Simon Mroczkowski doesn’t even know how his sinister art comes about.
The Wendouree surrealist-horror illustrator will sometimes be up at all hours of night, pencils in hand, giving life to darkly humorous and weirdly scary characters and situations.
But the friendly artist really can’t pinpoint where he even gets those dark, disturbed ideas.
“I think I draw from the subconscious,” he said.
“I am drawn to the dark side of things.”
Mroczkowski’s work depicts moths, body parts, organic forms and inverted animal figures locked in a fantasy world of the surreal and the absurd.
They’ve all agreed for me to kill them off in any way I see fit.- Surrealist illustrator Simon Mroczkowski
After years of drawing, and exhibitions here and there, the artist is now bringing together a new set of works to create his first book, which he’s entitled The Hangman’s Garden.
The book is an A-Z character exploration in a children’s book format, but of course it’s not suitable for children.
Based on 27 of his friends, the book details in visual form and with matching cryptic poetry how each character meets his or her demise.
He is working from a pinboard with pictures of his friends in storyboard form. He will work throughout the alphabet as he gradually “murders” them all.
“They’ve all agreed for me to kill them off in any way I see fit,” Mroczkowski said.
One character, a commander wearing a helmet, is killed when he is shot by a baker’s son.
However, in the accompanying image, the viewer sees a boy wearing a yellow 1980s Stackhat rather than a military helmet.
Instead of a gun, an index finger is firing the bullet, while the blood and brains are spared and depicted rather as flowers in full bloom.
The pencil-on-paper art is time-consuming, with Mroczkowski spending an average of 30 hours working on his colour pieces.
The self-taught illustrator works sporadically, sometimes working throughout the evenings, finishing up early, or needing to rise and shine to a day of macabre musings.
Working during the day as a draftsperson, the Ballarat born-and-raised artist seems to live something of a double life when he gets home.
While he enjoys the work of other dark illustrators such as Alex Pardee, Greg "Craola" Simkins and Audrey Kawasaki, he said his visions seemed to emerge from nowhere.
“I’m not 100 per cent sure of why I draw things the way I draw them,” he said.
Mroczkowski plans to publish The Hangman’s Garden and hold an exhibition at the Art Gallery of Ballarat toward the end of the year.
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