The official blog for author and illustrator Madyson Blair. 

That Which Fuels the Fire

           I've been thinking about sprinkling in some more personal things here and there so that my blog is not only about my work and my story, but about me as a person as well. I just added some new content to my FAQ section in regards to this topic, and I'd like to share it here!

--Where do you get inspiration/ what sort of things inspire you?

           Music is an enormously powerful driving force behind my work.  Usually I'll become somewhat fixated on listening to a certain band, whereupon their sound becomes the temporary soundtrack of my life. Oftentimes, my fixation stems from an unconscious yearning to grasp an upcoming epiphany.  Just a few of my most common go-to bands for inspiration are Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, The Birthday Massacre, Korn, Kamelot, Nebelhexe, Loreena McKennitt and Arcana. Films and shows such as Closet Land, The Dead Poets Society, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, What Dreams May Come, The Green Mile, Eraserhead, Angel's Egg, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Hannibal and Bates Motel have been hugely inspiring. I have a weakness for anything that is both psychological and spiritual.

          Aside from music and movies, I garner inspiration from a variety of venues, most predominately nature itself (walks in the woods are essential) and antique stores. I adore vintage items that ooze a certain kind of mystery and nostalgia. I am especially compelled by kitschy deer figurines (I collect them!), mysterious religious ephemera, Venetian masks, old images of theatre or carnivals, anything Dionysian, tarot cards,  vintage children's storybooks and even 90s Pokemon cards. The archetype of childhood wonder is very fascinating to me--both individual childhood and the primordial childhood of mankind itself. I constantly devour books about alchemy, astrology, mythology, Jungian psychology, occultism and more.  History in general is an inspiration to me--Ancient times, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, Revolution, Victorian all the way through the Great Depression and across the rest of the twentieth century. You name it, I'm interested. Every time period has its riveting charm and intriguing darkness.

--Who are your greatest influences?

          Intellectually, my biggest influence is the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. I also enjoy Joseph Campbell, Richard Tarnas and Aleister Crowley. Artistically, my biggest influence is Mark Ryden. Mark has been an incredible source of inspiration for me and one which I have revisited over and over in much the same way that I tend to revisit my favourite bands. In addition to Mark Ryden, I am very fascinated by the surrealist low-brow art movement in general and the archetypes unconsciously expressed therein, including artists such as Ray Caesar, Nicoletta Ceccoli,  Laurie LiptonLori Early, and Eric Fortune. Greg Spalenka is another artist who has not only been an inspiration to me, but a great friend as well.

As far as the old masters go, the list is endless. Bosch, Bouguereau, Rubens, Fragonard--and later artists too like Magritte,  Ernst Fuchs and Norman Lindsay. Old alchemical/Hermetic illustrations are also exceedingly compelling to me, and I've been known to study them for hours. In 2013 I took a trip to Italy that changed my life, and stirred deep within my soul an utter fascination with the dreamy, enigmatic coexistence of Christian and Pagan imagery during the Renaissance.

         Writing-wise, I find my influences are harder to pinpoint. My writing style emerged through my studying the craft of creative writing more through the readings of short stories, many of which I can't recall the author. When I was a child, I adored Junior Great books and could marvel for hours at the deep, mysterious quality of the stories. Sylvia Plath has been quite an influence, as well as Virginia Woolf, e.e. cummings, Vladimir Nabokov, Charles Baudelaire, Oscar Wilde, William Shakespeare, Walt Whitman and certain elements of J.D. Salinger's unique dialogue and blocking. Also, my writing would not be what it is today if not for the help of my awesome mentor and fellow author, Adam Schuitema.

     To close off this post, I'll share some photos of my altar. I'm a very spiritual person, and aside from my work, there's no better way of visually capturing my essence than an image my own sacred space.