Over the years of looking at art, I have often thought about what medium tends to contribute most to the emotion a work of art can hold. Looking at art is a very personal and objective thing, so instead of making a generalized statement, I can only think of what mediums catch my eye and help deliver the message I am seeing in the works. My experience with each medium tends to sway what I am feeling. For instance, gouache is so hard for me to mix properly, I often imagine the artist has a great deal of patience and is meticulous in the way they work. Acrylics give me the impression of allowing for more aggression, and oils will always come off as fragile and elegant to me, no matter how dark or confrontational the work may be. Charcoal has the ability to create a mood that can quickly consume me, this is most evident when I look at works by Kathe Kollwitz. I love graphite and ink works, but up until recently I have not associated as many feelings with ink/graphite as I do when I look at the drawings of Stanislav Krawczyk .
Born in 1984, Stanislav Krawczyk comes from Kiev, Ukraine. I’m sure most of us are familiar with Kiev due to the news (briefly) talking about the civil war that is tearing the area apart. However, it’s hard to be able to look at images and video about these events and truly feel what emotions those involved must be feeling, unless of course you have some direct connection to violence of this scale. My own experience with Kiev, was back from when I used to collect cameras. The Arsenal Factory, which was used to create military equipment during World War II, was also the place many clones of Hasselblad, Zeiss, and Nikon cameras were made. It was also the place the amazing Kiev 88 medium format camera was made. Kiev is the capital city of Ukraine, and throughout history it has gone through stages of prosperity and obscurity. Now, it’s not my goal to give a history lesson on Kiev, but at least give you an idea of where this artist came from. Understanding inspiration, and specifically what has influenced Stan, is research at it’s finest.
When you look at these works, aggressively put down on paper with only ball-point pen, what you are seeing is pain, depression, fear, despair, loneliness, and it just keeps building as you see the faces peering out at you through the ink marks. These marks that look so hastily laid down, and at the same time so well thought out, are pulled right from the artists most raw emotions, with no filter to change the way they are delivered onto the paper. In some cases you can see the paper has been torn during the process. These rips and so-called imperfections are now a part of the art.
One of the things about dark art, is that (too) often the work is dark simply for shock value. If you really study the work, not only will you witness a wealth of talented artists, but these artists are pulling from a bank of emotions that many people chose not to look at. Great dark art confronts the viewer, it holds a mirror up the things we try our hardest not to see. However, there are some things you cannot ignore, and some things that affect you so much that the only thing you can do is try your hardest to find some form of catharsis, if that is even possible. Stan was born with Cerebral palsy, which can affect movement, learning, feeling, speech, and even cause pain. A large percentage of those with CP can also have issues with their vision. Stan also has advanced Keratoconus, which can not only impair vision but create multiple images, streaking, and sensitivity to light. As stated in this article on Fangoria, Stan’s “time spent suffering in hospitals was alleviated by his mother sharing her love of horror films.” So when you look at his work, you will not only see characters pulled from the artists mind, but also those that have permeated pop culture for decades.
The fact that Stan draws characters from horror movies, I think also has a deeper meaning. While these characters are aggressive, powerful—and damn cool looking—each one also has a vulnerability to them. Something that is being protected by their aggressive outer nature. Frankenstein is a great example of this, and looking at Stan’s rendition of this classic movie monster, the lines are not only forceful, but there is also this feeling that the whole drawing might fall apart if handled too roughly. The characters in horror movies have always been associated with heavy metal music for me, and others of course, and I think this is because the movies/music create this barrier between the individual and the outside world. For those that have experienced pain and suffering, having something to buffer those emotions is important. Horror movies and heavy metal do not create violent people, those that know pain and despair are simply attracted to these forms of art because they are not afraid to look at that mirror. As they say, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”. Dark art, horror, and dark music is the devil they know.
The amount of work Stan has created is more than I can show in this article so please, do yourself a favor and look at the profiles linked below. You will not see overly colorful works of pop-art, but like all great horror and dark art, what you will see is art that draws you in the more you study and observe it. Each line of ink is a signature from this artist, and these works can be considered a moment of intense emotion captured on paper. Dark art at it’s most honest, fragile, and inspirational.
See more of Stan’s available work here: StanDarkArt @ Bigcartel