by Tracy Vanity
The Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books made me obsessed with urban legends as a kid. I loved thinking that KFC chicken could be made out of rats and a serial killer could call you from upstairs while you’re babysitting and murder all the kids you’re supposed to be taking care of. The monsters in these books were of particular interest since they could be from anywhere and take on various forms…
These spooky tales, originally told flesh-to-flesh, can now spread to millions of people through the internet. Slender Man has surely taken off and now he has a quite entertaining twitter account, as does The Rake. You should follow them at your own risk!
Every country and culture has many of their own scary stories and urban legends, but here is a highlight of monsters found in urban legends and folklore from around the world:
-In the 19th century, the Bell Witch was a brutal poltergeist who haunted the Bell family, assaulting and cursing them.
-The Black Dog is a hellhound found in the British Isles and even Latin America. This ghost is said to be the harbinger of death.
-Bloody-Bones is usually said to live near ponds, but according to Ruth Tongue in Somerset Folklore, “lived in a dark cupboard, usually under the stairs. If you were heroic enough to peep through a crack you would get a glimpse of the dreadful, crouching creature, with blood running down his face, seated waiting on a pile of raw bones that had belonged to children who told lies or said bad words.
-The Brosno dragon is basically the loch ness monster of Russia. He also looks like dinosaur.
-There are many variations of The Bunny Man legend which spread around the U.S. but basically he runs around wearing a bunny suit and murders people with an axe.
-The Bunyip is an Aboriginal creature which deals in water-based areas of Australia. It doesn’t seem to do much but this video that Carlton Mellick posted before makes this monster seem a lot creepier:
-El Cipitio is some kind of ghost or paranormal entitity from El Salvador of a boy with a giant belly and backwards feet who flies and throws pebbles at people. He is said to be the child of some “illicit” couple.
-The Crawfordsville Journal described the Crawfordsville monster as being “about eighteen feet long and eight feet wide and moved rapidly through the air by means of several pairs of side fins. It was pure white and had no definite shape or form, resembling somewhat a great white shroud fitted with propelling fins. There was no tail or head visible but there was one great flaming eye, and a sort of a wheezing plaintive sound was emitted from a mouth which was invisible. It flapped like a flag in the winds as it came on and frequently gave a great squirm as though suffering unutterable agony.”
-“According to the book De Kinderen van Het Bezeten Bos which was written in 1937 the legend of Deogen is said to have began when area nuns began finding the burned bodies of young children in the Sonian Forest in Belgium, near Brussels. It is said in the book that 80 children were murdered and the bodies dumped throughout in the forest and set ablaze but a more accepted number was only 8. Very little is known of the case excepting that which is found in the book which is believed by many to have been a work of fiction.“
-Draugar are pretty metal. These undead creatures from Norse mythology possess superhuman strength and come up out of their graves as wisps of smoke, increase in size, and kill people by crushing them, drinking their blood, and driving them insane.
-In Scandinavian folklore, Gjenganger are like ghosts in that they have died and come back from the dead but are in full human-like form and can cause damage if they’re pissed off or evil.
-“According to legend, Goatman is an axe-wielding, half-man, half-animal creature that was once a scientist who worked in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center. The tale holds that he was experimenting on goats, the experiment went awry, and he began attacking cars with an axe, roaming the back roads of Beltsville, Maryland. A variation of the legend tells of Goatman as an old hermit who lives in the woods, seen walking alone at night along Fletchertown Road.”
-“A hidebehind is a nocturnal fearsome critter from American folklore that preys upon humans that wander the woods, and was credited for the disappearances of early colonial loggers when they failed to return to camp. As its name suggests, the hidebehind is noted for its ability to conceal itself. When an observer attempts to look directly at it, the creature hides again behind an object or the observer and therefore can’t be directly seen: a feat it accomplishes by sucking in its stomach to a point where it is so slender that it can easily cover itself behind the trunk of any tree. The hidebehind uses this ability to stalk human prey without being observed and to attack without warning. Their victims, including lumberjacks who frequent the forests, are dragged back to the creature’s lair to be devoured. The creature subsists chiefly upon the intestines of its victim, and has a severe aversion to alcohol, which is considered a sufficient repellent. Tales of the hidebehind may have helped explain strange noises in the forest at night. Early accounts describe hidebehinds as large, powerful animals, despite the fact that no one was able to see them.“
-“In 1893 newspapers reported the discovery of a Hodag in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It had “the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end”. The reports were instigated by well-known Wisconsin timber cruiser and prankster Eugene Shepard, who rounded up a group of local people to capture the animal. The group reported that they needed to use dynamite to kill the beast.”
