Dive into the beautiful oblivion of painter and comic book artist Menton3.
Menton3 (born Menton J. Matthews III) makes art to “externalize the internal, to a point where self-realization is a foregone conclusion.” It’s easy to see a struggle within each beautifully horrifying entity he’s put to canvas, an inversion trying to gain its footing but still at ease. The confidence, both within the artist and within his subjects, is palpable. Menton3 knows what he’s doing and what he wants to show you.
Acrylic speed painting by Menton3.
There’s a vastness to Menton3’s work. Each piece suggests much more lies beyond the limits of the frame. A silent and fog-choked world serves as a backdrop to the pride and solemnity of his creatures. His paintings hold a profound sublime grotesqueness seldom seen since the works of artists Zdzisław Beksiński and H.R. Giger. Within Menton3’s works, though, self-acceptance pours from the shadow-clad women and tortured souls depicted. They know what they are, and they aren’t asking you to accept or understand them. Behold, if you will, or leave.
It’s easy to compare Menton3’s art with that of Ben Templesmith, who’s known for his work on comic book series 30 Days of Night (adapted in 2007 to a film starring Josh Hartnett). Friends and frequent collaborators, Menton3 and Templesmith have done work for mainstream comics. Menton3 has provided pinups and cover work for The X-Files, Millennium and comic series The Fly Outbreak, based on the Silent Hill video games. He’s also done a number of pieces of Batman, Wolverine and Catwoman.
Menton3 has also collaborated with Steve Niles, often published through IDW or Dark Horse. Working with like-minded creators brings a new angle out of the artist. It’s inspired work, in every sense of the word.
If you can get your hands on the Tome series, the books put together by 44 Flood (which includes Templesmith, writer/painter Kasra Ghanbari, and filmmaker / musician / writer Keith Carmack), you’ll see why Menton3 works so often with these other artists. Volume one of this amazing series focuses on Vampirism, and book two centers on Melancholia. Both include a CD of music curated by Ghanbari, and the tracks complement the pictures perfectly, inspiring a haunting, cold atmosphere.
It’s a singular experience to thumb through either Tome volume late at night, alone, with headphones on. Some might find it difficult to be transported by art, but pairing the music and visuals (not to mention the outstanding layout work) will launch you into a headspace unlike any other. It’s mind-altering entertainment that’ll still allow you to pass a drug test.
If any of the artwork featured here speaks to you, I urge you to find a copy of either Tome volume. It may require scouring eBay, since their print runs were extremely limited, but both are very much worth your time.
Last year in Salem, Massachusetts, Menton3 showed off some of his newest pieces at a successful show, proving it’s possible for an artist who works in comics to have a standing as a fine artist outside the industry. It will be very interesting to see how Menton3’s fan base grows and what amazing projects will pop up in the future.