My name is Gilead and I’m a fantasy artist which ain’t the same thing as being an illustrator. Illustrators read stories and follow directions and make art that goes with the story and are friendly professional people. Artists are the most cussedly disagreeable critters you ever met who just make art and it’s anyone’s guess whether it would go with a story or not and furthermore they just don’t care. But sometimes an author will write a story to go with my art and I like that a lot.
This is the cover to New Edge Sword and Sorcery Magazine which I painted using oils, cussin’ and hair pulling. I reckon it came out passable in the end. ‘Neath that Is the cover to Ziggurats and Tentacles which is a collection of my sword and sorcery sketches which I’m currently working on.
Plus here’s a couple samples of the drawings in the book.
You can find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/GileadArt
And Patreon https://www.patreon.com/Gilead
Where did you come from and where are you going?
Well I done lots of jobs in my hometown of Prescott Arizona, mostly in factories and none worth talkin’ about. Then I decided to become an artist like I’d always wanted so I moved to Phoenix cuz my money wouldn’t get me any farther away than that. There I became a sign painter for twenty two years, which may have been twenty years too long, but I liked it well enough until there was one of them economies and I couldn’t get work no more. So I decided to do the one thing I’d always wanted ever since I was a kid, which was to become Frank Frazetta or as much like him as I could manage.
What preoccupies your mind these days?
I’ve gotten old and there’s a heap of projects I want to finish before I die so I’m just trying to plough on through them.
Name a favourite taste, touch, sound, sight and smell
Women. Same answer to all five.
Describe one of your most vivid dreams or nightmares
When I was a kid I was somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be and there was a giant black bull there to tell me so. I ran for my life and he went after me and made that amazing sound they make that’s like a snort and a bellow all at once right down the back of my collar. That wasn’t a dream, that really happened, but to this day I’ll be having some ordinary dream and then I hear that sound behind me and suddenly I’m running for my life.
Have you ever had an uncanny experience?
One day I saw a really big lizard. How big? I don’t tell people anymore, they call me a liar, which is understandable, but then they tell stories about the ghost of their dead granny or flying saucers or psychics and they get mad if I don’t believe them. Now I ask you which story is the most improbable: a ghost or a big lizard?
How does your sense of place affect the way you express yourself?
The older I get the more I realise that where you are becomes who you are. You can’t help it, the weather, the distance to the nearest shopping, availability of jobs, it affects all of your decisions and priorities and becomes how you see the world.
What has particularly touched or inspired you recently?
Because of quarantine I haven’t been out much so I’ve turned inward. I went back to the old Sword and Sorcery stories that I read when I was young and then went on line looking for more. I only expected to find a deep dark lonely cave to crawl in and hide. But, quite unexpectedly, what I found was a community of like minded people who had had the same reaction to the covid era. For so many of us Sword and Sorcery is a sort of literary comfort food. I don’t care if it’s good for me or not, don’t judge me I’m in quarantine, leave me alone. Better yet grab a book, pull up a chair (mind your social distancing) and let’s talk about Conan and Frazetta art and all the new anthologies.
Tell us a good story, anecdote or joke
There was an old stone ring in the woods up along Bosky Creek where I grew up. People said it was a fairy ring and that if you slept inside it years would pass and you’d be an old man when you woke up in the morning. Well sir I slept in the ring when I was a lad and years have gone by and I was an old man when I woke up this morning. And that’s as true a tale as was ever told down Bosky Creek.
Gilead will be contributing art to future issues of New Edge Sword & Sorcery Magazine
New Edge Sword & Sorcery “takes the genre’s virtues of outsider protagonists, thrilling energy, wondrous weirdnes, and a large body of classic tales, then alloys inclusivity, mutual creator support, a positive fan community, and enthusiastic promotion of new works into the mix “