where does darkness come from?

This is an old draft from about 2/3 months ago, needs a little more work on it.

Since speaking with a friend Lindsey a while back i have been thinking why are some people ‘dark’ in character.
I have begun thinking about this, and watching interview with Tim Burton as part of his retrospective at MOMA-how he from a young age became increasingly attracted towards the dark.

im not just talking sterotypes, someone who dresses all in black and listens to the Cure, but generally a melancholy of character, somebody who is a bit more self aware. the Mainstream society with their Heat magazines and cheery disposition…i am talking of people who think, people who ask questions, the outsiders, the people who seem to Introspective.
Edgar alan poe, Geiger, David Lynch, Mark Rothko……to name but a few.

Artists have an inbuilt gravitas towards ‘the dark’ I feel, being outsiders, thinking of our world differently to others.

Speaking with a friend a few moths ago, the subject of an interest in the dark side of life, was discussed, and i wanted to continue thinking about the beginnings of a persons interest in morbidity.
she suggested that the first child is more often darker than younger siblings. Could this be that the first child is more aware of their own mortality – they are in line to die first.

i have always found myself even as a small child swayed towards ‘darker’ characters/stories, such as Baba Yaga in the russian fairy stories, or the wicked witch in sleeping beauty……
Generally the ‘evil/bad’ character in children’s stories is the outsider, living outside of the town, away from society. Pre-story, we never know really if this was voluntary or the ‘villan’ was rejected from others. Like the witch from Hansel and Gretel, was she ‘evil’ before, as a young girl, or due to isolation and lack of resources, she was forced to turn to eat children? Thats why i like the idea of the Musical ‘Wicked’, it tells what the Wicked Witch of the West was like growing up with her sister, and how she became ‘evil’. Having not seen this production i cannot comment on the actual story, but appreciate the idea. These Outsiders, Living outside of society, outside of the law become anti heros, and why i suspect that many isolated children/young teens find idols from these stories.
I found this on Wikipedia:

In fiction, villains commonly function in the dual role of adversary and foil to the story’s heroes. In their role as adversary, the villain serves as an obstacle the hero must struggle to overcome. In their role as foil, the villain exemplifies characteristics that are diametrically opposed to those of the hero, creating a contrast distinguishing heroic traits from villainous ones.[citation needed] Others[who?] point out that many acts of villains have a hint of wish-fulfillment,[11] which makes some people identify with them as characters more strongly than with the heroes. Because of this, a convincing villain must be given a characterization that makes his or her or its (see HAL 9000) motive for doing wrong convincing, as well as being a worthy adversary to the hero. As put by film critic Roger Ebert:

“Each film is only as good as its villain. Since the heroes and the gimmicks tend to repeat from film to film, only a great villain can transform a good try into a triumph.”[12]

In my opinion, the darker characters were much more interesting than the leading princess, they tended to have more of a visual or descriptive look, rather than a ‘pretty and young’ princess.
children find much more fantasy and creative outlook when imagining a villan. But perhaps the storytellers, purposefully does this to allow the child to place him/herself as the ‘hero’ triumphing over evil?

Reading or watching scary things growing up, allows the child to be exposed, or interact with the thing its scared of, but removed enough for the child to remain connected to it. We all remember watching scary films/or reading scary books, cowering under the covers, or sofa, but continuing to be engrosssed.This allows the child to explore and learn at a safe distance, without coming to any harm.  Assuming this is where ‘dark’ literature/art/video can instill within a child to progress into a growing interest later in life.

Exploring difficult issues such as death, i think is fundamental to artists, to understand these questions that we can’t really answer. Producing something ‘beautiful from something horrifying, or at least making us all question ourselves and our lives is surely what making art is about?

In my next Blog on ‘darkness’ i will talk about the affects of being exposed to ‘darker’ things. Does dark music, images, stories given to a child make them grown up into ‘bad’ adults?

If anyone reading this would like to comment on what i have briefly discussed here, feel free to leave comments, links, questions below.

listening to- Danny Elfman ‘bettlejuice ost’

watching – cabaret

mood- artistical


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