-In Chilean folklore, Imvunche is a deformed, hairy monster boy with a snake-like tongue that protects the entrance to a warlock’s cave.
-There have been many sightings of The Jersey Devil even to this day:
-Kuchisake-onna is a Japanese spirit, mutilated by a jealous husband and said to torment little Japanese children. She is known to wear a surgical mask and goes up to kids, asking if she looks beautiful. If they say “yes” she removes her mask and reveals her mouth which has been split open from ear to ear. If they say “no” she chops them up. Creepy shit.
-La Llorona is well-known in Latin America. Spanish for “The Weeping Woman,” the version I was told was that she is the ghost of a woman who was abandoned by her lover and ends up drowning her children and herself in the river. Her ghost is seen crying in the middle of the night looking for her children. In Thailand there is a similar ghost called Phi Tai Hong.
-The Lambton Worm is a huge dragon-looking beast that terrorized a village in the UK and has a song which I can’t really understand but the pictures of the “worm” are cute:
-”In the folklore of Bali, the Leyak (in Indonesian, people called it ‘Leak’ (le-ak)—the Y is not written or spoken) is a mythological figure in the form of flying head with entrails (heart, lung, liver, etc.) still attached. Leyak is said to fly trying to find a pregnant woman in order to suck her baby’s blood or a newborn child. There are three legendary Leyak, two females and one male.”
-The Manananggal of the Philippines is a vampire-like creature, typically depicted as a woman who has bat wings and long straw tongue to suck blood from people and fetuses out of pregnant women.
-The Melon heads were deformed children from a Michigan insane asylum who were mistreated, went feral, and escaped into the forest.
-A Nachzehrer is a German vampire ghoul, who eats the dead and is created when a person dies by suicide or accident. It apparently loves munching on grave clothes.
-Like the name suggests, the Owlman of the UK is a giant owl-like man with claws, wings, and glowing eyes.
-“In most accounts, the Pope Lick Monster (named after the Pope Lick Creek below the Pope Lick Train Trestle) appears as a human-goat hybrid with a grotesquely deformed body of a man. It has powerful, fur-covered goat legs, an alabaster-skinned face with an aquiline nose and wide set eyes. Short, sharp horns protrude from the forehead, nestled in long greasy hair that matched the color of the fur on the legs.
Numerous urban legends exist about the creature’s origins and the methods it employs to claim its victims. According to some accounts, the creature uses either hypnosis or voice mimicry to lure trespassers onto the trestle to meet their death before an oncoming train. Other stories claim the monster jumps down from the trestle onto the roofs of cars passing beneath it. Yet other legends tell that it attacks its victims with a blood-stained axe. It has also been said that the very sight of the creature is so unsettling that those who see it while walking across the high trestle are driven to leap off.
Other legends explain the creature’s origins, including that it is a human goat hybrid, and that it was a circus freak who vowed revenge after being mistreated. In one version, the creature escaped after a train derailed on the trestle. Another version claims that the monster is really the twisted reincarnated form of a farmer who sacrificed goats in exchange for Satanic powers.”
-In 1930′s Chicago, a young female hitchhiker dressed all in white, was picked up by several drivers only to vanish once the car stopped in front of the cemetery. One of many variations of the vanishing hitchhiker stories, Resurrection Mary was said to have been a young woman who had stormed out of a ball when her boyfriend pissed her off and was killed by a hit and run driver while on her way back home.
-Robert the Doll was a super creepy doll owned by painter in Key West who was said to move, talk, giggle, knock over furniture, and do other scary shit. The painter kept the doll until he died and now the doll resides in Fort East Martello Museum and is said to curse anyone who takes photos of him.
-“Rokurokubi (轆轤首, rokurokubi?) which are related to Nure-onna are yōkai found in Japanese folklore. They look like normal human beings by day, but at night they gain the ability to stretch their necks to great lengths. They can also change their faces to those of terrifying Oni to better scare mortals.
