Polish artist Zdzisław Beksiński's life was as grim as some of his art (aside from enduring multiple family tragedies, the artist was murdered in 2005) -- but the fantasy visionary would disagree with that theory. "I wish to paint in such a manner as if I were photographing dreams," he once said -- attributing his misunderstood style to humorous optimism. Despite his disinterest in any subtextual interpretation of his work (he refused to title his pieces to avoid this), one peek at his portfolio belies a wealth of disturbing imagery -- surreal, dark, and post-apocalyptic in nature.
Beksiński started his career as a construction site supervisor but despised it so he started to use the same materials he had on site to create sculptures out of metal, wire and other basic materials. His exploration of photography and painting mirrored his love for decaying surfaces and odd textures. Though his first paintings were mainly abstract in style, Beksiński is most remembered for his Fantastic Realism period -- inspired by the works of Ernst Fuchs, a leader in the movement.
There's certainly a healthy dose of surrealism in Beksiński's work, but he's no mere Dali knock off. Beksiński's images conjure the Italian Futurists, dark fantasy illustrations with a Lovecraftian/Giger vibe, esoterica, Giacometti and a smattering of steampunk. His figures are creepy as hell and his desolate, hopeless landscapes are not places I'd like to visit any time soon. Check out a gallery of images below and visit this website (which has a wicked design) to purchase prints of Beksiński's work.