We interview Maggot Meister

In 1979, in a small town in Croatia, Andrej Bartulovic ‘popped’ into the world!

Drawing throughout his life, through being in a band, and currently surviving on coffee and I smokes, horror movie buff Andrej evolved into MAGGOT MEISTER, supremo of ALL THINGS ROTTEN.

His talent has been utilised to create the album artwork, merch, and logos of artists such as AMON AMARTH, EDGUY, VIOLATOR, FURY and PAUL DiANNO! He has also provided the cover art for a gamut of books, and also works as a 2D concept artist in the video games industry!

Phew!

We recently caught up with Maggot Meister, and discuss All Things Rotten…

A lot of your work is synonymous with Metal. Was it your art that got you into Metal, or Metal that got you into art?

It was bit of both I guess. I was drawing before I got into metal, from around the age of 13, and then again, started drawing metal cliché stuff after I got into it… kind of weird, but logical.

For the most part, do you find inspiration in the music, or draw on influences from elsewhere?

Usually it’s the music; often I get samples of stuff I’m working on, some un-mastered tracks to start the art juices flowing, though it’s not necessary if the band has pretty specific idea. I draw influences from comics, films, real world… everywhere. I guess 99% of artists (or people feeling that way) would answer you with something similar.

You’ve got quite a fast turnaround on designs. Is that from years of experience or do you work to a set formula?

Well, fast turnaround is a must in this business. It shows that you actually care for your customer, that you want to work on [their] stuff; it shows professionalism, I guess. It keeps me from getting choked with requests I have no time to do, and shows respect to people who came to you for help. Lets call it respect you’re showing for work, customer and yourself. It helps if you’re old goat like me, too.

What would you say has been the defining moment in your career so far?

Reaching out to Snowy Shaw and him asking to do something for his project. I’ll never forget that. I think that was 4/5 years ago. As you probably already now, he’s awesome, haha.

Collaborating with Toxic Vision. How was that?

It was great. Sharon [Ehman] is great. When you have that easy-going personality like Sharon, all is possible; no fuss. No stress about it. Plus, in many ways we’re similar; kind of workaholics (when it’s about art) and we both want our stuff out there… to be seen. She’s a great, down to Earth person, and I love working with people who have their ego tamed (some have problems with that, khm, khm). All in all, a great experience.

Would collaborating with other clothing designers be something of interest to you in the future?

Of course. I worked for HOLD YOUR COLORS CLOTHING (Kodi Fuji), which was great too. I did the logo for CRIME NINE CLOTHING too… I’m gun for hire; you need my help? Not a problem. As long as we think in the same direction, and my art fits the theme.

Linking clothing with bands… Does it put a smile on your face when you see a fan wearing one of your designs?

Oh, Hell yeah! While big names (now we’re talking about modern, big bands) are attracting a bigger audience to my page, or website, the whole process has less soul. So, for example, management asks merch house for exclusive design to be made, merch house asks me to make it and management approves/disapproves it. So, basically, you aren’t in contact with the band. The band has no idea what will be printed. Kind of… too artificial, too corporate. I always enjoy working with the band directly, making sure we’re all on the same page and that we all dig the art.

What would be your personal favourite design?

Not sure, it’s a tricky question. I don’t fancy my older designs as [I think] I improve over time; it should really be like that, working on yourself, improving. One day, when you say: “Oh, that’s so fucking badass”, its time to stop. To be clear, it’s just my opinion on the matter, maybe many will disagree.

So you don’t have a ‘stand out’ design?

Haha. No.

Album-wise, what’s your genre of choice to work on?

I don’t know… I really don’t. I enjoy working on everything. I’m trying to do many styles so I can work with more bands; not just only for thrash metal, or black (well, for black you need photo of the wood, usually, haha – not morning wood… that’s for grind!)

Which other artists, working today, do you admire? What makes their work stand out to you?

There are a ton of them I admire. I like old-school stuff like Riddick, I like how Christophe works. I don’t know most of them by name so I cannot pin-point. Comics-wise it’s the awesome Greg Cappullo, or Ashley Wood.

Video games… how did that come about?

Before I started doing that, I was working on a ‘Neverwinter Nights 2’ mod called ‘The Purgatorio Trilogy’, based on ‘Planescape Torment’. I did concept art, worked on textures, and did the logo for it. After that, I was in LA studio as senior concept artist. It was a great experience, plus I got to work with Rhianna Pratchett, and she’s a legend. The LA thing was short, but sweet; I moved on eventually to do what I do now.

If you could have worked on any game, past or present what would it have been?

Silent Hill. Period.

Are movies something you’d consider in the future?

If I’m given a chance, why not; as I said, if it’s along my line of duty, Hell yeah!

Okay, the phone rings. It’s, let’s say, Stephen Spielberg, asking you to work on a new horror movie. What’s the first thing you’d do/say?

“I want 20 million dollars!”… and I’d truly hope it’s proper remake of ‘The Thing’, or ‘Xtro’.

The world recently lost one of the greatest, and most influential, artists of modern times, H.R. Giger. How much of an inspiration was he to you?

He was a great inspiration when I was younger, 16 or so. Over time, I’ve found many more great artists to admire and learn from, but yeah, who doesn’t love Giger? He’s alpha and omega of porn biomechanics, haha.

I imagine if you were sat drinking a beer with him it would have been a very lengthy conversation. What would be one thing about his life or work you’d have to discuss?

I’d ask him about his obsession with phalluses and vaginas, that’s for sure. In fact, I think we’d talk about it all evening. Why was he worshipping those in such manner? Why? I mean, last time I drew a penis was for fun, as a message to someone, and before that too… and before that…

Looking to the future, what lies ahead for All Things Rotten?

Surviving. Paying bills. Feeding spoiled cat. Drinking coffee, and smoking cigs. Hope people will continue to support me, I’ll try and do my best to keep them satisfied. Working naked and friendly approach – it’s a win!

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us.

You’re most welcome. I appreciate your time to ask interesting questions and make this interview possible!

Stay naked. Stay strong!

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Interview by Jamie Sweetlove

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