Interview: Aleta Welling

Aleta Welling is an extremely talented artist and vocalist. Her unique style of art captures the wildest parts of my imagination. Her characters are twisted and surreal. Her work radiates the essence of HR Giger. While she now resides in the Phoenix area, she used to live in Germany where she met Rudy Ratzinger of Wumpscut and began collaborating with him musically. Her voice can be heard on several Wumpscut albums, including the latest 2012 release “Women and Satan First”. I had a chat with Aleta about her art and music and this is what she had to say… -Fuchsia

If you had to choose just one favorite artist, who would it be?

Hands down, HR Giger.

When did you create your first painting and what was it?

It was in my senior year of high school. At the end of the year, our art teacher allowed us each to do a painting of whatever we wanted to. I painted a surreal whimsical kind of girl sitting on a ledge overlooking a vast landscape with a futuristic city below. I have no idea where that painting is now.

Many of your pieces remind me of dreams or nightmares. Do you get ideas from your dreams and/or nightmares?

Not really, as far as I can tell. I get my ideas from every day things, like a song or even the pattern in the grain of wood, or a picture of someone.
Though I have extremely vivid dreams, the things I dream are not so surreal. Mostly real life events are going on in them, but extreme. Sometimes while I’m falling asleep, in that lucid state, I will have a really good image of something to paint, but I’m already falling asleep and can’t draw it. Once in awhile it sticks and I will draw it in the morning though.

What inspires you most?

Mainly industrial, electronic dance music, gothic & dark ambient music. Science fiction influenced me a lot too.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date?

A piece of my art was accepted into a group exhibit in 2006 at HR Giger’s Museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland. He was also one of the jurors who curated this show, so that was quite an honor.

When you paint, do you make up stories about your characters as they are coming to life? If so, tell us about one of your favorite characters.

I don’t usually have a story about my characters. They are pretty silent and mysterious for the most part. I do tend to make some similar characters, so maybe subliminally I am trying to tell a story, but can only get it out with pictures. Perhaps some day I’ll interpret them.

Tell us about your experience meeting HR Giger.

It’s the strangest thing that ever happened to me. This was definitely a subliminal experience. While I lived in Germany, I’d been to Zurich, Switzerland a few times and had found a really great music store that specialized in rare industrial music. So, the last time, I went with some friends for a weekend trip. I hadn’t been there in about a year, and asked my friend to drive me to the record store. I had the address in my head, but little did I know, I had memorized HR Giger’s home address, because I used to write him fan mail in the pre-email days.
I only realized it once we were in his neighborhood. It was a suburban area, not downtown like I remembered. Then, I saw a Giger alien sculpture sticking out of someone’s backyard, and it dawned on me. I told my two friends that I was with, and they thought it was the funniest thing. They told me we weren’t going anywhere until I go knock on the door.
Not wanting to look like a stalker, I argued with them for some time, and finally caved. I just had to have them come with me.
Surprisingly, HR Giger himself answered the door, with black walls and Giger art all behind him. He was very kind. He invited us in and showed us around his house for about half and hour. He was like a kid in a candy store, so excited about showing us his art and others that he collects. It was just amazing.

How did you get started with Wumpscut?

I was going to high school in Munich, and going to goth/industrial clubs on the weekends. I can’t remember just when I met Rudy, if I was in high school or college yet, but he was a dj at one of the clubs I went to.
He was just dabbling in music then, and one day he just asked me to do guest vocals on his first CD “Music for a Slaughtering Tribe”. It took a bit of coaxing on his part, since I’ve always been a bit shy and quiet. But I finally said “why not”? I used to write a lot of poetry, so he even let me write some of my own lyrics. Since then, I’ve been on 3 more albums.

What is your favorite Wumpscut song that you have contributed vocals to?

I think the lyrics I wrote for “Wreath of Barbs” were my best contribution, although, “Dr Thodt” is my favorite that I sing on.

What are you working on currently?

A very large painting. I’m taking pictures of it’s progress so that I can post it online once it’s finished. Maybe make a flip show, if I can figure it out. I’m also working on a Batman themed piece at the same time. Just for fun.