In my art and art history studies, we often compared and contrasted the work of different artists. When you compare an artist against himself, you deal more with his style than differences. If you look at the two pieces there are many similarities: the visual tension, the use of black and white to create an abysmal feeling, and an inability of the subjects to speak. One thing I thought curious, as Kubicki tends to deal with the darker, captive images, is the direction or flow of the two images. On the top image do feel the eyes trying to grasp what is beyond? I thought of a child staring out of a window on a rainy day – the pathos is so thick. Now look at the movement in the second image: There is a tense inner struggle. The bound figure is fighting and the more he fights the more inward he seems to be pulled. There is a great sense of a tug of war going on. No words are conveyed out of either’s lips, but one speaks with his vacant eyes and the other in his fight with the bandages.
There’s so much more I could say. I’ll leave you with this – what are beneath the layers in each of Kubicki’s subjects? Are there just more layers…
“That damned fog is thick, Jack. Chest high and dense enough to cut it with a knife.”
The bartender pours another beer for Fred and sits it in front of him. “Damned thick, Fred! I, for one, am not leaving here until it’s gone. Shit! You can’t see the *** road anyway. How could you get home in this?”
“Funny how it waited until the place was packed before the fog rolled in. It’s almost like the fog can think,” Fred says…
… A murmuring of approval spreads throughout the bar, everyone knowing that on nights like this, evil things happen, and it appears the Inn is smack-dab in the middle of a festering of growing horror. It’s not just the fog that’s thick tonight: the impending terror awaiting them all sits heavy in the air. The stench of old injustices and the need for retribution is everywhere. For some of them, it is difficult to breathe, the presence lying thick and heavy on their chests…
… Through the fog he comes, easily 6 feet 5 inches and broad as an ox. The heavy moisture falls below his massive chest, and his eyes, black as coal, focus on the Inn. A broad grin covers his square jaw and face, and he slowly walks towards the beckoning door. “
~ Blaze McRob is a regular writer for Pen of the Damned. The short story Old Van Tassel in its entirety is excellent with a twist. (click the link you can read the story in full)
you can find Blaze hanging out on Facebook
his blog is Blaze’s Blog
and on twitter @wyomingbob
The art by Jarek Kubicki is an excellent pairing with the Pen of the Damned horror writers. You can find his Numbers Collection here.
“A complete, debilitating darkness veils my vision. For several moments, I wait, hoping that my eyes simply need to adjust, but no details emerge from the ink-black void.”…
…”Where am I? Is this a dream?”
“I experience nothing but total darkness in either direction.”…
“Ice crystals bloom inside my skull and my eyes bulge, still seeing nothing. My ears twitch and tingle in wait of a sound. Then a sound came.
A muffled string of words calling from the void, too distorted to comprehend despite their utterance so close to my ear. My entire body jerks. Startled and instantly terrified, I start screaming. My shrieks, too loud in the confined space, shoot spikes through my eardrums, but that pain is overshadowed by the agony coming from my fingers as I pull at the seam. I feel my nails tear free as a paper-thin beam of light slices into my eyes.”
This story and the art went so well – I just had to show them off together. Beyond Trapped can be read in its entirety here. It’s a must!
Tyr you get some extra horror love this week.
Blaze McRob is not only an acclaimed writer of Horror but behind the mask he does much good for so many people and causes. He is the mind and heart behind Visionary Press.
Recent releases: Snow Blood
Beware the Mold released in the summer
Jarek Kubicki’s” The Art of Numbers” will be available for purchase on November 3rd!!!
If you look at the contrasts of the two artists (Bosch and Kubicki), you see many. One is black and white and one is color. There’s alot of movement in Bosch‘s The Harrowing of Hell as well as symbolism in this rendition of Hell. Do you hear the flames licking at the pleading souls? People are looking for an escape from the worst part only to find a new horror.
There is a different kind of horror in the Kubicki something akin to an inability to run. Look at the strands of hair; they closely resemble glass broken at a harsh angle. Is there a way out? No! Is the skin drying out (starting to melt) from a similar heat?
Symbolism in art is rich. As you look deeper you will see more even if you wish you had not delved into the dark.
“When the Birthday boy or girl doesn’t blow out all the candles in one breath, they get the Candle-Curse.”
