Dark Paintings That Actually Scare You

General / 27 September 2019

I can't say that it happens often, but every once and awhile I do get scared of a painting. My journey into dark paintings started with Hieronymus Bosch and Francisco Goya. I'd say that they are the forefathers of what is known as dark art.

For Goya especially, there is something visceral and completely twisted about his work. Goya's The Black Paintings are some of my favorite artwork. Of all time. Saturn Devouring His Son makes my stomach turn every time I stare into the weird and creepy expression of the giant figure consuming his child. Check out The Dog by Goya as well. Not as creepy, but it's quite haunting with the dog staring up at the sky.

The Dark Paintings of Ken Currie

Ken Currie is a contemporary artist from Scotland, known for his dark portraits. Often of himself. In my opinion, Currie has a perfect balance between surrealism and realism. His figures do make sense, but there are distorted parts that don't. Surreal dark art that meets the real world.

Ken Currie might not be considered a well-known artist, so defiantly check out his work. Especially the painting called Gallowgate Lard. 

Dark Abstract Art

Complete realism isn't really that interesting to me. It's more of what you can achieve in the in-between – or dreamland if you like. That space is so hard to define. A space that some might call uncanny. Dark abstract art has an effect on me where it really can demand something out of me. I have to really think about what's going on in the painting. But I guess that's true for all art – not just dark abstract art.

Check Out These Dark Art Paintings

So. I've listed some of my favorite work up here. If you wish to explore the subject of dark art further I suggest that you look into these paintings:

  • Saturn Devouring His Son – Francisco Goya
  • Gallowgate Lard – Ken Currie
  • Odilon Redon – The Smiling Spider
  • Nicola Samori – Sordina
  • Zdzislaw Beksinski – Valley of the Dead
  • Pablo Picasso – Guernica

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.

Please check out my print shop if you're interested in buying dark artwork. Or send me an email if you'd like to purchase an original.

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 to 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 that 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.

What's your take on scary paintings? What makes a painting scary to you?

Also, don't forget to check out my store and see if there's any dark art that you'd like to purchase!

Why Dark Art?

General / 25 July 2019

I honestly can't tell you why I am drawn to so-called dark art, or creepy art. It is just something that resonates deeply with me. I do care about realism to a certain extent, but what I try to do when I paint these creepy paintings is to capture some sort of dream state. A morbid and surreal place, mixed with a hint of realism.

Expression Through Dark Art

Dark Art for me is a form of expression that really makes me happy. I get to release all sorts of emotions through my paintings. Most of the time I'm a pretty happy guy, but just like everybody else, I do feel down from time to time. But I'm not some sort of crazy person or psychopath as some people may think when they see my art. The creation of dark art is just my voice, my way of seeing the world around me.

Some people get angry, violent even, when they can't fully express themselves. Me? I just paint my emotions on a canvas. Painting for me is in ways an act of violence where I can completely let myself go. Most of the time it works.

Creepy Art Isn't for Everyone

Creepy and dark art just isn't a thing that suits everyone. Like all art. But I do believe that you need a hint of darkness within yourself to truly appreciate dark paintings. If you've never been through any hardship it might not affect you in the same way. Some of my favorite dark artists like Nicola Samori and Ken Currie really capture the human condition, with all its anxieties and darkness in the best possible manner. And Since I've "been through" some stuff in my life I can really connect to their work on a deeper level.

I Will Continue to Produce Dark Art

Even though I'm beginning to work more and more with realism as of late I will always be drawn to violent art. It's such a big part of who I am as both an artist and a person. Visit my shop today if you'd like to buy some dark art prints, or contact me directly for original artwork.

To Paint Without Brush Strokes

General / 11 April 2019

Lately, I've been thinking about my older paintings, and how they just "collect dust" on some old USB stick. So. I decided to open some of them in Photoshop. 17 to be precise. And from there I started to copy certain parts of the images – and blending them together on a new canvas.

A leg here, an ear there. And so on. I really had no intention of creating something recognizable, but after a while, I saw a face emerge amongst all the chaos. That's when I started to erase some layers, trying to create parts of a face. Just by erasing images.

I don't know if it works, the finished result that is. But it certainly is a new way of "painting" for me. Or should I say erasing?

Dark Soul? Dark Art?

General / 22 March 2019

I really couldn't tell you why I'm so drawn to what we usually describe as "dark art". Sure, I did have quite a lot of anxiety and stuff growing up, battling with a minor depression – but overall I'd say I'm a pretty happy person.

My paintings usually contain a subject in some sort of pain or state of despair. I wouldn't necessarily say it's a manifestation of my feelings, because nowadays I mostly feel fine. Mostly. But I've always been into darker kind of art. Ken Currie, Nicola Samori, Francis Bacon, Fransisco Goya, and so on. "Happy" art – or colorful art is just something that straight up bores me. 

It never comes with the same gut-punch as when an artist is portraying something gruesome or sad. And believe me, I've tried on many occasions to broaden my perspective. Sure, I can appreciate a few artists out there that create things that are truly beautiful. Nature paintings and so on. And of course, I can admire the craft and thoughts behind paintings that aren't within the dark art genre.

At least once a week someone asks me why I'm portraying such dark subjects. And I don't really have a good answer. Truly. I just like darkness. I like muted colors and human faces and bodies in weird positions. I probably always will. It doesn't mean that I hate life or anything like that.

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.

Taking a New Direction With my Work

General / 16 March 2019

For pretty much a year now I've been doing different kinds of portraits. I deform my subjects to make them something less than human – but ultimately they are still portraits. And I've really grown tired of it.

I just lack the patience nowadays to really get into a portrait. The problem with me is that I tend to render the image too much, which is really time-consuming. And it bores me. Lately, I've been trying to be a bit looser with my style, and I just find it more interesting and fun overall.

I have a series of upcoming paintings that will be more abstract, and surreal. And not just portraits. Some of them have human subjects in them, sure. But they are not that similar to my other stuff.

But who knows. I might get bored of doing this thing as well. But for now, I'll try to focus on more abstract stuff.

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

Feeling a Need to Explore Abstract Art

General / 14 March 2019

So, uhm. I haven't been painting seriously for that long. For about a year now I'd say, a bit less even. My style has changed quite a bit – even though I've dived a bit back and forth.

One thing that defines my style is the way I distort the subject, or as Francis Bacon would have put it: "Causing an injury". This is something that I do with pretty much every painting. It creates more of an abstract and surreal tone in my opinion.

And it's that particular surreal tone that I want to explore a bit more, as of late. I feel like there is something in that void between something that you clearly can define – and something that you quite can't make up what it is.

One thing about me as a person generally is that I get bored of doing the same stuff all over. And now I feel like my style needs to take some sort of interesting direction if I don't want to get completely bored with what I'm doing.

So the stuff that I'll produce for now will most likely be more abstract, where I will try to focus more on color and shapes. Instead of details.

I'm also into the idea of combining old paintings. Which kind of creates a narrative between them. This is obviously something that you'd never be able to do on a real canvas, but hey – sometimes digital art can be pretty cool.

I hope it's something that you'll appreciate! We'll see how it goes.