How to be super creepy...
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    How to be super creepy...

    Hey guys,

    So I was thinking-- as an artist, I get up to some pretty creepy stuff-- from sizing up the person across from me on the metro as a template for my next character, to accidentally leaving open my eerie, NSFW reference folder while my friends are over. Either way, I dig myself into a deeper and deeper hole when I try to explain that it's "all in the name of art" and am hoping I'm not the only one.

    So basically-- do you guys have any "creepy artist" horror stories yourselves?



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    Well I do spend a lot of time imagining people naked on the bus - even little old ladies.


    I didn't think it was possible to be called an artist when you have nothing to say. It's like being a writer who publishes individual words as books and expects to be praised for it.
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    When you're sitting on a bench and doing some studies from mind or so of anatomy, a couple of 4 year old comes up wondering why you're drawing naked people. Welp.

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    Well, this isn't directly about being an artist, but being interested of anatomy, bones, muscles and etc overall for the sake of art (and the other way around too) and so on, but the "I hogged roadkills, skinned and dissected them so that I could boil them and collect the bones" stories I have are hard for me to top in the creepy factor, and generally I just get way too excited when I see roadkills for that reason.
    Also staring specific parts of people while I'm talking to them (like, their ears or neck) is probably there too, though I try to avoid doing that.

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    @ Blackspot-- what self respecting artist hasn't?

    @ Lord M-- and you quickly try to draw clothes on them before their parents totter over-- we all know what that's like.

    @ Tiny Bird-- that is-- well, you're wining so far. Also, is there some sort of tutorial invovled, or did you just freestyle this? (seriously)

    I suppose I should also add the time that I had a project for a client that involved painting a mannequin for some sort of guerilla marketing thing-- but of course I had to strip the existing finish first-- in my garage with the door open. Needless to say, the whole neighbourhood got a good look at me in my grease monkey overalls, methodically--obsessively sanding down a naked female mannequin.. needless to say, a lot less kids came around for Halloween that year.

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    I'm not staring at your (.)(.), I'm studying anatomy...

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    Quote Originally Posted by sanya View Post
    Also, is there some sort of tutorial invovled, or did you just freestyle this? (seriously)
    I freestyled it since I didn't really have any appropriate tools at hand (it happened that I woke up to my teacher calling that he had seen a dead squirrel on the road and thought I might be interested of it. He called totally randomly too, I hadn't talked about wanting to dissect stuff or anything) and as the squirrel had been hit by a car there wasn't too much to salvage and I didn't care of the skin so I didn't need to be too gentle about it. The second one was a hare that had been hit by a train (which had taken the front part of the animal with it) almost a year ago so it was bare bones already.
    For the bones, I took as much of the flesh away as I could by hand and boiled the bones in water+dishwashing soap (like when you wash dishes by hand, which remove grease, like Ajax or what you might have in your country, I used Fairy) mix several hours and changed water when necessary. (And afterwards kept them in a dry place so that if there was anything inside the bones it would dry, instead of get moldy.)
    The smell was BAD, but the bones came out pretty nice. I also met an artist who bought used bull tails (which are used in soups) from restaurants and put them through the dishwasher (not sure if she had any dishwashing stuff in the machine) to clean them up.

    Last edited by TinyBird; June 1st, 2012 at 03:56 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    I freestyled it since I didn't really have any appropriate tools at hand (it happened that I woke up to my teacher calling that he had seen a dead squirrel on the road and thought I might be interested of it...
    Wow, TinyBird, I am seriously impressed! If I had the stomach for it I would want try it ... all those squirrel and raccoon skeletons I'd have collected by now. Do you ever worry about the carcasses carrying diseases? That's my main deterrent. D: How well did the skeletons hold up? Was it difficult putting them back together?

    For his thesis, an arts grad student did a massive, massive project involving animals he found and taxidermied himself. When he was talking about it, he said that the way he found so many (he had so many) was to look to the side of the road for an especially rich, healthy patch of grass. He said to dig right below it, and there will be a decomposed animal there every time. He said that the skeleton will be 'pristine' since it will have been decomposing for a while by the time the grass was able to make use it. I've been curious to try it out, but, you know, the disease factor for me D:

    After all this talk about roadkill, the story that first comes to mind is when I was walking out from my apartment one spring morning, and saw a tiny animal on the sidewalk in front of the building. It was a dead baby bird. The feathers had only just started growing in, they were still pin feathers/encased in the quill and not yet unfurled and fluffy, so it was essential naked and you could see most of the skin. I looked at it for a few minutes to see if maybe it was still alive and could be helped, but it was unfortunately clearly dead, and had been for a while.

    Even though it was really sad it was also kind fascinating, since you could see the bone structure so well. I thought it'd be good reference to at least have around. I took a few pictures then hurried off to class (if I had more of a spine like TinyBird I would have scooped the bird up for its bone structure, which is what I really wanted to do, but was afraid it would be diseased somehow).

    Anyway, I went to show the pics on my camera with friends later in the day because it was an odd occurrence and even though it was dead it was fascinating in its own way, like seeing a taxidermied animal at a museum only this one was on the side of the road. Everyone I showed it too was kind of just horrified by it and couldn't see why I would want pictures of it, I unintentionally grossed people out that day, and am certain I came across as pretty creepy to a few of them D:

    Man typing this makes me feel creepy. I swear it wasn't that creepy in person. D:

    Last edited by landylachs; June 1st, 2012 at 05:07 PM. Reason: grammar
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    I also just realized I replied to TinyBird's post with a story about a tiny bird...

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    I don't think anything can top collecting roadkill. I gotta admit that's actually a cool idea. Shame Savannah's not a town that makes it possible to ever really do that, but Interstate 95 does have alot of dead armadillos on the road this season.

    Doubt I could stomach any of it, though. And I know it'd freak out my roommates, ignoring the smell alone.

    ...Yeah, I think I should do it just for that. From now on I'm gonna carry a pair of rubber gloves and an empty paint bucket in my car at all times.

    Is there anything I could do about the smell if it's gonna be stuck in my car with me for a half hour or more outside of getting a cover for said bucket? Because in the summer...good god this won't turn out well.

    Last edited by Psychotime; June 1st, 2012 at 05:27 PM.
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    Animal bones and taxidermy aren't such odd things for a serious artist to do - worse things have been done. Supposedly Leonardo da Vinci exhumed human corpses for his anatomy studies.

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    Quote Originally Posted by landylachs View Post
    Do you ever worry about the carcasses carrying diseases? That's my main deterrent. D: How well did the skeletons hold up? Was it difficult putting them back together?
    Well, like said they were roadkills and with the squirrel the car had smashed most of the head and some of the front, so I had no hope of trying to get a whole skeleton out of it. I managed to get the lower jaws (and the teeth started coming loose so I coated the bones with clear nail polish to keep them together in the jaw) and mostly gave the rest of the assorted bones to my friends. Also studying taxidermy should probably give pointers on how to put skeletons together, if you ever found one intact.
    As for the disease factor, yeah that's why I personally felt most comfortable with very fresh non-mole (since moles carry nephropathy) mammal roadkills since during that time the bird flu was scaring people in here so with a roadkill you can at least know that it didn't die of some sickness (like as opposed to some dead animals I've found from woods that could have died from almost anything).
    My mother did freak out about the squirrel, exactly because of the bird flu panic to which I said that if I were the very first person in Finland to even catch birdflu and get it from a goddamn squirrel then maybe I deserved it.
    I mainly used most common caution with the animals, rubber gloves, skinning it outside on a tarp, avoiding touching my mouth/eyes during the time I had to touch the animal, boiling the knife (which was not a food knife) and everything else and using disinfectant in places. Also getting a new pot just for that might be a good thing, so you don't use a kettle you'd eat from later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Psychotime View Post
    Is there anything I could do about the smell if it's gonna be stuck in my car with me for a half hour or more outside of getting a cover for said bucket? Because in the summer...good god this won't turn out well.
    I suggest an intact plastic bag and a rubberband to shut it, it could at least lessen the smell and keep it in the bag. I think most serious roadkill collectors have tiny freezer boxes (or what they're called, ones that have ice packages inside) in their cars so they get them to ice immediately.

    EDIT: Also for practice, buying chicken legs or large fish heads (like salmon) and working with them should be helpful. At least they are easily available and disease-free. Also fish skulls are pretty awesome, if not very strong.

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    Picking up road kill is normal for artists although it is illegal in most states now, so I don't recommend it. JeffX and I kept a road kill beaver on ice for a couple of days travelling across state lines after a workshop once.
    I used to practice taxidermy on lots of animals back when I still hunted. Almost all of my artist friends collect road kill skulls and some even have corpse beetles to help the process along.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    some even have corpse beetles to help the process along.
    For some reason I first thought that they'd have like a pack of corpse beetles in collars and leashes that they use to sniff out the kills.

