Oct 22, 2019

Halloween Web - Sam Heimer

Today we've got the other half  behind The Order of the Thinned Veil (OTV), someone whose art perfectly captures the mix of wonder, magic, and creepy of Halloween, please welcome Sam Heimer.

For those that don't know you, tell us about yourself.

I'm a freelance Illustrator and Toy Maker based out of Philadelphia. I don’t have a specific market I work within, but my work is almost completely Halloween & Horror based. In the wild my work can be seen on various breweries beer cans (Abomination being the most recent), a few albums a year, lately the bulk being from Cadabra Records, and a mix of t-shirts, spot illustrations and book covers, promo and ad work, and other odds and ends like Monster themed Beef Jerky to limited edition Halloween Coffee.

I’ve got a few aces up my sleeve for the upcoming High Holiday, as well as Mythos In My Pocket Series 2 (Lovecraft inspired mini-figures) probably dropping in October, my art on the label of ‘Red Rum’ from Rowhouse Spirits in collaboration with OTV (Jason McKittrick’s and my Halloween ‘club’) and a handful of gallery openings and other Halloween events.

What was Halloween like for you as a kid?

I grew up in any town America, Lansdale, PA, an older suburb of Philadelphia, and I wouldn’t trade having grown up there for all the bourbon in Kentucky. A main street with a handful of businesses and a regional rail running through the middle, then hemmed in by farmland, now garish developments and town homes. At the time, Lansdale was kid-filled, with large tree-lined streets, populated with folks that would decorate and leave the porch light on for trick-or-treaters, and older houses that with the aid of nothing more than a flickering street lamp would inspire legends about hauntings or a ghoulish owner. Lansdale at Halloween is a feeling I try year after year to recreate in my art.

Do you have any special Halloween memories?

I was six or seven and was amped up on candy even before going out to Trick-or-Treat, and did a swan dive off a couch into the corner of a coffee table, splitting open my eyebrow. The scar has shrunk, but at the time, it was hanging down over my eye. I was flailing and screaming so violently that they tried to put me in a strait-jacket to stitch me up, but low-and-behold, they don’t make them to fit a six year old, so I squirmed right out. My dad, at the time a Gym teacher, had to brace my head between his knees while they stitched me up.

Later, after moving away, I would return to Lansdale to hand out candy. My childhood neighbor across the street was an asshole. Lights off for Halloween, and at Christmas, so many lights the house could be seen from space. Every few groups of kids I would ask “hey, did you try across the street?”, perplexed, they’d mention the lights being off, to which I would reply “It’s a SECRET”, crouch down to their level and whisper “If you ring the doorbell 31 times, you’ll be given a KING SIZE candy bar!”. An hour of that and the dickbag was on his porch with a screw-driver disabling his doorbell. The directions then switched to knocking 31 times.

What about favorite costumes?

One year I could finally afford a bottom-shelf latex mask of a ghoul, but having just seen Jurassic Park, on a whim before setting out to Trick Or Treat I put on a construction hat with a JP logo, work overalls, sprayed myself with blood, and tied a severed hand dangling from my hidden forearm, and went as a Jurassic Park employee post outbreak. I thought I was pretty damn clever.

Also my sweet grandmother one year sew me a felt Christmas Tree costume. I do not think I wore it beyond the family photos.

Do you have any annual rituals to get into the spirit of the season?

I’ve got a laundry list. Some, more personal that I won’t mention. Every year I do a First Friday art opening of Halloween work at Atlantis; The Lost bar. In addition to that, I usually have work in several other Halloween themed art shows around Philly and the country. This will be the third year Order of the Thinned Veil has it’s big Halloween event. Like last year it’ll be an art show and Halloween party complete with liquor tasting, tarot reading, food, music and more, at The Convent Philly.

October is also when I tend to release the bulk of my more personal art. Every year I try to put a few new editions out into the world, with the subject always being Halloween in one form or another. The last few years on the Holiday I’ve had an open house; cooked a feast, open the doors to all, bowls of candy for the kids that sadly don’t come to my block, and a few horror movies for background noise. I have a few other rituals and things I try to meditate on that go deeper into my Halloween beliefs, but I’ll save sharing those for another day.

What about music, movies/TV, or places to visit?

Tom Waits’ ‘Blood Money’ to me is October in an album. As far as movies, I run down a list of the classics, as well as Twilight Zone, Boris Karloff’s Thriller, Outer Limits and Alfred Hitchcock Presents plays on loop in the studio for the month. Places to visit, not so much. But if you’ve never been to the Castle Halloween Museum in central PA, drop your candy corn and get driving. It’s the most complete collection of Halloween ephemera out there.

Why do you think we hold on to Halloween as we get older?

As a kid we’re drawn to the magic, the role reversal, being impish and the candy. As an adult, I think we, or I at least, start to appreciate the finer elements of Halloween more; the frail nature of life and how it connects to the harvest, looking to those who have passed on for protection in the form of guidance, and simply getting through dark periods with hard work, stewardship of the land (or in this case friendships and community) and a lil’ bit of magic and luck.
Inside the Spookster's Studio

The worst thing to get while trick or treating was handmade goodies. Not because I didn’t appreciate them, but because they would be thrown out by my mother thanks to Halloween Sadism Hysteria and Candy Tampering.

My favorite thing to get was Reseses Pieces. Boston Baked Beans. Good and Plenty.

My favorite monster cereal is I was not allowed to eat sugary cereals with cartoon characters growing up. Is the Quaker Oats man a monster?

Where can folks find you online?

The best spot to follow what I’m doing is on Instagram at @sam_heimer and @HH_Toys_INC. Any new print edition, gallery opening, or WIP of projects will be posted there. I also have an Etsy shop.

A huge thanks to Sam  for joining us this year! I was thrilled to be able to get him and Jason as these guys have a huge hand in keeping Halloween going all year for me.

If you check out the other Countdown to Halloween bloggers by clicking below, a ghost may follow you home!

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