Love For The Brothers: Johnny's Horror Pop Art

An artist on Twitter recently caught my eye this past Halloween by sharing his lovely esoteric and practically spot-on reproduction of the Decker disguise from a beloved film here titled, Nightbreed. He was so nonchalant about my nerdy, jaw dropping response, like he's trialed, errored, and conquered these sorts of artistic feats for a lifetime.

Since, Houston, Texas dweller Johnny Green (@Jaylee1103) has displayed much of his visual art to see in real time on Periscope and in photos. Putting his The Glassell School of Art tenure to good use, I wanted to give him an opportunity to speak about how horror inspires many of his pieces and additionally, he brings insight on stories that haven't been told and some of the best horror television that's being reproduced today.

How does the horror genre influence your work?

There is something aesthetically pleasing about drawing images of my favorite horror icons or drawing scenes from my favorite horror film and TV show. I remember watching A Nightmare on Elm Street for the first time when I was about 9 years old and obsessing over Freddy Krueger's glove. I wasn't able to purchase a replica at the time, so I used a tin coffee can, an old leather glove, super glue, brass paper fastener's and constructed my very own Freddy glove. So when ever I sit down to create something new, I always use the horror genre as my inspiration.

Thinking about what you do visually, what are some of your favorite scenes in horror films?

Rosemary's Baby (1968): When Rosemary Woodhouse sees her newborn baby for the first time. Her eyes widened and she screams "What have you done to it? What have you done to its eyes, you maniacs!"

Halloween (1978): The scene when Dr. Loomis delivers  the most chilling dialogue ever. Explaining to sheriff Brackett why Michael Myers isn't a man, but in fact something purely evil.

Halloween H20 (1998): After years of fear and seclusion, Laurie Strode finally decides to go head to head with her brother. She grabs an emergency fire axe and challenges Michael by calling out his name repeatedly as she stalks him.

Wes Cravens New Nightmare (1993): The momemt after speaking to Robert Englund and visiting Wes Craven. Heather Langencamp begins  to realize the only way to save her son and stop the demonic force that has chosen Freddy Krueger as its portal into the real world, is to play the role of Nancy Thompson one last time and trap the force into the stories of Elm Street once and for all.

What were some of the movies, television shows, books, etc. that got you into horror?

The film, Terror in the Aisles is the one film that piqued my interest and inspired me to explore the horror genre even further. Television shows such as Tales from the Crypt, Are You Afraid of the Dark, and Goosebumps were some of my favorite shows as well. I also enjoyed the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark book series. Alvin Schwartz's trilogy of terror tales and the disturbing artwork of Stephen Gammell always sent shivers down my spine.

Do you have any thoughts on Black characters in horror? Trends that you've noticed?

Although diversity in Hollywood has grown, we still have a very long way to go. Horror films in particular are in need of more complex black characters. Televison shows like Z Nation, True Blood, The Walking Dead, Sleepy Hollow and American Horror Story has helped shine the spotlight on African-Americans in horror by providing actors with leading and reoccurring roles. Although Hollywood is taking baby steps towards improvement, it's not merely enough to satisfy. I feel like now it's time for African-Americans to emerge in the horror genre and give the film industry a taste of what they've been missing.

What kinds of stories would you visually like to see come to life in horror that you haven't seen yet?

The story of the Gibbons twins is very bizarre. June and Jennifer Gibbons were the only Black identical twin girls living in Wales at the time, and as children they only spoke to each other in a coded language, became criminals and repeatedly tried to murder each other. As they grew older, they continued to move inward toward each other and away from the rest of the world; so much so that they were branded as psychopaths and dubbed, The Silent Twins.

What current TV show, film, book, graphic novel, etc. would you recommend to someone who's interest in horror is new?

I'd recommend Bates Motel. The relationship between Norma and Norman in Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho was one of the most disturbing and interesting aspects of the film. Now seeing Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga bring that relationship to life in this TV series is the most spellbinding part of Bates Motel. Their acting is superb, both are cast perfectly and they dive deep into the psyche of their characters. I think a horror newbie would totally enjoy this show.

What would you like to do with your artwork? Any future endeavors?

I would love to gain exposure as an artist, create an online shop where viewers can purchase my work, establish a successful art career and inspire others to create new things and have fun. In the future I look forward to collaborating with some amazing people, creating more art and attending some awesome horror conventions.

Find more of Johnny's work on Periscope and Instagram

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