In their daytime human forms, rokurokubi often live undetected and may even take mortal spouses. Many rokurokubi become so accustomed to such a life that they take great pains to keep their demonic forms secret. They are tricksters by nature, however, and the urge to frighten and spy on human beings is hard to resist. Some rokurokubi thus resort to revealing themselves only to drunkards, fools, the sleeping, or the blind in order to satisfy these urges. Other rokurokubi have no such compunctions and go about frightening mortals with abandon. A few, it is said, are not even aware of their true nature and consider themselves normal humans. This last group stretch their necks out while asleep in an involuntary action; upon waking up in the morning, they find they have weird dreams regarding seeing their surroundings in unnatural angles.”
-Shadowpeople are dark paranormal entities seen all over the world, scientifically explained to be caused by a psychological disorder or sleep paralysis.
-“The Sihuanaba, La Siguanaba, Cigua or Cegua is a supernatural character from Central American folklore. It is a shape-changing spirit that typically takes the form of an attractive, long haired woman seen from behind. She lures men away into danger before revealing her face to be that of a horse or, alternatively, a skull.”
-Spring-heeled Jack, aptly named, is known for his bizarre appearance and giant leaps. He was first spotted in the UK in the 1800′s and is said to either look like a beastly man with long claws and fiery eyes or like a complete gentleman.
-If you read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark books, you will already be familiar with the Wendigo. In Algonquian legend, the Wendigo is a demonic cannibal spirit which came out especially during winter. Anyone who resorted to cannibalism was believed to become a Wendigo. In Scary Stories, a Wendigo carries a man up into the sky until he become a pile of ashes.
Are there any favorite legends I left out? There are so many! Now I’m off to bed. Sweet dreams Bizarros!
When inventing subject matter without the aid of reference images in drawing and painting, there are a few assumptions based on my observations of the real world that I find useful.
1) All light travels in a straight line until it reaches an object, at which point it is reflected, frequently in a radiating manner, the directions of the reflection being determined by the shape of the object.
2) Ambient light is that which comes from reflection. All objects within an environment reflect light, including the particles of gas within the negative space. These reflections bounce all over the place, further illuminating everything within an environment. The more the light bounces, however, the less powerful is its ability to illuminate as it becomes scattered and diffuse.
3) Direct light is that which is reflected off objects directly from a light source within an environment.
4) Shadows occur where light, both direct and ambient have a hard time reaching. Shadows vary in darkness, depending on how close they are to that which casts them. The darkest shadows occur where the influence of ambient light is diminished by how many times it must bounce to reach the area. The farther away shadows occur from the object which casts them, the subtler they are due to the influence of ambient light.
Artwork: “If You Have Any Worth at All” copyright © 1994 Alan M. Clark
—Alan M. Clark
by Alan M. Clark, Jill Bauman, Chad Savage, and Steven C. Gilberts
The names of the artist in this post are links to their websites.
I have a degree in painting from the San Francisco Art Institute, and while I got a lot out of that education, there’s much that I learned only after college, in the “real” world. Here’s some of what my professors didn’t teach me:
- They didn’t teach me to be reliable, responsive, punctual, and easy to work with.
- They didn’t teach me how to communicate and make my services as an artist salable.
- They didn’t teach me that the world didn’t need me and my artwork and that I’d have to establish the value of my work before anyone would take me seriously.
- They didn’t teach me that the value of artwork is based on “perceived value” and that it is up to me to raise the perceived value of my work.
- They didn’t teach me that I needed to establish a good reputation for fulfilling the dreams of my clients if I expected to continue to get work (note that I did not say “the needs of my clients”).
Perhaps these things go without saying, but I think it would have been helpful if my professors had addressed them. Of course, I was young and full of myself and not paying attention to my teachers the way I might have. Perhaps they knew this and that practical experience was the best teacher of these basics.
When young artists ask me for advice, the first thing I say is, “Don’t be a flake.” Second thing I say is, “The business of getting work as an artist takes tenacity.” Third thing I say is, “Learn how to raise the perceived value of your work.”
What they didn’t teach me in art school was how to deal with the emotional ups & downs of an art career. That was left to parents, siblings and friends who questioned the practical aspects of my life as an artist.
They didn’t teach me how to be original or to set myself apart from other artists. This I had to discover on my own. They taught basic skills, but not how to “think” as an artist.
Art school does not teach you how to present yourself and your art to galleries or art directors.