“And the remaining flames act as a doorway from Hell where demons escape to exact their dark deeds upon the failed candle blower,” Barney explained, speaking in a campfire spook-story voice.”…
…Dustin dreamt of fire…
…A hot and hungry blaze tore through the house. He was upstairs at the table, watching. He stood motionless, petrified by the sight of demons leaping into his world through the flames. His spine froze and he shivered despite the rising heat around him…
… It reached out a hand, stopping the upturned fist inches from Dustin’s face. Slowly unraveling its fingers, the demon revealed a single candle, standing straight in the palm of its hand.
~Tyr Kieran is a regular writer for Pen of the Damned. His short story Anti-Wish can be read in its entirety here.
… the portrait you drew is beautiful. The careful way you have rendered each fine stroke of my eyelashes and hair. My eyes are large dark orbs, the light in them extinguished. The drawing stares back at me from the page, frail and petrified. It is as if I was really there before you as you drew me. You have captured it well, that is how I feel. But there are a few things about me you are yet to glimpse.
I have left it for you here, this is where we part for now. By the time you enter the warehouse I will be gone, slipping away into the dark maze of the city, far from you…
And then you will finally find her, over by the wall, bound to a chair with heavy tape. Will a scream, sharp as a razor, catch in your throat?…
…With a face lift and a short dark wig she looks just like me, don’t you think? My scent on her body now. I dressed her in the lingerie and dress I wore when you first saw me. I thought you would like that. The first time you singled me out from the crowd, the first time I felt the suffocating weight of your gaze. Yes, our time is coming soon. We are destined to meet, as both you and I know. But not tonight.
~ Magenta Nero is a regular horror writer for Pen of the Damned her story Black Widow is featured this week. Please check here for the entirety of the short story (Stalkers) that is excerpted above.
Blog: Magenta Nero – Dark Fiction Author
Find Tyr on Amazon
Many thanks to Jarek Kubicki who has graciously allowed me to put his art with the horror “pieces” this week. His book (below) comes out in 4 days!!!
I’m taking a moment to listen to the voice and the meaning of the two pieces of art. Do you hear it – The sound that is not allowed to escape the confinement of the box?
Munch gives it away in his title “The Scream.” I remember studying this piece by Expressionist Edvard Munch several times and having to make an educated guess about what was behind or in front. I personally hear footprints approaching the subject. In this work by Kubicki, there is a visceral scream that emanates from the pieces of the body that remain and the shadowy screams from what has been taken away. This piece reminds me of the opposite of Michelangelo’s captive where man is trying to escape the confines of the marble. This man (or woman) is being made a captive by what… a horrific parasite? Enjoy the words that you don’t hear and then read the words of Jon Olson and Hunter Shea.
“Let’s see you live through this, asshole,” Michael whispered in the Erwin’s ear.
With that he tilted Erwin’s head back and cut deep into his neck.
Erwin gurgled and blood gushed out. Michael held him for a few minutes, enjoying the feeling of taking another man’s life until Erwin went limp. The gurgling slowed and then went silent…
…I can’t remember how many times I’ve died; how many times I seen the light, reached out to accept its embrace only to be pulled back into this fucking existence so that I may die again.
I have felt the pain that the body goes through as each internal organ shuts down. I have felt my heart stop more times than I want to remember. My body has been stabbed, crushed, and shot many times yet somehow it always heals itself.”
~Jon Olson is a regular writer for Pen of the Damned. Go to PEN to read Phantom Pain in its entirety.
Jon’s Blog: Monster Lane
You can also find Jon’s work at Siren’s Call Publications.
I needed light. It was impossible to face the ghoul in the dark. My spirit wavered between bravery and death by panic. I fumbled around the desk until I found the matches.I struck one against the desk. It sputtered for a moment, then fizzled out. The sounds in the corner stopped. I could feel the ghoul’s penetrating gaze cut through the dark. I grabbed another match, and with unsure hands, tried again. The match stick broke in half, falling to the floor. Clack, clack, clack, clack. Those odd footsteps again. Now a gurgling sound, a bubbling death rattle of a cry.
“Please, dear God, help,” I whimpered as I reached to pick out another match.
My cry was answered, as my thumbnail flicked across the match head, a brilliant flame roared to life. And in that same instant, I wished I’d never brought light into the parlor.
