Many things could be said about Marilyn Manson, but definitely not that he spends time twiddling his thumbs: musician, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, actor, multimedia artist, music journalist are just parts of daily occupations in his very busy life. Hushing the “do one thing, and do it well” mindset, the formerly known as Brian Hugh Warner has projected his strong and fascinating personality in all of these fields, creating something unique and outrageous every time.
Beside music, painting is the deepest way through which he expresses himself and his inner believes: in his paintings you can find the creepy, gothic and grotesque style that lays on the basis of his music and the character he plays on the stage. Manson makes masterful use of watercolors, portraying his subjects as distorted Dostoyevskian caricatures of the subsoil; in the profundity of his art you can discover Egon Schiele, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Baudelaire, Gottfried Helnwein as sources of inspiration and find the use of satire in a very brilliant way.
From 1998 to the present he continued creating works of art, always showing new pieces in worldwide exhibitions; but let’s go through his artistic path by salient dates.
1997: At the age of 26 Marilyn Manson started painting five-minutes concept pieces in order to trade them for drugs with drug dealers. It can be called his Grey period.
1999: He approached to watercolors and from this moment on he privileged this technique as the best way of expressing himself. From goods to exchange Manson started seeing his paintings as real works of art and became aware that they might acquire value over time.
2002: Manson stated that his works of art portrayed mainly his friends and he has never thought to show them to anybody, except the people the gifts were intended for. Nevertheless, in September his first exhibition called “The Golden Age of Grotesque” was held at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions Centre. Most of the critics were largely positive and associated his inspiration to Egon Schiele’s; others linked the works to the ‘psychiatric patient given materials to use as therapy’ and attributed the success only to the artist’s level of celebrity.
2004: In September a second exhibition was held in Paris, at Hotel Lutecia, and Berlin; it was called “Trismegistus” and the reviews were mostly in favor of the artist again.
2006: On October 31 Marilyn Manson opened his own gallery, The Celebritarian Corporation Gallery of Fine Art, in Los Angeles. Its name derived from his self-proclaimed art movement “Celebritarian Corporation” (the slogan was ‘We will sell our shadow to those who stand within it’); Manson himself affirmed that it has been ‘incubating for seven years’, associating its born to his first paintings.
2007-2010: His works were shown at the Space 39 Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery in Fort Myers, Florida, and some pieces were exhibited at Germany’s Galley Brigitte Schenk in Cologne; in 2010 Athenian Culture Centre in Athens, Greece, hosted an exhibition with the title of “Hell, Etc“.
2011: The result of a collaboration with polyhedric artist David Linch was shown in a exhibition held in Vienna, at the Kunsthalle Gallery, entitled “Genealogies of Pain“. At the end of 2011 an exhibition with the title of “The Path of Misery” was staged by 212 Productions: the paintings choosen by Manson were those that he felt represented milestones on his path out of misery and coincide with the recording of his 8th album “Born Villain”.
2014: “Masquerade” exhibition was hosted by Gorninger Museum in Gorningen, Netherlands.
Manson’s last album “The Pale Emperor” was released on January 20, 2015 and brand new paintings will come out soon for sure.
Article by: Marina Lepori