Illustration lecturer’s hommage to Krampus puts the horror into Christmas
The festive season has taken on a darker tone for The Northern School of Art Illustration lecturer Nick Holmes, who had to draw inspiration from a scary Santa tradition from Central European folklore for a recent commission.
One of his regular clients asked Nick, pictured below, who teaches on the School’s BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application degree course, to create illustrations of the anti-Santa ‘Krampus’.
A horned, anthropomorphic figure described as ‘half-goat, half-demon’, Krampus punishes children during the Christmas season who have misbehaved, in contrast with Saint Nicholas, who rewards the well-behaved with gifts.
The scary Santa figure makes an appearance on Krampusnacht (or Krampus Night), on Thursday 5th of December, when Krampus traditionally visits homes and punishes children.
Nick explained: “As people search for ways to celebrate the yuletide season in non-traditional ways, in the United States, some are embracing the dark side of Christmas with Krampus movies, TV programmes, parties, local Krampusnacht events and even running in Krampus-themed races.”
Nick’s client is US-based Horror Décor, a specialist home décor company which promises to ‘make everyday a living nightmare’ with its horror-themed range of soft furnishings and other home products.
His Krampus illustration was used by Horror Décor to create a carnival punk, something traditionally found at American carnivals and circuses, to mark Krampusnacht.
As a big fan of horror, Nick said that his professional practice often dips into the horror genre. “I’ve worked with Horror Décor in the past, and it feeds into other similar clients for whom I’ve created horror tees and enamel pins over the years.”
As a big fan of horror, Nick said that his professional practice often dips into the horror genre. “I’ve worked with Horror Décor in the past, and it feeds into other similar clients for whom I’ve created horror tees and enamel pins over the years.
“To keep this work separate from the more child friendly work I’ve created for the likes of The Beano and Thunderbirds comics, I produce it under the name ‘ZombieDollars’”
Nick’s client list includes the popular American Horror Tee manufacturer ‘Fright Rags’ and online Geek subscription service ‘Loot Crate’.
He has also created a comic book for the BBC survival horror zombie show ‘I survived a Zombie Apocalypse’ as well as being concept artist for the zombies used within the show.
Nick added: “Working for these companies has allowed me to create officially licensed work for movies such as Ghostbusters, The Thing, An American Werewolf in London and Creepshow.
“I often exhibit and sell work at horror conventions across the UK as well as the Walking Dead convention ‘Walker Stalker’ where my work was a big hit with the show’s director and effects coordinator Greg Nicotero, who would buy my art as gifts for the people who work on the show, as well as commissioned me to produce a poster for his studio wall.”
Further information about The Northern School of Art’s BA (Hons) Illustration for Commercial Application degree course at its university campus in Hartlepool is available at https://northernart.ac.uk/study-with-us/hartlepool-campus/degree-fda-courses/ba-hons-illustration-commercial-application/