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The Finite and The Infinite: An Interview with Bob Stokes

Posted by J M on

bob stokes dark art

Bob spoke with us first back in 2019 on his Cosmic Gateways show in Philadelphia at Grindcore House and we have been fortunate enough to have some of his print work available on Dark Art & Craft. We caught up with Bob on his most recent Art and music output below:

Good to speak with you again Bob, can you tell us a bit about your new Artwork that will be featured on DA&C?

This new piece is titled “The Finite and The Infinite”. It’s one of the biggest pieces I’ve made and has more of a traditional landscape feel to it. It will also be the album cover of my band Oktas’s first debut album of the same name coming out this June!

Where does your main Artistic inspiration come from?

Mostly from nature. If I find evidence of nature overcoming or breaking through something, like an interesting rock formation, branches breaking up sun beams, or mountains in the distance blending into the sky, it compels me to put it to canvass.  

Do you see the current music and Art worlds as beneficial to those involved?

It’s a give and take. Its’ all emersed in the internet. Virtual currencies of likes and followers don’t always translate into real world money. You have to be our own PR person which can be tough especially if you’re introverted. Art has always been a hustle. The internet has made access to art a lot easier, but when everyone is competing for clicks it can be hard to stand out.  

Tell us about your new release for Oktas musically and artistically?

Oktas has been a project very close to my heart. It encompasses all that I love about extreme music. It is also a sonic exploration into the depths of bass tone. It’s a love story  in a lot of ways. As a bass player I was waiting for a project with huge layered bass chords and harmonized tremolo picked bass leads to come out and blow my mind. I got tired of waiting so decided to make it myself.

Does your current artwork directly relate to your music output?

Yes, it always does, same perspective, same inspirations but different mediums. I've always viewed the cover of any record as important as the music it contains. You eat with your eyes first. If it doesn’t look appetizing it won’t be appetizing.  

bob stokes dark art

The Finite and The Infinite prints available on Dark Art and Craft here

Has "Dark Art" or really any genre taken on new meaning for you?

Dark art has always had an important meaning in my life. When I was a child I suffered from night terrors. Nightmares so intense I would wake my parents up with my screaming. I was sent to therapy. The therapist saw that I liked drawing so he had me draw the demons that I saw in my dreams to help coup. It certainly helped. We also tried calming classical music to help lull me to sleep. Ever since then art and music has been a sort of therapy for me. Especially with the chaos in recent years art and music has been pivotal in channelling my stresses and anxiety into something more productive and positive.

How has the recent Pandemic, world events in Europe etc affected you or your surroundings/life in Philadelphia?

I definitely had some family health scares during the pandemic but fortunately everyone is ok. My wedding was postponed for a year but we were able to have a big ceremony last August. The pandemic was scary but it feels like it’s starting to get back to normal. The events in Europe are tragic and I hope a peaceful resolution is found. Both are showing us how connected we all are to each other and we have to find reasonable and mutual beneficial solutions. As far as how it affects me with inflation and potential shortages, If 20 years of crushing student debt has taught me anything it’s how to survive through struggles like these.


Many of our readers and Artists have had quite a struggle through the last two years, do you have any thoughts on keeping the motivation to create in the current climate?

I think it’s important to focus on the things you have control of. The world will always be screaming at you for attention. Focus your energy on something positive in your life, building or fixing something. Some times you have to take brakes. I’ve taken brakes from making art due to monitory and time restraints but the ich always come back. You have to take care yourself mentally as well as psychically. If you are a true artist and make art because you have to then it’s a part of you and it’s on your terms how, when and why you create it.

Are there any new and upcoming artists and/or musicians from your area we should look into?

I am lucky to be surrounded by a bunch of really talented artists and musicians. Some new bands I’ve keeping my ears on have been Lastima, emo black metal, Red brick, crushing urban death and Fucktomb, street metal at it’s finest. As far as artists, Derrick Jones has been doing some cool work. His screen printed city scales are awesome. Stephen Wilson is out of New York area but has done Oktas’s logo and designed our 1st shirt so needless to say we are fans.

Any events or gallery shows your are excited about - upcoming? Have events started resuming normal attendance on the East Coast?

Music shows are back with a vengeance. Art shows are still catching up. The Decibel metal and beer fest is great. As a brewer and metal enthusiast it marries 2 of my favorite things. Death Nexus fest at Warehouse on Watts is going to be fun. I’m kicking myself for missing Judas Priest at the Met.

Where can our readers find you online? Any last words to our readers?

Oktas’s first show will be in June at Kung Fu Necktie this summer. That will be announced as soon as all the details are figured out. For info and inquiries about my art, my art website is:

http://www.robertburnsstokes3.com/

For info about Oktas including music, merch and show announcement, you can check out our band camp here:

https://oktas.bandcamp.com/album/oktas

and social medias:

https://www.instagram.com/oktasband
https://www.facebook.com/oktasband

- end

J M


@ Dark Art & Craft, print collector and Graphic Artist from Ohio, US.

https://www.artstation.com/darkartandcraft

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