Growing up I think I was a better artist - or at least I did more often yet thought about it less. I loved characterizations and highly detailed artwork, they didn't require meaning they just had to be photo-realistic. Not that I required the patience to see it through to that much detail. As As a youngin', one thing I could never understand at that age was Abstract art, surrealism or anything subjective rather than literal. They seemed to me at the time to be nothing more than lazy and unfinished works of art.
Fast forward through to my adult life, and after studying the philosophy of horror and Screenwriting I've become very obsessed with the 'suggestive' and the 'unknown'; that what you don't see [to an extent] is more interesting than what you do see. Something that is dying in cinema.
That art or film can bridge that gap, rather than feed the audience every last detail. That's the hot-spot.
That mystery and uncertainty play an important role in 'Horror'. Once something 'seems' tangible and is seen in its full form, it may continue to entertain or frighten but looses a significant portion of the audiences imagination -- which is vital to their experience. To quote an unfinished essay I wrote a while back..
'When imagining a 'monster', seemingly limitless possibilities occur in our minds eye. Even when building one from a given description, various forms intrude and influence it's form, often making alterations as we progress in the narrative. It's in the oven but it's not fully cooked. It is in what we call a 'superposition'. It's eveything and nothing at once. When we finally see the monster on screen, we open the lid on 'Schrödinger's Cat' , forcing reality to collapse to one, solitary option. Fear may remain but a sufficient amount of anxiety and wanderlust evaporate. The forgotten backbone of the horror genre.'
It's often why in some of the most critically acclaimed horror films that even when the 'monster' is physically shown, it is stilled somewhat obscured by the chosen format for which it is displayed eg. A sepia photography; 16mm Film stock; 8mm Film Stock; a children's sketch; Low-fi found footage etc
Of course this may all seem silly or obvious, but mainstream horror enthusiasts would likely call this a cop-out. Movies that fail to display their 'monster' until the bitter end often only disappoint audiences and I understand that. However, there is no denying that mystery and the 'withholding of information' from an audience either visually or contextually plays an important role in the genre.
Which has strangely led me back into Art -- a hobby I've neglected for quite some time.
Uneasy, imperfect brush strokes and unclear distorted forms provoke the imagination in the same way. Watercolor is great for this, it's unforgiving at times and you have to keep moving forward. Suggesting shadows and forms rather than committing to too much detail as the canvas and paint remain wet. I love that. It's often why in cinema, that even when the 'monster' is physically shown
As always, less can be more...
Perhaps it's pretentious, and I still love photo-realistic artwork but through studying horror I finally 'get' what I failed to 'get' when I was younger...Less can be more.