Seth Stygian Transforms Darkness Into Art

Seth Stygian talks about creating art from darkness

Seth and I connected on social media through the hashtag “skullart” and have supported each other’s work ever since. The universe is incredible like that, matching you up with people who enjoy helping each other out! Today, I’m talking to Seth about his creative pursuits of art and music and why he continues even when it’s challenging.

Music was your first love, and art came later. When did you first discover your passion for music? 

My passion for music was there from a young age. I’d listen to my brother’s old

Seth Stygian Skull Art

tapes of Black Sabbath and Metallica, and slowly it turned into an all-metal obsession when I was in my teens, until I heard the band Nine Inch Nails and became obsessed with darker more industrial-sounding bands like Stabbing Westward and Gravity Kills. So, I got a microphone and started singing with them and writing poetry. 

Soon it turned into guitar lessons and playing around on keyboards, until finally, I was writing with my friends and recording our first demos in a band called Children in War. That’s when I really got deep into making music. I was obsessed and devoted to it for years till we eventually broke up, and I had to start writing on my own, which I did for the next ten or so years in my band Stygian Understanding.

What did the progression of your musical career look like? 

I wrote close to five albums worth of music, sent out demos to all kinds of industrial labels, and finally got one to bite, a producer/DJ named Lenny Dee from NY who owned the label Industrial Strength Records. He worked with me on one of my songs, “Cyborg Destroyer” and even put it on a compilation album back in 2011. It can be found on iTunes still!

Unfortunately, I was going through a divorce from my then-wife and so all other dealings fell through because of the mental strains I was under from becoming a single parent. But I continued to work on music for the next 8 years off and on till finally retiring from it completely and just pursuing my art instead. 

It’s not over, it’s just not the thing I work on every day anymore…maybe I’ll do something again someday? You never know.

How did you get into visual arts? 

Visual arts I’ve been into my whole life. Since I was a little kid, I was always doodling on something. Most of the time, it wasn’t even in sketchbooks. It was just on sheets of lined paper from notebooks or napkins in restaurants. I remember I always loved art class. It was the best thing about school. Every day I learned how to make something come to life on the page, and it thrilled me to death! I can’t even put into words how it feels to create something from nothing, like something inside is guiding me to create something that I’ve never seen in my life. I don’t really do fan art often because I don’t copy things well. It’s always been an issue and one of the many reasons I wasn’t into going into the field of tattoos. Everyone wanted something they’ve seen before, and I create out of my twisted brain, so it’s hard for me to copy stuff for them. It’s a little easier when I work digitally because I can redo it over and over and get something the way I like it, but I’m still not a fan of replication. I didn’t learn to do digital art till 2012. I’d draw on an iPad. I had a Bamboo, but it drove me nuts trying to draw on a mouse pad and not see it as I created it, so the iPad revolutionized the way I could make things in digital form, and I became even more obsessed with it too.

Around that time (well, a few years prior, I’d say, more like 2009), I started working on my first comics. They were just for fun. I never thought any of them would see the light of day because I was working on music and was very serious about it. It was always a passion that fueled everything I did. But these comics slowly became more and more focused, and I learned even more about how to create them from just working on them and seeing how all my inspirations (other artists) made them their way. It was exciting, actually making the things I grew up reading! I was always looking at how Jhonen Vasquez did his panels with the crazy perspectives of movies, and I wanted the same for my silly comics too. Other artists like Roman Dirge and Todd Mcfarlane, Sam Keith, and H.R.Giger (not a comic book artist) were also huge inspirations to me.

You’re definitely drawn toward a dark vibe in your art. But there’s still a playfulness to it. How do you merge the two?

Seth Stygian

The dark vibe to my art I’d say comes from the trauma I’ve faced in my life. I was hurt at a very young age by someone close to me, and it has since forged a darkness inside that I can never seem to let go of. But I do like to be playful and happy. The doom and gloom is just always there because of all the pain in my life. I’ve had romantic encounters with very narcissistic women who took what they wanted from me and left me to be alone with my pain, and instead of just curling up and dying, I keep going. Because that’s all we can do is push forward and create something beautiful out of all the pain we’ve experienced. I am all about mental health with my friends, followers, and fans. It’s one of the things I struggle with every day, so I understand why it’s so important.

You post on social media often. What would you say is your social media mantra? 

My mantra for social media would be, keep fighting because every single day is a fight to get out of bed, let alone to make art or post it. So just keep going, keep fighting. It’s worth it!

What would you say to someone just getting started on their creative path? 

To those just starting, I’d say that we all started somewhere. I didn’t just suddenly start making the art I make today. It took some time, I’ve been doing art for 30 plus years, and it only gets better the more time and energy I devote to it. So if you’re serious, never stop working because it’s all about what you put in. 

All my links to art and music can be found in my linktree below!

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