They didn’t teach me about money management or setting up funds for retirement or investment. Working as a free lance artist can be a rocky financial road.
They didn’t teach me anything about the business end of art. There were no courses in copyright protection, contracts, tax deductions or artists’ rights.
They didn’t teach me about the struggles to pay heath insurance.
As an artist I followed my dream. I was willing to pay the consequences when it came to artistic, financial, emotion and spiritual challenges. The end result is that I have had a long and fruitful career. I don’t have to retire. Now, I am respected for my experience.
If I were teaching now, I would advise young artists to develop their drawing skills. I would tell them to participate in life-drawing classes–it will be the basis of everything else that they do. Then I would encourage them to find their own way of seeing the world and expressing it visually.
Don’t try to be like someone else you think is successful.
Have your own vision!
1. Personality & Integrity
When a potential employer is first informed of your existence as an artist,
if s/he’s got Brain One, s/he’ll ask his/her contemporaries “What do you
think of this artist”? You’ll be judged and juried without ever even knowing
it, based on (a) your personality and (b) your integrity. That is to say,
based on how you deal with people, and how you deal with your work.
Are you a charismatic character who meets deadlines? You’re golden.
Are you a shy, withdrawn type who meets deadlines? You’re still good to go.
Are you a prima donna jackass who meets deadlines? You might still get
Are you a charismatic character who misses deadlines? Outlook not good.
Are you a shy, withdrawn type who misses deadlines? You’ll have plenty of
time to doodle.
Are you a prima donna jackass who misses deadlines? Have fun in the vacuum
that is your life.
Be easy to get along with. Don’t miss deadlines. I can’t state it any
simpler than that. Go to conventions and buy the first round. Be funny and
entertaining at industry events. Post to industry message boards and have
something intelligent to contribute. Tell jokes. Be fun.
And don’t miss deadlines.
2. Say NO.
Seriously. Nobody taught me how to say “NO” without feeling guilty. It took
10 years of every sob-story band, writer, starving artist, et al begging and
pleading for my artistic assistance before I was able to say, with 100%
conviction and 0% guilt: NO. You don’t walk into McDonald’s and expect a
hamburger just because you’re a broke musician; don’t walk into my studio
and expect free art. My time and talents are valuable. Period. If you can’t
see that, that’s your problem.
3. Be Professional.
Any industry, no matter what its focus, is rife with political crapola,
rampaging egotism and nepotism galore. Your job? Stay out of it. Rise above.
Don’t engage in stuff that is beneath you as a professional artist, no
matter how tempting it might be. I am certainly not without sin in this
department, but the older and more experienced I get, the more I’m able to
resist it, because I’ve seen how it NEVER works to your benefit. If you’re
known as the guy/gal that is impervious to industry shenanigans, well, go
back and read Rule #1 above.
During my freshman and sophomore years I attended the Louisville School of Art which offered a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts) program. When the school closed due to financial problems, I transferred the applicable credits to the BA (Bachelor of Arts) program of a satellite campus of Indiana University. This was the only option financially available to me at that time.
While both programs taught an adequately balanced curriculum of artistic fundamentals, they considerably lacked in teaching even a basic understanding of marketing artwork or artistic skills. In fact, the prospect of creating “art for hire” was largely a forbidden topic. In general, both establishments frowned upon commercial and graphic art and viewed it as “selling out” or “prostituting one’s artwork.” The rule was “art was done for the purpose of creating art alone, not for deliberate monetary gain.” Within the later BA program, this bleak financial future was not helped by the large amount of non-art required (and expensive) courses the degree demanded. Additionally, I encountered what has been a common complaint among many of my professional peers. Particularly within the BFA program (but also present within the BA program) there was an outspoken majority of both upper class-men and faculty that were openly opposed to fantasy and science fiction illustration. Once, when I mentioned my interest in fantasy illustration to a senior, her reply to me was “Don’t worry Steve, we’ll burn that idea out of you.” Ironically she was not saying this to be mean. She actually meant this as a positive and inevitable outcome of the BFA program.
Now I don’t mean to undermine the value of a college education in the arts. My time spent in the classroom was invaluable in learning the basics of composition, design, and color theory. Indeed, I feel that it is my background in the fine arts that has given my work a distinctive edge that helps people to identify my work.
