Magdalena Patyk (@madziowa_p) is one of the few artists whose static artwork, with one glance, can truly produce an instant, visceral shock to the system- in many ways similar to a traditional horror movie jump scare.

Viewing her macabre artwork elicits the brain to immediately recognize a face looking back at them, but something is clearly not quite right. Her art is well-suited to expertly pull attention and entice engagement while scrolling a content feed. The artist plays on instinctual senses to quickly detect malformation, disease, danger, and mirror-neuron feelings of surprise, sadness, fear and depression. Her most shocking human-like creatures are often drawn with large round eyes, well rendered into spheres with a point of light to highlight and give them life, depth, and translucency. The rest of the face is often blurred, smudged, or smeared into a deep, dark black background, as if the grotesque is emerging from the darkest corner shadow or growing to fill the empty white space of the paper from just out of frame. Noses are misshapen, mouths agape and filled to the brim with uneven teeth, winding or stretching into a disfigured twist. The variations are many, but the result often produces the same hint of revulsion and empathy, staring transfixed while wondering if one should look away in case the creature jumps off the screen.

Her linework is incredible, repetitive, looping over itself again and again in a controlled manic array of deliberate shadows and highlights. A juxtaposed looseness of line, tightness of form, and clear openness to traditional medium’s movement on paper. She’s guiding, not forcing, the energy of herself and the mediums. A watercolor puddle becomes a cat, a mass of pen lines become a face, strokes of charcoal become a dead bird or bee. And her use of color, sometimes a sparing dash of red or blue with subtle, precision placement adds to the malaise.

Amidst the primarily charcoal, pen and watercolor horrors there is a sprinkle of cute black kittens, complete with “puppy dog eyes” emoting from their stark body silhouettes. They lull the viewer in and plead with one not to be afraid… to be strong for them …and as an uneasy calm and confidence sets in the next artwork appears and… BOO!!

Enjoy Magda’s artwork while she’s on a roll over on Instagram (@madziowa_p), having recently passed 100k followers. Congratulations and well deserved! Her original artwork is for sale by sending her a DM.