I am excited to share this post with you today. I sat down with my friend and fellow artist, Christian Degn (pronounced like Dane), and asked him a few questions and talked about his art and influences. You might not yet know about Christian, but I think it is just a matter of time so no better place to read about him than here on Muddy Colors!
But before I get to the art let me share some of Christian’s links so you know where to find more of his work and support him.
Christian was born in 1993 and studied Illustration at Utah Valley University. He has always loved drawing and particularly loves the challenge of creating in black and white. He said something about the binary nature of black ink on paper has always resonated with him.
In high school, he learned how to screen print and used those skills to create bootleg shirts for bands he followed.
Both of Christian’s parents have PhDs in English and part of his youth was spent traveling around Europe with his parents while they led study-abroad groups. While there he discovered Forbidden Planet stores and Moebius and many other brilliant artists that weren’t as readily accessible stateside.
His mom’s focus was specifically on medieval studies in English and that has proved to be a formative influence for Christian. One of my absolute favorite works is his take on the Green Knight. On top of my love of all things Arthurian, I also love this aesthetic.
Christian’s work is meticulous and precise, but doesn’t ever feel overwrought to me. There is a sophistication to it that I find compelling and keeps me coming back.
Some of his influences are Durer and Dore. Zorn’s etchings and Franklin Booth. Edwin Austin Abbey’s ink drawings have also proven powerful. Among comic artists, he lists Mike Mignola and Greg Capullo as early influences.
Christian’s main tools are Micron Pigma pens on smooth bristol paper. Sometimes Christian will use references, but other works are completely invented. He said that he will swing back and forth depending on the current project.
Christian said that one of the big influences on how he sees values and aims to render them was found in Dean Corwell’s nocturnal paintings. I knew exactly what he meant. I’ve spent many nights in the Arizona desert camping and there is clarity and mystery in the way the landscape reads under moonlight in the desert. For me, this work below captures it beautifully.
Christian has kind of come full circle with his work, going from making bootleg shirts for bands to designing actual shirts and covers, mostly for metal bands. Some of Christian’s clients include Deafheaven, Pallbearer, Yob, Inter Arma, Locrian, Yellow Eyes, Black Wing, Feminazgul and Little Moon. I think it’s a perfect fit for his work!
The last image to share is a remarkable drawing that Christian work on over 4 years. It blew up on Twitter too. It is a remarkable piece, not just for the time invested, but for the skill exhibited. Christian talked about how the control of the thickness and distance of and between lines creates a modulation of value and also implied color. It’s a fascinating effect. Depending on the screen and distance you are from the images you might see the effect. You can’t miss it in person
Here are some details from the work:
The images vibrate. As you scroll your screen you might see it happen. The same effect happens in person! As you move closer and further from the work and tilt your head, it buzzes with energy.
Here is a photo of Christian with his work, Love.
Christian is a force of drawing skill and great expertise with pen and ink. I love his work and can’t wait to see where he goes with his career. I wish I had some epic project to hire him to create for!
I hope someone who reads this is looking for someone like Christian to keep additional beautiful works streaming from his studio!
Thanks for giving this a read and be sure to follow and support Christian!