Dan Williams is a lifelong doodler. He uses defective ballpoint pens to make his old men and monsters, creatures designed to communicate his love for gallows humor and the grotesque.
Check out Dan’s art in our first issue, Call Me [Hero]. His art accompanies “War Stories,” “Futon,” and “Retirement.”
Why did you choose your author photo and how does it represent you?
The other was one of the few photos of me that I like, though it makes me look like a jerk in a fairy tale. I’ve always been super camera shy. I see pictures of me and think, “That can’t be me. This is what people see every day? I feel bad for them.”
What is the backstory behind your piece that accompanied War Stories in Call Me [Hero]?
I like to let drawings sort of happen by accident. I make a line that looks like a forehead to me, so it becomes a forehead. Then eyes have to follow, and teeth go somewhere. And while the creature is forming I like to fill it up with things: houses and ships and other monsters. The drawing (a build-a-beast) is pretty much a bucket under a leaky gutter. I try to fill it to the top.
Who has influenced you as an artist?
Edward Gorey, H.R. Giger, Leonard Baskin, Hieronymous Bosch, Tim Burton, and Zdzisław Beksiński.
What inspires your art?
Music can do it, and movies. Mostly melancholy/scary stuff. Put on some sad piano music and I’m suddenly in the mood for monsters. Or let me watch Alien and I’m good to go.
Are you currently working on any projects?
I’m working on getting a blog off the ground. Here it is: https://danwilliamsbayou.
Our last issue centered around the idea of heroes. How do you define a hero?
I think a hero is someone who lives for other people. I’m not talking about people-pleasers. They’re a sad bunch and I hope they get over trying to please, and right away. I’m talking about people who love to build others up. They’re on the hunt for ways to make you feel better about being you. They don’t do it because they want you to like them. They do it because it makes them happy. These people are good good weather.
What is your favorite horror film?
100% Alien. Not only my favorite horror film, but my favorite movie of all time. I think it’s the only scary movie that promises hell and delivers. It makes me believe in xenomorphs. They are real. They’re in space right now, waiting.