actually like a ritual.
First, I just I create the right space and atmosphere that could inspire me, being surrounded by the things that are related with the essence of my work (art, music, books, a good cup of coffee, etc.).
As for the work itself, I start with one or various ideas in drafts, then I make a final detailed sketch and then apply the required traditional technique, or do it digitally. However, every project has to start with a traditional sketch.
when it comes for a commission, I ask the commissioner for music, lyrics, references or book chapters and then, based on all the information received, I create a couple of sketches and send the drafts to the costumer, waiting for their feedback. Once I get their response, I work on the final proposal before working with the art techniques required for the cover art.
The Sun God - Fire Bearer Nestor Avalos Wall Banner
When people enter your site, they are greeted with the following phrase: "This is a conception of the black dimension, a gate to our spiritual chaos." Can you tell us more about this?
It’s an invitation to the visitors to experiment a personal experience with the darkest side of the soul, something that could defy their mental and spiritual comfort zone, a chaos where the gates to a different appreciation of their established mind structures are opened through the disruptive imagery, taking them into a journey on the corridors of fear, the horror, the grotesque, the forbidden, the dark are opened.
I want that the messages and symbolism I portray, push them to enter and discover a new world that lead them to the fire, to the freedom. I want the art and the entities represented on it to speak by themselves.
You have quite a portfolio of work created for the metal scene. Can you tell us: Five bands that are doing it for you currently, your favorite commission you have ever done and why, and how you got involved in the metal illustration realm.
I’m truly honest when I say that every piece is special. Behind my work’s proposal, there is a mission, something sacred.
If I can talk about a very important highlight on my career, it would definitely be the cover art I made for one of the most recognized and famous bands: Moonspell’s cover art for the live album “Lisboa under the spell”. The experience of being on contact with one of my favorite bands and personalities on the media was fantastic! It's a scar that I left into the eternity's flesh.
The Lie of Nazareth Print
Other great achievement was undoubtedly working for the mighty Bloodbath! And many other bands that marked me when I was a teen, like Rotting Christ, Dark Funeral, Necrophobic, etc. So, at least, I already reached one of my teen’s dreams, hehe.
When I exposed my work into social media and noticed that my work started to get enough recognition and attention, then I decided to offer my services as an artist. And so far it have worked out really well.
What's in store for you for 2020?
Fortunately, the year started with lot of projects, so, creating Art is my main priority. I´ll need to improve my techniques to do more interesting creations, though.
I would like to do some changes on my official website and I have planned to return to a project I had about developing a clothing line and also offer some merchandising.
Also, I would like to find an editorial in order to publish a book exclusively of my work, that, would be another big step on my personal career.
We have a LOT of people who are aspiring artists who read these interviews. What is one thing you think they should all know?
My suggestion is the following: keep in mind that art is a noble and beautiful profession, but also is extremely demanding. You need to invest a lot of sacrifice and time to achieve your goals. Constancy is the key to develop your skills in order to create better pieces. etc
If you want to be an Artist, you will need to develop patience, discipline and compromise.
Thanks again for your time Nestor!
Thanks to all of you for giving me the chance to share this my work on this showcase of great Artists! Live in Chaos – Burn in freedom