Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Haunted: The Art of Darbie Richards

Haunted: obsessed, preoccupied, taken up.

Haunted: showing emotional affliction or disquiet.

Haunted: inhabited by or as if by, apparitions.  (citation)

The term haunted can bring to mind a host of definitions.  In a sense, all those afflicted are haunted.  But for some individuals, being haunted IS the affliction.  Here is a cool link for determining if an individual is being haunted in the literal sense of the word.  Being visited or troubled by spirits.  Being plagued by unexplained phenomena.  For many this affliction, this sensitivity to another, unseen realm, is an affliction.  They cannot explain or control it, and naturally, the SUPERnatural can be quite terrifying.

Some people are permanently haunted by their sensitivity to the spirit world.  These people, called mediums, are sometimes quite gifted in their affliction, in that they are able to channel.  Channeling is when a medium is able to form a psychic connection with someone from the spirit realm.  Though many channelers are fraud, and many genuine channelers are thought to be fraud even though their abilities are real, channeling to me is most amazing and interesting when the medium is so raw in their talent that he or she doesn’t appear to know channeling is going on!

22 year old female artist, Darbie Richards contacted me first with an email that contained these five images.  There was no message.  I was quite thoroughly impressed with the images and my immediate thought was “Wow, I wonder what this person’s affliction is?”  So, I emailed her back asking her if she was inquiring about joining The Affliction Consortium and please, DO TELL what your affliction is!  I couldn’t wait to hear the amazing story that must be behind what I was looking at.

The story has turned out much more amazing than I could have ever guessed.

Through a series of correspondence with Darbie, the Austin, Texas resident, I learned that she is for all practical purposes, your average, normal young lady.  She’s pretty, she has a loving family, she’s imaginative, and has a pleasant personality.  She isn’t afflicted with any illness or mental disorder.  In fact, at her age and life experience, it seems almost impossible that she would really even be capable of coming up with the depth of work that she produces.  People on her Facebook page who comment on her artworks, sometimes mention her muse.  At that point, I was starting to develop some pretty compelling suspicions about Darbie’s muse as well.

Darbie went on to tell me that she had experienced some trauma as a child with a father who struggled with some addiction problems and temporarily separated from the family when she was a child.  However, Darbie reports she doesn’t feel she has been tremendously affected by it, and in fact her dad is also a talented artist and great inspiration to her.  Additionally, her family is still together as a loving, supporting unit to Darbie.  So, it didn’t seem likely that any particular trauma was affecting Darbie’s art.

At that point, Darbie began sharing more with me.  She sent me a sound clip entitled “Darbs” where I heard that Darbie is also a talented piano player.  But. I. Listened. To. The. Music.  Not from this place.  Not from this time.  Not from a normal, 22 year old girl.  This was where I was really thinking; wait a minute, what’s going on with this girl?

 Then Darbie shared this video with me, which she simply described by saying “This is my graveyard.”  This video depicts the world Darbie has created for herself.  She has told me that she honestly has no idea why this is her mind, or where this comes from.  She doesn’t even sell her art.  She just paints.  Every day.  All day.  Every night.  All night.  She is driven, she doesn’t know why.

*whispers* I know whhhhyyy..

In the case of Darbie Richards, being haunted is not an affliction.  It’s a gift.  Her talent is genuine and indisputable.  It is so amazing; spirits of the dead sneak into her head and make her paint what they want the world to see…  Through my correspondence with Darbie, I believe this beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I asked Darbie if she knows what channeling is.  She revealed that she has only recently learned about channeling, but this is a question she has been asked many times before.  That’s because other people, people who know her personally, see it too.

Darbie’s work has been referred to as colorful and energetic.  This is certainly true.  Her work is almost frantic in its demonstration of energy!  Eyes are a common theme in many of her paintings.  Many eyes expressionless and empty stare back from amidst the shreds of colors, while other paintings feature extra eyes, and eyes in odd places, bright, vivid, and alive.

This fellow is another prevalent theme in Darbie’s works.  I saw this man many times in many ways while gorging myself on the feast that is Darbie’s collection of work.  When I asked Darbie who he is, she responded simply, “He’s the son in law of the Devil.”

 Even though many of her paintings are even cheerful in a twisted manner, under all the color and fluid life across the canvas is a thick layer of questions.  Darbie herself even accompanies some of her works on her Facebook page with a simple “???”  It’s not a simple question, like what is it?  It’s a question of where on Earth did this come from?  Did it come from someplace other than Earth?  Is there a corner deep in Darbie’s mind with extra eyes, seeing what we don’t see?  Or do all those eyes belong to somebody else, somebody Darbie doesn’t even know, who is planting them there in Darbie’s paintbrush, begging her to show the world what they have seen…

As mentioned, Darbie doesn’t currently sell her work.  But you can view many more of her pieces at the following links:

 Darbie welcomes you to check out her Facebook page.  Please contact her here with questions regarding possible commissions!  

All images, video, and sound in this posting are the sole property of Darbie Richards.  Though they may be shared, they may not be reproduced in any way without her express, written consent!