Every now and then an illustrator comes along who manages to not only produce aesthetically pleasing and stylish works, but also comes to represent a musical style or scene so perfectly that their imagery becomes as important as the music itself. I’m talking about heavy metal and punk in particular here as these bands tend to pay a lot more attention to the visual representation of their music than say, hip-hop artists. Rap covers, for example, are usually terrible. So in the past we have seen artists such as Gee Vaucher and her work with Crass, Raymond Pettibon with his Black Flag covers, Ed Repka and the thrash scene and Derek Riggs’ Iron Maiden work all come to represent a specific scene. So much so that these styles are still imitated today.
Herman Inclusus could well be one such artist in the future. Inclusus is actually the not so mysterious alter-ego of illustrator Stuart Kolakovich. The name Herman Inclusus comes from the Codex Gigas (a medieval manuscript also known as the Devil’s Bible) that is said to have been written by a Herman Inclusus (Herman the Recluse). Kolakovich’s work certainly does borrow from medieval work stylistically, however, it is by no means a simple representation of this style. The overall occult mood of his work with its images of plague and misery, blended with a more modern form of illustration makes an awesome visual representation of doom, death and black metal. I fully expect to see this guys work grace the covers of many bands over the next 12-months.