In July, I received word that the Grandfather of Zombies, George A. Romero, had passed away. As a horror artist, and someone who grew up in a household where "Night of the Living Dead" was a common occurrence, it is a sad day. NOTLD represents not just an iconic zombie film that paved the way for SO MANY future zombie films, but it was also one of those times in history that a very low budget film (a little over $100,000) was able to create a sub genre and gross millions.
I loved that up until that point, the zombie culture and filmmaking world had really only seen Haitian voodoo zombies, which really weren't the same as Romero's zombies. I could go on and on about his contributions to the world of cinema, but there was something else I realized recently, as I heard about the passing of Tobe Hooper. Here are two horror icons that have touched millions and paved the way for young horror filmmakers, and yet, some people are completely blind to who they were and how their art has affected their lives- yes, even yours.
There is dialogue that needs to be had- who are the iconic horror authors, directors and artists who you can name off the top of your head? Why is it that it's ok to watch a classic horror film, but not ok to display that art on your wall? Maybe we don't want to be reminded of what scares us. Maybe people view these things as negative. People sometimes ask me what trauma I had as a child to make me want to create horrific things. Pfffft.
With my Spotlight show at Art Attack SF JUST around the corner, this conversation is very timely. When planning a show at a gallery where I'll be exhibiting my dark art, there are infinite questions and worries associated with the opening. Most fine art galleries are worried that there is not enough of a market for dark and macabre art. I can't help but agree with them.
Its truly been a struggle for me to find galleries that are alright with showing my work. As artists, we're told that you should do what you love, and that love will shine through the work, and the world will love you for it. I have had ups and downs with the reaction to my art, and I have to say it's been the most challenging road I've ever taken. I've been pouring my heart and soul into my work and still have a difficult time finding the right audience for it. There's a much larger conversation that should be about horror and dark art and why it's "unacceptable" to hang on your wall.
When viewed from a technical standpoint, one can argue that no matter what the subject matter, if the technique is respectable, then you should respect the art for what it is. I've found this not to be the case, of course, because people like and respect art for different reasons.
Either way, will continue pushing for the idea that dark art and the world of horror can exist on a fine art collector's wall. And that I will not stop doing what I love for the sake of a sale.