A fellow artist and author, much more famouser than me. I won’t explain why I had give mention to Brom in my Darkness blog, as it’s pretty damn obvious. Even his few lighter pieces of heroes and angels have more than a hint of Dark, as these characters often face unspeakable dangers in their surroundings. I will simply highlight a few of the things his work makes me feel.
Images of doll heads upon crow bodies, or a pile of the heads of teddy bears and baby dolls, insects crawling all around, not to mention the Foulthings that are purely from Brom’s imagination, inspired by childhood things-in-the-basement. The Plucker contains both stunning and sickening imagery. (Plus, Brom proves himself to be a pretty skilled writer. The story isn’t unpredictable, but like with any good fantasy, one is riveted anyway. And it’s truly Higher Dark: a story of good triumphing over evil, but the good side uses voodoo, the heart of a snake sewn into a toy Jack-in-the-box to make him a warrior).
Also unnerving are the bondage-like costumes he invents for many characters, while other characters seem not so much adorned by their armor as held together by it, making us wonder what grisly sights lie beneath.
Not only his female subjects but many of the men have a guilty attraction about them despite their terrifying surroundings and questionable intents. And coming from me, that’s saying something, as many fantasy artists make their men entirely too buff for my tastes. I prefer slender, lithe, elven-featured men. My favorite of his is the vampire-like hero (or anti-hero?) of Night Bells.
But it’s not the shape of Brom’s models that gives his paintings that allure. There’s a sensuality of movement in the way that this sorcerer casts his spell or that lady displays her peace sign tattoo. It’s in the pose and the look, the costume that both covers and reveals and the tint of the skin, pale but alive.
I’m not one to have nightmares from seeing pictures of gorey monsters and grinning demons. For me true horror is of a more psychological nature. What is more scary: the twenty-foot ghoulish Devourer, or the masked priest in the blood red robes that conjures it? A hairless doglike thing is ugly yes, but then we notice the way it strains it’s tether, the number scarred into it’s shoulder, the machinery next to it and the markings on the wall, measuring it’s height. Ah, then the story is told: who created this poor beast? Who’s taking the picture? What plans might they have for using it?
From the weird and wonderfully full of motion Gazell and the graceful doom of the black angel, to the detailed costume of the undead gunslinger and the winding curves of the Drillhead, I never fail to find something beautiful in all of Brom’s work.
“…it is often the combination of the absurd with the horrible that makes the subject interesting.”
I have to admit I like his Miss Muffet too: again that pose, even with all her daring garments, that just says “eek!”