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We Die to Become: Interview with The Ljilja

“Everyone carries a Shadow. And the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is.” These are the wise words of the Ljilja, a mysterious Switzerland-based artist. She is referring to Carl Jung’s conception of the Shadow: the unconscious “dark side” of the personality driven by our more unenlightened […]

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Fear, Beauty, and the Abject: Handcrafted Art Dolls by Emilie Steele

Emilie Steele is a multidisciplinary artist based in Stockholm, Sweden, who creates handcrafted posable art dolls. Each doll’s body is first sculpted in clay, then silicone molds are made, and the pieces are cast in resin. Steele also makes all the clothes, wigs, and accessories by hand. These are far from your ordinary dolls, notable […]

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Art Dark Art Digital Nude Photo Retouching Photography Portraits Surreal

As Seen Through the Darkness: Digital Art by Lente Scura

Lente Scura, Italian for “dark lens,” has a working name reflecting both the atmosphere and meaning within his art. As he explains in an interview with Urban-Muse, his lens—his point of view—is expressed in a manner that is “surreal and mystical with dark emotional tones.” By combining photo-manipulation with digital painting, he submerges the subjects […]

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Art Dark Art Photography Portraits Storytelling

Exploring Concealed Beauty: Mariamne Photography

The imagery of Spain-based Mariamne Photography is tender, ethereal, and melancholic. Much of her work is self-portraiture, which she describes as “an introspective journey through my own self, trying to express the fragility and complexity of human souls.” By incorporating subjects such as Kintsugi (the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery) and the “red thread […]

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Art Black & White Character Design Dark Art Painting Portraits Storytelling Surreal

Shadowy Magical Realism in the Artwork of Sail (Useless Arm)

“Everything is beautiful, even the ugly,” observes Sail, an artist operating under the curious handle, “Useless Arm.” His paintings are as moody as they are playful, depicting solitary figures bedecked in flowers and masks and pierced by arrows. Various cultural and literary references can be seen throughout—most notably, Asian aesthetics—but Sail’s characters are born of […]

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Presence & Void: Serenely Surreal Paintings by Victor Grasso

The paintings of Victor Grasso are both surreal and ordinary, erotic and innocent, eerie and filled with light. Based in Cape May, New Jersey, Grasso’s work is heavily influenced by the sea, one of his principal muses. One of the many things that makes Grasso so fascinating as a contemporary painter—in addition to the complex […]

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Art Color Comics and Cartoons Dark Art Digital Futuristic Monsters Painting Sci-Fi Surreal Weird

Elegant, Colorful Chaos in Zeen Chin’s Digital Paintings

Zeen Chin is a self-taught artist living in Kuala Lumpur. Drawing upon a mysterious well of horror films, memories, and mysticism, his digital paintings are wildly elegant and unpredictable; scrolling from one image to the next, you can never predict (nor comprehend) what you will see next. Anime-like characters parade with cartoonish, folklore-inspired beasts, and […]

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Aesthetics of Melancholy: Poetic Photography by Natalia Drepina

The ghosts of sorrow, tragedy, and loneliness wander the dormant forests of Natalia Drepina’s photography. Based in a small city in Russia, Drepina brings her love for the silence and solitude of the countryside into her art, exploring the way twisted roots, animal bones, and rain-wet earth reflect the chilled tenderness of the soul in […]

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Old Architecture and Charming Darkness by El Nigro

El Nigro is the pseudonym of a tattoo artist currently working out of the Family Addiction Tattoo Shop in Naples, Italy. Specializing in blackwork, El Nigro gives rise to a moody gothic world; old architecture, dark-eyed women, and birds are central to his repertoire, bringing to mind the literary imaginations of Edgar Allan Poe and […]

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Art Dark Art Landscape Photo Retouching Photography Portraits Storytelling Surreal

Clouded Eyes and Dark Horizons: Photography by Karina Boissonnier

Karina Boissonnier is a Finland-based photographer who is using the camera to create her imagined world. In a beautiful series of portraits titled “An Introduction: Anna,” which are part of a larger project that she has worked hard on, Boissonnier has captured the subject (Wei Wang) in a dark natural landscape filled with creeping branches […]