There are scaremakers outside of film and television who don’t get a lot of attention because, well, their medium doesn’t come into our homes on DVD or through a streaming service somewhere. As we’ve talked about before in interviews with Chet Zar and Paul Gerrard, art design itself is a vital link in the creative process that brings our favorite scary stories to life. Much like that art, an equally overlooked and underappreciated piece of that creative process is the role that women play in making all of our nightmares come true. Women like Daniella Batsheva, an artist and designer whose work you’ll recognize even if her name doesn’t immediately ring a bell.
52WoH - What interested you in horror and in art?
DB - My introduction to art was very much fused with my introduction to horror. The concepts of "horror" and "art" are inseparable to me because I can't remember a time when I wasn't fascinated with both. Horror, in particular, seemed completely normal to me but to others it was taboo. If I mentioned a horror film I liked while in grade school, my friends were mostly shocked because they couldn't believe my parents would let me watch it. That reaction was intriguing and I think I enjoyed exploring things that made people uncomfortable, while finding the beauty in it.
52WoH - How would you define your artistic style?
DB - I have trouble with this because I never think about it too much. I'm not sure I can find a specific style or "movement" that I fit into. People have categorized me as "pop-surreal," but I think that label is really nebulous.
I'm heavily influenced by old horror films and love art nouveau, so I can confidently say that those elements creep in more often than not.
52WoH - What is your preferred medium?
DB - Acrylic and ink. I work a lot digitally because I always have a computer and tablet available, but I'm not in love with it. Digital is great for typography, quick drawings and instant all-over color, but it's too sterile for me. I like getting my hands dirty, I like being able to fuck up and having to find a solution to an ink blot that you can't take back. Real life doesn't have "command+z" and I think working your way around the natural qualities of ink and paint will turn you into a better artist.
52WoH - Who are some of your influences in horror and art?
DB - Clive Barker and Georges Méliès are the first of many that come to mind in regards to art and horror. I think the real beauty in their work comes through their story-telling skills which take on a whimsical, sometimes innocent, quality. I love the curiosity with which they approach dark subject matters.
Love Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha, Junji Ito, Camille Rose Garcia, Chas Addams, Vigee LeBrun - my taste is across the board. I like high contrast of color and texture, clean, sharp linework, and I have a soft spot for Rococo.
52WoH - What are some of your favorite pieces you've created?
DB - My favorite pieces are the ones I have the most fun making, usually that's alongside a creative client with which I can brainstorm. Right now I'm in love with the t-shirt designs I've been working on, mainly the "Uzumaki" tee I designed for the Soska sisters and the "Doomtrodon" designs for Simon Bisley (a couple of which I haven't shared with anyone yet), but it could be because of how fresh those are.
My favorite personal piece is something I painted to shoo away my Post-Halloween Blues, she's untitled as of now.
52WoH - Is there anything in art that you haven't done yet that you'd like to try?
DB - Sure! I wanna sink my claws into every art form possible! Special Effects has always been an interest. I would love to make a fake cyst just to cut it open and watch it ooze, maybe fill it with vanilla pudding and squirt it at a friend.
52WoH - If you could offer one piece of advice to an aspiring artist, what would it be?
DB - Don't rely too heavily on social media, it's a great tool but nothing compares to actually making a connection in real life. Put some boots on the ground and make some friends, leave your computers! Yes, do it even if it is terrifying.
Take all advice, even (especially?) mine, with a grain of salt. What works for one artist might not work for another. Nothing is gospel and rules are meant to be broken.
However you choose to work, the more fun you have with the process, the better the piece will be. Don't be afraid to fuck up! Life's too short! Take that trip, ask that girl out, drink that questionable bottle of tequila you found under your friend's couch!
Creating art for bands like Doomtrodon and Black29, not to mention a special piece done for the Soska Sisters, Daniella Batsheva is not your average Woman in Horror. Her official website, daniellabatsheva.com, is only a very small sample of her incredible art and to really paint the full picture on what this talented artist is capable of you’ll need to follow her on Instagram @daniellabatsheva. Like a lot of us freelancers out there, she lives for commission work so, if you like what you see, you can contact her through her social media sites to talk shop. Daniella is making art and making that scary every day.
Dan Lee is a horror fiend and freelance writer with a special place in his heart for monster movies and demonic possession stories.