Interview – The Weird Art of Eric Lofgren
Few would doubt the power of the internet. Where once those with fringe interests would gather in twos or threes in the school playground, today we have found a home in myriad of online forums where we discuss everything from niche movies to cool artists. It was the latter group that led me to discovering the work of Eric Lofgren, who is most noted for doing digital illustration for RPG’s. Born in Canada in 1963, Eric is now a resident in Western Canada where he lives with his wife, two sons, dog and cat.
Martin – For those who are unfamiliar with your work, tell us what you do?
Eric Lofgren – I mainly do covers and interior illustrations for the Role Play Game (and occasionally the Collectible Card Game) market. I’m also getting more known for the H. P. Lovecraft themed paintings I do for myself that are intended for the print market.
MAS – What can you tell us about what you are currently working on?
EL – Currently, I am getting close to finishing up a big job for a game publisher who specialize in Lovecraft related material. I also have other commissioned works on the go, but that one is significantly larger at the present time. And I am always working on creating a body of work that stems from my own ideas or are my own interpretations of other previous works, such as the Lovecraft work I am doing. I think I have around two dozen Lovecraft themes artworks already and am working towards working my way though interpreting his whole body of work with the intent of eventually Kickstarting an art book. I also would like to work towards creating an art book of my sci- fi themed work, as well.
MAS – What first led you on this path? Did you go through any other expressive media before arriving at this one?
EL – The usual inspirations as a child; comics, Dungeons and Dragons, Lord of the Rings, Lovecraft, etc. guided me towards this path and I knew from an early age that I wanted to be an artist. A comic artist first, but eventually I would end up doing illustration work for rpg’s. It did take a while, as I live in a remote place in context to the publishing world (at least back then) and with the advent of the internet and e- mail, it became much simpler to get into commercial art, and rpg’s were a ready source of work. And as a huge fan of fantasy, sci- fi and horror it was a great fit. Although I’d still like to dabble in comics at some point.
MAS – Every artist tends to go through phases of expressing certain themes. What are some of the ideas that you’ve covered in the past, and what are you exploring at the moment?
EL – When I was younger I was a huge fan of anything fantasy, so I spent a lot of time playing with ideas based around those types of themes. Lord of the Rings was a big inspiration for me and that fuelled a lot of drawings and paintings. Not so much copying Tolkien’s ideas within those books, but exploring my own concepts as best I could. Right now I am exploring my love of old sci- fi pocket book cover art and my love of Lovecraft. To that end I am doing a series of digital prints exploring content in both those venues, by trying to recreate the feel of old pocketbook sci- fi covers, and by adapting stories by Lovecraft, rendered down into a single iconic image. Beyond working towards creating art books for those endeavours , it would also be nice to eventually land work in the broader publishing industry doing covers, but in the mean time, it’s been fun trying to capture the essence of those genres.
MAS – Do you get any sense of relief through your work? What kind of emotional release is there?
EL – All the time. I live and breathe art, so not being able to do it gets very frustrating for me. To me, there is nothing more rewarding then completing a painting or drawing and sitting back and feeling very satisfied with the result. That feeling can last a long time.
MAS – Who and what inspires you?
EL – Over the years I have had many inspirations which have spurned me on to further myself. Comic books (one time big Marvel fan here), genre novels like Lord of the Rings and Lovecraft’s anthologies, modern artists and illustrators like Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, Michael Whelan, Mike Mignola, John Byrne, Berni Wrightson, Franklin Booth, Roger Dean, Chris Foss. That particular list could go on and on. I am also a big fan of movies. As such, the current run of Marvel movies are hugely inspirational to me. But so was LotR, the Star Wars and Alien franchises, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and any good adaptation of Lovecraft, which can be a rarity, and who has become one of my biggest inspirations. I discovered Lovecraft at an early age, but lately I find his work to be even more influential then before. I love the idea of cosmic horror and want to try and explore that with my Lovecraft and sci- fi themed paintings as much as I can.
MAS – What advice would you have for people who are starting out and want to follow a similar path?
EL – As someone who is self taught, I would highly suggest going to school if you want to become an artist or illustrator. Or at least seek out some sort of art education in one way or another. I think it would be much more beneficial in the long run in helping you map out the trajectory you want to take, and help avoid all the pitfalls out there. Also, just be very passionate about doing art. It’s the passion that keeps you going when times get difficult. If you don’t have that passion, you may want to try something else. So many times over the years people have admired my art and would say things along the lines of, “That looks great. I wish I could do that, but I can’t even draw a straight line.” suggesting that it takes an inherent talent to do this. But that always confused me, because when I began I couldn’t draw a straight line either, and sometimes even to this day. Eventually I figured out that it’s not an inherent talent for art that makes us who we are, but the passion to learn and create and always strive to be better, no matter what.
MAS – Lastly, bourbon or single malt?
EL – Single malt, of course.
Eric Can be found on…