Project Rewind: Diary of a Madman

Last year at this time, I was asked by a friend of mine to create some prop artwork for an indie film she was working on. I had to create the artwork of a murderous madman, using the blood of his victim(s) as a medium. I jumped at the chance to do something like this, not only to break out of the rut I was in, but to do something with complete freedom and as an interpretation of a character. The work had to be emotional, kinetic and chaotic, but I wanted it to have visual themes and authentically disturbed realizations of the artist’s madness.

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Entries of Confusion

I created two paintings commissioned as set design pieces for an independent film, called Emeryville.

The commission was to create two paintings which, in the film, would be discovered to have been painted by the villain of the story, using the blood of his victims.

I wanted to get inside the mind of a madman to create these pieces, so I did a great deal of research into artworks created by convicted serial killers and the artworks created by children who have experienced serious trauma such as the death of their families, war, natural disaster or abuse so that I could authentically incorporate the vivid, disturbed imagery of both into my own work by painting in character, as a reclusive murderer.

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Before beginning to paint, I fasted and deprived myself of sleep for three days. I also avoided painting in a typical studio setting and instead created both Diary of a Madman No. 128 and No.127 in the dark, hot, cramped attic above a garage.

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The Mirror tells me lies

In addition, I set up two cameras in the attic to record myself while I painted, in real time, to attempt to trigger my own sense of urgency and paranoia about the sinister and gruesome nature of my activities.

Voices in the darkness

The final element of authenticity was to create my own water based, blood-like medium, instead of simply using conventional paint. I painted with my hands and whole body in an attempt to achieve the greatest level of intimacy with the work and the character I had created.

The imagery of No. 127 & No. 128 explores a deep sense of paranoia and the tension of being simultaneously tethered to and disconnected from reality. The grotesque mask of the oppressive thoughts which convince the madman to act out dominates his vision, reminding him of his past crimes, those who have hurt or betrayed him and subverting his attempts to fight against his compulsions.

This art work is on 48″x36″ canvas.

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Here’s the short film I made of the painting process.

WARNING: Some imagery in this film may be disturbing

“Immortal” is short film about the creative process of a young painter with a dark secret.

This film was created as part of a project to make prop artwork for an independent feature produced in Austin, Texas. I decided to get into a character similar to the one portrayed in the film in order to create the art more authentically.

I set up multiple cameras and created the paintings spontaneously while being filmed and improvised the character as the work progressed over a period of four days.

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