Artist Rachael Bridge

Horror-inspired oil painter Rachael Bridge’s portraits transport the viewer to a menacing shadow realm.

Shimmering with malignancy, her work explores foreboding and violent aspects of womanhood. The photoreal depictions are so expertly rendered that they become haunting spectres. The gaping women she paints resurface in dark corners of the brain long after the eyes have closed against them.

As a lifelong horror fan and a female, I’m always searching for representations of women in the genre that I can sink my teeth into and relate to on a deeper level. Rachael’s work delivers.

With parts of our world looking more like a horror landscape, I contacted Rachael to see how she was experiencing these strange times.

You live in New Jersey. How has your daily life changed since the spread of Covid-19?

I’ve always been a hermit so the quarantine doesn’t bug me too much.

However, I’ve been quarantined with my mom in upstate NY throughout this whole thing so I’m away from my boyfriend and studio which sucks.

New Jersey got hit pretty bad, I’m planning on returning in the next week or two.

Doldrums by Rachael Bridge

Has your creative process been affected during this time? Are you making art? If you are making art, what have you been working on?

I’m still painting everyday to meet deadlines for upcoming (now online) shows.

I just shipped a painting to Arch Enemy Arts in Philadelphia the other day for their 8 Year Anniversary show which opens first Friday of May online.

I’m also working on some new pieces for “Tiny Terrors’ which is opening online at The Dark Art Emporium in June and getting a head start on some shows coming up in the fall since that’s always a very busy time for me.

If you are doing creative work, has the tone of your work shifted? Do you feel that you are incorporating current events into ongoing pieces?

I wouldn’t say the tone has shifted so much. However, current events are relevant in the sense that I’m constantly using painting as a means to ease my anxiety-which has manifested in brand new ways the last couple months.

As He’s in the Air by Rachael Bridge

What role (if any) does art and the artist have at a time of crisis?

It’s a means of entertainment. Art can be found everywhere.

You are a lifelong horror fan. When times are as bleak as they are now, do you think the role or meaning of horror driven content changes?

In a way it does because it feels like we are actually living in a horror movie now.

We’re seeing horrible things happening that we’ve never seen in our lifetime with “leaders” instructing us to drink bleach. It’s just even more mentally draining mixing reality with watching something horrific.

I’m just trying to think about it as little as possible by not leaving the house much and limiting my daily news intake.

What’s hard is trying to control other people’s actions to keep them safe too. There’s only so much control you can have over things.

I’m actually less enthused by horror in the midst of a global pandemic. My psyche can’t handle it, however out of habit I still watch it almost every night anyways. Hahaha

Almost all of your portraits are of women. Why is this and do you relate to any portrayals of women you’ve seen in the horror genre?

I guess it’s because I relate to women the most (and they are more fun to paint).

Hmm, for relatable characters for some reason “Sam” from House of the Devil comes to mind because of how naive she is in a bad situation. She wants to give others the benefit of a doubt throughout the entire movie despite all the big red flags.

Here Forever by Rachael Bridge

Your paintings Nightmares Become Me, Dissolved Girl, Nine to Five and many others feature subjects partially submerged in water. Famed Psychiatrist Carl Jung believed that in dreams and fantasies water symbolizes the collective unconscious, a deep part of unconscious mind that all human beings tap into for shared memories, traumas and instincts. Obviously effective horror must tap into universal fears. How do you feel about this and what do you think the repeating motif of fluid in your work signifies?

I’ve always had a habit of taking baths almost daily, I think it’s a mental relief thing. Being submerged in water pairs almost as a “safety blanket”.

So I definitely think it’s all related. I also just love painting water.

Another distinctive feature of your oil portraits are the eyes. Sometimes bloodshot, sometimes cloudy or solid white, what do the eyes represent in your work? Are they the first thing you envision when you’re developing a new painting?

I like to think most of the emotions in my paintings are held in the eyes.

They are usually the last step of the painting process. Once the atmosphere from the whole piece develops, I think that determines what I end up doing to the eyes.

Numb by Rachael Bridge

You’ve previously expressed that you suffer from anxiety. How are you coping with stress during this time?

Aside from painting, Now that I have all the extra time I’ve been exercising regularly for the first time in a long time so that’s actually been nice.

Also, just being able to spend a lot of time with family helps a lot.

Have you explored any techniques or mediums recently that are new to you?

I would like to get better at working with colored pencils and ink. I’ve been so submerged in painting the last 10 years I always forget to try new things.

Are there any supplies or tools that you rely on or would like to have but are currently struggling to get?

Since I’ve been quarantined 200+ miles away from my studio I had to order duplicates of numerous Items I would normally have available.

Did you have any planned showcases that have been postponed or cancelled? Or were there any shows that you were looking forward to attending?

Yes, I had a group show scheduled at the beginning of this month that was postponed to next month. But now it’s been changed to an online show because galleries have no idea when they will reopen.

Dread by Rachael Bridge

Has your financial situation been affected by the spread of Covid?

Yes, outside of painting I also tattoo and shops here are all closed until further notice.

What can we do to support your work at this time?

You can follow me @Rachaelbridge and share my posts. I also have new prints available too! You can check them out here- Or here-

Thank you Rachael for answering my questions.

Original paintings by Rachael are also available through Last Rites Gallery, Dark Art Emporium, Arch Enemy Arts, Revolution Gallery, and Copro Gallery.

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