Paranormal Artist Profile: Marty McConnell

The Bride of Frankenstein in all her dark beauty.

The Bride of Frankenstein in all her dark beauty.

Fortean artist Marty McConnell is a mom—not just to her own 20-year-old, but to anyone she encounters who needs one. And she’s encountered plenty of people in her lifetime of adventures.

"I have had a very varied life, lots of adventures," she told us. "Many not on purpose, but still adventure."

It’s this adventurous life that could be responsible for Marty’s reluctance to settle down with any one artistic style.

"I’ve never been able to settle on one thing," Marty explained. "I will paint for awhile and get bored, sketch and get bored, play with clay—get bored; it turns into a big circle of me trying new things, going back to old things, and mixing them all together."

Marty’s macabre art has been described by some as morbid, although nobody saying so will get any argument from her.

"I’ve been called 'morbid' a few times, by strangers and family. I don’t mind, it’s true," she admitted. "I have just always liked darker things...I’m just comfortable there"

Hey, we happen to like morbid.

Hey, we happen to like morbid.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that someone as attracted to the dark as Marty saw her first ghost at a very young age.

"I saw my first ghost when I was 4," Marty said. "It was my Great Grandma, she was in the rocking chair next to the bed rocking while I was supposed to be taking a nap. I didn’t know she’d died that morning, I just remember my mom being very sad and everyone was at Grandma’s house. I do remember asking why she wasn’t at the table when we ate and telling someone to go get her, that she was in the bedroom in her chair."

That was just the first paranormal event of many for Marty, but she keeps a cool head about it.

"There’s been many since then. I think everywhere except where we live now has had something in it. And all the places we’ve lived oddly were always the first we looked at, just a gut feeling thing again that that was it," she said. "There’s also been a lot that turned out to be nothing. While I do believe, I am also a huge skeptic on a case by case basis."

Marty’s many brushes with the supernatural have piqued her interest in unusual stories.

"Urban legends and ghost stories have always been a favorite. Those stories the grown ups tell when us kids aren’t supposed to hear, or the stories about that old house in the middle of nowhere no one wants to talk about. If no one wants to talk about it—I wanna know," said Marty.

"And cultural traditions," she continued. "I have a strong Italian and Sicilian heritage, and I’ve always been drawn to know more about it. With that comes finding stories and fables. And there’s truth in every story, even a little bit."

Marty’s predilection for dark subjects is expressed in her love of classic horror. She told us that some of her favorites are the Universal Monsters (the originals, of course), and anything with Vincent Price. And, in the true spirit of the macabre, she is a big fan of vampires.

"Bela Lugosi was ingrained in my memory at an early age, then Christopher Lee, and Anne Rice landed there at some point...I’m one of those people that feel sorry for the vampire. While it must be amazing to see the world unfold and everything through the years, it must also get very lonely and boring at times," she said.

Ultimately, Marty insists on living her life in her own way, and offers that same advice to anyone with a calling to weirdness.

"There are probably people, sadly in your own family mostly, who will tell you you’re 'morbid,' or weird, or just not right," she said. “'Why do you like that stuff? What’s with all the skulls? Can’t you wear something besides black?' It’s hard to, but ignore them. Right from the start, ignore them. Don’t waste your time trying to please them and be someone you’re not. If all you want to do is draw skulls, then draw skulls, draw thousands of them if it gives you joy. Have YOUR joy, not what people tell you should be your joy."

We couldn’t agree more.

Make sure to follow Marty on Facebook under Dysthymic Bliss and in our art portal, and look for Marty to appear in a number of upcoming events—including the Gods and Monsters art show on October 6th.