Tag Archives: macabre

Top 5 Macabre Artists

Update:

Hello my goulish friends!! I wanted to first apologize for my neglect.  I recently graduated with a master’s degree and decided to put my focus on job hunting.  Luckily, I landed a public relations job with an agency in the Detroit area and will be moving this weekend!

This post shall be brief because I am supposed to be finishing a book chapter for one of my professors on advertising and the Great Depression… I’m procrastinating at the moment.

Brittni’s Top 5 Macabre Artists

This is in no way accurate, it’s just a list of some of my favorite macabre artists along with a photo of their work and a brief description.  I tend to shy away from gore and surrealism, so you won’t see any of the amazing artists who focus in those areas on this list.  I prefer dreamscapes, psychological horror and skeletal interpretations. http://blog.designnocturne.com/2012/03/01/the-art-of-zdzislaw-beksinski/I’ve written about some of these artists before, but a little reminder never hurt, right?

5. Zdzislaw Beksinski (Feb. 24, 1929-Feb. 21, 2005)- Beksinski was a renowned Polish painter whose work focused on post-apocalyptic landscapes, nightmarish scenery and death. His technique included a dark vs. light color palette of oil paints. Beksinski was found dead in his Warsaw home with 17 stab wounds, two of which were confirmed to be fatal.

4. Edward Gorey (1925-2000)- First of all, what a great name!  Gorey was an American author and artist most known for his Gothic illustrations. His past work includes illustrations for Dracula by Bram Stoker and War of the Worldsby H.G. Wells. My sister bought The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which was written by Gorey, for me because the artwork reminded her of me. ha! It is a small book that lists the alphabet along with a child whose name begins with the accompanying letter and a grim description of that child’s passing.  It has a dark humor to it and reminds me of American poet Shel Silverstein mixed with Tim Burton. I highly recommend it.

The first two pages of “The Ghashlycrumb Tinies”

3. Mia Makila (1979-present)- Ms. Makila is a Swedish artist who specializes in mixed media, painting, drawing and digital art.  Her work is FANTASTIC!  It is usually colorful, whimsical and humorous.  In her blog, she says, “You could describe my art as horror pop surrealism or dark lowbrow.” She accepted my friend request on Facebook! I’m excited to stay updated on her latest work! I imagine her status updates will be art-related and sarcastic-my favorite kind! I chose to show this darker artwork because it offers a different side to Mia’s work.

Weird Baby

“Weird Baby” is mixed media on an antique photo.

2. Sylvia Ji (1982-present)- For those of you who know me, it will be easy to see why Ji’s work is one of my favorites.  Not only are her paintings absolutely stunning, her interpretation of the Day of the Dead is engaging, sad and beautiful.  According to her blog, “Sylvia Ji is at once contemplative, spiritual, enigmatic, and yet whimsically funny. Above all else, it is perhaps beauty that emerges as her defining characteristic, and her art reflects this: an extension of herself; a passionate appreciation of simple aesthetic pleasure fused with intimately complex subject matter.”

1. Tim Burton (1958-present)- Tim Burton is probably most known for his work in film.  While he is a successful director, writer and producer for such cult films such as Edward Scissorhands, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Alice in Wonderland and Beetlejuice, he is also a celebrated illustrator.  His partnerships with composer, Danny Elfman and actor, Johnny Depp have proven a recipe for success as he continues to wow audiences all over the world.

His work has been featured at an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  Illustrations, film screen shots and sculptures were all available for viewing.  Above is a photo of “Untitled (Romeo and Juliette)” which was on display in another exhibit at LACMA in Los Angeles.  His illustration techniques include pen and ink, colored pencil, water color and marker. His high contrast in color creates a whimsical world for his misfit characters to live.

Untitled (Romeo and Juliette)

I leave you with a recorded interview with Tim Burton at MOMA in New York so you can hear for yourself his process, inspiration and character.  He is truly a visionary, and I’m always excited to see what he’ll do next. *cough* Frankenweenie. In conclusion, I love Tim Burton. His work makes me feel better about the scary, awkward, and lonely parts of the adolescent experience I had.


