Imagine your dark secrets and hidden pains could come to life as fantastical monsters, demons, and heavy metal heroes. That’s what happens in the work of 26-year-old sculptor and illustrator Grace Lang, who creates visual manifestations of what she describes as the “internal struggles that plague us all.” The monstrous characters in her artwork are physical representations of her own strife, but instead of enemies, she imagines her personal demons as allies.
Lang tells The Creators Project, “With each difficult experience, our armor grows and we become the warriors of our own worlds.” A major theme in her work centers around confronting your demons head on, and using that pain and fear to your advantage. “Slain goo creatures become warrior companions, open wounds become fasteners for pieces of armor. I don’t think we can completely leave things behind once we combat them, but that doesn’t mean they have to exist in the same way…basically take the thing that controlled you, learn to control it, and transform it into power,” she continues.
Lang’s drawings resemble the grungy aesthetic of Ed Roth’s Rat Fink hot rods. Often grotesque, her characters are portrayed with a layer of humor. She says her work reflects, “those dark little thoughts that are once frightening and sort of funny.” Sometimes the best way to assuage your fears is to laugh at them.
When she’s working, the Brooklyn native likes to listen to what she calls ‘tough’ music, her umbrella term for hard rock, metal, and punk. Her two default bands are Nirvana and Slayer. “I can listen to either of them at any time and feel very much in my own zone. They just feel comfortable,” she says. Finding inspiration in expressions of raw emotional power, she believes music can reveal a very vulnerable place for the artist, without fostering weakness. “Like most humans, I struggle with having too many feelings,” she says. “But through tough music, I’ve learned to channel even the saddest, most fragile parts of myself into representations of courage and tenacity.”
This summer, Lang is headed to Beijing for an artist residency at the Red Gate Gallery, and will be working on pieces for an upcoming solo exhibition there. Check out some of her work below: