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Monsters in the closet 

In the ugly and ungodly, local artist Jon Orr finds inspiration

click to enlarge And Then He Entered the Forest, one of Jon Orrs - foreboding works.
  • And Then He Entered the Forest, one of Jon Orrs foreboding works.

When I think about the ideal muse, Freddy Krueger doesn't come to mind. I just can't imagine artistic inspiration radiating from his elongated fingernails and distorted features. Jon Orr, however, sees things differently.

Scary movies influenced Orr, a Colorado Springs native, from an early age. Freethinking parents never objected to his fascination with demons, goblins and other paranormals, so Orr ingested the chilling plotlines hungrily. When a monster overwhelmed the TV screen, his classmates hid; Orr stared on, awestruck. He started forming inferences that poured into his art.

"When we're faced with the real monsters of life, like the bureaucrats , horror movie monsters aren't so scary," says Orr, now 27. "The bureaucrats are much more dangerous."

Orr never really considered art a component of his future. Instead, he finished high school, then chiseled away at an English degree at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, picking up a few art electives on the side. Only when his artistic works began catching attention around town did Orr truly pursue his passion.

Recently, he began creating dolls partly inspired by horror films, but also influenced by books, songs, his writings and his dreams. His methodology reflects this web of influence.

"I just get a bunch of pieces of stuff and put them together until it starts making sense, until a character appears," he explains.

Although Orr draws from a plethora of outside forces, creating novelties sits at the top of his priority list. He shies away from "message art," and instead focuses on individual interpretation.

"I would like to get past the ego in my work and have it just be images," he says. "I don't want someone to have to look in a book or talk to me to understand my work."

Odditorium: Works by Jon Orr
Heebee Jeebees Gallery, 318A E. Colorado Ave.
Runs through Nov. 30; gallery open daily, noon to 6 p.m.
Free; call 635-0620 for more information.

  • In the ugly and ungodly, local artist Jon Orr finds inspiration

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