Under Cover Artist: Leosaysays

Illustrations: Leosaysays
Tuesday 23 November 2021
reading time: min, words

LeftLion regular Leosaysays fills us in on the inspiration behind his devilish third mag cover...


Tell us a bit about yourself…
I’ve always lived in Nottingham, moved around the city throughout my life and currently live on the outskirts. I have a one-year-old son, Seth, who I think the world of. I am a UKCP registered counsellor and psychotherapist and also a practising artist in my spare time (which is limited!). I go by the name Leosaysays as an artist, which has just stuck from a made-up character from many years ago when I was dabbling in performance and video art. 

What was the inspiration behind the cover? 
Dante’s Inferno, which is a fairly obvious and standard source when looking at depictions of Hell, but stands the test of time as being a rather imaginative insight into Hell and its punishments for each sin (or Dante’s warped mind). I also wanted demons depicted to be reminiscent of those from many medieval paintings, which were often hybrids of animal and humanoid forms, to represent the bestial nature of Hell as opposed to the higher morals of Heaven.

I like a lot of fantasy art, kitsch as it can be, having grown up with video games of the eighties and nineties in which the box art was often a sickly, airbrushed illustration that resembled nothing from the actual gameplay! In this instance the original Doom cover art was a primary inspiration.

How does it compare with some other projects you’ve worked on?
I think I’ve always been drawn to darker aesthetics and content. I like a lot of psychedelic, outsider and lo-fi art anyway and I’m a huge fan of seventies and eighties horror of the Giallo variety – a lot of my work has often drawn inspiration from those sources. I like a mixture of disorientating, vomit inducing bright colours vs. dark themes, so drawing a hellscape was probably why I was commissioned for the cover!?

What was the biggest challenge that you faced in creating the piece?
Drawing depictions of demons whilst facing my own inner demons, especially around Halloween when the veil between the material and spirit worlds is at its thinnest…

Tell us about some projects you’ve worked on in the past…
This is my third LeftLion cover. I’ve done various bits and pieces over the years, most recently for the New Trajectories magazine which is a 2021 homage to the life and works of Robert Anton Wilson – working alongside some fabulous artists, writers and general weirdos there!

What have you got planned for the future?
I want to run to the hills, somewhere high up to avoid the floods and civil unrest due to break out around 2023 onwards. I’m not sure if I’m joking or not.

Is there anything else you’d like to tell the LeftLion readers? 
Just because we know Demons don’t exist, doesn’t mean they can’t influence our lives. 


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