Comaworx is an art and design studio from the Netherlands that’s been around for quite some time. Comaworx has done amazing artworks for several well known bands like Rotting Christ, Spearhead, Deathspell Omega, Necrophagia, Bunkur or Varathron. I’ve had the chance to ask Manuel Tinnemans – the head and pen behind Comaworx – a few questions about his work.
Symmetal: Please tell us a bit about your background. Are you an autodidact or learned your skills in art school/university?
Comaworx: When it comes to art I’m mainly autodidact. I studied Art Academy for just half a year but I was already too aged/matured to be bothered with principal ideas on ‘art’…after some fights with teachers I decided without the paper I could do anyways. But I always kept my eyes open for other artists and studied dozens of artbooks and still do to this day…the learning phase simply never ceases.
Symmetal: In your artworks you combine historical themes and motifs with basic geometric forms. For example Deathspell Omega’s Dabolus Absconditus, the Verbvm Vervs artwork or the Planet Aids artwork from 2005. They keep a historical feeling while still feeling modern. Where do you get your inspiration from?
Comaworx: I do a lot of research prior to each piece I do…some historical motives cannot be replaced by any contemporary version for the sake of it….the symbolic/mythological meaning is too big too toss away. So I always try to keep close to the basics. My inspiration is what I see and like…be it anything.
Symmetal: Most of your artworks were done with ink on paper. While in these days a lot of artists work with digital paintings or mixed media you stick to traditional drawings and paintings. In addition your artworks often keep the warmth and feel of the paper even if they are shown online. What does that traditional working and material mean to you?
Comaworx: The essence of my work. I always prevailed the manual approach to the digital. Even to this point I cannot perform the simplest of tasks in photoshop, simply because I always kept distance. I try to use as little as possible to make the most out of it.
Symmetal: What’s the usual working process on an artwork? How much is the band involved?
Comaworx: The process starts with sharing ideas and thoughts which results in research and sketches and when the proper constellation is found the final piece is set up in pencil and finalized in ink. Bands mostly have their ideas to bring in which is vital imo. I do custom work for each band I work with so I can fit my technique to the style a band needs…for that purpose I started etching zincplates and doing silk-screen prints to get more diversity in my pallet.
Symmetal: You often use symmetric elements in your artworks. What does symmetry mean to you?
Comaworx: Nothing more than a perfect clotheshanger to put my chaoscloth on.
Symmetal: Artists sometimes hide small easter eggs in their artworks – personal references, little notes or even something funny the viewer usually doesn’t discover. Are there any easter eggs to discover in your artworks?
Comaworx: No…and funny is a strange word in relation to my works…as well as easter eggs…sorry to have to disappoint you.
Symmetal: What’s the next work we can expect from you?
Comaworx: Quite some artwork – Ares Kingdom mlp, Doom Snake Cult lp re-re-release, Pentacle 3 split ep’s with Mortem, Sadistic Intent and Eternal Solstice, shirts for Antaeus, Primordial, NWN! fest and Weltbrand, album artwork for Kozeljnik, Domains, Ossuarium, Thou Art Lord lp and Bunkur/Mordor split….all artwork. Besides that you can expect new musickal works from Bunkur and Deathtemple as well as two projects; Kãpãlin and Odessa….I’m also working on an artbook together with Timo Ketola and Sami Hynninen(Rev.Bizarre) called Tabula Obscura which will be released first half of 2013 through Ajna Bound. Coinsiding the release of the book we’re also planning some exhibitions throughout Europe.