But for the amount of money and time that an art degree costs, there should always be at least the potential of financial opportunity in compensation. Art for art’s sake might be a philosophy worthy of those who are independently wealthy, a Sunday hobbyist, or a tenured professor. But for a large number of artists, illustrating for a living is how the bills are paid.
In regards to higher education, my advice to young artists is that a college degree is a worthy endeavor, provided you avoid some pitfalls.
If possible, attend a Bachelor of Fine Arts program rather than a Bachelor of Arts program so that you will be able to concentrate on art. While I understand that it does not hurt to have a well rounded education, courses not specific to a degree should be chosen by the student or at least the faculty teaching the degree, not the financial department of the university.
Make sure the program will provide you with the opportunity to grow in your skills, not stifle them.
Develop your own style. I can’t stress that enough. During my college years I saw fellow students emulate the styles of favored instructors. The instructors and their work are still around, but their imitators have vanished. Conversely, some instructors tried to churn out clones of themselves. Professors of this type are best avoided as they can cause damage to a developing artist.
Don’t buy into the philosophy that creating art for profit is demeaning and lessens the value of the piece. This philosophy doesn’t apply to the endeavors of teachers, lawyers, musicians or doctors, nor should it apply to artists.
Artwork: The quad of images above is formed of artwork done by the artists who wrote this article; top left—Alan M. Clark, top right—Jill Bauman, bottom left—Chad Savage, and bottom right—Steven C. Gilberts.
Do you love America? Of course you do, it’s America! But what if you were thrown into the far future where your precious America was taken away and replaced by an apocalyptic wasteland full of dinosaurs, renegade robots, and savage warriors? Maybe you would be sad at the loss of corndogs and apple pie, but you could take some comfort that this world is way cooler than anything you’re used to. This world belongs to… AMERICAN BARBARIAN!
American Barbarian was written and drawn by Tom Scioli, best known as the artist of the acclaimed indie comic Godland. Scioli’s art is very reminiscent of the late Jack Kirby, especially his cosmic stories about space heroes and megalithic monsters. American Barbarian carries that style into a world that blends the post-apocalypse with classic sword-and-sorcery (like Thundarr the Barbarian, one of the best cartoons ever). It started as an online comic but was recently collected into a hardcover edition, telling the story of Meric, one of seven brothers in a family sworn to duty and justice. But when his father and brothers are killed, Meric carves this into his fingertips:
With his family destroyed, Meric is forced to strike out alone, make new allies, and defeat the scourge of the wastelands, a monster known as Two Tank Omen. He’s sort of like Xerxes and Apocalypse, only he has tanks for feet.
As a genre fan, this was a must-have for me. If you grew up in the early eighties, during the barbarian craze started by SchwartzenConan, then I promise you’ll enjoy American Barbarian. It has all the savage action and epic adventure, ONLY WEIRDER! And yes, you can go to http://www.ambarb.com to see the comic in its original e-format (and even see some of Scioli’s next project, called “Satan’s Soldier”), I highly suggest the hardcover. It’s a good price and very well-made. I guess I’m just a traditional comic reader, but I also love the smell of good comics. Even when they have this sort of stuff in them…
Now that’s how you start Chapter Seven.
LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY, the new novel from Wonderland Award Winning author J. David Osborne, is now available!
“It’s about meth, fishing, trash American culture and young adult despair. Imagine a Raymond Carver or Jim Thompson for the text message age and that would only begin to get it.”–KRIS SAKNUSSEMM, author of Reverend America
Trapped in a rural Oklahoma town fueled by meth and doused in codeine, Arlo Clancy has made it his life’s goal to keep his troubled younger brother, Sepp, out of prison. Poverty and the lure of easy drug money were pressure enough, before a gruesome discovery beneath the waters of their favorite fishing hole sent their lives into a tailspin.