Mixed Media Art and Macabre

Excuses and Mixed Media

I’m bAAAaaaack!!!  Now that I don’t have the class that forced me to hammer out these posts every week, I’m finding more and more excuses to neglect this poor blog.  In honor of the Halloween season full of The Walking Dead, zombie video games and pumpkin-carving madness, I decided to resurrect the ol’ Acrylic Zombie.  Now, I’m not-so-fond of uber-gore, but I can appreciate the concept.  Today’s post will be dedicated to mixed media art that has a horror focus and tones down the queasiness.  Mixed media art is a combination of different art mediums (paint, texture, found objects etc.) to create a piece that reflects several techniques.

The Mechanical Man by Rena Hopkins

Now this is my type of gore: subtle yet mind-bending. Artist: Rena Hopkins.

Rena Hopkins

Over the summer I went to a local art festival in little Cambridge, Ohio where I met mixed media artist, Rena Hopkins.  Not only did I spend 40 minutes bugging her with questions, but I also managed to spend a large chunk of my summer’s disposable income at her booth.  Needless to say, my apartment looks phenomenal with its high-class spooky.  Check out her Etsy page to see prints available for purchase.  There’s just something about this horror and steampunk mixture that catches my attention.

Zombie Girl by Rena Hopkins

This is the pretty little print that graces my black-and-white striped bedroom wall. The Zombie Girl by Rena Hopkins

In a stalkerish Facebook chat, I learned that Ms. Hopkins is busy gearing up for Halloween performances (she’s also a burlesque dancer and vocalist) and has been inspired to create a new line of steampunk-ish necklaces which will probably be available at her second Etsy site.

Starting next week (October 24, 2011) [I’ll be] working on a new line of necklaces made using vintage compasses. A bit higher of a price point than my watch line by virtue of the difficulty finding the compasses. Also a line of Steam Punk /Found object lockets and a group of collages created from old bingo cards.

Halloween Rant

hermmermferm's Flickr Stream

If anyone can tell where this amazing (and terrifying) homemade Halloween costume idea came from, I'll send you a Halloween spider ring.

Not only is this the only time of year in which my blog is relevant to most people, but it’s also the time of year in which we all get to escape ourselves to become someone else!  I’m a firm believer in adult costume parties with Michael Myers themed Pandora stations, Hallow Weekends at Cedar Point and the long-awaited release of Paranormal Activity 3.  My only issue is the bad rep halloween brings to college campuses with its drunken nonsense, jaywalkers and slutty animal costumes.  Please put some thought into your costumes this year!!  If I see another slutty cop, Snooki or Playboy Bunny, I might think about gouging my eyes out.  Put some clothes on!!  It’s cold outside!!


Haunted Hometown Ohio

Egypt Valley Wildlife Area

Every Buckeye Trail Middle School (my middle school) kid hears about the haunted Egypt Valley in Belmont County, Ohio.  Egypt Valley is a wildlife reserve that doesn’t fit into the landscape.  You’d expect lots of tall trees, maybe a stream and a lot of deer.  Egypt Valley is different, there are giant rocks, jagged cliffs and patches of dry brush everywhere.  It just doesn’t make sense.  It is said that ghosts and other creatures own the night terrorizing anyone brave (or stupid)  enough to make the trip.

Belmont County Map

Egypt Valley Map

The Murder

The true story begins in the mid-1800s with a young teenage girl, Louisa Fox, and her boyfriend, Thomas Carr.  He was much older than the 13-year-old girl and wanted to be married.  She was young, and he could be scary at times.  The townspeople described him as troubled, violent and angry.  He proposed and she agreed but later broke off the engagement.  He was furious.  He waited for her one night while she walked home from work.  He stopped her, kissed her goodbye and stabbed her 14 times after slitting her throat.  He attempted suicide by cutting his own throat and shooting himself, but survived and was sentenced to death a week later.  He was the first person in the county convicted of murder and was hung about a year later.

Concept art of fear

Terror by R-y-a on Deviant Art

Encounters in Egypt Valley

Below is an anonymous personal encounter of paranormal activity in Egypt Valley found on Forgotten Ohio.

Titled: Bloody Claw Marks

On September 13, 2003 me and a group of friends were getting ready to go fishing when we heard the story of Circle Cemetery from a friend who had visited the place before. That’s when we decided to visit this so-called haunted cemetery. We drove up to the cemetery and pulled over and began to walk up to “the circle.” Then we stepped up to a marble headstone and the air got real cold. We weren’t really scared, that was until we heard the dogs bark. But they suddenly stopped and we calmed down a little bit. Then, out of nowhere, our sides started to burn and we lifted our shirts. Three claw marks were stretched across my side like a dog’s paw. Two of my other friends suddenly had burning sensations in the face and arms when they looked down they had pricks and my one friend had cut marks above his eye with blood coming out of it. That’s when we decided to leave the cemetery.

Personal Remarks

I live about three hours North of Egypt Valley so I would never visit in hopes of finding phenomenon.  Even when I was younger and  lived with my parents in the Egypt Valley area, I was never the type who volunteered to dabble in paranormal activity.  I’m not scared of much, but spirits, ghosts and demons are not my cup of tea.  My theory is that unless you know an exorcist, you’re pretty much screwed.  Evil spirits are not like monsters, you can’t shoot them or protect yourself using physical force.  You can’t run or hide.  You’re left terrified and helpless.

Red Faced Demon Spirit

Demon Scene Photo from "Insidious"

Spiritual Inspiration

Child's drawing found on ZombieCupcake.blogspot.com

A child's drawing of what looks like a murder scene

Inspiration for art comes in many forms.  Those interested in macabre may use fear as fuel for an artistic spark for expression.  Our experiences with the paranormal are insights into perspective, personal beliefs and individual reaction.  The word paranormal describes an unusual situation that lacks a scientific definition.  It would be difficult to explain such an experience to someone who has never encountered paranormal phenomena.  It may help to try to recreate the experience by giving the story a visual.  Art is way of expression, interpretation and relief.  Think about the horror movies you’ve seen in which children draw monsters and demons that have visited them.  Only after the parents have accepted something unexplainable is happening do they look to the art work for proof.


Macabre in Fashion

I’m not going to pretend to be a fashion expert.  I wear dress pants and cardigans to work, sweats and t-shirts to discus practice and jeans and jackets on the weekends.  I learn from Stacey London and Clinton Kelly from What Not to Wear and build outfits from whatever I can find on the sales rack.  I want to make a few observations about fashion, macabre and subculture and by no means claim expertise.

Runway Collection by the late Alexander McQueen

Fashion collection by the late Alexander McQueen

Macabre Fashion Subcultures

When we had cable, I used to watch America’s Next Top Model for the end of the episodes where the “best photo” from the week’s shoot was revealed for each contestant.  To me, high fashion means photographers, high heels and extravagant hair and make-up.  What makes high fashion special is the complicated and often inspirational concepts that go into the photo shoots.  How does this relate to macabre?

High Fashion

High fashion with a touch of Gothic influence can look as elegant or grungy as you want.  Haute Goth is a subculture that showcases the traditional black materials .  One of the most noted fashion designers to take Gothic inspirations to the runway was Alexander McQueen.   An article in the NY Times said,

The monstrous, sometimes sadistic, styling of his [Alexander McQueen’s] collections became a hallmark, as when he showed models wearing horns on their shoulders. A collection in 2000 was shown on models with their heads bandaged, stumbling inside a large glass-walled room with the audience on the outside as if its members were looking into a mental ward.

Macabre and fashion

Another line from Alexander McQueen

McQueen brought real world issues into fashion.  Some people were shocked, some applauded his efforts, others took offense to his in-your-face antics, but the important thing is that people learned something new.  Art isn’t always pretty.  Sometimes it’s pain.

Another high fashion subculture borrowing from the Gothic style is Gothic Lolita.  Lolita is a subculture that began in 1980s Japan and is influenced by the Victorian era.  The subculture’s intent is to look elegant  while wearing Victorian clothing to embrace the Rococo style.  Gothic Lolita is differentiated by the black clothing, black accessories, and pale skin.

Scene Kids

Scene kids are usually young individuals with big hair, bad attitudes and tight jeans.   Their reputation  says they’re lazy, unambitious teenagers who are anti-social and mean (to others outside their group).  The lethargic attitude reflects in classroom performance, after-school clubs, and lack of hobbies.

Photo by ad3on

Photo of a male "Scene" kid found on DeviantArt.com

Cyber Goths

Cyber goth fashion looks like  a mix between steam punk, Japanese anime and goth styles.  The phenomenon began in the UK club scene with its neon colors, masks and goggles.  Cyber goths usually wear black with neon accents, high platform shoes, goggles or gas masks, and incorporate industrial materials, such as PVC pipe, into their attire.

Violet Morphine's Cyber Goth photo

Fashion Identity

We all look for ways to express who we are.  We all want to belong somewhere, and  fashion is a way to achieve both.  The groups we feel connected with won’t always be accepted or understood by the majority, so it’s important that groups like Scene kids and Cyber goths exist for the people who don’t fit the norm.  We should also remember that we all don’t fit into just one group, we participate in multiple groups.  We can look at fashion to categorize subcultures and to determine if that community could be a good fit for us.


Mexican Culture, Tradition and Macabre

El Día de los Muertos

Day of the Dead depiction

We all come from different places and different cultures.  You may not agree with the traditions of where you come from, but it’s important to at least be aware of them. I’d like to share one of mine with you.

I’m Hispanic and I continue to follow my Mexican and Puerto Rican customs out of love and respect.  Like a typical Hispanic person, I am Roman Catholic, I value family and music, and I am very familiar with El Día de los Muertos, also known as The Day of the Dead.

Celebrating our dead ancestors is not only important because it keeps their memories alive, but it also gives us hope that we won’t be forgotten when we’re gone. Despite the skulls and death, El Día de los Muertos is a happy and beautiful holiday.

Sugar Skull

Day of the Dead Traditions

Many people make sugar skulls to identify and honor each deceased family member.   The skulls are then decorated with paint and frosting, jewels, fruit and feathers to create a cheerful atmosphere. This symbolizes the belief that we are dreaming in life and truly awake when we die.  It’s a celebration of the continuation of life, even though our ancestors’ bodies are no longer living.

The altar is the center-point for each family, and can be set up inside the home or at the cemetery.  This ritual is celebrated differently depending on where you are, but the point is to choose a central area for the spirits to meet. The altar usually incorporates the four elements of nature: earth, wind, water, and fire.

Day of the Dead Alter

  • Earth is represented by crops.  People leave a feast of fruits and vegetables for the souls to eat when they arrive.
  • Wind is usually represented by something that moves easily if air is blown near it, such as tissue paper.
  • Water is offered in a container for the souls to quench their thirst.
  • Fire can be found by candle.  Each burning candle represents a soul, and any extra candles represent forgotten souls to ensure all the deceased are recognized.

Day of the Dead parades can be found in Mexico and parts of the United States.  Dancing, live music and dining are all typical activities that occur during a celebration.  If you ever find yourself near a celebration site, don’t be afraid to participate.  The opportunity to witness other cultures’ traditions is one I wouldn’t pass up.

Day of the Dead Art

Portrait by Sylvia Ji

Portrait by Sylvia Ji

Sylvia Ji is one of my favorite artists.  Her work is feminine with shadows of beauty, decay and power.  She seems dedicated to mixing her techniques with cultures different from her own.  The exploratory approach she takes is admirable and the paintings she produces are breath-taking.

Skeleton Painting by Jose Posada

Calavera Catrina by Jose Posada

Jose Guadalupe Posada was a Mexican engraver and illustrator in the late 1800s.  Although he worked on many projects with different job titles,he’s most famous for his calaveras (Day of the Dead skulls) and humorous paintings of skeletons interacting with the living.

Sugar Skull Tattoo

Sugar Skull Tattoo

Artists everywhere are embracing death.  I was pleasantly surprised at how many tattoos, paintings and sculptures I found that were created by non-Hispanic artists.  An area of expression that I’ve come to love is skeleton make-up.  People are so much creative. The concepts, shadowing and color are endless!  I could look at this stuff all day.

Thanks for taking some time to learn more about the Day of the Dead. Please enjoy more artistic ways to experience one of my favorite holidays with the photos below. What is one of your favorite holidays that isn’t so popular in the U.S.?

Day of the Dead beauty shot

Imperial Trio by CaptainMagnificent on Etsy. See?! The Day of the Dead is even mixed with American pop culture icons. How cool!

