Redrum Was My Childhood Drink of Choice: A short explanation of my creative process

by dongalaxy

As a young boy, I was deeply affected by the film “The Shining”. The cold, vast horror of the Overlook Hotel, the lunatic grins of Mr. Nicholson, the unspeakably brutalized twin girls in the hallway, the river of blood from the elevator. Yes, there is no question I was a bit too young to have been exposed to such sights, but without them… well, I can’t imagine who I would be, artistically or otherwise. This film shaped how I understood horror and how fascinating and beautiful this concept could be. Nightmares? Sure. But, after almost 30 years of attempting to recreate what I saw with my mind’s eye, I believe I have finally found a way. Like many artists, I truly believe I am blessed with a direct path to a higher power when I am in the throes of creation. Many times I barely remember conjuring certain details upon the completion of a piece.

My current body of work, which I began in early 2009, is an almost direct response to the death of my mother. Although the Number One Champion of my artwork, Mrs. Linda Myers did not, however, enjoy my more sinister sensibilities. “Why don’t you do something nice?” she’d ask on a regular basis. “Because I don’t really know how”, I’d reply. As I struggled with the idea that she was no longer physically present, I also realized that I could explore death and dying (and the beauty that surrounds it) to my heart’s content without the worry of disappointing her. The result has been almost 100 unique pieces since April of 2009.

My creative process is relatively complex, albeit one that has become deeply intuitive over the past few years. My essential goal to tap into the deep fears of my childhood as well as the fears I have developed as an adult. It all starts with a scavenger hunt of sorts. I scour the internet for images that involve, but are not limited to: death, dying, old portraits, wars, mouths and teeth, insanity, deformity, landscapes, insects that scare me (especially wasps), aggressive animals, humanity in general… the list could go on and on. I will also photograph parts of my own body or use original nature photography if there’s a certain “something” I’m attempting to capture. Then, like an improvisational chef or musician (or Dr. Frankenstein), I start assembling bits and pieces of the images that have spoken to me using Photoshop. Many times I will create illustrations concurrently in Adobe Illustrator that will fill in certain gaps or add to the overall effect. Also, I have been drawing with either ball-point pens or Sharpie markers. The results of these sessions are scanned into the computer and utilized in my work. If there is any need for text in the piece I will hand draw and scan that as well. Sometimes I attempt to incorporate a theme, other times the themes emerge like long-silenced screams from the past. I want to present to the world unique images that are at once familiar and terribly alien; comforting and disturbing; beautiful and terrifying. I want to welcome you into my brightly-lit home on a pleasant, rainy Spring morning, then slam the door, turn out the lights and strap you to a chair with eyelids held open forcing you to see what lurks in the dark, mad corners of the universe.

Or something like that.