Hello, readers! In anticipation of the launch of Daily Dead’s 8th annual Holiday Gift Guide later this month, we’re going to spend the next few weeks celebrating a series of independent artists who specialize in creating horror-themed merchandise. Be sure to check back every day throughout the month of November to learn more about all of these indie artisans, and hopefully these profiles will help inspire your holiday shopping lists this year. Cheers!
I first came across the artwork of Chantal Handley a few years ago on Twitter, and was immediately drawn into the intimacy of her work. Her portraits are absolutely stunning, and if you’re looking for some iconic horror art to fill your walls, or give as a gift this season, be sure to visit Chantal’s online store. Chantal also sells other merchandise, including face masks, with her killer artwork on them as well.
Was there a point in your life when you realized you had these creative inclinations and did you always know it would lead to creating these gorgeous works of art?
Chantal Handley: I’ve been able to draw since I picked up a pencil and I never stopped drawing. I have always loved it. I grew up in the ’80s, so I was surrounded by awesome cartoons and epic movies, and I think they must have seeped into my subconscious much more than I realized. I always knew I was going to make a career out of art, but I never knew which path it would take.
What was it about the horror genre that you found particularly inspiring, where you wanted to incorporate that into your art?
Chantal Handley: My love of anything spooky, horror movies or ghost stories, was something that was always a part of me. I’ve loved it since I was very little, but it never occurred to me to incorporate it into my art. I’m a qualified animator and graphic artist, I used to create lots of surf art, but the emotion was never there. But once I made the decision to create artwork that I am truly passionate about, I never looked back.
If you had to try and describe your artistic aesthetic, what would you say?
Chantal Handley: Art theory… oooof! Ha! To sound like my art teacher, “Aesthetics is the philosophy of art.”
Art encourages us to react with the emotional part of our souls, and if you’re a horror fan, your reaction to my art is completely different to someone who hates horror movies. I’ve had so many comments from people who say they love my use of pastels, but they hate the subject. I love this! I’ve caused a reaction in someone, which I suppose is what art is supposed to do. I could get all deep and meaningful in the theory of artistic aesthetic, the meaning of art and why it’s enjoyable, but at the end of the day I’m really just channeling my love of the genre in the only way I know how. I just hope other horror fans love it, too.
Your style seems to lean into these intimate profile pictures—is there something about getting up close and personal with these iconic characters and actors that you enjoy as an artist?
Chantal Handley:I have always loved portraits and there is so much expression, especially in the horror movie genre. A portrait enables me to capture all the emotions of terror and fright in a single artwork. I always feel like I have had a really great conversation with the actor about their film character after I’ve created it, probably because I’ve spent so much time poring over every detail.
What’s been the biggest challenge for you as an artist trying to carve out your place in the online marketplace?
Chantal Handley: The biggest challenge for me is getting my work in front of horror fans. There are a lot of people who have never seen my work and finding other avenues aside from social media is very difficult. But I am so grateful for all the people who connect with me through those channels.
Do you have any pieces that are favorites of yours?
Chantal Handley: During the month of October, I challenged myself to create a portrait a day for 31 Days of Halloween. I usually give myself more time to work on larger portraits, but with this series I set myself a goal and stuck to it. I’m really proud of myself and the artwork I created, and the David Kessler artwork was purchased by David Naughton himself!
Are there characters or actors that you haven’t had a chance to celebrate with your art just yet that you’re planning to do or want to do in the future?
Chantal Handley: There are so many characters I’m dying to draw, but I will get to them eventually.
Visit Chantal Handley's official website to learn more about her portraits.
Written by Heather Wixson for Daily Dead.