The Devil In You
Michelle Dugan is the devil’s biggest fan. They share the same interests: death, snakes, and horns. If the devil had a band, he would probably commission Michelle to do the cover, no doubt, a very prestigious honor. Michelle’s work isn’t likely to be everyone’s thing. Satan is an acquired taste. For Michelle, it’s a lifestyle. She lovingly crafts her muse again and again, composing prints and illustrations dedicated to all things illicit. Demonic hybrids with spiking horns and slithering snakes rule this empty desert. They’ve made a home among the caves and cliffs in some forgotten kingdom that no one visits, copied from the pages of a book that no one reads. If there were a story for these illustrations to tell, the heroes might somehow cross paths and unite under a common cause, a crusade against humanity perhaps.
These kings of the underworld aren’t waging wars or casting spells. They gaze and trot their way through an infinite prison. Something’s keeping them from the company of others. It’s not a welcoming scene with all the skulls and spikes
everywhere. Maybe that’s how they like things, hostile and scathing. It’s more spacious that way. There’s no one around to tell you how a person should be. It’s possible that the scariest thing about these ghouls is their appearance. Misguided and misjudged, Michelle’s creations get to be masters of their own domain. Wherever Satan’s keeping them, he seems to be enjoying a vast amount of real estate.
When you see the artist’s work, you might be tempted to write it off. You can imagine people’s faces when they see demons on the wall of a Boston gallery. Just another “emo” girl with an appetite for danger. But these images aren’t whipped together at the Hot Topic Headquarters in Industry, LA; they’re finely sketched and brought to life with hours upon hours of painstaking work. You can see the love in the details. The work exudes patience, planning and precision. Geometric shapes serve as windows into the myths of generations past. Her style gives the subject some authority, as if we should have heard about these guys at bible camp. They seem as real and as significant as the wounded soldiers and archbishops of the Renaissance.
And The Devil - Etching, 2015