It seems that nowadays the interesting and wildly talented art kids aren’t heading for the shimmering lights of Los Angeles or the chaos of New York, instead they’re all heading to the north shore of Massachusetts. An interesting choice, but true. The north shores of Massachusetts, specifically Salem, are alive with otherworldly entities that bring an air of mystery and sorrow with them. It comes as no surprise, as all of Massachusetts is essentially one large 17th century cemetery, and given the history of the commonwealth there’s bound to be dark and enigmatic forces still lurking amidst the forests and swamps.
Today, Salem is home to a whole host of incredible artists that draw inspiration from their surroundings and its history, including Ryan and Matthew Murray of Black Veil Tattoo, as well as fellow artist, Bill Crisafi, who specializes in everything eerie and also happens to apprentice at Black Veil Tattoo.
First and foremost an artist, Bill Crisafi is a man of many talents including, but in no way limited to, photographer, illustrator, pin maker, and now, tattoo apprentice. Perhaps best known for his illustrations, which can best be described as Edward Gorey meets macabre Victorian art, his illustrations center around themes like witches, hauntings, and the occult. Drawing exclusively in black and grey, Crisafi’s work is incredibly macabre in nature, and frequently draws inspiration from Salem and its surrounding areas. Original 17th century Salem homes and landmarks are often used as the backdrop for his incredibly haunting work.
Photographically speaking, his work mirrors subjects and themes found throughout his illustrations, things like goat-headed humans, naked witches, and hags are often seen surrounding a cauldron or lurking about a cemetery. In recent years, Crisafi’s collaboration with longtime friend Jamie Mooers, aptly named Burial Ground, has begun to take root. Together the two have created a line of jewelry that, “finds its origin in Bill and Jamie’s trips into the wooded New England wilderness.” Using imagery like pentacles, broomsticks, and goats, as well as materials like white bronze, silver, and quartz crystal, the line’s overall aesthetic is a true reflection of Crisafi and Mooers combined vision.
And although we’ve yet to see Crisafi’s work as an apprentice at Black Veil, we have no doubts that it will evoke the same sense of the occult that we’ve come to know and love from him. Cheers to one of our favorite artists taking the apprentice plunge.