misunderstood. I mean, I knew that most people wouldn’t really get it or want to be identified with it. But I thought everyone would be able to recognize it as something profoundly disturbing, and I always thought of art as something that is successful only when it moves one, when it effects one, when it causes an undeniable reaction within one. My art does that. My art disturbs people, does it not?”and then he paused and stared at me accusingly.
“Well, yes of course it does. I can’t speak for everyone of course. But I find your art very disturbing. You know that.” I added, just so he didn’t think I wasn’t on his side.
“But I put myself out there, I do what I think will effect people. I throw myself into all of my madness. I lose myself to this abyss. And for what? For naught. All I have done! All I have done is for naught!”
“No! You make brilliant, disturbing, beautiful art…” I tried to console him. He seemed on the verge of a breakdown.
“And yet, I am a pariah. I am for the most part ignored. The ‘art world’…” he spit out the phrase with disdain, “ will not even so much as acknowledge my art. And why? Because I don’t know the right people? Because I’m too anti-social to effectively court the few people I do know? Because I didn’t go to fucking art school? For fuck’s sake, I thought art was about fucking art! Am I really that fucking naive?” he asked as though he really thought I could answer him. I’ve never seen a man so distant from humanity as Killian Skarr at that moment. He truly looked as one on the outside looking in. As though he were an alien, completely baffled with the peculiarities of mankind.
I tried to bring the conversation back around to the current project. “So ‘Torture the tortured torture device artist’ is about trying to reach the art world?”
He seemed to regain himself, a little. “Yeah well I’m naturally very self-destructive. I’ve often wondered if the impulse to self-destruction is purely pathological or if it serves some greater evolutionary purpose.” he said and coincidentally I noticed the “The origin of species” by Charles Darwin and “The Selfish Gene” by Richard Dawkins just behind him on the bookshelf. He continued, “It’s an impulse I feel acutely, I always have. My entire life I’ve felt like the center of a black hole where everything goes wrong. Of course there are those times when I am overcome by a god-like elation, when my grandiosity is at its peak and I feel as though I can do anything, change the course of history, effect humanity as a whole; but most of the time I’m painfully aware of being a worthless scumbag.”
He paused and it seemed necessary to reassure him before he would continue. I should mention that at this point in the interview we had both become somewhat drunk as he had produced another bottle of wine. “You’re not a scumbag. These girls you have adore you!” I offered as consolation, but this was apparently a sore subject with him as well.
He scowled and seemed to contemplate long and hard before stating “My girls are under some kind of spell and most of the time I sincerely regret making them fall in love with me, for their own sake. Like I said, I’m a fucking black hole…”
I had recently read on the blog maintained by one of his girls, Pixiedoll, that he had decided, completely inexplicably, to become celibate. I asked him to explain this seemingly contradictory turn of events now.
“Yeah well…” he seemed deeply embarrassed “that’s not something I’d like a lot of people to know obviously. But yes, I haven’t had sex in several weeks and I have no intention of doing so anytime soon. At least until I regain my willpower, my strength, my drive…”
I couldn’t fathom what would compel this seemingly debauched, depraved and sincerely sexual man to forgo the very thing that, I had thought, propelled him.
He changed the subject and began ranting; “You have these art news sites publish stories with these catch-phrases about violence and torture and slaves and sex but then you see the actual art and realize it’s just fucking poetic license. It’s just a sensationalistic ruse. Then you read headlines about how these artist’s works are censored because they feature nudity or some anti-religious theme and you see the art and it’s just sort of mundane, not really visually interesting at all. And I have to wonder, what the fuck?! Do I have to pay a fucking news source to publish news about what I’m doing? I mean, my art far surpasses the vast majority of the crap that’s out there on so many fucking levels but I can’t get any fucking coverage for it. I can’t get into any galleries. And why? It can’t be because of the controversial nature of the work; I mean from what I can tell, most of the big names aspire to the kind of art I’m making without ever actually reaching it. And that’s not for lack of art journalists trying to make it more than it is. It’s fucked up, really. Here I am giving the art world exactly what they want, what they’ve always fucking wanted and they pretend to ignore me because I don’t have some big name. You mark my words, within a fucking year you’ll see Damien Hirst or Marina Abromovic or who ever the fuck doing what I’ve been trying to do for almost ten fucking years now…” and with that Killian seemed to deflate and collapse beneath the implications of his words. “I mean, if you think my art is boring or just plain provincial or whatever that’s one thing, but if you find my art disturbing or frightening or even arousing in ways that you don’t like, then it is doing exactly what the best art should do and you are a coward to deny it.”
“So with the new project you are trying to disturb and move people? It seems extremely masochistic.” I asked, emboldened by our shared third bottle of wine.
“The new project is basically me sacrificing myself to the art world, or to the world in general, really. Don’t you people understand I can’t fucking do anything else? All I can do is make art. If it wasn’t for art I have no problem going off into the wilderness to die. Art is all that I have. It’s all I’ve ever really tried to do. And I’m failing at it. So yeah of course, I will give myself up to it. I will sacrifice myself for it, sacrifice my hands…” here I could have sworn I saw tears in his eyes as he stared at his hands, lamenting their eventual shattering, “All I fucking have is my hands. I can’t make art, I can’t even tattoo without my hands. And yet here I am ready to sacrifice them for you fucking people. At least when Jesus sacrificed himself, gave himself up to crucifixion, not that I believe in that bullshit for a moment, but according to myth he was assured an eternity of paradise after all was said and done. I don’t have any such assurance. For all I know they’ll miss and shatter bone, or sever a fucking nerve and then what? Then I’m left in an even more perilous state than before. Now I can’t even make fucking art, the only thing that sustains me. At that point, frankly, it’s fucking lights out…”
“You mean suicide?” I wanted to clarify this point, but it was certain to me and anyone who might have been present what he meant.
He looked at me long and hard before answering, “Well look, suicide is a foregone conclusion with me. I decided a long time ago that once my health reaches a certain point of criticality I will go off somewhere to die; and my body will never be discovered.”
After this revelation the conversation become drunken, passionate and disorganized. We talked into the night. Killian became more emotional and depressed as we drank and talked. It was clear that he was entirely serious about his intentions to have himself crucified and electrocuted, but as of the writing of this article he had not had a single donor to the project. I asked him what he was going to do if he didn’t get enough funding for the project.
“I’ll fucking do it anyways.” he said, defiantly and fatalistically. “Except without funding and participation I’ll have to do it in public somewhere. Just let those fuckers try to ignore it when I’m hanging from a tree somewhere…”
I don’t believe a lot of people when they make wild threatening promises like that, but with Killian Skarr, there’s no doubt in my mind he’s crazy enough to pull it off.
If you’d like more information on the project you can go here: