Artist Louis Harrison
Louis Harrison trained at the Kubert School. His first cover work was for The Savage Sword of Conan and he has done several Marvel characters as well as a subset of 9 chromium cards for Star Wars Finest card set by Topps. His love of comics all began with his interest in Thor. He is a featured artist at Spiderwebart Gallery. Currently residing in Denmark his most recent work features and is inspired by Viking lore.
What where you like as a child growing up? Do you remember what it was like in Columbia before you moved to the states at 4?
The only thing I can remember from the time I was still living in Colombia, was from the day we were packing to immigrate to the States…I wanted to take a few Lone Ranger comic books in the suitcase, but my mother refused.
Why do you think Thor became your favorite super hero? Which other characters to you enjoy most?
I first found out a couple of years ago why I had been so attracted to THE MIGHTY THOR. On a shamanic journey, I had found out that we had actually done “work” together…that we had worked as “medicine men”. Despite what MANY people think, Thor was an actual historical character that did shamanic work for the communities in his part of the world….and his hammer was one of his shamanic tools. Thor was a great spiritual teacher, as was Odin, and was remembered in the collective consciousness and oral story-telling traditions of the Teutonic and Scandinavian peoples, though the characters and events were progressively distorted with time. So my interest was sparked by a distant memory. I still look back fondly on the time when I collected the comic-book series, but my interest now is primarily being in “communion” and co-operation with his “spirit” and the spirit of the other beings associated with the Nordic myths (Odin, Freja, the Valkyries, etc.)
You graduated from the Kubert School. What was it like to work with all of them as your teachers? What are they like as people? Do you recommend the school to others who wish to learn the craft?
Working with them a satisfying exchange of knowledge and experience. I listened to them (took their teaching), with the hope of learning something that would help to fulfill on my wish to become an illustrator. I got as much as I did from that education based on my enthusiasm and aforementioned wish. The different personalities were irrelevant…I loved them all for the difference they were making in my life.
Why do you think super heroes seem to have such a timeless appeal? Did you ever wish you where one as a child?
Because they mirror a potential that’s in ALL of us…that we’ve forgotten “on purpose”. To paraphrase what Jesus said, ‘…as I am, so shall you one day be.’ As far as wanting to be a super-hero…no, I didn’t. However, I did feel that Thor’s code of conduct and honor, and self-sacrifice, were an example of what I should/could be in my life.
Why do have such a passion for the human physique? What do artists need to remember most when dealing with the human form? What is the most challenging aspect of recreating it on paper?
I DID have a passion for the human physique. I still can’t explain why that was (what phase in life through which I was going/what that was mirroring as a “weakness” in me), but I don’t feel the same way now. What I try to remember when dealing with the human form (and a lot of other things to draw or paint) is something Greg Hildebrandt said to me once…’…it either looks right, or it IS right.’ To me, it means that I have to find a balance between what people subconsciously know from previous visual experience, and what I want to emphasize in my work.
You use real models correct? What do you look for in a model?
Lighting, shadow, and proportion are the most important pieces of information that I can get from a model. Nature itself has the information that I need to help bring my “creations” to life.
What do you think you would be doing if you hadn’t of became an artist?
I haven’t the faintest, but I feel that, if I didn’t have my art in my life, then life wouldn’t be worth living. The ideal would be to combine my spirituality, my woman, and my art. I’m steadily getting there.
What are some of your favorite subjects to cover?
When it comes to my art, only ONE subject inspires me…the Vikings! More precisely, the beings the Vikings considered their gods, protectors, and allies. Everything else is a waste of time to me.
You seem to have a sincere interest in all things Native American. Can you tell our readers a little about that?
My interest in Native American beliefs was a prelude/a road towards my discovery of a Nordic way of life, from way in the past (BEFORE Christianity), that was similar to that of the native Americans. That way of life included having shamans/medicine men (AND women), that were in connection with Mother Earth, and the various spirits and beings in Nature, and taught the people/communities through that connection.
What led you to reside in Denmark? What is it like for those of us who have never been there? Do you think it is an ideal place to nourish your creativity?
I was attracted to move to Denmark because of a Danish woman I met in New York City in 1996. She needed to move back home after we had known each other for three months, to continue her education…and to be with her family. My heart and body followed and we got married. She was a soul-mate that came into my life to help me summon up the courage to do what I had dreamed of doing since I was a teenager…to live in Scandinavia.
Denmark is a country that is sensitive to the needs of it’s people. It’s a democratic socialist, welfare state (as are the other Scandinavian countries), that also embrace the free market trade system, and nourishes creativity and innovation. We generally pay more in taxes here, but the benefits are seen and experienced through all the FREE health services available, and the relatively clean and safe streets. Because of the socialist political attitude, there’s an emphasis on equality.
What nourishes my creativity here is that I’m close to where I’m inspired the most…the lands of the Vikings. In the time I’ve lived in this country (15 years), I’ve been to the National Museum (in Copenhagen) about 20-25 times, and visited almost EVERY site of historical Viking connection.
Are there any little known things about you that your fans might be surprised to learn?
Those things have been covered in my previous answers.
What is Greg Hildebrandt like? Why do you think is work is so iconic?
Greg Hildebrandt is a fun, informative, passionate, committed, genius, because he never grew up to be tainted and discouraged to give up on his dreams of being an artist. I think that those factors contributed to him creating artwork that expresses those very same qualities.
What would you say is the best advice anyone ever gave you?Who was it?
The best advice that I get comes from my heart, though that requires that I quiet the mind through some form of meditation. The best advice my heart has EVER given me, was to move to Scandinavia, for which I give thanks EVERY day.
What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a series of Valkyrie illustrations, ALL inspired by meeting them on shamanic journeys.
What are your feelings on death and the afterlife?
Death is a peaceful, gentle being/energy, that helps us make the transition from this life, to a place where we get to reflect on this lifetimes experiences, growths, and learnings (if we’re ready), before moving on to the next existence. I have myself met Death on a shamanic journey, so I can vouch for it.
If you could pick you last words what do you think they would be?
I MADE IT…to reach the point of spiritual development to which I’ve recently set my heart and spirit.
Anything you’d like to add in closing?
Just to not be afraid of the wonderful time into which we’re entering. There’s a lot of talk about the end of the world. Instead of the end, concentrate on the beginning..a shift towards balance. Our consciousness will be creating more that we can imagine…so imagine the best through love and light.