An extraordinary artist, The Raven, is a specialist in gothic leather jacket art. While this post focuses mainly on her paintings on clothing, she also is an artist for website media, blogs, photography, serigraphy, aerography (stenciling) and wooden engraving as well as editorial pieces, posters, magazines and brochures. Her personal website is through this link.
“The idea behind the jacket came following my involvement with October Burns Black (OBB). I’d always wanted to have a properly designed and executed jacket which reflected the bands which have come to mean so much to me. The Raven was already involved in the OBB project and I came to know her through that route. Having been part of the OBB design process and having located a source for a good quality leather jacket I asked her whether she accepted commissions for one off pieces.
Being physically distant was not a problem. Over a period of weeks and months we added logos and script, removed some, included and repositioned others, and gradually settled on the design you see here. The Raven was very involved in the process, providing advice and guidance as to what would work, what wouldn’t and what was achievable. Jackets like this aren’t created overnight, they are produced as a result of considered thought and reflection – the artist carrying out the work has to believe in what they are doing. It just so helps that The Raven has pretty much identical tastes in music to me!
The logistics were a little challenging with the jacket, unpainted and painted, having to cross The Atlantic twice. The Raven was part of that process too – taking delivery from the jacket company in the UK and dealing with the usual challenges along the way, but ultimately assuring it a safe birth in Mexico. It could not have been in safer or more caring hands.
The painting process itself took about three weeks. Communication with The Raven happened frequently over the period, with photos of progress being sent as each stage happened. This wasn’t a purely mechanical exercise for her. For each logo, the respective band’s music provided the aural backdrop to the process – this was not so much a commission as a ritual. Other fine details also marked out the sheer dedication to the assignment – all the original labels were left on the jacket, the zip was not touched and nor was the belt unbuckled. These were all left to the customer to experience.
One concern I had was the level of detail involved in the Sweet Ermengarde logo which forms the centrepiece of the jacket. The design comes from the standout album of 2016 for me, Ex Oblivione. The detail in the trees is particularly fine and, I am sure, required a steady hand, an eye for detail, and patience. After a palette of colours had been laid down The Raven transformed it into the object of sheer beauty which you see. The lyrics on the right sleeve, which are also from the album, provided the complete set as far as I was concerned.
A few adjustments were needed along the way but these were worked through quickly and sensitively. As far as ease of dealing with The Raven, it was an absolute pleasure to work with her – and that is what happened, a project where customer and artist each invest a significant amount of their own personality into a creative outcome. It may be my jacket but it is The Raven’s work which will be on display.
Flying the nest from Mexico across the water the jacket arrived a few days later, packaged with care and some unique touches to the delivery to mark the occasion.
A truly unique experience.”