What is so alluring about dark imagery?
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    Question What is so alluring about dark imagery?

    Yeah, I mean, it's a very philosophical question but, sometimes people ask me why do I always paint dark stuff, what makes dark imagery so interesting? I just can`t answer that question... but my mind just can`t stop creating those kind of images.
    If I think about it... I don't even find dark imagery beautiful, when I see paintings by Bouguereau for example, I think "wow, that is beautiful... I don`t paint those kind of subjects" but why? If I tried to paint those kind of images, with angels surrounded by light and stuff, it would feel shallow or artificial, superficial for me to do it, it's not that I don't like light subjects, on the contrary; but it`s like... it's not what I feel like doing... I'm not in the mood to make something like that.
    Do you think it's something psychological? do you think painting dark imagery could negatively impact in your life? like, painting light stuff could make you feel happier?
    What do you think about this.

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    Bouguereau liked dark imagery too. I think it has something to do with the finality of morbid thoughts in general, and how death is the ultimate climax of the human experience, making it a pretty interesting concept to paint.



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    I don't know, I think painting dark stuff is more cathartic than painting light stuff, in a way...

    Kind of like when you have an over-the-top dream full of dark, dire, dramatic situations, and it leaves you feeling kind of refreshed and exhilarated when you wake up. For me, drawing dark stuff is a stress relief usually - if I'm working on a stressful deadline or have to deal politely with annoying people, taking a break to draw something dark and violent helps take the pressure off.

    I notice also that when I'm doing a lot of cute-and-friendly work for kids stuff, I really need to take breaks to draw evil stuff in between or I'll go a little bonkers. For me, too much sweetness-and-light is like eating too much sugar.

    A couple years back I went through the long tedious process of healing a broken leg, which meant I was basically stuck on a couch with limited mobility for six months or so. One of the things that kept me from going out of my mind with boredom was drawing lots of excessively bloody comics. I don't think drawing happy fluffy pictures would have helped as much.

    Last edited by QueenGwenevere; May 12th, 2010 at 10:21 PM.
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    What is so alluring about light imagery? What is so alluring about humorous imagery? What is so alluring about erotic imagery?

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    Drawing happy things makes you happy Drawing dark things makes you emo!

    I dare you to be unhappy while drawing a unicorn with a bag of kittens riding it through a sunny field of flowers!! with magic sparkles in the air!!!

    See? just thinking about it makes you happy already! *glow*

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivory_Oasis View Post
    Drawing happy things makes you happy Drawing dark things makes you emo!

    I dare you to be unhappy while drawing a unicorn with a bag of kittens riding it through a sunny field of flowers!! with magic sparkles in the air!!!

    See? just thinking about it makes you happy already! *glow*
    I think I just got sick!

    lol



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    You find dark imagery "alluring"?

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    I think it all points to culture issues rather than psychological issues of the single artists. Most of the people in their twenties to forties, like the majority of us here, have grown up with a lot of dark imagery around. The styles which have influenced current concept art the most are all rather dark.

    Dark imagery, fear of the future, apocalyptic visions and a kind of unease with depicting light-hearted things are just "in the air" today. The western culture seems to be becoming pretty gloomy...

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    depends what you call dark imagery.

    So many people say" the art reflects the artist", but they misread these words and just interpret the surface of the painting as the reflection, they dont realise that these works are metaphors and not literal depictions.
    Works arent literal reflections of the artist, but you must also remember that an artist is also a reflection of his time.
    And, also I think its how as a society we see things, we see death and destruction as bas/evil things, while in nature outside, its just as natural as anything else.
    The important thing is that everything is alluring by being itself, nothing more, nothing less.

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    It's kind of bizarre how personalities can contradict their imagination. If you ever go to a con. You may find some of the best artists out there don't even know how to dress themselves. You may find the big dude covered in tats draws sissy manga. You'd think all the concept artists would look like Allen Moore, but it's pretty contrary. Most artists of all styles are pretty humble, friendly and level headed. It's pretty odd how art doesn't necessarily reflect personality. For instance I think Van Gough's work is pretty hunky dory for the most part.

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    im not even really into 'dark imagery' but my concepts and ideas are often a bit morbid, violent or negative. i had quite a few examples where people talked to me, and when i show them what i do, they say its not the kind of stuff they expect from a guy like me. Maybe its just more exciting to draw the stuff you can't or dont want to do in real life. kind of going over your own edge. like a computer game, where a game like grand theft auto wouldnt be much fun anymore when you really have to behave like in real life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivory_Oasis View Post
    Drawing happy things makes you happy Drawing dark things makes you emo!

    I dare you to be unhappy while drawing a unicorn with a bag of kittens riding it through a sunny field of flowers!! with magic sparkles in the air!!!

    See? just thinking about it makes you happy already! *glow*
    As with people who never stop smiling, faces that age without wrinkling and overly polite children...these are the things that scare me the most.

