As part of my continuing mission to bring to light the obscured gems of the underground arts scene, I give you the art of Sean Yates. This darkly creative gentleman hails from Washington D.C., and he epitomizes the archetype of the esoteric artist I’d hoped to un-shroud when I first started seeking out and commenting on art in 2009.

Mistress by Sean Yates dark art painting

Judging by the ghastliness and macabre nature of these pieces, I want to imagine the artist as some sort of dark hermit, a Gollum, forever removed from the simple beauty of the workaday world. Surely, Yates is a spirit of some sort, a specter from a distant, darkened realm. He couldn’t be just another normal person like you and me.  I could almost say it was a surprise for me to see that Sean Yates actually has a regular public site (; after our tidbits of small talk, he seems quite like most of the rest of us are: social, friendly and good-natured. However, even Yates points to his own alienation in the text of his Facebook page:

Sean is busy working on paintings that will likely be seen only by an unlucky few. Consider yourself unlucky. – Sean Yates Art on Facebook

Self-centered by Sean Yates dark art painting

Sean’s occasional use of cartoonish characters seems to indicate the intent to lightening the load. Clearly, there are many symbols and veiled messages in this art, many of which tackle serious aspects of our collective existence. Feelings relating to religion, life, death & the afterlife, society, progress and loneliness are experienced, and with only a tiny spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, in a most undelightful way.