All images © 2014 Xander Hook Hultgren



Originally from the Isle of Man, the work of illustrator Xander Hook Hultgren is drenched in mythological motifs and otherworldly dreamscapes, which Hot 'N' Gold is always a fan of! Currently based in East London, we have a quick chat with the artist about spirituality, symbolism and superpowers...

Hello Xander! Originally, you're from the Isle of Man - what it was like growing up on such a small  island?

Isolated. It was a perfect place to grow up, green, a lot of imagination fuel - however I'm also pretty grateful to now be spending time in the city and to have the experience of a completely different pace of life.

Your practice to some extent plays homage to the occult. What kind of things attract you to mythology?

I think what draws me to myths and folklore is the idea that these stories originated as an early means to interpret the world and its bizarre phenomena, long before modern science came along to ruin all the fun! I'm attracted to the primal, organic quality to the stories, they're so surreal, usually gruesome in some way and dripping in rich symbolism. It's all very sensual, lots of birth and death imagery - an embryo conceived from the milk of an almond, gods born from the severed limbs of a parent, planets converge amongst the vomit of a giant cosmic baby - there is an oddness to the narrative that I love and that continues to draw me in. In my own practice I like to make references to mythological figures as a means of personifying or making a 'character' from an intangible concept such as feeling.

Moons are reoccurring symbols within your illustrations. What's their significance?

For me I suppose, the moon represents the idea of 'otherness' in general; that which lies beyond. An icon to suggest an emotional transition of some kind, or the shadow self. In lots of ways I feel the appearance of the moon may be one of the only truly cohesive elements to my whole body of work, the same one shining in each sky, the one constant. I know it sounds incredibly cliche but I've always been drawn to the moon and it's classical symbolism, the constant waxing/waning, the way its gravity pulls at our sea to create tides..

Can you talk us through your colour palette?

I've never really been technical with my use of colour, I don't normally start a piece with the colour scheme in mind. When actually working, my tendency is to scatter all the materials I own in a circle around me, and let my instincts dictate which colours will work on that particular image.

What other artists deserve our readers R E S P E C T?

I am absolutely obsessed with Japanese illustrator Yoshitaka Amano, his pieces continuously blow my mind.

What are you working on at the moment?

Recently I've been working on a new series of illustrations for an exhibition back in the native homeland as part of a group with some fellow local artists. The show is to be called 'Dark Seas / Wild Mountain', the name says it all I think! Besides that, I am slowly amassing a collection of the tackiest children's colouring books I can get my hands on for something that's been in my brain for a while - it could be a terrible idea, I guess we'll see.

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The ability to shoot serotonin from my fingertips.

If you could have one super-power what would it be?