Torn by cowardice and conscience, the brothers make a fateful decision which will bring them ever-closer to Danny Ames–a vicious enforcer for the local meth trade–and a nightmare world where their only chance of escape might be…
LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY
“Sometimes mysterious, sometimes vicious, and always engaging, LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY is a unique take on the crime novel that will satisfy readers who like their fiction as murky as a river after heavy rains. Here’s a good way to describe J. David Osborne: Daniel Woodrell, James Ellroy, and Cormac McCarthy all wrapped into one, stripped to the bones, and given a new voice.”–OUT OF THE GUTTER
“A gritty tapestry of subversive drama the likes of which I’d compare to Harmony Korine’s Gummo packed in with the terse lines of Bukowski.”–MICHAEL J. SEIDLINGER, author of My Pet Serial Killer and The Sky Conducting
“If you’re looking for something more than just blood and guns and meth, you need to get this book immediately. Osborne has an innate talent more dangerous than a trunk full of C4. To give some sort of visual, take one of James Sallis’ Spartan scenes, lock in it a single-wide with a bag of crystal and a light bulb then rip out the air conditioner and check back in a week. LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY creates sensations that haunt you long after you’ve started your next book.”–SPINETINGLER
“LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY is working class fiction at its best. It reeks of desperation, busted dreams, and hard times. But mostly, it reeks of literary talent. Whatever J. David Osborne writes, I’m reading. And you’d better too.”–BENJAMIN WHITMER, author of Pike and co-author of Satan is Real: The Ballad of the Louvin Brothers
“J. David Osborne holds a literary style distinctive enough to raise his work above the waterline of contemporary fiction. LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY challenges and hurts and mystifies its readers. The weave of characters is stunning. Intricate storylines cross and worm through each other to form a dense and powerful mystery.”–MANARCHY MAGAZINE
“In LOW DOWN DEATH RIGHT EASY, Osborne reaches out into the scabrous hinterlands of landlocked nowhere to unveil an intertwined collection of reluctant dreamers and three time losers, all trying to get by while navigating rusted out acres of convenience store ice heads, run down bars, and greasy doublewides. Strange, brutal, yet disturbingly familiar, this is the sort of story you can taste on the back of your tongue, and makes you appreciate every last clean and hopeful thing you have in your life.”–DARK INTENT
“A highly talented new author. Osborne is one to watch.”–BLOODY-DISGUSTING.COM
Dig the excerpt at MANARCHY.
Also, if any Portland readers are interested, Powell’s should have copies of LDDRE by the end of this week.
And for people on the East coast, J. David will be doing a reading from LDDRE this Monday, March 11th, in New York, along with Sam Pink, Scott McClanahan, and Cameron Pierce. Here are the details at TIME OUT NEW YORK.
POWELL’S READING: This Monday, March 18th, 2013 I’ll be reading at Powell’s City of Books on Burnside as part of their annual SMALLPRESSAPALOOZA event. Since my readings tend to run “blue” I’ve got the late night spot at 9:45pm. Should be great fun.
In an effort to promote my new novel, A PARLIAMENT OF CROWS, released by Lazy Fascist Press, I created the Dilation Exercise below to expand the story beyond the end of the novel. The novel is inspired by the three infamous Wardlaw sisters.
Need a further explanation? Go to Imagination Workout—The Dilation Exercises.
When Vertiline found herself in the cemetery, she realized she was dead.
If Mary had also become a crow after death, and Vertiline could find her, she had an idea for how they might end their sister, Carolee’s, reign of terror.
Artwork: “A familiar Crow” copyright © 2008 Alan M. Clark. Cover art for VINTAGE SOULS by David Niall Wilson, published by Five Star.
Captions are original to this post and have nothing to do with the literary project with which the artwork first appeared.
—Alan M. Clark
Guest Post by Andrew Wayne Adams
Francis Bacon—“that man who paints those dreadful pictures,” according to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher—was born in Dublin in 1909 and is one of the most famous painters of the twentieth century. And his paintings are really weird.
The twentieth century was great!
Bacon was a self-taught artist. He had some unconventional techniques, such as swirling dust into his paintings, painting with rags, being a gay alcoholic, etc. He often painted on the “wrong side” of the canvas (the rough, unprimed back). He worked from photographs, tearing them up and recombining them and stomping on them and screaming at them. (I made those last two details up.) He did not believe in God.
Here are some self-portraits:
And here are paintings from Bacon’s “Pope” series. The face of the Pope in the second one reminds me of Leatherface from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (actually, most of Bacon’s faces remind me of Leatherface). And the third Pope (the one with owls on his chair) reminds me of Grandpa from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. Pretty much everything reminds me of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Bacon painted a lot of triptychs, I think because he was secretly a Renaissance painter. Here are a few:
This next painting (“Figure with Meat”) was in Tim Burton’s Batman. The Joker liked it.
