Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Artist Spotlight: Johnny Hellion, Facing the Darkside

Introducing : Johnny Hellion

I met Johnny through a mutual friend and artist, Ugly Shyla, online. We often have conversations about the current state of the art world and the frustrations thereof, which led to some very fascinating conversations including one where Johnny explained that he donated some of his uncle ashes to the Museum of Death in Los Angeles, California. His uncle being a cohort of Charles Manson, his notoriety lives on in a glass urn that you too can gander at when you visit a most famous and popular Los Angeles attraction in California.

In a previous blog I introduced my scariest paranormal experience ever having to do with one of my closest friends was the nephew of Charles Starkweather, and that he took his life when we were just young adults. I often wondered what my friend Chris would be like today if he could accept and perhaps embrace the dark nature and continue to funnel it through art as he was an accomplished musician. I was lucky to work with him, and he composed music for my only solo work in my dance company performances.

Johnny is living proof that one can bring light to the darkness so we can consider what is there and work with it. Is it just the dark side of our nature that we push away and not accept that causes it to funnel out in avenues such as addictions, bad habits, and negativity? What if we faced it explored it and exorcised it through an art medium?

It was his 3-D sculpture of Captain Howdy coming out of an Ouija board that literally scared me. I shared the picture with friends, as I knew they would also appreciate the nod to the demon star of the movie “The Exorcist”. A movie that totally terrified me, not so much for the demonic possession that starts with a “harmless” Ouija board, but for the archaic tests for Epilepsy that I turned my toes of my own personal fears of just being diagnosed. His art scares me on many levels and I being that type who likes to face things head on, his art speaks to me in that way that art does when it heals through obsession, repeating something so that it no longer has a hold on you and desensitizes you from the fearful image.  I find it healing, like my seizures, when at first glance can be something terrifying but in another view can be seen as a release of energy. Perhaps when trapped, can cause a shakeup of earthquake proportions. When let out little by little and shared in these smaller dosages we face our own darkness on level ground. 

In his own words, Johnny describes his work thusly:

“My name is Johnny Hellion. I paint in different mediums, mixed media and also make art pieces such as wall masks from plaster. I’m inspired by horror, serial killers, death and the macabre. Some of what I do come from known horror icons or characters but I also have a lot of original pieces that just come from the imagination. At times I feel in trance when I work on my artwork. It’s like a meditation at times, most of the time I don’t even know what I’m doing till I’m done and have to sit back and figure out what it is or the meaning. I think people enjoy it and it’s what matters. It’s all an expression of myself and my influences or inspirations. Anyone can reach me at johnnyhell666@yahoo.com or check out my artwork from the links at http://about.me/johnnyhell666

A watercolour by Johnny Hell , all rights reserved by Artist, used with permission.
                                                        Assemblage in a silver frame

Examples of mask work


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