“Lucy!” My doll, my porcelain companion, stood on two small legs, leering at me. Its face had turned a mottled green, and bloody teeth sprouted from a mouth that was never designed to open…
…“It was the demon in Jessamine. It became a ghoul. When it left Jessamine, it hid inside Lucy. You can see it, right there!” I screamed, pointing at its lifeless body…
Hunter Shea is a writer for Pen of the Damned. He has several published works of horror. To read his short story Mercy in its entirety go here.
Hunter Shea’s Blog
“Nature is not only all that is visible to the eye…it also includes the inner pictures of the soul.” E. Munch
Hunter Shea Hell Hole on Amazon
The Montauk Monster on Amazon
So grateful to Jarek Kubicki for allowing me to use his art for Horror Week. It is exceptional art. I’m excited for his book release in 5 DAYS!!!
Before the blood dries why not take a spin around this year’s Coffin Hop
. Plenty of book giveaways!!!
I’m looking at the art I selected for today and realizing minimal and horror works. The use of a few shapes, three or four colors, or primary colors can speak volumes as in these two pieces One by Polish artist Jarek Kubicki and the other by German painter Edvard Munch. If you think about cinematography, dark lightening heightens the senses and muted low musical tones creates an edginess.
Do you hear the woman gasping as she throws her bloodied face back? I think the bit from Craig McGray fills in her gurgling whispers. Her draping dripping necklace infers blood dripping off her nexk. It’s a great desperated effect that Kubicki has created. (
Munch’s painting “Two Women on the Shore” , do you feel the black figure prodding the girl forward into another world? Do you see innocence contrasted by death’s decay? The figure in white seems to be in a trance being pressed into death. The woodcut print was an excellent choice for preventing distraction from the theme.
Nina’s feathers are indeed black (and blood is flowing) in her chilling short story.
“You’ll not speak of my secret in life nor death. Of this, I’m sure.”
…In one hand, a large needle with wire tailing from the eyelet; in the other, a small vial of liquid gleamed in the glowing candlelight.
Beth strained against her bindings, but she was too weak to break free. Gloria removed the cloth from Beth’s mouth and grabbed her chin before tilting her head back, forcing the potion down her throat…
…Intermittent flashes of reality only offered hints as to Gloria’s purpose; the biting pain as her stepmother forced the wire through Beth’s lips made those intentions all too clear.
Darkness devoured every ounce of light.
Craig McGray is a regular writer for Pen of the Damned. You can read all of the short story (excerpt above) Kept Secrets here.
… “Did I frighten you?” I ask with mock patience, patience I have not felt in a decade or more.
She stares back true and steady for several heartbeats, licks her lips – a gesture of fear, or simply to moisten them? Her eyes say the latter. In a whispered voice that carries more strength than I would have imagined, she replies, “No, not frightened. Startled.”
“I don’t frighten you? I find that hard to believe. Please don’t tell me you are some ignorant field peasant the grovlings dragged in here because your curves will suit me.” Exasperation and a growing anger fill me as my fingernail draws blood from the soft hollow where it resides.
This is not the distraction I hoped for; yet another useless mongrel, I look away. Just as I am ready to release her from the burden of breathing, her hand gently wraps around mine, forcing my nail in deeper. I turn back, ready to dispatch the second disrespectful whelp of the day. “No, I was not dragged here by those hideous little creatures. I came of my own accord.” Staring directly into my eyes, she continues, “I have seen you, in the glade. Warming yourself in the sunlight, I have seen you soar above the cliffs that house this cave. I have seen you caress your lover to death near the water’s edge. I have watched you for some time now, and I wish to be like you. To…”
Nina D’Archangyal is the co-founder of Pen of the Damned and a regular writer. You can read all of her short story Feathers- here. Nina is also co-owner of the Siren’s Call E-zine.
Jarek Kubicki has given me permission to use his art this week to make the horror writing more tangible. Please have a look at his gallery this piece today is from his numbers collection and the negative of his black feathers (from Rumors about Angels collection) was an awesome addition for the end of Nina’s Feathers. In six days he has his own book release coming out in 6 days!!!
Looking for some good horror to read? Check out the Coffin Hop that runs through the end of this week. 50 authors are doing the hop with lots of free and discounted horror to keep your blood at the perfect chilled level. Nina is one of the participants and she is giving stuff away every 8 hours here – I think she will be a Zombie by the end of the 8 day HOP.
And… Craig and Nina have recent releases. Please enjoy their work- they are both are exceptional horror writers.