Among all the peaceful and soothing art pieces, there are some that give audiences a more unsettling and disturbing view on creativity. Often centered around death and the dark sides of life, scary art exposes the artist’s inner demons for the world to gaze upon. Encompassing all art history, these creepy art pieces go from mildly unsettling, weird or strange to absolutely shocking and deranged. Depicting death, blood, guts, dark magic, decay, nightmares, body or existential horror, and other horrifying imagery, these artworks capture the attention the audience at the very first glance, leaving them unsettled at least. From Henry Fuseli’s ghoul sitting on a sleeper’s chest and Francisco Goya’s depiction of Saturn devouring his child to Théodore Géricault’s pile of severed rotting limbs, art history is rich in horror and it can be really terrifying.
When it comes to scary art that sends a chill down your spine, the modern era can more than compete. So, Halloween seemed like a good day to explore the freaky side of contemporary art. From street artists such as Bom.K who has become recognized for his dark imagery, the irreverent and devilish works of Neck Face through to the stunning but macabre works created by Jordan Eagles in blood and resin, we have compiled a spooky collection of scream-inducing artworks. Happy Halloween!
Paris-born street artist Bom.K grew up creating graffiti in the southern suburbs of the capital city, where he worked with fellow artists Iso and Kan in Da Mental Vaporz crew. It was here that Bom.K started to push the boundaries of his art and develop his distinctive dark style, with themes including madness, life in the suburbs, fear, hate and social exclusion. Dark mutated creatures and deformed people regularly appear in his street art and studio-based works, showing the frustrations of modern-day life. This particular work is a detail from a studio piece called La Vraie Souris (True Mouse) from 2013, created with spray paint on canvas, a beautifully freaky twist on that famous mouse we all used to love.
Featured image: BOM.K - Confusions, via flickr.com
The Los Angeles-based artist Cleon Peterson looks like a regular, charming kind of gentleman and from a distance his works of art look like nice patterns, almost as if they were fancy wallpaper. But on closer inspection, you will see a whole freaky world open up before you, full of chaos and violence, just as in the piece pictured here, entitled Glory. The disturbing imagery of his scary paintings is his take on the struggle between power and submission in contemporary society and come with titles such as A Balance of Terror, By the Sword, Rule of Law and Eye for Eye. Cleon Peterson may look nice, but you have to wonder what is going on in that freaky mind of his!
Featured image: Cleon Peterson - Glory, via cleonpeterson.com
Dario Puggioni, who works out of Berlin, produces these extremely beautiful images that are full of decay and torment. Puggioni uses a range of reactive materials to create his creepy art pieces, including enamel, ink, acetic acid and oil on aluminum and copper surfaces, forcing the materials to peel and decay. It is as if the very skin of the subjects he is painting is dying before us, transforming into something else, sometimes with plants sprouting from them until they become unrecognizable as people. Read more about these beautifully freaky paintings in Dario Puggioni at White Noise Gallery.
Featured images: Dario Puggioni art, via pinterest.com
What would an article about scary paintings be without a mention of the Austrian painter Hermann Nitsch? This is a man who has been to court several times and served three prison terms for his creepy art, which has often included blood, nudity and taboo images. It is often thought that his work reflects our fascination with violence and intense religious feelings, the results being performance art that includes naked women, dead animals and gallons of blood, that are also reflected in his blood colored splash paintings.
Featured image: Herrmann Nitsch - Schuett, via my9arts.es
If you are on social media, then the chances are you have seen some of Isaac Cordal’s freaky miniature street works float past your screen, especially the image chosen for this list. Isaac Cordal has become known for his miniature sculptures of people and sometimes skeletons, which are placed strategically in gutters, on top of buildings, bus stops and other unusual places. The small people are often caught in situations such as waiting for a bus, but can also be found in tragic moments such as accidental death, suicide or family funerals, just to emphasize the morbid nature of this miniature art world.
Featured image: Isaac Cordal - Politicians Discussing Global Warming, via pinterest.com
Brothers Jake & Dinos Chapman, who produce work together as the Chapman Brothers, are no strangers to creating scary works that often shock the viewer. In 2003 they produced a sculpture called Hell, that consisted of Nazi figures arranged in glass cases and laid out in the shape of a swastika, while in 2008 the brothers added their own hippie motifs to 13 water color paintings attributed to Adolf Hitler.
Featured image: Jake & Dinos Chapman art
Based in New York, Jordan Eagles creates artworks out of blood obtained from the slaughterhouse. The blood encrusted works portray the connections between life, death, body, spirit and the universe. Jordan Eagles experiments with the way he preserves the blood, using a variety of techniques and other materials to react with the blood, which helps to maintain the natural colors, patterns and textures. For good measure, Eagles sometimes uses blood that has decomposed for years and formed a dense mass, which is then ground to a powder and thrown into the works.
Featured image: Jordan Eagles - Skingraft SS15, via jordaneagles.com
Neck Face is an anonymous street artist from the United States who had become known for his witty and irreverent artworks. His excellent but freaky illustrations are close to the knuckle, probably offensive to many, but this is a man who goes to extremes in the name of his art. For his Drinkin’ on the Job solo exhibition, Neck Face immersed himself day and night into bar culture, creating these works through an alcohol haze and the subsequent hangovers. That is true dedication!
Featured image: Neck Face - Not One Fuck, via neckface.ink
Nychos, born in Austria, spent his youth within a hunting family; this exposed him at an early age to the anatomy of many dead animals, while also developing a love for cartoons and heavy metal. Those early influences shaped his creepy art and are visible in his colorful and freaky street art pieces, that often feature dissections and cross-sections of human and animal bodies that are crafted in beautiful detail. His impressive dissected bodies have gained him international recognition, so next time you see a small child poking a dead animal, leave them to it, you never know where it will take them in the future! Nychos was a Widewalls Artist of the Week in December 2014.
Featured image: Nychos – Mural for Urban Spree in Berlin, via hk.mensuno.asia
To round off this list, we have a version of The Last Supper by renowned American star Ron English. It seems appropriate then that we should include a freaky version of the last supper; one of several that the artist has produced. Ron English is known for his work that explores advertising and branding, so here we find a fat Ronald McDonald surrounded by a host of legendary cartoon characters.
Featured image: Ron English - The Last Supper, via seriousmanoeuvres.com