I met Arvin Clay in person at Horror Realm’s Spring Break Massacre back in March. As is common at a horror convention, we started to chat about the dark genre and what we enjoy about it. From music to special FX, Arvin has a genuine appreciation for horror. His photography explores and showcases some of the spookier and ethereal elements whether capturing landscapes, inanimate objects, or people.
Arvin: I’m really into the unknown. Those things that go bump in the night. Those scary recesses of our minds. There is something gorgeous about celebrating all of those shadows and spiderwebs and things that send a shiver down your spine. I am sort of a recovering goth (with the Joy Division and Skinny Puppy tattoos to prove it) and I think that still taints how I see the world around me.
GT: What sparked your interest in Horror?
Arvin: I don’t think there was ever a point that I didn’t love horror, but I would say what cemented it was seeing Making Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” That made me realize that there was art behind all of those monsters, and more so that I could MAKE those monsters. Before that, I thought only doctors got to make them!
GT: What are some of your horrific inspirations and muses?
Arvin: I take from around me. A lot of times I’ll hear a song and that sparks a thought that demands a photograph (or 12) be taken. The band Skinny Puppy was very inspirational in that respect. Their music is very visual and paints a vivid picture in the mind’s eye. When I am trying to conceptualize a shoot, I try to make a mix for it. A soundtrack if you will, that I use to make certain that everybody is on the same page. My work relies on atmosphere and if we can’t convey the right one then the art has failed.
Arvin: Well, as far as photographers go – Dave McKean, Joel Peter Witkin, Floria Sigsmondi, Chris Cunningham. I’ve also recently gotten into the photography of Hiroshi Nonami. But I wouldn’t be able to top out this list with out mentioning the effects makeup artists that really inspired me – Rob Bottin, Gordon Smith, Tom Savini…
GT: Do you pursue any other forms of art or is photography pretty much it?
Arvin: Prior to being a photographer I was an effects makeup artist. I sort of walked away from it at the age of 30 (despite it being a life long passion) and thought I had closed that chapter of my life. But I very recently did the effects makeup for Evenings in Quarantine: The Zombie Opera and the spark happened all over again. I’m also involved in a production company with an old friend of mine. He is moving back here just to make movies. That means a ton more FX work!
I’ve also been known to play electronic music shows as “Paralyzed Circuitry.”
GT: What message(s) do you hope to convey through your photography?
Arvin: I want people to see that there is beauty in the dark!
Arvin, thanks for sharing your photography with Gores Truly! The MurderHers wish you the best in all your future make-up FX and music endeavors, especially those projects shrouded in the beautiful darkness of the horror genre!
Check out more of Arvin’s work at his website: Freeze Frame Reality!