Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Featured Creature: Jumper Demon

I seem to be angling this month toward creepy otherworldly creatures, From Beyond and now this monstrosity.  Topping the list of things you never want to see on the end of your flashlight beam, here we have a hungry Jumper Demon.  This creature pays homage to two of my all time favorite horror sci-fi movies, Alien and Aliens.  Those movies gave me nightmares for years. Thanks Ridley Scott and James Cameron!

A very large tip of my hat to the true maestro of fear behind the Alien movies, H.R. Giger.  I remember when I first saw his artwork, my mind reeled with understanding.  I could not turn away.  I felt like I was seeing a true vision of horror from beyond.  Nothing I had seen before had ever compelled me with such darkness, attraction, repulsion, fascination, and fear.

Though many, myself included, have imitated his style, no one has ever been able to capture the raw otherness of  H.R. Giger's work.  During my teens I was somewhat obsessed with his artwork.  There was no internet at that time and I had to collect and sequester any of his work I could find.  Somewhere I have an article from Fangoria or Starlog focusing on his artwork and his work on Alien.   Growing up southern baptist in South Carolina in the republican 80's, it wasn't exactly the kind of thing you'd go parading around at sunday dinner, so I kept my darkness quiet.

When I started college, I was given the breath of freedom and my personal darkness leapt out onto paper and canvas.  For several years my work grew weird and gruesome and sexual.  I was inspired and emboldened by Robert Mapplethorpe's scandalous exhibitions, the violent brushstrokes of Francis Bacon's paintings, and the emergence of my own sexual understanding.

Sadly, I made the mistake of letting someone talk me into moving away from that darker style.  Several important pieces were destroyed in the process of what I thought was catharsis.  I was actually soothing the fears of those around me.  Looking back I can see a clear choice to step away from dark imagery and present more socially acceptable thoughtforms.  What a mistake that was.  I find it interesting that this crossroads of choice in my life seems so clear now but at the time it was just people talking.  I guess looking back, the contrast of behavior makes the line of demarcation more clear.  I continue to delicately walk my path, trying to avoid the jumper demons.  There is a quote that says not to hide your light under a bushel, but in matters of survival, you do what you must. 

In my artwork there has always been that conflict of interest: presenting the truth of my thoughts versus presenting what others find palatable.  I tend to hold back my thoughts and feelings because I do not believe that others can withstand them.  I also find conflict distasteful and prefer to talk sensibly, but when I reveal my true thoughts others revolt against me and the ideas I am presenting.  However, one of my goals with Zombie Bites is to reveal that in myself which has been covered, to shine a light in my darker corners, to give the beasts in me a home.  Hopefully this will all lead me away from that conflict and towards a greater understanding and honesty.

I believe I have a few pieces in older style lurking around.  I'll see if I can get those in the scanner soon.
{Sharpie and Uni-ball Vision Elite Pen with tones added in Adobe Photoshop}

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