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Jacob Nordberg
Honors, Interdisciplinary Visual Arts

Many people look at the horror genre and at first glance think of it as trash entertainment or that it has nothing intelligent to offer. Horror can be a place of blood, men in masks chasing teenagers around, but can also be a place of dark storytelling. There are themes of drama, grief, the unknown—themes too large or uncomfortable for other genres to tackle. Films like Argento’s Suspiria and Noé’s Climax spin disturbing tales and show equally as frightening visuals. However, and in contrast, they are executed soaked in color with masterful use of framing and soundtrack. Horror has not only gotten its teeth back, we now live in a “neo-renaissance.” The future looks bright for dark tales as chance-takers like Jordan Peele and Ari Aster are given the screen time and the audience to tell important yet twisted stories. My work is a venture into that unknown, those velvety stories that are difficult to verbalize. I intend to produce original characters utilizing the technical skills used in the special effects space and implement them into the fine art space. My work celebrates practical effects as we collectively move into a world full of CGI. There is an art to the horror.

Nordberg is a Seattle-based artist who operates as a multi-media sculptor, utilizing both polymer clay and latex to create surreal renderings of the monsters and gods from his mind. Combining his love of cinema and practical effects, Nordberg hopes to work in the corporate world of art, breathing life into animatronics and themed attractions. Nordberg is inspired by the heart and drama in horror films, the stunning attention to detail in arthouse cinema, and the ethereal themes of nihilism. Special effects legends like Tom Savini and Rick Baker are the Donatello and Michelangelo of Nordberg’s world. From these makeup artists Nordberg finds the techniques and practices to combine with more traditionally fine art formatting. To produce a piece, Nordberg first sculpts in oil-based clay, creates a plaster mold, then produces latex prosthetics and props. He both hand paints and airbrushes acrylic onto the surface and fills the piece with expanding foam. Lastly, Nordberg spends roughly 15 hours hand plugging hair into every creation of his. Nordberg is not only a member of the University of Washington Honors Program, but is also a Disney College Program Alumni 2018, has personally partnered with U.S. Congresswoman Susan DelBene on education-based pieces, and has had work displayed in the Jacob Lawrence Gallery during the Spring 2019 Strange Coupling exhibition.