Building a demon’s lair
Matt Cowdery concentrates on contrasts as he combines gothic architecture and fantasy scale, to create a strange, forgotten world
Matt Cowdery’s art features. a brooding fantasy figure.
As a genre, dark fantasy is unquestionably my favourite. The mysterious and bleak environments of games such as Dark Souls and the morbid dreamlike paintings of Zdzisław Beksinski´ both serve to inspire me to imagine strange and forgotten worlds, and the inhabitants of those worlds, who must attempt to survive as their world crumbles all around them.
This inspiration turned into the idea of a demonic conqueror sitting amid piles of wealth, finding nothing but emptiness in his ultimate victory, because he lived for the conquest itself, and without it, finds himself empty.
For the environment of the piece, I took inspiration from traditional gothic architecture and mixed it with the impossible scale found in fantasy worlds. For the demon itself, I chose to have a rough, almost thorny skin, to contrast the opulent wealth he’s surrounded with.
The human eye sees by way of contrast, whether it’s contrast of value, colour, saturation, theme, scale, or anything else. To make something pop out, I contrast it with its opposite. I use this technique abundantly: the saturation of the gems in his armour, compared to their surroundings, and in the level of finished detail in the foreground, versus the significantly less-detailed background.