William Damon was born in Massachusetts and currently spends his time between Southern California and St. Louis Missouri. Known as that spooky kid that loved horror stories, comics, and movies, Damon became a self-taught leather artisan. As a former visual merchandiser for retail stores, Damon spent years designing and creating window displays where he would create his own props. He has now been focussing on leather crafts for roughly a decade, creating art both of his own design and commissioned pieces. He began exploring Lovecraft inspired art after being asked to vend at the H.P. Lovecraft Filmfest in San Pedro California several years ago.
NH: First off, could you tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from and what is your artistic background?
WD: I’m from Massachusetts originally. I’m a self-taught artist. I’ve always been fascinated by mythology and monsters. Especially unknown creatures. I was fascinated by cryptozoology and hauntings as a kid.
NH: Why did you start creating horror pieces out of leather?
WD: I had a friend who needed a mask for the Labyrinth of Jareth Ball in Los Angeles. He was looking for a specific leather mask. And I told him that I could make him one. After it was completed, he then ordered 4 more for his friends. This lead to me making leather masks and selling them at sci-fi and horror conventions.
NH: Is there a backstory to your love of crafting or creating art?
WD: I was always a creative kid. I would often make my own toys and dioramas and puppets. I also enjoyed drawing and painting and was a voracious reader. I’d borrow books from the library that were far beyond my age level (usually horror) and sit under a big tree and read while my siblings ran around in the hot sun.
NH: Where does the Lovecraft influence come from? Did it inspire your work or is it a more recent adaptation?
WD: While I was vending at a sci-fi convention I was approached by the organizers of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Fest in San Pedro California about vending at one of their events. I had read Lovecraft previously (and of course had seen all of the Stuart Gordon movies) but I dove back in with the intent of creating Lovecraftian beasties to sell.
NH: I recently bought a piece from you for my collection. The attention to detail is amazing, the painting and brushwork great, and craftsmanship really something to be proud of. Where did the concept for the 3D cosmic horrors emerge from? What other works of yours are popular?
WD: Thank you! I started out making small one-eyed tentacled Lovecraftian beasties from leather with glass doll eyes. These were mostly pins and hairclips because accessories and jewelry are big sellers at conventions. I thought they’d look great emerging from a frame like a portal had opened from another dimension. They immediately received positive attention so I’ve been creating them since.
NH: What materials do you use and why?
WD: I do enjoy working in leather. I guess it suits my temperament since the process allows time to adjust the work do to the during time of the leather. I also have made sculptures from polymer clay and air-dry paper clay. I like the durability and flexibility of leather. It definitely suits long tentacles since you don’t have to worry about the breakage if it fell off of the wall.
NH: Who is your favourite horror influencer? I had to buy one of your pieces due to my fascination with Lovecraft, but I revere King and Barker with similar admiration, and I am a sucker for Giger, Beksiński, and Luis Royo. Who influences you and why?
WD: I have so many influences. Most of them horror. All that you have mentioned above plus Jim Henson, Edward Gorey, Dr. Suess, Charles Addams, and EC Comics, from an early age and later Epic and Errie magazines, Ralph McQuarrie, and Ray Harryhausen. And more recently Guillermo del Toro and Brom. And there are some great concept designers that I follow on Instagram (I usually find them by following the hashtag #ConceptDesign). My company is named in honor of Edgar Allen Poe and the first stanza of The Raven.
NH: What other mediums are you interested in pursuing, if any?
WD: I recently created a series of sculptures based on Call Of Cthulhu Masks of Nyarlathotep. They are leather and on wood bases. I’ve also started to incorporate more wood into my sculptures which lead me to create some small buildings emulating haunted houses and decaying mansions, which was fun.
NH: We’re a horror site after all. What are your favourite horror films or filmmakers?
WD: My favorite film is John Carpenter’s The Thing. But I love almost all horror movies. I especially love creepy atmospheric films. The Changeling with George C. Scott is also one of my favorites. But any film that has a unique perspective and introduces new concepts (especially visually) such as Alien. A completely new and different world to explore and enjoy. I have so much respect for creators who have a unique vision. I also love Clive Barker’s Night Breed and any movie that makes the monster more sympathetic.
NH: Are there any other interesting factoids that your fans should be aware of?
WD: I’m definitely open to accepting new commissions and look forward to exploring new mediums and subjects.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.