Ink on wood panel. All artwork by Guillermo Millan.

I’ve been friends with everyone in The Dark before we started working together, especially the guitarist, Robert. We’ve been friends since the 2000’s. In our earlier years, we played in bands together, silkscreen printed, and ran punk distros way before social media. Our friendship has always been tight and fun with a heavy focus on being productive, punk, and DIY. Around 2014, when The Dark began to form, Robert mentioned his idea for the band to me – the sound and aesthetic he wanted to go for – and invited me to be the band’s official artist.

For Habak. All pieces oil on canvas unless otherwise noted.

Art has always been a big part of my life. I work in various traditional mediums and like to alternate between them all, depending on what the image will be used for and what the concept calls for. I’ve been creating for as long as I can remember; the earliest drawing of mine I own is a self portrait I did when I was around five or six.

As a kid I’d collect comics, anything with artwork that grabbed my attention. I’d take them home and draw the characters in the stories… This was the beginning of learning to illustrate what I see. I also watched cartoons and sketched my favorite characters in the shows – quickly, before the scene could change, and wait until they’d get back to the same posture again to finish up. Later in high school I took every art course offered in the school – ceramics, computer animation, but especially drawing… By the time I was a senior I had passed every drawing level so they made me a teacher’s aide to help the classroom students with their assignments. At ELAC (East Los Angeles College) I studied figure drawing, painting, and fine art.

For Auxilio.

What I represent in my personal work changes every couple years. Right now I seem to be interested in documenting and capturing significant moments in the lives of my close friends and family. Each of them motivate and inspire me to develop ideas and create personal works of art that I’d like to see shared and highlighted in the world. For my clients and commissioned work (which is a big percentage of my art), it all depends on who I’m working for and what their needs are. At this point, I become an artist of service and try my best to accommodate and meet the clients visions/ideas. It can be anything from a decorative, vivid cherry blossom mural for a newborns bedroom, to a brutal, heavy album cover for a punk/metal band. I’m also trying to get into painting death and black metal album art, so in my downtime I practice oil painting with color schemes that fit the aesthetic for those genres.

The Dark is a punk band from LA with a heavy touch of metal & catchy as f*ck riffs. The group’s made up of extremely talented, kind and selfless individuals. I love them all: Gaby on bass, Corrina on drums, Irvin on vox, Robert on guitar. I’ve always loved punk, especially punk that feels serious, dark, and metallic. So working with The Dark has always been a blast.

Does the music reflect your art? Or vice versa? Maybe both parties create at the same time?

I feel we compliment each other well. The direction and concepts for the band are all ideas and imagery that I’ve always been drawn to myself, so we always seem to understand each other and have a smooth process when coming up with new material.

The band began recording “Sinking into Madness” around July of 2023. August of that year is when we started to meet regarding the album cover. I think we all knew this release would be an important contribution to the punk scene, so our self expectations and dedication to the album were very high. We had numerous meetings discussing concept and composition before I went through numerous sketches to prepare for the final painting.

I actually did two different cover paintings before doing the third and final piece used for the LP. The first was way too detailed and crammed for the aesthetic the band was going for. The second was very similar to the final except, instead of an hour glass on the left hand cover, it was a dilapidated home. I always work from reference, so one of my favorite experiences working on this project was waking up around 4AM on a Sunday to take some reference photos. I drove out to the Thriller House in Echo Park to capture the sunrise hitting it from the right, since that’s the lighting I needed to make the most sense on the cover. We ended up agreeing that the hour glass would better fit the lyrics of the song being illustrated, but it was a fun experience for me that morning nonetheless.

Ink on wood panel.

The Dark has always been very serious and passionate about their music which is one of my favorite parts about working with them. They’ve always pushed themselves into being the best they can be, yet always remain genuine and humble in their growth. Their passion and work ethic multiplies every time we work together. I’m extremely happy for them and excited to continue watching them grow as a band and as individuals.

There’s nothing more inspiring than to surround yourself around hard-working and passionate artists. I’ve always known the band to pour their heart and talent into their music. Being around them has always pushed me to do the same with my artwork, especially when drawing or painting for them. 

For Xbalanque.
Acrylic paint.

If you’d ever like to view any of the public art I’ve done or been part of, you can visit Burning Bridge Brewery in San Dimas for an indoor mural I did for them. I have a mural that I collaborated on with my friend Roman at K bakery on Temple and Bixel as well. I’ve assisted Paul Botello on “We Believe in You,” a mural for LAUSD at Esteban E. Torres High School in East LA. I assisted Paul Botello on the restoration of “A Shared Hope,” a mural Paul did for Esperanza Elementary in Downtown LA back in 1995. The most recent mural I’ve worked on would be “Evolving Dreams” at 5800 Atlantic Blvd in the city of Long Beach, at a community learning center provided by the Long Beach City College. This mural was done through Puente, a community non-profit organization and painted along side Misael, Tracy and Vivian. 

-Guillermo Millan.


By Hector Zaldivar

Professional magician. @hexzald