From Childhood Trauma to Artistic Vision: The impact of early exposure to body horror

February 04, 2023

For many artists, the source of their inspiration can be traced back to their childhood experiences and memories. For me, as a photo manipulation artist, that source of inspiration is a mix of both my childhood influences and my early exposure to the macabre. Growing up, I was exposed to the world of Hellraiser and body horror at a young age, and that experience has left a lasting impression on my artistic vision. In this blog, I will be exploring the impact of these early exposures on my art, and how they have shaped my unique style and perspective.

From my childhood obsession with Saturday morning cartoons and video games, to my love of 80's metal and rock music, my artistic vision has been shaped by a wide range of influences. In this article, I will be sharing my journey and how these different elements have come together to form my artistic style. So come with me on a journey through my early childhood memories and how they have shaped my artistic vision.

 

At the age of 5, I was introduced to the world of Hellraiser and body horror through the first three movies of the franchise. This early exposure had a profound impact on my life and artistic vision. The surreal and macabre imagery, along with the themes of pain, pleasure, and death, left an indelible mark on my subconscious. As I grew up, I continued to explore the genre, watching a range of movies that featured graphic violence, gore, and twisted body horror.

 

From The Lost Boys and From Dusk Till Dawn, to 28 Days Later and Dawn of the Dead, I was drawn to the dark and surreal world of the undead. These movies, along with my early exposure to Hellraiser, helped shape my understanding of what is possible in art and how the human form can be manipulated and distorted to convey deeper meanings and emotions. The themes of mortality, rebirth, and transformation resonated with me, and I soon found myself exploring these concepts in my own art.

 

As a child and into my teens, I was heavily influenced by the music I listened to. From 80's metal and rock like Judas Priest and Black Sabbath, to 90's alternative like Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails, each genre left a lasting impression on my artistic vision. Music videos, specifically, played a large role in shaping my appreciation for visual storytelling and the marriage of sound and image.

In addition to music, my love for video games has also been a constant source of inspiration. From the vivid worlds and stories of games like The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, to the intense action and stealth of Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, video games have always been a source of escapism and imaginative stimulation for me.

The combination of music and video games has given me a unique perspective on art, allowing me to draw from a variety of influences and incorporate elements from both mediums into my photo manipulation artwork. Whether it's the adrenaline-fueled energy of an AC/DC song, or the atmospheric tension of a survival horror game, each piece of media has had a profound impact on my art and has helped to shape my distinct artistic style.

Body horror has played a significant role in shaping my artistic vision. The genre's blend of the macabre, surreal, and strange has captivated my imagination since I was a child. Early exposure to movies like Hellraiser, The Cell, and Dark City, as well as album covers like Jane's Addiction's Nothing's Shocking, helped to establish my love for the dark and twisted. My artwork is a visual representation of the themes and motifs that I encountered through my exposure to body horror.

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In my photo manipulation art, I take hundreds of photos of a person and layer, skew, warp, distort, scale, duplicate, and merge layers to create new images. The end result is often dark, surreal, and strange, much like the movies and albums that influenced me. My work is often compared to the body horror of filmmakers like David Cronenberg and the visuals in movies like The Cell, Hellraiser, and Dark City.

Baroness Timelapse By AJ Olson

The genre of body horror has provided me with an outlet to explore the subconscious and the human form in new and unique ways. It has allowed me to delve into my own innermost fears and desires and to bring them to life in my artwork. The impact of body horror on my art is undeniable and continues to drive me as an artist to this day.

 

In conclusion, the early exposure to body horror films and the impact of music and video games on A.J. Olson's life and art cannot be ignored. From the first viewing of Hellraiser at the tender age of 5, to the influence of 80's metal and rock music and the immersive experiences of video games, these formative experiences have left an indelible mark on the artist's subconscious. The macabre and surreal images created through the photo manipulation technique reflect the artist's unique perspective, shaped by a lifetime of consuming and internalizing various forms of media. The end result is a body of work that is hauntingly beautiful, and that provides a window into the artist's innermost fears, desires, and hopes.

Final Thoughts:

As an artist, A.J. Olson's work is a testament to the power of creative expression as a means of processing trauma and exploring the complexities of the human experience. The haunting and macabre images created through photo manipulation represent the artist's attempt to make sense of the world and to shed light on the darkness that lurks within us all. Through this body of work, the artist invites the viewer to embark on a journey into the depths of the subconscious, and to explore the connection between the human form and the macabre.

18+ gallery: www.ajolsonphotography.com/gallery

 

Prognosticator AnimationModel: Romany Suicide
 

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