I am sure the Joker would have approved of the following paintings as well:
On a final note: Bacon’s studio was a fucking mess. It reminds me of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.
Andrew Wayne Adams is the author of Janitor of Planet Anilingus, a bizarro novella available from Eraserhead Press. He was born and raised in rural Ohio. It was boring. He now lives in Oregon and wears human faces.
By Sam Reeve
Alex Gross currently works in Los Angeles and has exhibited his work around the world. You can find more of his artwork here.
Here’s a little about what influences and inspires his work:
The world that I live in is both spiritually profound and culturally vapid. It is extremely violent but can also be extremely beautiful. Globalization and technology are responsible for wonderfully positive changes in the world as well as terrible tragedy and homogeneity. This dichotomy fascinates me, and naturally influences much of my work.
By Sam Reeve
Meagan Jenigen is a young artist residing in Baltimore. Her work is diverse, something I really appreciate, and of course it’s all wonderfully strange. She’s even done a few taxidermy pieces!
By Sam Reeve
Today for our weekly dose of weird art we have Cody Schibi, an amazing artist who was kind enough to answer some questions. First, let’s get some basic facts straight before jumping into the interview.
Cody was born and raised in Texas, and now resides in Austin. He works as a freelance artist, mostly with ink and watercolours, and sweats pure awesomeness.
Now let’s get to it!
Sam: You started out working in film. How did you first get into that?
Cody: I met a friend of mine a few years after I moved to Austin who was an independent film maker. I was completely neglecting my art at that time as I didn’t do anything with it for many years & was wanting to get creative & motivated again. He was shooting some shorts & trailers & I simply started doing ALL the art for his projects. I mean everything from storyboards, conceptual art, set design, costume design…I even BUILT the sets for one of his scifi features which was a blast! After those initial experiences I started to get calls from other, larger production companies mostly needing storyboard & conceptual art work. I spent a few years doing that, but grew a little tired with the intense deadlines & not having my art seen except by directors & cinematographers & those kind of peeps. So I went totally freelance about three years ago & started doing what I’m doing now.
S: What drew you, and continues to draw you, to working mostly in ink and watercolors? When did you first start experimenting with that and what made you stick with it instead of going on to work with something else, like say oils other paints?
C: I’ve always been a simple pen & ink guy. My black & white, fine line work is my personal favorite stuff & still what I do most of today. Watercolors came with experimentation & I just fell in love with it’s forgiving presence but also the possibility of brilliant accidents when you get all splattery & messy with it. Inking on top of it is a combo that fits with what I want to create. Other paints still intimidate me. I’ve done a few acrylic pieces & have pushed oils around before, but the quick drying time & other factors freak me out. I’m in awe of artists who work in that medium…
S: Are there any things you want to experiment with but haven’t yet?
C: I’m in the process of beginning to work on vinyl figures. I was approached a few months ago by a curator of a custom toy show that’s gonna happen later in the new year & the lineup he has includes some heavy hitters in the “Custom World”, so I’ve just started to experiment with that & am loving it!
I also really want to try graffiti/painting on walls/murals. I have some friends here in Austin who are amazing at it & they’ve invited me out, but I haven’t bite at the invitation yet. That’s something I’m definitely gonna start in 2013 though…
[UPDATE: See Cody's first wall painting below, posted to Twitter just yesterday]
S: Could you give our readers a brief rundown on what BULLMOOSE is and when we can expect to see some previews?
C: BULLMOOSE is a story created by my brother, Lance. It’s an ongoing series about historical figures (Theodore Roosevelt is the main character) & historical events that are altered in a crazy way. It’s super fun & wacky with their journey having a dark undertone of horror. There are already a few character images up at www.BULLMOOSEtheComic.com & my bro is gonna start updating regularly in the new year with my pages, panels & some exciting news regarding the release & guest artists.
S: What’s it like collaborating with your brother on BULLMOOSE?
C: We’re identical twins, so we’ve always had this easy & fun communication our whole lives. He has the majority of things already written out, and when I start thumb nailing & illustrating the panels he sometimes adds stuff (which has slightly altered the direction of certain things). It’s a completely open collaboration that we’re having fun with. As long as the ideas benefit the story, we’re open to anything. We’re obviously taking our time with everything to make it as wild & cool as we can & we hope everyone who eventually reads it will think the same!