 

 


The Music of Macabre and Building a Brand

Musical Nightmares

This week has been all about the music for me.  Nine hours of sleep doesn’t cut it at this point of exhaustion.  In order to stay focused and keep my sanity, I listened to a lot of music.   Fortunately, I came across one of my all-time favorite childhood soundtracks: Walt Disney’s Fantasia.  Below is a video of Night on Bald Mountain. This scene from Fantasia captures a terrifying night in which Chernabog’s demons come out to play in the dark.  It is one of my absolute favorite songs from one of my childhood obsessions.  (I used to pretend that I was the wizard’s apprentice and ran around demanding the broom to do my chores.)

Musical Branding Trends

Masked Band Members

Slipknot Band Photo from Blastro

Since I was listening to so many different bands, I noticed how different they all look.  Some fit the “scene” look,  others wear masks or make-up, and a few are just  cartoon characters.  It got me thinking about branding and reputation for musicians.  Exactly how do they figure out what the best look will be for their market?  Or is it that they actually dress and act like they do in real life?  Maybe it’s a combination of both.

Music branding trends come and go, but there are a few that may just stick.  Mike Boris, svp/executive music producer at McCann Erickson says that social networking with advertising, marketing and public relations companies help build a foundation that a band can leap from.

“The biggest trend [in 2009] was the use of social networking: Artists are being discovered and in turn working with brands. Bands are also becoming popular well before they get a label deal. If a band has an online following of a few hundred thousand fans, it is like a focus group. With the whole music business changing, artists are looking to our industry more than ever, and beyond that 30-second spot, bands can synergize with our brands like never before. (Via Web films, behind the scene’s footage, additional songs, product giveaways, contests, etc.)”

Band Photo from MP3Lyrics.com

Hollywood Undead poses by a gate

Another trend that I’ve noticed has been the use of songs that aren’t on the Top 40 list for TV commercials.  A lot of my own favorite bands and songs have been featured in automotive commercials or spots for Apple products.  Commercials are a great way to get exposure.

Managing Reputation is Important

When there’s not much you can do in the way of big name connections, you always have your online presence.  Managing your online reputation is more than just replying to comments, updating information, and talking about the location of your next gig.  It’s about engaging with your audiences, whether they be fans, industry leaders, or venue owners.  Below you’ll find a list of tips for managing your online brand and reputation.   Unless your band is one who wants a bad rep and plays the villain, these next few bullet points will be useful.

  • Let Someone Else Say It- If you can find a Tweet, blog, or article by someone else that captures what you’d like to say, link to it.  It’s better to align with a third party than to push all of your messages at people.  Pretty soon, they won’t listen anymore.
  • Unify Digital Properties- Link your MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Deliscious page and any other social networking sites together.  It’s an effective way to reach a broader audience, and it’s easier to update and monitor everything.
  • Leave Your Ego Behind- When hecklers and D-bags attack you with insults or threats, it’s best to either ignore and delete the messages or CALMLY respond without any hint that it affected you.  Remember that the internet is a free marketplace and anyone will be able to see your responses…
  • Know Your Audience- Your audience is made up of different segments.  It’s impossible to cater to all of them at one time, so we have to divide them up.  One group may not respond the same way as another group so it’s important to tailor messages according to characteristics of each group.
  • Don’t Wallow or Gloat- If you win a music competition or suck it at a tour opener, don’t obsess over it.  Airing dirty laundry or repeated self-praising will only cause people to lose respect for you.  Just keep it simple.

Macabre Spotlights Non-Traditional Art Materials

Found Materials

Found Material in Macabre

A William Hundley Photo downloaded from Flickr

Acrylics, oil pastels, chalk, pencil, clay, markers, water color and paper mache are all materials we’d expect an artist to use.  Found materials are non-traditional media which are not meant for artistic use but are intended for a different purpose entirely.  For example, one wouldn’t expect bed sheets to be used as an art medium or for an artist to use ball-point pens on canvas.  It’s meant to be something you just come across, not something you’re looking for.  I have this box-o-crap that holds a plethora of odds and ends for my crafting collection.  I found a broken pair of aviators on my way to class last fall that I want to turn into something cool.  It may work for a shadowed face or something… I’m still brainstorming.

