With Metal Hammer's Golden Gods Awards coming up, ImagineFX speaks to the pin up artist Matt Dixon about being the official artist for the metal magazine's big event
"News came to me during a violent thunderstorm one moonless night," recalls the bearded artist. "I knew the howling of distant wolves meant the lords of Valhalla were commanding me to take up my stylus and bring my fury to the battlefield of art... or it was a brief exchange of emails, I can't quite remember."
That was 2008, and Matt's been chanelling his art fury for the metal awards event ever since.
Needless to say, Matt's a lifelong fan of metal. In fact, the music plays a part in the pieces he paints each year.
"I try to choose an appropriate soundtrack for the painting I'm working on," he explains. "Maybe some sepulchral death metal if I'm tackling zombies, something a bit proggy if it's a sci-fi piece or perhaps some swaggering hair metal if I'm working on pin-ups."
If Matt's pulling an all nighter, he reaches for a handful of thrash albums. "If in doubt, Manowar always hits the spot."
The awards, run by Metal Hammer magazine, will take place on Monday 17 June, with metal stalwarts Motörhead headlining.
Here's a quick Q&A with Matt Dixon about painting for Morbid Angel and hazy memories of awards gone by...
ImagineFX: Why do you think your art goes down so well with the Metal Hammer readers?
Matt Dixon: My work is often quite bold, colourful and in your face and I suppose those are qualities you could attribute to a lot of metal bands. I've always been a metalhead so maybe I'm somehow channelling 40 years of hangovers, denim, studs and hair into my paintings and the readers find that appealing.
IFX: Have you ever created any art work for metal albums, and what are some of your favourite covers?
MD: I've done several covers over the years, including the packaging for a Morbid Angel box set, which I was really thrilled about. I'm in the middle of a project with a German band right now as it happens!
It was the album artwork as much as the music that first attracted me to heavy metal as a youngster. All those cool, imaginative fantasy themes really captured my imagination.
Looking back, the work of Derek Riggs for Iron Maiden and Joe Petagno for Motorhead were a big influence. The true 'old master' artist in the field of metal album art has to be Ed Repka though - no one uses colour to make your eyes mosh in quite the same way he does!
IFX: Will you be going to the awards? Who are you looking forward to seeing?
MD: I've been to all the awards since the first Golden Gods artwork I did in 2008. If I'm a good boy perhaps they'll be kind enough to invite me along this year too.
It's a fantastic event and I've got some wonderful (if slightly hazy) memories of some of my heroes performing and accepting awards on that stage at the O2.
Motörhead headline the show this year so it should be a good one! I always look forward to seeing the Jagermeister girls with their free shots...