Ted Nasmith Interview
What made you interested to work on Into the Green?
T: I liked the idea immediately of a music project based on an original faerie-themed storyline, and I usually welcome commissions for cover art, since each is unique.
What has it been like working on the Into the Green project?
T: It’s been as agreeable a working partnership as I could imagine. Besides finding Josh professional, intelligent and considerate, I relate to his determination to create art that is authentic and personal. And as a fellow musician, I could appreciate the craft and artistry he’s invested on Into the Green.
Could you explain a bit about the creative process on this project?
T: It’s nothing very ‘deep’ in all honesty, but I liked the idea of the enchanted valley and a realm where good and bad creatures inhabit day or night times, accordingly. I drew on my extensive work in Tolkien and fantasy for the landscape and characters, as well. I also consulted visual references to Victorian faeries in developing my figures, since this was a rare instance of drawing traditional diminutive faeries, unlike Tolkien’s now familiar adult-sized Elves.
Could you tell us a little bit about your technique as an artist?
T: I develop each artwork by loosely sketching what pops into my mind at first, and in some cases I may draw the ‘thumbnail’ more than once to explore variations. What follows will be a series of drawings at full size, then a colour study or two. When I get to the painting stage, I use Winsor Newton designer’s colour, known mostly as ‘gouache’. I start with a thin wash of colour in strategic areas, until a rough under-painting is established, then begin to refine each area individually in succession until I feel it’s completed. For skies or certain shade effects, I’ll usually employ an airbrush, mostly to soften the brush-painted under-lay, but yet preserve its character if possible.
Which is your favourite piece of art you have created for Into the Green?
T: I guess it’d be the night forest scene. I felt most at home with the composition and content.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I’m very eclectic in my tastes, and grew up in the 60s, so it can be pop songs of that era, or the first heavy metal bands that arrived mid-decade. I’m very drawn to Nick Drake too. I also like R&B, 90s dance (electronica), and many folk singers past and present. I also enjoy many of today’s top40 pop artists, and I have a taste for classical music. I’ve long loved progressive rock; bands like Yes, Pink Floyd, Genesis, or Renaissance.
What are your influences when writing your own music?
I love the craft of song writing, and The Beatles have been an influence, the way they invest their songs with so much style and heart. But it’s the distillation of so much other music and aspects of same that helps–dreamy, key-changing modes, and rich harmonies, a delight in creating a mood, and other ideas.
The themes of Into the Green dwell on fantasy and folklore – do you think there is a place and an audience for this in the modern age?
Very much so. The phenomenal success of Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings is testimony to that. People have now become used to the culture of fantasy and the re-imagining of folklore, making it ‘cool’ to trade in those wares. The success of Marvel’s super-heroes (a form of folklore) and the unlimited potential there seems to point to a truth that folklore, in all its guises, is as important as ever.
Ted Nasmith / June 1, 2016