S: I hear you’re really into horror movies. What are some of your favorites? What upcoming horror films are you most excited about?
C: SO many to choose from! I’m a huge Evil Dead fan & the remake of it coming out soon is one I’m actually really pumped to see. I’m especially a freak for 80s horror: Re-Animator, Basket Case, Creepshow, Sleepaway Camp, The Thing, Critters, Hellraiser, etc… I’m a big Eli Roth, Adam Green, Don Coscarelli, Joe Lynch fan so all their upcoming stuff I’m excited about. You can’t touch Lucio Fulci’s films as well. I can really ramble on & on about horror movies all day…
S: Are there any upcoming exhibits or announcements you’d like everyone at Bizarro Central to know about?
C: Some of my upcoming events:
- San Antonio, TX Jan. 26th – ARTSLAM! Seven Year Jam – live painting w/ L’amour Supreme, Buff Monster, Nychos
- Laredo, TX Feb. 9th – WHEN THE EVIL CAME comic book signing @ Legacy Comics
- Austin, TX March 2-3rd – STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo
Also working on a piece for a music tribute show during SXSW at Guzu Gallery as well signing on to do a few more conventions later in the year…
By Sam Reeve
Weird Art Month is almost over, but we’ve already made it past the Black Day, and hopefully most of you did so unscathed.
Eduardo Bertone is an illustrator and graphic designer. He was born and raised in Argentina despite being an Italian citizen, but since then has spent time living in Spain and the UK. He has done graphic design for a lot of big name companies and organizations, including the World Wildlife Fund and Stolichnaya Vodka.
Below you’ll find an assortment of his art and graphic design work, all of which is colourful and awesome.
By Sam Reeve
Danny van Ryswyk‘s digital portraits are like a bizarre take on those from the Victorian era. I’m normally not a huge fan of digital art, but I’ve found myself a fan of Danny’s. He was born in 1972 in the Netherlands and once saw a UFO, something that he says has greatly influenced his work.
By Sam Reeve
Michael Fields is a Portland-based artist. He’s self-taught, and also a graphic designer and WordPress developer. Check out his website here to see more of his work.
By Sam Reeve
Sabi van Hemert comes from Rotterdam. I haven’t been able to dig up much on her since I don’t understand Dutch. Anyway, her sculptures are mostly made from leather and are totally awesome. Children are already creepy, so these are even worse because they don’t have faces.
By Sam Reeve
Since Tracy Vanity has done an exceptional job at shitting all over this holiday (read the post here), I won’t even bother to do so myself. Just know that I hate this day and that from this hate Weird Art Month was born!
Today’s artist is the photographer Joel-Peter Witkin. His work is dark, grotesque and totally awesome and not Christmas-appropriate. His work often features corpses, dwarves and other strange subjects. For the corpse/body part work, he had to shoot in Mexico so as to avoid the law.
Warning: some of these may be disturbing.
By Sam Reeve
What I find most intriguing about David M. Cook is that he’s a self-taught, colour-blind artist. I love thinking that what he sees when creating his art is totally different from what we see. David was born in Kentucky in 1972 and is now based in New York.
Check out his website here.
By Sam Reeve
Spunky Zoe was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. She went to New York to get her BFA and then returned to Korea. Her real name is Seungyea Park.
By Sam Reeve
Normally I’m not super into art that portrays celebrities. It can be a cop-out for true weirdness and just a gimmick for garnering more attention. Steve Seeley‘s work, however, has won me over. I was sold upon seeing the first image below. Luckily for those who still hate celebrity-inspired art, not all his work is like that. Enjoy!
In 2004 Steve started something he calls “The Creature Project”. It’s an ongoing project of altering the cover of Dell/ Whitman’s UFO Flying Saucers #5, originally published in 1975. Below are a few pieces.
By Sam Reeve
By Sam Reeve
Fulvio di Piazza, born in Italy in 1969, paints some of the most awesomely detailed landscapes you’ll ever see (so I’ll keep this short and sweet).
By Sam Reeve
It’s time to take a cute break! Today’s artist creates some of the cutest (yet weirdest) little creatures you’ll ever lay eyes on. Chris Ryniak comes from Michigan and draws inspiration from Saturday morning cartoons, insects and wildlife. You can visit his Flickr photostream to see more of his work, or visit his website here.
By Sam Reeve