There is a wealth of literature, art and film dedicated to monsters. They are very much a part of human culture, from ancient myths of curses to modern incarnations such as Freddie Kruger. Children have an innate dialogue with monsters, lurking under the bed or in the shadows yet love being told stories with goblins and scary beasts.
Monsters arise from our own mind, an innate fear of the unknown, of disease, death and suffering. Yet it is these things that intrigue us and compel us to watch scary films or read Gothic novels. We are drawn to the strange, the peculiar and the unnatural. We are curious by nature about the world we live in and have a need to explain it – through stories, myths, art and religion.
This post is a reflection on monsters and my own passion for creating them in my artwork. Monsters are shadowy and take on many elements from a person’s mind. They are a combination of ideas, thoughts, feelings and of a time and place. Monsters from Medieval Europe are quite different from the creatures depicted in modern American film for example.
I am drawn to this complexity of a monster’s creation and the power they gather through other’s fear, as well as the time they become crystallized in and we can look back with our modern perspective. One of my favourite novels is Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in which the monster is created, yet even now our culture continues to recreate the story in films and TV, forever framed in a Gothic Victorian era.
Making creatures gives me a sense of freedom as I combine my ideas together. I can decide if my monsters are cute, whimsical, scary, fierce, horrifying. This is my starting point from which I look to the natural work for inspiration – insects, lizards, sea creatures – all things unlike us, repellent and fascinating.
Popular culture is another fascinating area for inspiration, looking at ornate fashion, jewellery and other artists. One if my favourite things is to find new and inspiring artists mainly on Pinterest and here are just a few of my favourite monster creators:
This is a wonderful and electric mixture of different artists who make monsters and creatures mainly through sculpture and mixed media. The main thing I love about these artists and the monsters they make is their uniqueness. No two are the same and each one has it’s own characteristics from the artist.
I hope you enjoyed this post, just in time for Halloween! I’ve got some more monsters to make for now so farewell x