A Dark Humor / by Chris Hall

Sometime during my undergraduate days, one of my professors criticized someone in my class for making “funny” paintings (he was always good at rattling cages and making people cry).  He said that the first word in painting is PAIN, and that he would not have any of that fantasy clown shit in his class. I laughed inwardly, because I happened to agree with him; this was in my younger, more angstier days. Now, however, I have reevaluated my position somewhat.  I think there just might be a place for comedy in art.

The world, in such a condition as it is, is in need of all the humor it can get.  In fact a sense of humor is all that keeps many people, including myself, sane.  I tend to cling to any joy, laughter, or beauty I can find.  Humor to me is my way of assimilating and recuperating from pain, of which there is plenty.  I understand that a lot of comedy comes from pain.  Not many people know this.  It was no surprise to me, for example, that such an outwardly happy and comedic an individual as Robin Williams recently committed suicide, God rest his soul.

In my art, my humor tends to be dark.  It is my way of inverting the pain into something more palatable (to me anyways).  The results are usually grotesque, abject, and ridiculous.  Some people find it surprising that I don’t paint flowers anymore, instead opting for gross out, violent, and sex heavy humor.  So be it.  I don’t think I can ever adequately explain it to them if they are that far removed.  Some things for some people are beyond understanding.  For the time being, I am content knowing that I found my own way transmuting humor from pain.  

Christopher Hall, Born To Paint, 2002

Christopher Hall, Born To Paint, 2002