Ask Italian artist Claudia “Scarlet Gothica” Ianniciello about her influences and her answer might take you back to Art History 101. The autobiographical page on her website, scarletgothica.com, cites Sandro Botticelli, Caravaggio, Caspar David Friedrich, Gustave Moreau, Arnold Bocklin, Degas, Manet, and many others. In the current era, her tastes tend toward Milo Manara, Dorian Cleavenger, Luis Royo, Paulo Eleuteri Serpieri—all Heavy Metal contributors—among others. Largely self-taught, Ianniciello brings a mastery of gesture and shadow to her comics work (for Titan and IDW, among other companies), often incorporating compositional schemes that recall Art Nouveau.
You can see more of Ianniciello’s images on her ArtStation and Behance pages, and she’s well worth following on Facebook and Instagram. To buy merchandise and apparel with her designs, visit her Society6 storefront.
Ianniciello also goes by the name “Scarlet Gothica,” which she explains in her site’s FAQ: First of all, “Scarlet” is because I love red in its every nouances and variation. The word “Gothica” instead, is not that obvoius as it can seem. Undoubtedly, a lot of my works refers to Art of Gothic Revival, Romanticism and Decadentism streams, so the nickname match perfectly with this. But the thing I like most of these artistic waves is their tendency to ugliness, weird and paradoxical. I like to find beauty where is ugliness, to feel for a freaky face and smile to it: all this charms me a lot. So “Gothica” means to work out a canonic idea, extrapolating it from its primal setting and putting this idea in a new personal setting. I try to find a brand new world and a new feelings through illustration. But there is another reason: I think I’m a very lucky person: in my life all people that I really care about are near me, supporting and loving me everyday. For this reason with “dark or gothic” illustrations, I try to keep away all the bad feelings, sadness, melancholy or the sense of emptiness, hoping that they can stay away from me as long as possible.
Incidentally, this isn’t Ianniciello’s first brush with Heavy Metal—she actually put forth two strong entries for the Threadless Heavy Metal Cover Contest; the judges could only select so many winners from a crowded field of over a thousand submissions. You can still see her submissions on the Threadless site: “Monatisia” and “Milk Plus”.