I love urban legends. I also love art. Hence, when they come together, it’s a good day for me. A Certain Fellow brought this to my attention earlier this evening and I actually thought it was entertaining enough to share, especially because there’s a sequel to the painting, which is really interesting in terms of both form and content. The transformation and reiteration of characters in space is interesting, especially considering how much the style has changed. So, here’s the haunted painting, along with its sequel:
The original with the little boy, is called “The Hands Resist Him” and the sequel painting is “Resistance at the Threshold.” The urban legend suggests that the figures in the first, known also as the “haunted eBay painting”, get out and/or move around the painting at night. Thanks for the nightmares, right? There’s more to the legend, too–apparently there are a couple of deaths associated with it. The Wikipedia page is pretty informative to that end.
The artist, Bill Stoneham, has a pretty great gallery. He’s a surrealist, and a lot of his work his heavily loaded with myth and symbolism.
Similarly, I ran across the “Curse of the Crying Boy”, which is urban legends at their most ridiculous– tabloids and painting burnings. Apparently, kitschy paintings in the UK have been blamed for house fires. I legitimately like “The Hands Resist Him” as a piece of art, though– it’s creepy, it’s uncanny valley territory, it’s unsettling, and it’s compelling to look at. The legend grows out of a very interesting, creepy painting with an interesting provenance. The legend is almost better because the artist is contemporary, and able to respond to and contribute to the painting’s myth. There’s an indulgent goofiness there that I really find charming.