If humanity has always had a weakness for darkness, some artists enjoy nurturing their inner creepy child to explore realms beyond comfort and materiality. Sam Wolfe Connelly is one of them. This 29 years old illustrator, based in New York City, loves to tell his own American horror stories with fascinating artworks. If his concepts are genuinely original, his technique is also rather unusual, the artist being an enthusiast of graphite, which he sometimes completes with pencils and acrylic painting. The result is unique, at the same time innovative and timeless.
Inside dimly lit American houses, haunting are titillating our senses and emotions, in keeping with old horror movies. Indeed, there is definitely a cinematic vibe in the dark surrealism of the artist, especially in the intimacy between the ominous and the eroticism. The bare bodies are reminding that the artist has previously worked for Playboy Magazine, along other publications. His past job for Magic cards, in the other hand, is orientating us more toward his creative playfulness.
Indeed, Sam Wolfe Connelly displays a visible delight in his work and his uses of chiaroscuro becomes a game of hide and seek. The fancy grain of graphite helps blurring the line between reality, with its down-to-earth settings, and fantasy, in its glorious simplicity. Positively, you won’t see intricate creatures in his art. What lurks within his darkness is not bound to terror; it is rather a nostalgia for the child’s fears, when the monster in the closet seemed more natural and genuine than the adult’s fears with their cohort of taxes, terrorism and hate-fueled news. To this effect, the narratives of Sam Wolfe Connelly could really be the visions Bram Stoker, Poe or Lovecraft would have in our contemporary world: fear lies in the ordinary. With impressive skills, Connelly reveals the monstrosity inside beautiful bodies as well as the beauty of monsters, and by doing so; he gives us a thrilling free ride to our dark side.