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    Elwell, if you were not already married I'd find you and marry you. I remember I discovered Tim thanks to another video of his you posted a long time ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Raoul Duke View Post
    It's kind of bizarre how personalities can contradict their imagination. If you ever go to a con. You may find some of the best artists out there don't even know how to dress themselves. You may find the big dude covered in tats draws sissy manga. You'd think all the concept artists would look like Allen Moore, but it's pretty contrary. Most artists of all styles are pretty humble, friendly and level headed. It's pretty odd how art doesn't necessarily reflect personality. For instance I think Van Gough's work is pretty hunky dory for the most part.
    Huh, so van Gogh has a cool personality, according to your argument?

    By the way, I think people misspell his name so often because they think that's how you pronounce it. It's not a soft "gouh", but a hard, short "oGh".

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    Q', you can't have him until I'm done with him...

    On topic, I wonder if a lot of the so-called DARK imagery is simply an interpretation by the audience based on their own mood. I'm primarily a "surrealist" but I'm not particularly "dark" in the sense the OP referred to. It's just that some of my imagery is necessary to convey a point that's buried somewhere in my spleen or somewhere, and it comes out a ...little weird...

    I'm thinking along the lines that many people think spiders and snakes are automatically scary and dark, while Unicorns are sweetness and light. The latter is kind of strange when you look up the actual original description of what a unicorn is supposed to look like...which, in my opinion, is definitely NOT a prime piece of datable material...

    Basically, DARK and LIGHT is what we perceive as DARK and LIGHT, and may not have any connection to reality.

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    Native English speakers only pronounce van Gogh correctly when they are expectorating, so it's kind of alarming for us. We are probably blocking out some dark imagery when we try to spell it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ilaekae View Post
    I'm thinking along the lines that many people think spiders and snakes are automatically scary and dark, while Unicorns are sweetness and light. The latter is kind of strange when you look up the actual original description of what a unicorn is supposed to look like...which, in my opinion, is definitely NOT a prime piece of datable material...
    In the middle ages unicorns were depicted as vicious killer-beasts or sex symbols. Or both. So go figure.

    (And some people theorize that they were based on accounts of rhinoceroses... wouldn't exactly call a rhino a paragon of sweetness and light...)

    Actually, there was a study recently done with infants which suggested that girls may be instinctively repelled by spiders... I don't think they figured out why, though. (I kinda like spiders, myself.) Of course being instinctively alarmed by things that look like snakes or insects (or spiders) could be a survival trait - seeing as how there's plenty of poisonous insects, arachnids, and snakes. The smart monkey would want to avoid potentially poisonous shapes when poking around under roots and rocks for food.

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    Derek I know that Bouguereau painting, it's an excellent example of what I'm saying and it's my favourite of him and it's the one that got me interested in his work; but I think that's the only dark themed painting that he did ("the last mourning" could count too), and it's interesting that he painted that one when he was 25 or something, from that point, his paintings got a LOT lighter...

    Why could that happen? maybe people was more interested in his light stuff and he just did what was selling more, who knows?

    I don't think it has to do with the artist personality, as Raoul Duke said; I'm a very chilled out and happy guy, someone that sees what I do would imagine some kind of twisted marilyn manson/goth/emo guy that hates the world and wants to kill himself.

    Ilaekae you have an interesting point; maybe what people call "dark stuff" it's just a label that they put to certain themes, it's something cultural... like; if 90% of the people would be scared of CAREBEARS... and I would make a carebear painting, it would be called "dark art"? ok I'm already losing my mind lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Saksida View Post
    like; if 90% of the people would be scared of CAREBEARS... and I would make a carebear painting, it would be called "dark art"?
    Some carebears are scary :<



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    "Actually, there was a study recently done with infants which suggested that girls may be instinctively repelled by spiders"

    Why just girls? That sounds pretty improbable...

    Did some googling and it seems that some research has shown that children are more prone to recognize spiders and snakes than other things, but they don't actually fear them. That is something they learn later in life.

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    I was just going to post a question similar to this.

    I think the human condition is pretty dark naturally. We're surrounded by death, disappointment, and constantly reminded of our own mortality. Whether we're hedonistic fools or comparatively straight-laced (but still foolish), the knowledge our life is comparatively insignificant weighs us down significantly.

    I like believing the people who consider this more are artists (of all sorts: installation, directors, playwrights, et cetera) and use art to creatively grapple with these challenges, but I think that's pretty delusional.

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    "Actually, there was a study recently done with infants which suggested that girls may be instinctively repelled by spiders"

    Why just girls? That sounds pretty improbable...
    It was in Science News. It sounded a bit iffy to me, too. I gotta say I have doubts about these studies where they show pictures to infants and try to gauge their reactions... (Found it. It was this article: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/gene...d_spider_fears )

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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenGwenevere View Post
    It was in Science News. It sounded a bit iffy to me, too. I gotta say I have doubts about these studies where they show pictures to infants and try to gauge their reactions... (Found it. It was this article: http://www.sciencenews.org/view/gene...d_spider_fears )
    I'm sorry, but I detest that sort of "science".

    Onto the rest of the conversation.

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