Dark Artwork and Inspiration

General / 27 August 2019

I get a decent amount of questions on a daily basis regarding where my source of inspiration comes from. My dark artwork comes from a lot of places, really. Mainly it's my way of expressing my deepest emotions on a canvas, however vague that might sound.

My creepy art is a manifestation of my anxiety and place in this wicked world. And I do sincerely believe that this world we live in is wicked. Full of terror and evil. But obviously, I'm inspired by art as well. Like many of us. When I began painting I was obsessed with Francis Bacon, one of the founding fathers of dark art in a modern context. He was truly a master at his craft and there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about some of his work.

I wouldn't necessarily say that my work is that similar to Bacon, even though there are some similarities. I love the way he used to distort faces and make them appear in a sort of dream-like state. Dark artwork at its best, no doubt about that.

Modern Dark Surreal Artists

Of course, there are plenty of contemporary artists that I admire. Henrik Uldalen is a great painter from Norway. He manages to blend abstract expressionism and realism in a great way. I'm very much inspired by his style when it comes to render a part of the image and leave other parts "unfinished" with very few brush strokes.

Ken Currie is a big inspiration as well. A Scottish artist that creates really haunting portraits. His self-portraits are among my favorites, and they truly make me feel uncomfortable. Especially the one called Gallowgate Lard. One of my favorite paintings of all time.

When it comes to dark artwork I have to mention Laurie Lipton. An artist that only works with pencils to create the most beautiful and weird black and white paintings. There is also something to be said about the scale of her artwork. I just can't imagine how much time it must take to complete a single painting. Defiantly check her up if you're interested in dark artwork.

Scary Paintings

General / 12 August 2019

What Really Makes a Painting Scary?

I really don't see my own art as scary, that would be rather silly. But I do strive to make it weird and sometimes difficult to look at. And if someone else sees it as scary, that's a great thing. Most of the time I believe I miss the mark, the sweet spot where your painting needs to be in order to be viewed as "scary".

But what makes a painting scary, really? In any creepy or macabre art, I firmly believe that there needs to be some sort of abstraction – or rather a distortion of reality in order to make a painting, or work of art, scary. It's in the space between the real and surreal that you can explore some truly horrifying stuff. Take Francis Bacon, for example, one of my favorite painters of all time. His art is representational in a sense, but there is also a great deal of abstraction. You really aren't quite sure of what you're looking at.

Dark Art Should Not Tell the Whole Story

It's just like in film. Imagine if you'd see the Xenomorph from Alien in full daylight fifteen minutes into the movie. It would just be a big puppet weirdly walking around on all four legs. Not that scary. You need to engulf that thing in darkness. Hide it – in order to make it terrifying. That's a big problem with modern horror today. You show the monster way too early, and by doing so you ruin the whole mystery.

It's the same with dark paintings. Don't give it all away too soon. I'm not saying I am there yet, but I do try to make a part of my paintings very abstract. With all the "gore" and stuff. But there is a part that is real, something that is human. A detail on a face – that gets through all the darkness and resembles something that you're familiar with.

Body Horror and Scary Paintings

This is just one thing that I personally find rather scary. In film, one of the few things that actually scare me is body horror. A person is being transformed into something against their will. Like The Human Centipede for example. Hey, I don't love the film – but the concept is truly horrifying. The people that are being forcefully turned into this human centipede have no way of returning back to their normal life, they are truly f-ed, and you know it. That is scary. It's the same for movies like Hostel, The Fly, Tusk, and so on. I just personally find them very disturbing.

I try to incorporate that aspect into my creepy paintings. Transforming the human body into something hideous. Most of the time I fail, but I try.

Odd Nerdrum

General / 16 March 2019

Sometimes you just stumble into something that you've never quite seen before. As I did with the works of the Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum. I'm not quite sure how to describe his work. His style reminds me of Rembrandt. At least when it comes to the lighting and the brush strokes.

Obviously, his subject matter is a lot darker and grimy. He often portrays people in a weird manner. Men and women seemingly floating away. Being distorted by something. He also places his subjects in some surreal landscape, which seems to be a mix of something really old – yet there are aspects that feel modern. Like a wheelchair or guns for example.

Most of his paintings really make me feel quite uneasy. They chill me to the bone. And apparently, the guy is quite crazy as well. Yet, a really big inspiration. For sure.

One of My Favourite Photoshop Applications

General / 14 March 2019

There are tons of applications for Photoshop. I don't really use that many nowadays, to be honest. 

But let me tell you about one that I've come to love lately, called Infinite Color Panel.

Infinite Color Panel

Infinite Color Panel basically is an application that allows you to press a button to generate certain filters for your image. And I mean good-looking filters, not the Instagram type.

Of course, you can adjust the filters at your leisure. The application will add adjustment layers such as curves, color lookups, color correction, and more.

The thing I love about the application is that it's so simple to use. With the press of one button, you can generate a really neat-looking filter. And there are hundreds, maybe thousands (infinite?!) of filters. It's a really great tool to make your painting or image pop a bit more.

Obviously, Infinite Color Wheel is mainly used to edit photos, but it works great with digital painting as well.

The application is quite expensive however with a price of $99. But totally worth it if you use Photoshop a lot. 

You can buy it here

Where I Find My Inspiration & Nicola Samori

General / 13 March 2019

Man oh, man. I tend to find inspiration for my paintings all over – in different kinds of media. Recently I've been obsessing over an artist named Nicola Samori.

He's an Italian painter and sculptor that mainly focuses on human subjects. He works with some really interesting materials, where he usually paints with oil on copper plates. Which creates a really cool surface. 

A Master of the Surreal

The man is a master when it comes to mixing the abstract and surreal with something more realistic. Many of his paintings have a renaissance feel to them – but he distorts the images by "ripping" some things apart. This leads to feelings of dread and anxiety, where you really aren't sure of what you're looking at.

In the painting I'm working on right now I'm trying to incorporate elements that I've learned from studying Samori. Mostly when it comes to the backgrounds and "the ripping of the image". We'll see how it turns out.

Anyways, I just wanted to share my brief thoughts on this modern master painter.