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Sorcery Artist Interview: Mattias Frisk

Today we interview Sorcery: Contested Realm Artist, Mattias Frisk. Mattias is both an artist and a musician. He is a guitarist and vocalist in the band Vanhelgd. Mattias has a very extensive, and truly stunning, portfolio of album cover art, logo art, t-shirt design, and more. He is from a small village in the southern part of Sweden, called Skänninge.

Right up front, I would like to include links to his social media. His extensive portfolio of work is truly remarkable. I have captured only a small portion in this interview, but his social media is a must-see for anyone interested in this art style.

I had so much fun working on this interview with Mattias, and am absolutely blown away by his talent. It is a pleasure and an honor. Thank you, Mattias!

Facebook illustration page:

Art Fan Pro Tip: This is an 'immersive' interview. Take the time to click the links to discover more information about references throughout the piece!


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Tell us a little bit about your background. What town did you grow up in and currently live in, and how did you get into art?

Mattias Frisk: I grew up in the very small village, Skänninge, in the southern part of

Sweden. The area is known for agriculture rather than culture.

I have always been interested in drawing but when my childhood friend and fellow musician, Jimmy, started to introduce me to bands like Helloween, Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Metallica, I got very inspired by the album artworks and the imaginary landscapes the music painted in my mind.

We also started playing a lot of pen-and-paper role-playing games so I drew a lot of orcs

back then. I got into death metal bands like Edge of Sanity, Entombed and Dismember, and was blown away by Dan Seagrave who immediately became one of my favorite illustrators.

Dan Seagrave Album Covers

We started to play a bit of Magic and a lot of Doom Trooper and I got into Paul Bonners work for the latter. But the big eye openers who pushed me more into art rather than illustration was when I saw the cover art for Slayer's "Reign in Blood", Paradise Lost's "Shades of God" and "as I die", My Dying Bride's "Turn Loose the Swans", and Death's "Human" . These images had abstract artistic qualities that told another type of stories, communicated in a different way and led me into abstract and non-figurative art.

I studied art, started to paint in oil on canvas, got a job designing signs and logos, went studying art history at the university and somewhere along the way I started painting album covers and designing T-shirts for metal bands. I just bought a house in Skänninge so I guess I'm stuck here...


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: You mentioned you are also a musician. What is the name of your band? Are you the lead singer and do you also play any instruments?

Mattias Frisk: Yes I played in a few bands since 1994, I started off as a guitarist but when we started our current death metal band "Vanhelgd" ("desecrated" in Swedish) I started to do the vocals as well .

Mattias Frisk - Vanhelgd Album Cover Art

Playing in bands was the initial spark for illustration t-shirt, logos and album covers since I did that for all of the bands I was in, but my old friend and band colleague, Jimmy, encouraged me to make artwork for other bands as well, starting off with some friends' bands. I'm not sure I would have taken the step without Jimmy pushing me and giving me a lot of support during the first years.

Throne of Heresy T-Shirt Design (Left)

Krypts T-Shirt Design (Right)

Mattias Frisk Album Cover Art


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Who are some of your artistic influences who have inspired your work?

Mattias Frisk: OH there are so many, but to name the ones that first comes to mind :

Art Fan Pro Tip: Don't miss these embedded links for Mattias' influences. If you are a fan of Mattias' work, it stands to reason that you will love the work of these great artists and illustrators, right??...


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: What is a typical day or week like for you? Are you an artist full time, or do you also play frequently and tour with your band and do that professionally as well?

Mattias Frisk: Vanhelgd is not a touring band at the moment, we have done mini tours, festival shows and one-off gigs. But I hope we will step up a bit after the next album.

I used to work full time as an artist and illustrator for about 8 years. But after becoming a father I was not able to paint 10 hours a day and still had to worry about paying the rent and bringing food to the table, so I decided to get a day job.

