The winner of the best album cover has come up with a "heavy" design statement to match the power of Beastwars' music. Nick Keller, whose day job is as a conceptual designer at Wellington's Weta Workshop, talks us through his winning artwork.
How did you meet Beastwars?
I first saw Beastwars back in 2009 at a Halloween party. I had already met Nato, the drummer, and he subsequently approached me about doing their cover art after seeing some of my paintings online.
Are you a fan of their music?
I'm definitely a fan of Beastwars' music and a broad array of heavy metal in general.
What was your starting point and what was the premise behind the cover concept?
The initial concept the band and I launched from was something that conveyed an otherworldly, apocalyptic event. Pyramids, vivid nebula and a distinctly Lovecraftian flavour of a "cosmic horror" were all ideas the guys wanted to include.
How much of an influence did Beastwars' music have on your design?
During the process of conceptualising and painting, the guys were sending through rough mixes of the songs so I could listen to them while working. I think there is an inherent quality of epic grandeur to this sort of music that certainly influenced it.
What else inspired the cover art? It is unashamedly epic as well as being a very "metal" statement.
With my own fantasy and sci-fi art, I like illustrating supernatural entities with an ambiguity of substance. But not too abstract so as to lose their grounding in a believable world. I also love playing with distortions of scale. I think these all translated into the Beastwars' artwork. Also recently there has been some amazing photography that has captured lightning storms from volcanic eruptions. Sometimes looking at natural phenomena can inspire some truly outlandish fantasy.