The Allure of Darkness

I’ve been reading about Gothic art — not the historical sort, but the more modern-day concept that many artists have embraced. I’ll admit that I don’t understand a lot of it, but I’m old, and no doubt a bit old-fashioned in my thinking. Yes, I’ve read Dracula but I don’t understand our culture’s fascination with vampires. Yes, I love Halloween, but I don’t care for the horror genre in literature or film. Spooky, yes. A bit of supernatural, fine. But bloody, violent horror, no thank you.

I have mixed emotions about horror as it applies to art. On one hand, I appreciate the beauty inherent in all good art; on the other hand, why glorify things which appear to be evil, cruel, or painful?

So, why am I reading about dark art if it’s not a genre that truly speaks to me? Good question. I don’t have a good answer. Maybe it’s partly curiosity. I love learning. I love to increase my knowledge about art. Maybe it’s also because Halloween is approaching and a lot of artists tend to create frightening creatures and horrifying scenes as part of the supernatural season.

Baba YagaI’ve never created truly dark art. I’d drawn skulls and bones, but not as dark art — only as part of my anatomy studies. During Inktober last year I drew a witch, I drew a dragon, and I drew the fangs of a poisonous snake. These weren’t frightening drawings though.

Well, maybe my Baba Yaga is a bit scary — I would definitely call her frighteningly awful as far as the drawing goes. I hated her, so I tweaked her in a photo program which added to her sinister look.

I do like the creativity I see in the works of talented artists. My friend, Terence P. Roldan, comes to mind. I love his imaginative monsters. He hasn’t posted to his blog for several years, but you can check out some of his work here: Teproleum. I don’t think of his work as dark art, though. I consider his drawings more in the realm of fantasy.

Most of all, I think my interest in dark art comes from my desire to be more imaginative in my own art, especially as I draw my way through the thirty-one days of Inktober. Somehow October, ink, and dark art all seem to go together.

In my morning browsing, I did find some interesting sites and information related to the modern-day concept of dark or Gothic art. It’s amazing what you can find and where you can be led when you go off on a Google search. A word of advice: You don’t always want to follow links. I came across references to Japanese hentai, which appears to be closely-related to pornography. I didn’t follow those links, yet it’s true that what we think of as dark art often does have sexual overtones — or undertones. I’m not sure which word would be appropriate. It’s like all those vampire movies. Sorry, I don’t see anything romantic or sexually appealing about Dracula and his ilk. I’m too old, I suppose. I just don’t get it.

If you’d like to explore a bit of dark art with me here are some very good resources I’ve found:

Cool Gothic Art – Straight from the Undead

Macabre Gallery – The First Art Gallery Specializing in Dark Art

18 Artists Changing the Face of Horror

I doubt that I will ever fully understand “the allure of darkness” — which, by the way, happens to be a card title in Yu-Gi-Oh.

Allure of Darkness


These words from Chuck Morten help explain it a bit.

Dark art can mean so many things of the unknown, the mysteries deep in our unconscious mind, those crazy dreams we get sometimes when everything seems so unreal.

It gives me a point of reference for my own explorations as Inktober begins. Who knows what my unconscious mind will come up with! I guarantee nothing will be too gory, too wicked, or too scary. Pen and ink is always challenging for me, so I doubt that any of my drawings will be too good, either. Maybe that’s the frightening thing in all of this, and maybe that accounts for my sudden odd interest in learning about dark art. Yes, Inktober scares me, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Are YOU joining the Inktober fun?





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