Blood Art

If blood makes you squeamish, you may want to skip this section.  Casey, aka The King of Unpop Art,  uses rattlesnake blood to paint.  In an interview conducted by Valerie Christopher, a contributing writer at Suite101, Casey says his preference for rattlesnake blood is nothing special.  He hunts them, eats them, and uses their blood for artwork.  He calls it “creative recycling.”  When asked about the satisfaction of blood painting, Casey replied,

I get satisfaction from knowing this type of medium gets ridiculed by the conventional “art world,” not to mention how much it disgusts the stuck-up, art snob douche-bags that think they are authorities.

I tried to find some photos of his work which according to the interview include some high profile serial killers and Alex from The Clockwork Orange, but I couldn’t find any photos that are of good quality.  If you’d like to learn more, visit Casey on his Myspace page.

Vanessa Tiegs is another artist who prefers to paint with blood, but not just any blood; her menstrual blood.  According to her website, Vanessa was a professional ballet dancer.  She went on to college where she discovered a new passion in design, model making, and architecture.  It wasn’t until after beginning her master’s thesis titled Spiraling Moon: A System for Menstrual Insight, did she start painting with her menstrual blood.  She uses the unconventional paint to create pieces that represent femininity and strength.  Below is a video compilation of the pieces from Vanessa’s Menstrala collection. 

Mixing the Madness

It’s not likely that we’ll stumble upon some new medium that has yet to be used.  There’s a guy who uses poop and urine to create his work… I doubt there’s much more that could top that.  It’s not about discovering something new, it’s about mixing materials to create something different.  We all have a story, we all have different ways of communicating, so why not experiment a little bit?

STRONGHOLD_by_RealRottenCandy

Stronghold by Real Rotten Candy at DeviantArt

This photo is a great example of mixing art media.  We have some acrylic paints, some hair, latex, plastic, a freakin’ fork and so on.  Nothing too extreme here, yet just look at the outcome.  It’s disturbing, well executed, mysterious…  It’s open for interpretation.  That’s the beautiful thing about art:  It means something different to everyone.

Reuse Repaint Repeat

Instead of trashing unused materials. toss them in a box for future use.  My junk box is full of odds and ends including, guitar strings, bubble rocks, sculpting wire (I don’t sculpt), mixed glitter, shoe laces, feathers, butterfly stamps, beads, toilet paper tubes, and a plastic skeleton-shaped lollipop stick.  As soon as I use anything in that box, I’ll be sure to post a photo on here.  Until then, happy recycling!!


Macabre in Young Entertainment

Find this at DeviantArt.com

Vampire by Rebecca Roo

From Vamps to Virgins

Vampires have been a huge part of American horror since the dawn of silent films.  Since arguably the first vampire film, Nosferatu (1922), writers and directors have been reinventing the blood-sucking monster.  In recent years, the vampire has lost its fear factor.  All of a sudden the male vampire has grown a conscious and developed a set of morals that says killing human beings is wrong.  Our generation has gone from From Dawn Until Dusk and Blade to Twilight.  It may work for now, but I hope it ends soon.

The concept of the virginal male vampire is something that’s driving teens and women crazy.  He has an old soul (because he’s hundreds of years old), he’s in great shape (because vampires don’t eat food or age), and he’s wealthy (because he’s had decades to make bank).  What’s not to like?  It’s a little bit too much romance and not enough horror for my liking.  Traditionally, vampires are sexual predators thirsting for human life and power and today’s vampires do the same thing, but with less action.  The female still lusts for the vampire, which leaves her incapable of grasping reality, but instead of essentially being raped and dried of blood, she becomes restless and contemplates suicide.  What a great message for today’s youth… NOT!

Vampire Vision

Critics wonder if Hollywood’s vampire obsession will lose its appeal.  Ever since Twilight‘s Edward Cullen invited himself into our bedrooms, it seems like a slew of other vampires have crammed themselves into our homes.  The vampire craze shows no loss in momentum as these shows fill up prime time television.