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    Seems it'd be inconvenient to keep those things fed regularly.

    Quote Originally Posted by dpaint View Post
    Picking up road kill is normal for artists although it is illegal in most states now, so I don't recommend it.
    Aw...

    I know a professor I can go to ask about this, seeing how he collects bovine remains from farms. Not really interested in cows but I can certainly learn important info from him. Now if only I can remember his name...

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    On the topic of bovine remains, you can probably ask at some local organic farms-- I spent a summer working on an organic farm and they used bovine remains in the soil, so we were constantly walking among virtually pristine skulls, ribs, spines, etc... and they had the added benefit of being bleached white by the sun-- anyway, just a thought!

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    Also, this thread which was quickly swung from creepy artistic moments to "practical strategies for DIY taxidermy" is sort of case-in-point.

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    I found out that I really liked a particular person's eyebrows and accidentally told them. Not super creepy, I guess.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TinyBird View Post
    My mother did freak out about the squirrel, exactly because of the bird flu panic to which I said that if I were the very first person in Finland to even catch birdflu and get it from a goddamn squirrel then maybe I deserved it.
    I mainly used most common caution with the animals, rubber gloves, skinning it outside on a tarp, avoiding touching my mouth/eyes during the time I had to touch the animal, boiling the knife (which was not a food knife) and everything else and using disinfectant in places. Also getting a new pot just for that might be a good thing, so you don't use a kettle you'd eat from later.
    A good sign if a squirrel is healthy is to check it's liver, heart, and kidney. They should be a healthy blood red. If they are spotted or gray then the squirrel is probably diseased. Dark patches on the flesh is also a warning sign. If you plan on harvesting Squirrels it's best to do it in the winter or fall when there's less fleas/bugs on them. I think Cody Lundin mention squirrels have a greater chance to catch disease than rats because they have more fur and surface area to host more fleas. Ground Squirrel can be very dirty out of all the squirrels.

    Video of a fat squirrel for fun...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evRGIOj7nko

    Last edited by Pigeonkill; June 2nd, 2012 at 01:59 AM.
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    @TinyBird. There was a guy way back in time at college that did this sort of thing for his fine art finals. Used mainly birds. He literally reconstructed their skeletons and hung them as though they were flying from fishing line/wire. It looked remarkable, and a hell of a lot of work....he studied these inside out (literally) drawing everything he found. He even put up adverts around college asking for deceased birds if any are to be found...

    ..it was really impressive work...

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    Me: Hi, I would like a book on animal anatomy.

    Fat woman working at Barnes and Nobles: Eww....

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    Considering that I'm vegan I have a surprisingly massive fascination for dead animals. My workplace focuses among others on environmental protection and educating kids about nature, so we have lots of stuffed animals and bones around. I love studying those! And the ones we had at school, too. Also, when we were reconstructing a fence we found part of a deer skeleton in the ground. I was lucky because I was the one who dug it up Lots of fun, figuring out which was which.

    I wouldn't gather up roadkill though, being a squeamish treehugger :/ It kind of put me off when I had to gather up one of our dead chicks yesterday and it was positively crawling with maggots. Yum.

    Oh, and on the creepy account, I once was so fascinated with a man's face that I actually asked him if he had a photo of himself I could have. In hindsight I'd definitely be creeped out if some random stranger asked me that.

    Last edited by Kjesta; June 2nd, 2012 at 01:46 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Pigeonkill View Post
    A good sign if a squirrel is healthy is to check it's liver, heart, and kidney. They should be a healthy blood red. If they are spotted or gray then the squirrel is probably diseased. Dark patches on the flesh is also a warning sign. If you plan on harvesting Squirrels it's best to do it in the winter or fall when there's less fleas/bugs on them. I think Cody Lundin mention squirrels have a greater chance to catch disease than rats because they have more fur and surface area to host more fleas. Ground Squirrel can be very dirty out of all the squirrels.

    Video of a fat squirrel for fun...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evRGIOj7nko
    Oo, that's interesting info.
    Also as far as I've heard, hedgehogs are real disease infestations due to their spikes and the stuff that's between them, but then again I really haven't seen a roadkill hedgehog that wouldn't basically as flat as a toupee so there's not much to collect from them. However there was couple dead foxes next to the road the past winter and I really would have wanted to loot them.

