The art of Horrorgasm at Comic-Con Museum!

Eggshell Jack Skellington, by artist Melody De Los Cobos. Inspired by the film The Nightmare Before Christmas.
Eggshell Jack Skellington, by artist Melody De Los Cobos. Inspired by the film The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Check out all this great pop art by local San Diego artists! There’s a little bit of horror and a little bit of Christmas!

All of these pieces are by the artists of Horrorgasm and were on display at the future home of the Comic-Con Museum in Balboa Park during 2019 December Nights.

Horrorgasm is a cool art event that is held annually in late October. According the Horrorgasm website, it’s a “one-night-only celebration of horror and all things creepy, spooky and macabre.” In 2019 Horrorgasm was held in North Park, and featured “an Art gallery, an artisan marketplace, live performances, live readings of chilling tales, and our version of an escape room, the Horrorgasm Survival Chamber.”

As I wandered about the exhibit, I was pleased to once again meet artist Melody De Los Cobos, one of the founders of Horrorgasm. Last month we spoke briefly during a Love City Heights mural painting event, where she was mentoring a young artist. I blogged about that here!

Some great popular movies are represented in this collection of original artwork. A few humorous pieces had me smiling!

To learn more about Horrorgasm, visit their website here.

Horrorgasm is an annual art event. In 2019 it celebrated Monsters, Maniacs, The Paranormal, and the Surreal.
Horrorgasm is an annual San Diego art event. In 2019 it celebrated Monsters, Maniacs, The Paranormal, and the Surreal.
They have a cool comic book. Tales of Horrorgasm!
They have an awesome comic book. Tales of Horrorgasm!
One half of The Ballbreaker Suite, by artist Autumn Sno, inspired by the movie Scrooged. Pictured is Carol Kane's the Ghost of Christmas Present.
The Ballbreaker Suite, by artist Autumn Sno, inspired by the movie Scrooged. Pictured is Carol Kane’s the Ghost of Christmas Present.
Creep in the Corner by artist Jennifer Cooksey. Mixed media sculpture and acrylic. A sinister Elf on the Shelf.
Creep in the Corner, by artist Jennifer Cooksey. Mixed media sculpture and acrylic. It’s a sinister Elf on the Shelf!
Stripe by artist Jennifer Cooksey. Mixed media sculpture. Based on the horror comedy film Gremlins.
Stripe, by artist Jennifer Cooksey. Mixed media sculpture. Based on the horror comedy film Gremlins.
Throne of Lies by artist Avaline Ai. Based on a memorable line from the holiday film Elf.
Throne of Lies, by artist Avaline Ai. A meme from a humorous quote in the holiday film Elf.
How Deadpool Stole Christmas, by artist Marc Vuletich. Acrylic paint on canvas. Deadpool enters Peter Parker's home in an homage to How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
How Deadpool Stole Christmas, by artist Marc Vuletich. Acrylic paint on canvas. Deadpool enters Peter Parker’s home in an homage to How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
Kevin McCallister, Then, by artist Nyxie Von Rose. Based on the classic holiday film Home Alone.
Kevin McCallister, Then, by artist Nyxie Von Rose. A famous pose from the classic holiday film Home Alone.
Christmas Ale, by artist Tara Alvarado. Acrylic on wood. A beer label inspired by The Spirit of Christmas Past from A Christmas Carol.
Christmas Ale, by artist Tara Alvarado. Acrylic on wood. A beer label inspired by The Spirit of Christmas Past from A Christmas Carol.

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Creepy creatures appear downtown!

Securely shutter your windows and lock every door! Creepy creatures have materialized throughout downtown San Diego!

As I walked about this morning, I suddenly realized that I was hopelessly surrounded. Closing in around me were witches, spiders, ghosts and an army of skeletons! Not to mention a few terrifying clowns!

The dark forces of Halloween were unstoppable! They had even caused the mighty Zoltar to retreat!

There was no escape from the madness!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Walking down a dark, spooky Haunted Trail!

Today I felt brave enough to walk through a very dark, very spooky corner of Balboa Park.

Night had fallen, the crooked branches of black trees surrounded me, and my eyes were on a swivel as I approached The Haunted Trail!

Did I manage to photograph anything that was remotely scary?

You be the judge!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A dark, disturbing look at art Beyond Reason.

Close photo of bronze figures of Tim Shaw's Middle World.
Close photo of several bronze figures in Tim Shaw’s Middle World.

A very disturbing and powerfully thought-provoking exhibition has recently opened at the San Diego Museum of Art. Yesterday I walked through the dark galleries that contain Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason, and this morning my mind is still digesting the half dozen fantastic installations created by the celebrated artist.

Tim Shaw is a Northern Irish sculptor who, as a child in 1972, witnessed firsthand the bombing of a Belfast cafe during Bloody Friday. That exact, horrifying moment is recreated in a bloodless, abstract way in his installation Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous. Eerily spinning trays hover in the air above suddenly upset tables and chairs; the shadows of fleeing people stream across surrounding windows.

That same feeling of malice and inescapable chaos seems to echo elsewhere in Tim Shaw’s work.

Walking through the dim galleries containing Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason feels inhumanly bleak. Little light, the low sound of a hollow, echoing, machine-like vibration all around, no human warmth. Like the corridors of a dark artificial video game world where there is no hope for actual daylight. Where synthetic horrors await around corners.

Themes explored by the six immersive installations range from the primal, unconscious complexity of human beings, to cynical exploitation in a materialistic society, to the uncertainties that rise in a technologically directed world.