I also lacked the motivation to only make album covers and not find any time to just paint whatever I wanted. I should probably make it clear that I draw a line between the images I make as an artist and the ones I make as an illustrator. I see my role a bit like a musician that is a writer/composer but also works as a studio musician. For me both roles are important in different ways and I can use the experience from both of them to try to be a better painter and visual communicator. I like making album covers and so on, but if I make the art that I would like to exhibit in a gallery I work in a quite different way, at least I think so... both aspects are interesting and I don't see myself quitting one of them.

I'm currently working as an exhibition coordinator at the outdoor biennale OPENART in Örebro, Sweden, but I also paint and illustrate as much as I can and take on projects that I find interesting and have time for. So I work a lot of evenings and weekends.


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: How did Sorcery discover you and approach you for the project? You mentioned Dan Seagrave is one of your artistic heroes. Was he one of the reasons you decided to work on the project, or did you find out afterward that he was involved? What are some of your favorite artworks from him?

Mattias Frisk: I was first approached by Erik a couple of years ago but I hesitated since I didn't have time to engage in any new projects at that time and was so used to working with album covers and band merch that I was a bit uncertain about this kind of commissions for some reason. But after a couple of months, or even more, Erik got back to me again and then I noticed that Dan Seagrave was making art for Sorcery so I dropped Dan a line asking what his experience was about it. I had met Dan when we exhibited together at a festival some time before, otherwise I would never have dared to ask him ha ha.

I think the cover art for Entombed 1991 album Clandestine is my favorite Seagrave artwork, but I really like almost anything he put his signature on, his cards for Sorcery are superb.

Dan Seagrave - Sorcery: Contested Realm Artwork


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Scourge Zombies is a very “metal” painting and seems to really fit your style. Can you tell us how you came up with the concept for this one?

Mattias Frisk: I got some description and input from Erik and just started off sketching ideas. I guess the metal thing comes quite naturally for me ha ha. But I don't know, it's not the approach I would have had if it was for a metal album, but still, I see your point. I really enjoy the challenge to paint mist so I often take the opportunity if it fits the concept.


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: On the other hand, Wrath of the Sea seems fairly different from some of your heavy metal album work. What artistic direction were you given for this, and how did the concept evolve into the final piece?

Mattias Frisk: The brief was to make a city engulfed by huge tsunami-like waves that would have some kind of sea monsters appear in them. The image is more game-ish than the others I did.

It's a bit tricky to make a composition that works in its own right but also has space for text boxes so I made a few sketches before landing in this particular one.

I seldom paint architecture so that was an interesting challenge. I guess I think everything about painting is quite hard and an uphill battle but I enjoy pushing myself and there is no better way to do that than taking commissions since you have a concept you need to work with and make your absolute best out of. A fun detail is that I painted a twin tower version of Skänninge Church tower in the painting.


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Minor Explosion is very striking and intricate. What mediums were used for this piece, and techniques to create the layered and textured composition?

Mattias Frisk: I did, as most often do, a grisaille (grayscale) underpainting. I started by sketching up the composition in acrylics and then I splattered paint all over it. I continued by working out details and small adjustments. Then I used oil paint in transparent glazes, coloring the underpainting and fading in some shades. On top of that I worked in opaque oil paint, making the fire and other details and added some final splatter.


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Can you tell us a bit about how you created Flashfires? The smoke plumes are interesting in this piece. I wonder if there was a specific influence that you used as a reference for this?

Mattias Frisk: I made an album cover for the Swedish punk/dbeat band Adrestia that has a similar approach so that was the main source for inspiration. Of course I looked up a lot of images of fires and smoke to figure it out.


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: How can fans find more of your work and support you?

Mattias Frisk: Instagram @mattiasfrisk_art

Facebook illustration page:


Mike @ Collector Arthouse: Is there anything else you would like to share with Sorcery fans?

Mattias Frisk: I just want to say that I am really glad I got the opportunity to work on this game with all great artists. I think it will be superb and I look forward to play it as well! I have a few more cards done that have not yet been released, one of them is my personal favorite...


Mike Servati @ Collector Arthouse and Collector Arthouse on Facebook, signing off...


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