    And oh man that squirrel. Here's an opossum that broke into a bakery:


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    to the original topic:

    It's not as much about the creepy habits as the drawings themselves for me.
    If you just draw anything even REMOTELY creepy/disturbing imagery
    people think you have something fucked up in the head or try to think there's some
    deep psychological reasoning behind it. Like every drawing is based on your emotions
    or what you want to do deep down inside.

    "You drew someone being stabbed, what do you want to kill someone? Are you angry? Why are you angry?"

    "You drew a picture of someone crying? Are you sad? Do you want to talk about it?"

    *For a comic page*
    "You drew someone being shot in the head.... dude that's fucked up"




    Drives me nuts. Especially with strangers (or even more so with family because they REALLY look too deep into things lol)
    Just because I draw something doesn't mean there's a deep meaning behind it. Or that it's linked to my emotions/memories.





    P.S. I like the twist of the thread becoming about taxidermy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vay View Post
    Me: Hi, I would like a book on animal anatomy.

    Fat woman working at Barnes and Nobles: Eww....
    Unfortunately some people still think "anatomically correct" is just code for penis. It reminds me of how some people also think that figure drawing classes are just an excuse for perverts to look at naked people.

    Last edited by SmallPoly; June 2nd, 2012 at 01:26 PM.
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    TinyBird, I don't know about hedgehog diseases, but they sure are full of vermin! We took care of a couple of baby hedgehogs in fall and they all had fleas, oodles of them. And one of them, weighing only 150g and easily fitting into my palm, managed to have over EIGHTY (!) ticks on him. Yeuch. So, I can well imagine them having all kinds of diseases too.

    JFierce, I can relate. Personally, I've by now dropped pretty much all restraints concerning what I write/draw - be it "inappropriate" in terms of violence, sex, whatever. I just draw/write it and get it out of my system before it sits there and starts festering. I find it cathartic to get rid of all the stuff that's clogging me up through creative activities - I mean, I don't have to show it around to anyone if I don't want to.

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    Last edited by Kjesta; June 2nd, 2012 at 04:04 PM.


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    Rotor - GoGoJoJo

    "Limited drawing skills are OK if they are offset by a fearless commitment to putting images on paper."

    "I mean, What is a chair? It's an anti-gravity device." Glen Keane

    "The difficult part is continuously realizing when you've stopped enjoying the process, and re-aligning yourself. It's kind of like meditation/being an art ninja..." ceddo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kjesta View Post
    TinyBird, I don't know about hedgehog diseases, but they sure are full of vermin! We took care of a couple of baby hedgehogs in fall and they all had flees, oodles of them. And one of them, weighing only 150g and easily fitting into my palm, managed to have over EIGHTY (!) ticks on him. Yeuch.
    Damn!

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  40. #29
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    Poor thing didn't make it, either. Not much blood in a little guy like that and if roughly every eighth tick gives you borreliose he had borreliose at least ten times over.



    Check these out too:
    Rotor - GoGoJoJo

    "Limited drawing skills are OK if they are offset by a fearless commitment to putting images on paper."

    "I mean, What is a chair? It's an anti-gravity device." Glen Keane

    "The difficult part is continuously realizing when you've stopped enjoying the process, and re-aligning yourself. It's kind of like meditation/being an art ninja..." ceddo
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  41. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFierce View Post
    to the original topic:

    It's not as much about the creepy habits as the drawings themselves for me.
    If you just draw anything even REMOTELY creepy/disturbing imagery
    people think you have something fucked up in the head or try to think there's some deep psychological reasoning behind it. Like every drawing is based on your emotions or what you want to do deep down inside.

    "You drew someone being stabbed, what do you want to kill someone? Are you angry? Why are you angry?"

    "You drew a picture of someone crying? Are you sad? Do you want to talk about it?"

    *For a comic page*
    "You drew someone being shot in the head.... dude that's fucked up"




    Drives me nuts. Especially with strangers (or even more so with family because they REALLY look too deep into things lol)
    Just because I draw something doesn't mean there's a deep meaning behind it. Or that it's linked to my emotions/memories.
    I so wanna attract those kinds of people (no layman who looks at my stuff ever says anything outside of the generic "it's good", which doesn't help anything). I don't draw violent or sexual stuff (maybe that's why), but I certainly wanna get some kind of reactions to all the drawings of fat or muscular women I've been drawing lately. I'm not sure which would be more hilarious.

    Last edited by Psychotime; June 2nd, 2012 at 09:16 PM.
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