I found the first installation that I encountered, Middle World, to be extraordinarily rich with symbolism. A massive sculpture, Middle World presents many small bronze figures that appear to have emerged from ancient mythology, Shakespeare, or the fleshy canvases of Hieronymus Bosch. The weird, expressive figures, some in masks, are arranged on a throne-like stage above what seem to be stalactites and beneath what seem to be Gothic columns and skeletons in catacombs. The sculpture incorporates the shapes of objects that are both modern and ancient, commonplace and supernatural. It’s a mixture of space and time and human passion and compulsion and perplexity. A melting, flowing work of sculpted substance like an unending dream.

Other more disturbing installations that compose the exhibition concern dehumanization and include subjects like the silencing of free speech, vigilantism, human exploitation and depravity.

Defending Integrity from the Powers that Be presents two rocking-chair-like figures that are in constant back-and-forth motion. Both are gagged, and the muffled voices that emerge from either are unintelligible. According to a nearby sign, the piece represents how voices are silenced with money, and how people are influenced by the proliferation of disinformation on the internet. (What it fails to mention is that billions of ordinary people now speak their thoughts more freely than ever because of the Information Age. As a blogger who pays close attention to such things, I can tell you that many ideas don’t go unheard because of stifling propaganda or censorship, but because the internet has become a complete babel of voices all desperately competing to be heard.)

Another unique installation concerns technology and our evolving understanding of what it is to be human. Aptly titled The Birth of Breakdown Clown, the interactive sculpture seems to have a great deal of potential. Visitors enter a small room and stand before a human-like robot that moves its head and limbs while engaging with the audience. A member of the audience is invited to stand before the robot and converse with it. Breakdown Clown is said to possess artificial intelligence. Unfortunately, during the performance that I witnessed, I couldn’t detect any sort of autonomous machine intelligence, or even working speech recognition. With an odd combination of humor, condescension and poetic rambling, the Genesis-quoting robot guided the entire conversation. Its often disconnected statements and responses were apparently composed by the artist.

Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason as a whole is a very forceful, challenging work of contemporary art that will strongly engage active minds. It presents unspeakable horror. It isn’t for the squeamish. It’s an examination of human darkness and potential inhuman darkness. It undertakes a quest for understanding. That which has come into existence tries to understand its own creation. An electronic clown tries to define the Mystery that underlies all things.

However, to my thinking, darkness should be contrasted with light. And clowns that are witty have a beating heart.

These photographs were taken by my poor old camera in very dim darkness, where no flash photography is permitted. The images are a bit blurry, but somehow that makes them more potent!

If you want to be intellectually challenged, and journey through galleries that are filled with warnings, uncertainty and darkness, check out Tim Shaw: Beyond Reason, which is now showing at the San Diego Museum of Art through February 24, 2019.

Middle World. Mixed media, 1989-Current, by artist Tim Shaw.
Middle World. Mixed media, 1989-Current, by artist Tim Shaw.
Ancient symbols and strange figures contained in Tim Shaw's Middle World.
Ancient symbols and strange figures contained in Tim Shaw’s Middle World.
Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous, Working Drawing I. Ink, charcoal, and collage, 2015, by artist Tim Shaw.
Mother, The Air Is Blue, The Air Is Dangerous, Working Drawing I. Ink, charcoal, and collage, 2015, by artist Tim Shaw.
Defending Integrity from the Powers that Be. Mixed media, 2017, by artist Tim Shaw.
Defending Integrity from the Powers that Be. Mixed media, 2017, by artist Tim Shaw.
Alternative Authority. Mixed media, 2017, by artist Tim Shaw.
Alternative Authority. Mixed media, 2017, by artist Tim Shaw.
The Birth of Breakdown Clown, an artificially intelligent, interactive, speaking robot by Irish sculptor Tim Shaw.
The Birth of Breakdown Clown, an artificially intelligent, interactive, speaking robot by Irish sculptor Tim Shaw.

If you’d like to read a few philosophical works of fiction that I’ve written–stories about the complexity of life–about the mingling of darkness and light–please visit¬†Short Stories by Richard.

Creepy clowns, ghosts and demons in a park!

Legions of creepy clowns, ghosts, demons and undead are slowly gathering in a popular city park. I photographed them lurking among shadowy trees and spooky buildings, waiting to terrify nice, innocent, completely unsuspecting people who happened to be walking down the park trail!

IMG_0076z

As you might have guessed, this morning I took a stroll around the perimeter of The Haunted Trail, which is being built once again in the southwest corner of Balboa Park for Halloween!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Public art painted from dark, painful experience.

Smears of red, a flag, two faces.
Smears of red, a flag, two faces.

There are three new works of art on display in the breezeway between the downtown Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Santa Fe Depot. These pieces concern disturbing emotions felt by combat veterans, and the ongoing battle of many with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

I believe–but I’m not certain–that the art you see in these photos was produced by military personnel who participate in the museum’s ArtOASIS program. ArtOASIS was created for PTSD patients in conjunction with Combat Arts, a local organization that provides opportunities for combat troops to express themselves.

These images are raw and painful. They are brutally honest. To paint these dark, secret things requires great personal courage.

Someone walks through the breezeway between MCASD and Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
Someone walks through the breezeway between MCASD and Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego.
PTSD. What happens when you get home and realize you will never be this awesome again. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to the Light.
PTSD. What happens when you get home and realize you will never be this awesome again. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to the light.
A lone figure lies against the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
A lone figure lies against the wall of Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
REAL TALK. Life.
REAL TALK. Life.

I live in downtown San Diego, and walk through the city with my camera. You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter.

Six creepy Halloween faces in shop windows.

This morning I walked past a variety of small shops in Hillcrest. Several had placed mannequins dressed up for Halloween in their windows. On a whim I took photos.

When I goofed around a bit this evening editing the images, concentrating on the creepy faces, I managed to terrify myself.

Now it’s your turn!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!