Slipknot Clown's art inspired by Paul Gray

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Slipknot’s Clown says his artistic side was allowed to flourish thanks to the early support of his parents and the band’s late bass player Paul Gray.

And the percussionist, aka Shawn Crahan, says Gray – who died in 2010 – influences his artwork to this day. Crahan creates Slipknot’s album artwork as well as other pieces and says he owes much of his expressiveness to childhood friend Gray, as well as his late parents who encouraged his artistic side.

Clown tells TeamRock Radio’s Metal Hammer Magazine Show: “Paul loved my art. He believed in me all the way back then. He saw something in me. When I have my stuff I laugh and I’m like, ‘This is some sick shit, he’d love this.’ He’s always on my mind man, he’s always there.

“My mom must have recognised something really early because for whatever reason I grew up on fine art books like Rembrandt and Matisse that were written for kids. They were the photos very big, big sentences, very simple. And I have early childhood memories of staring at this stuff. Also Dr Seuss. Those were the two things in my world.

“That’s really what started it. I’m positive my mom recognised it but she didn’t push it. They always just encouraged me and were there for me. Everybody in my childhood and my life are always pushing that art on me, and it’s who I am. It’s what I live for.”

After Gray’s death, Clown says he almost couldn’t bring himself to carry on the band that the two friends founded in 1995.

He adds: “When he passed, my hardest thing was dealing with everybody coming up to me going, ‘You know, Paul would want you to go on.’

“Finally I just snapped one day and was like, ‘Did you ever think that maybe I don’t want to go on without him?’ Is it so hard to imagine that someone might not take the cheque?”

Slipknot guitarist Jim Root previously said Gray had helped write some of the band’s latest album .5: The Gray Chapter.