Macabre TV Show

True Blood Series Cover

  • True Blood- Sounds like a teen vampire soap opera to me.  The show centers around a teen waitress who falls in love with a vampire.
  • Vampire Diaries- Just another teen vampire soap opera.  The series follows a love triangle between a young female and two vampire brothers in a small town haunted by super natural beings.
  • Being Human- I actually watch this one.  Three super natural roommates try to find a place in the human world as they deal with their “conditions.”
  • Blood Ties- A Canadian show based on another vampire novel about a private investigator with bad eyesight and her professional/personal partnership with a vampire.
  • Moonlight- Also about a vampire who works as a private investigator.

I’m almost afraid to ask how many more vampire-related shows are going to pop up this year.  It’s on a downward spiral.  Have you heard of “Fantasy Biting” yet?  It’s a form of role play that teens are taking part in.  A 15-year-old Florida teenager told police she was attacked while jogging when in fact she was participating in vampire role play.  It’s blood-sucking madness!!

Other Hollywood Horror Trends for Teens

Movies and TV aren’t the only trends in teen horror.  Fashion (Hot Topic), video games, and music all fuel the teen horror fire, but today’s post will focus on Hollywood (movies) and video games (teen crack).

Vampires may have stepped out from the shadows as of late, but some other monsters haven’t been pushed from the spotlight.  Werewolves and zombies have a tremendous young following thanks to the big screen.  Movies like Underworld: Rise of the Lycans, Wolfman, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Weeks Later and Zombieland have boosted the two groups’ popularity amongst teens.

Video games have pushed the zombie frenzy to all new heights.  First-person shooter games like Left 4 Dead 2, Dead Rising, and Resident Evil have turned the gaming experience into a fight for survival.  Left 4 Dead 2 is without a doubt one of the best zombie video games I’ve ever played (Zombies Ate My Neighbors will always be my favorite), and I’ve played a lot of them.  This game is intense graphically, phonetically, and mentally.  The levels of zombie strength range from petty (but watch out because they come in enormous hordes) to powerful (this zombie is HUGE and can take a lot of lead).  Below is an intro clip from Left 4 Dead that will be sure to convince you that zombies are a threat to survival.

Is Macabre a Trend?!

Some say that these types of movies and entertainment will die off soon enough, but I beg to differ.  Horror will always be around because people are intrigued by fear.  The industry will absolutely change like it always does when new technology is available or when monsters are reworked to create something fresh.  Whether we’re talking about a Disney movie villain or a demon entity tormenting an innocent family, death is a part of life.  Without evil, how can there be good?

Most of the time I enjoy horror entertainment regardless of romance and gore, but sometimes it’s just ridiculous.  I’m tired of the virgin vampire, how much longer can Hollywood milk this?

Go Team Horror!


A Public Relations Digest for Artists

Artists can use the Internet to build a personal brand, carve out a niche, and to conduct business.  No matter the industry, everyone should incorporate public relations into their plans.  Social media is a great way for artists to connect to fans, fellow artists, and potential buyers.  Relying on mainstream media to increase popularity is about as productive as baking cupcakes by sunlight (not very productive).  Social networking sites like Delicious, Facebook, and Twitter can help artists create an online presence, get socially involved in the industry, and stay up-to-date on current news and trends.

"Public Relations" by fb 101

"Public Relations" by fb 101 can be found at DeviantArt.com

PR Rundown for Artists

Neil McKenzie’s post about PR for artists distinguishes between public relations and advertising.  The post lists public relations opportunities for artists to connect with their key publics and ways to monitor current PR efforts.  Below is an excerpt from his blog.

Some of the areas public relations address are:

  • Communication between you and your audience(s) and target customers
  • A bridge between you and the media
  • Setting up speaking engagements and involvement with public causes or charities
  • Positioning you as an expert in your particular field by being quoted and sought after
  • Building rapport with your stakeholders such as customers, employees, critics and the public
  • Refining your social media management and engagement
  • Developing third party endorsements for your art, company or organization
  • Crisis management (if you do things right you will probably not need this one – think BP and the Gulf oil spill)

Some examples of how you can use PR to tell what is going on in your world:

  • New projects, art or products you have developed or you are currently working on
  • Your shows, exhibits and where you will be
  • The hiring of new employees or opening a new studio or retail location
  • Awards or honors you have received.
  • Collaboration with other individuals or organizations
  • Community activities or groups that you are involved with
  • Panels and group discussions you participate in
  • Feature articles about you and your work
By Chris Brogan and Julien Smith

Trust Agents cover

Pre-Campaign Considerations

Before jumping into your online branding campaign, take some time to do research.  Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents is the perfect book for anyone who is new to social media.  Most of us are familiar with social networking, but social media as a whole offer great opportunity to create an online presence while connecting to people.  I read Trust Agents last semester in my Media Relations and Publicity class because we were required to do a book review.  After I finished the book, I had a much broader view of social media, but I also had a much more focused understanding.  So if you’re  interested in my review, let me know and I’ll send it to you.  I’d recommend it to those who are new to social media or interested in building an online presence via public relations.

Macabre

Since this post is dedicated to PR efforts, I wanted to attempt to tie it into macabre.  Most macabre work can be described as shocking, taboo, or some other word that expresses an uncomfortable feeling.  This alone could be cause for publicity in mainstream media, but who wants to wait around for watermelon raindrops?  I know I’m not going to rely on some reporter to find me.  After conducting some research, it’s quite clear that most people are unaware of what macabre is.  I mean, the first few links when typing “macabre” into Google are from definition websites.  We need to band together and connect with people.  Macabre is something to talk about, it’s something to be proud of.  Maybe it’s time for some zombie picket signs to help us break out of movie and video game entertainment.  I say we push for an American macabre museum!!  Who’s with me?!

Zombie Vector by Mark Mandu

Zombie Vector by Mark Mandu

 


Digging Deep into Macabre

Before we can really dive into macabre, it’s important we agree upon a definition.  Macabre translates to death.  In art, macabre is a sub-culture dedicated to grim and horror.  It’s difficult to say when macabre began because demons and spirits have been part of life since the dawn of time.  Religious literature tells us about evil, cave paintings tell us about evil, and stories from others’ experiences tell us about evil.  People always say that without a villain, it’s hard to sell the good guy’s story.  It’s impossible to imagine how we all would’ve developed without the knowledge of evil and horror.  Fear is such a huge part of how we live (or don’t live).

Macabre Beauty Shot

Macabre Beauty Shot

Fear mixed with imagination has helped create and shape the world of macabre.   Zombie portraits, gory photos, suicide depictions, dead bodies, monster attacks, alien abductions, and anything else that means death and horror to someone can be used to create something incredible.  It’s definitely a niche market.  I mean, most people probably prefer oil paintings of landscapes or black and white photos of their loved ones, but for those of us interested in the darker side of things, we have macabre.

It’s interesting to think about macabre before movies were possible.  We only had photos, paintings, and stories.  In Victorian times we had theater and costumes.  In Biblical times we had stories of Eve and the snake of temptation.  Every era brings a new perspective on evil and horror.  Now we have video games and fashion.  Each decade pushes the envelope,  I remember hearing about blood painting in undergrad.  Who knows what the next medium in macabre might be.  Hopefully this blog will help me connect with macabre enthusiasts across the globe, so we can stay up-to-date on the latest news and artists.  I just want to be in the loop.

Personally, macabre reminds me to appreciate life, to remember the fact that our time ends eventually and sometimes unexpectedly, and not to take what I have for granted.  I’m not sure if any piece of photography or painted material featuring a skeleton counts as macabre, but I plan to investigate.  I’ve always been interested in the villain, in darkness, and in horror, but I’ve never dived in beyond an entertainment standpoint to learn about it.  I watch movies, I play zombie video games, I like black clothing, but I’m missing out on a wonderful opportunity to explore grim art.

This journey down the rabbit hole of terror should nothing less than interesting.  I hope to learn about how others incorporate macabre into their lives and art, and maybe make some friends along the way.  It’s only fair to hear all sides of a story.  Art can be nice, it can be moving, it can be beautiful, but it can also be disturbing and enlightening.  The most terrifying painting I’ve ever seen is by Salvador Dali.  His melting clocks scares me. *shudder*  It makes me feel eerie and out of control.  I can’t stand it.  Maybe our own fears are what bring macabre to life?

I’m ready to figure this out.  I packed a flashlight, so let’s do this.