13 artists changing the face of horror

These creatives are transforming the dark arts with their inspirational artistic black magic.

Horror and gothic art will never lose it's appeal as long as humanity maintains it's fascination with death. For some artists the macabre provides a release from internalised fear and for others, it's a playful way to seek a reaction from their viewers.

However, managing to capture a truly frightening scene, and present the viewer with a disturbing yet beautiful image is a real skill.

In honor of Halloween we have compiled 13 great contemporary artists who focus on dark fantasy themes, and asked them to reveal why they paint such deadly themes.

01. Anne Stokes


Summon the Reaper: "the girl stands with confidence, in control of time as the darkness swirls around her."

"I am a fan of all things fantasy and much of horror falls into this. It's the dark side of fantasy with many monsters, characters and fantasy situations," reveals the illustrator.

"I love the style of the gothic architecture with its soaring sweeping shapes and detailed carvings. Dark and deathly imagery offer great scope for artists and the possibility of suggesting a sinister story in the picture. I like the possibilities for contrasting softer and darker subjects.

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Anne has created works that have been used for metal band albums, poker decks, tees and zippo lighters (like this design!)

"I have always enjoyed the creativity and look of gothic clothing and enjoyed visiting the Whitby Goth weekends. Many people who attend make a great effort to dress up for the occasion which provides an interesting spectacle as the picturesque old town gets taken over by Goths."

02. Aly Fell

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Tiffany May recalls the vibe of classic tongue and cheek slasher flicks

"I’m not really a 'horror' artist as such, but the 'Gothic' is a aesthetic that has always resonated with me, from music, fashion, literature and of course visual art. Confronting the shadows is the best way to come to terms with them," says Aly.

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Aly classes his art as gothic rather than horror. The artist has illustrated for numerous games companies as well as Dark Horse comics

"That 'long night' is waiting for us all, pretending it doesn't exist is to kid yourself. My fluffy bunnies have teeth, but 'Death' looks good in a tutu."

03. Michael Whelan

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Smiler: Michael Whelan is one of the most important science fiction illustrators of our time, having been the first living artist inducted in the Sci-Fi Hall of Fame in 2009

"I just think about things that seem eerie, or recall frightening situations from my own experiences then adapt them to the exigencies of illustration," admits the illustrator.

"I don't go for blood and gore; that's about creating revulsion, not fear. I'm inclined towards establishing a situation that provokes more of a feeling of unease than anything else. It's really very hard to actually create a sense of fear in an image alone.

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Deadend: Michael is known for his surrealist art, beginning his career as a book cover illustrator

"We, as viewers, are so accustomed to hearing sound tracks with scary noises and music to trigger a 'fear' mood than to do it with an image alone seems almost impossible in these jaded times."

04. Laurie Lipton

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Tete A Tete: Laurie describes this unnerving image as her "shadow"

"I do not love horror. I draw about the things that annoy or frighten me," explains Laurie.

"When I visited Mexico after my mother died, I realised that I could grab onto my fear of death and feel an illusion of control by drawing about it."

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Family Reunion: The artist says, "Death will reunite us with our ancestors. This is how I imagined it will look."

05. Godmachine

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Godmachine's horror-shaped illustrations have been printed by major gothic apparel companies as well as for skateboard designs

Godmachine is inspired by pop culture visions. "There was this video shop in my village when I was a kid, the only video shop for miles around.

"It was run by one of my older brothers friends and it was wall to wall awesome video cases of drawn, bad photo manipulations and terrible moustaches (a la Tom Selek)."

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Darkness inside: Godmachine's work varies from pop-culture posters and intricate gothic illustrations to striking graphic designs like this one

"I think without fail that shop defined my outlook on the art I am creating at the moment. I am working towards refining my shit but as a starting point;

"My inspiration came from a video shop in a small village (think Werewolf in London) crossed with the little curiosity shop in Gremlins where he buys the Mogwai and Royston Vasey... these fictional places created a great launching pad for me."

06. Aeron Alfrey

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Baba Yaga: "I enjoy pushing and pulling lights and darks by moving textural elements across countless layers"

"I enjoy the mystery that a disturbing or frightening image can evoke. I also like the power that a frightening artwork can hold over a viewer," explains Aeron.

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Madhouse Cover: "I'm obsessed with surface textures and I'll construct an artwork from a wide variety of textures that I sculpt into anything from a face to a landscape"

"But I'm also fascinated with the world of monsters that is often found in horrific imagery. Scenes of hell from the likes of Hieronymus Bosch, Cornelis Saftleven, Bruegel to Jacques Callot. I enjoy losing myself in landscapes of fantastical beasts."

07. Steve McGinnis

steve vincent price

Vincent Price is an all too familiar face to horror junkies, featuring in fright flicks for decades from hero to villain

Steve draw from an early age, "My Aunt who's a huge horror fan used to baby sit me and we'd watch all the 70's Hammer films, Jaws, The Universal Monsters, and pretty much anything that would keep me up all night," he reveals.

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Michael Myers' white-out Captain Kirk mask provided a fearsome face for the Halloween films, yet Steve has managed to make him a little more terrifying in this ghostly image

"It started reflecting in my art at a young age. I have some art I did at 6 featuring Grover vs Jaws. From then on, I was a horror fan. I grew up in the prefect time for horror, I was a kid in the 70's watching Hammer films and in the 80's watching slashers and so on.

"I draw just about everything but when I get to sit down and draw a horror character I really put everything I have into it. I guess you'd say it's my passion."

Next page: 6 more artists creating truly terrific horror art...