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[NSFW] After Looking at These Grotesque Sculptures, Try Sleeping Tonight

Colin Christian finds the perfect balance between dark, sexy, and absolutely terrifying.

by DJ Pangburn
02 May 2017, 12:40am

Hidden. Images courtesy the artist.

Dark times demand equally dark art and artist Colin Christian finds the perfect balance with his sculptures, which range from erotic sci-fi dolls to masks and sculptures that blend body horror, surrealism, and cinematic special effects. Like Qixuan Lim's tiny ceramic baby heads and Jonathan Payne's fleshy and gruesome abstract sculptures, Christian's work revels in grotesquery, though a type that makes the viewer only want to see more.

In one piece, Christian can create an erotic doll outfitted in a white latex bunny suit, flipping the peace sign with her tongue out, and in another, like Hysterical 8, use a similar face but make it look demented and slightly deformed. Christian also imaginatively obliges clients, as he recently did for one who requested "BIG boobs and a GIANT gun." But, his fiberglass piece Hidden really shows just how creative Christian can be, with a humanoid head stripped of some of its face-flesh in an inverted cross shape. Whether the idea comes from his own imagination or his client's, Christian seems to be able to delivery over and over again on creepy and sexy sculptures.

Hidden (side view)

Another great piece is Smokin Goat of Mendes, a sculpture of a goat with a penis growing out of its forehead like a third horn. Christian tells Creators that this work was inspired by a scene from The Shawshank Redemption when Andy Dufresne locks himself in a room, puts Mozart's "Sull'aria" from "The Marriage of Figaro" on the record player, then turns it up when told by the warren to shut it off.

"To me, [that scene] represents hope and freedom in the face of overwhelming opposition," says Christian. "The fact that it was then sanctioned by the Church of Satan just made everything even better—the icing on the cake!"

Christian has always been interested in scary things like monsters, aliens, and robots. Just as he hit puberty, these interests got mixed up with sex after he saw erotic sci-fi film Barberella on TV one night. Then, seeing Alien in the cinema back in 1979 changed everything. Christian immediately identified with HR Giger's work on the film, and wanted to do explore that visual language himself. He quit school at age 15, then quickly realized it wasn't possible to have an art career in the UK during the 80s.

Smokin Goat of Mendes

Christian subsequently became a DJ, working several large nightclubs where he got to paint giant backdrops as well as design flyers and posters. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Sas, another artist looking for somewhere to be an artist. The two, who were very interested in Europe's fetish scene with its sci-fi-esque rubber clothing, decided to leave for the US, where they started producing multicolor sheet rubber with their company, Hotbox Inc., through which they also molded corsets and accessories.

Hotbox Inc. didn't succeed, but at the time Christian realized he had an aptitude for working with fiberglass. He spent eight years doing commercial work for restaurants, nightclubs, and theme parks, before creating large scale fiberglass cartoon girls. The very first cartoon girl caught the attention of then Nike CEO Mark Parker, who bought a couple of pieces, then commissioned a few larger works. This inspired Christian to go full-time producing fine art sculptures.

Grin

"I was interested in both dark, intricate and sometimes violent imagery, but equally I loved optimistic, poppy, graphic figures and I decided to pursue that line and see where it took me," says Christian, who explored monsters, science fiction, and horror tropes like ray guns and fetish, and taught himself how to make prosthetics and props inspired by movie makeup and special effects. "I started creating large-scale female figures and heads and this got me gallery shows, international sales and a few famous clients."

The work went quite well for a long time. Then, toward the end of 2014, Christian says things weren't looking so good, with the economy taking its toll on his once reliable client base. The world was also getting a lot darker with news of climate change, religious extremism, and loss of biodiversity.

The seven-foot-tall Callgirl of Cthulhu sculpture

"I was at a very low point when I took one of my meticulously-crafted, beautiful faces and literally started digging away at it with tools," says Christian. "The more I dug away the more freeing it became; it was as if by deconstructing my own work I was able to reveal something hidden, which led me to satisfaction in work that I hadn't felt in a while."

Christian then did a series of pieces based on the idea of trypophobia, a little-known psychiatric condition where the patient fears small clusters of bumps or holes. To Christian's surprise, people responded enthusiastically to these new pieces with corrupted faces and body parts, teeth in holes, and burrowing growths. This body horror, as he says, went viral, so he decided to pursue it.

Callgirl of Cthulhu (Detail)

His evolution across diverse styles and themes continues. After recently finishing a nearly life-sized Batgirl figure, Christian is at work on a nine-foot-tall Harlequin sculpture, with a take that will be dark and threatening. He is also working on Cherry Popper pieces, with large mouths holding a cherry, and a life-sized figure based on Miley Cyrus that will be unlike anything he's done before. Along with Sas, Christian is also currently preparing for an upcoming New York show called Pop Tarts, which will open this November at AFA Gallery.

Teeth

Teeth (side view)

Hidden

Click here to see more of Colin Christian's work.

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