For the first post in our new Guest Post Series, artist, Kendra Sartorelli talks about her experience with horror growing up and the influences on her paintings, while asking the all important question in why do we need monsters?
For several years now, I’ve been creating a series of textured acrylic paintings of original monsters inspired by horror in pop culture and entertainment. The series is titled “We Need Monsters”, and I often get people asking me what I mean by this. I find people are sometimes curious about how a woman could be passionate about monsters and horror at all. How is it that I came to love the horror genre, and why do I enjoy getting scared?
I feel that by experiencing fear through horror in arts and entertainment it can help us feel better prepared to deal with horror and fear in our own lives. Through scary films, stories and images, we can experience fear in a safe way in a comfortable environment. We can laugh at our fears and let the experience make us stronger.
The first time I remember enjoying fear is when I first saw the character Large Marge in the Tim Burton film “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure”. I was very young, and the face of the ghost really frightened me. I remember thinking that I had just seen the scariest thing a person could possibly see in the movies, and that Large Marge had the scariest possible face. However, I also felt excited because I felt like now I could watch anything, and I had made myself a stronger person. Growing up I continued to enjoy horror in film, literature, television and art. Letting these fictional stories frighten me was always a pleasurable experience. I would get scared and feel safe at the same time. I was getting bullied as a kid, and I think horror fiction helped me feel better prepared for dealing with that. The more scary stories I consumed, the tougher I felt.
As an adult who has seen many horror movies, I’m much more jaded and harder to scare now, but I still enjoy a horror story that can shock me or give me chills. I feel that all people (and particularly women) can encounter plenty of seriously frightening experiences in life, and enjoying horror in a safe space like a living room, a movie theatre or an art gallery can help us feel personally stronger and more ready to confront the demons in our real world.
My “We Need Monsters” series of paintings is created for people who have a love of monsters and horror similar to mine. One of the main reasons I paint original, fictitious monsters is to create a fun and comfortable way for people to experience horror. My hope is that people will see my monsters and smile. I want them to find joy living with these monsters and to feel stronger for it. I really do believe that we need monsters.
Interested in writing a guest post? Then get in touch!