The Dark Art Emporium, a fine art and oddities shop in Long Beach, California, recently debuted the latest uncanny collection by artist D.W. Frydendall — “Haunted Mansion.” It commemorates the upcoming 50th anniversary of the iconic Disneyland attraction. I stopped in opening night and captured photos of the exhibition and more. Have a look!
First, for those not familiar with the artist, D.W. Frydendall hails from Los Angeles, California, and is best known for his horror-inspired creations. He’s been perfecting his craft for more than 30 years and his experience includes comic book illustration, album cover art, web design for Universal Horror Nights, film storyboards and 3-D computer animation. He was the person behind ABC Saturday morning’s “Tube Dwellers” and has had work featured in White Wolf Games’ The World of Darkness series, such as “Vampire: The Masquerade.” He also contributed to a couple of the issues of the Slave Labor Graphics comic book “The Haunted Mansion” in the early 2000s.
When it comes to inspiration, Frydendall was intrigued by Irish artist Harry Clarke who did illustrations for an edition of “Tales of Mystery and Imagination,” a compilation of Edgar Allan Poe’s works. In an interview with Herd Publishing back in 2004, he commented that his overbearing Catholic upbringing fueled him to rebel through his art. As a result, he has devoted himself to the dark and sinister, the opposite of his religious rearing.
His current exhibition encompasses an intimate space at The Dark Art Emporium. Three walls showcase paintings capturing the familiar inhabitants of the Haunted Mansion — the Singing Busts, the Hatbox Ghost, the Hitchhiking Ghosts and Madame Leota in all her mysterious glory. Although the drawings are of ghosts and dead figures, they pop with vibrant color that infuses them with life. For those that have experienced the spooky attraction at the Disney theme park, you’ll see that the artwork truly captures the ghoulish spirit! His rendering of the mansion is exquisite.
The pieces are up for sale, if they aren’t already taken, and some do cost a pretty penny. I was in love with the “Madame Leota” painting, but since the $1,500 price tag is a bit out of my budget, I opted for one of the limited number of $20 prints, which I am very excited to frame.
In addition to the “Haunted Mansion” paintings, The Dark Art Emporium has works from other artists on display, all possessing a macabre aesthetic. I was quite taken with the grand piano that is front and center when you enter the shop. The mixed media piece is by Jeremy Cross and is adorned with rusty nails, artificial body parts and religious iconography.
The gallery is also home to a variety of peculiar objects and collectibles, such as taxidermy, books on the occult and human skulls, to name just a few. It was one of the vendors at the Los Angeles Oddities Flea Market this past September and will be one of the sponsors of the event when it returns to LA in May 2019.
I’m not sure of a specific end date, but I do know that the “Haunted Mansion” exhibition will only be up for the next couple of weeks, so if you’re local, try to stop in to see the art in person. You can find out more at The Dark Art Emporium official website.
To learn more about the artist and to check out more of his fantastic work, visit D.W. Frydendall’s official website.