Welcome to my art blog

A self-taught artist, I have always been drawn towards the macabre. Born a twin on Christmas Eve 1964 in Montreal, my twin died several months after birth. This became a large influence in my creative process; isolation, detachment, duality, haunted visions coming from this astral being that I am forever tethered to.

Art has always been my way to process and filter what I come across, what I am subjected to, or what I subject myself to each day; a way for me to exorcise the demons on my shoulder. The paintings are empathic, often inspired by the individual’s strength in the face of their own weakness. The common thread in all of my works is survival of self.

If a viewer is made uncomfortable by my work, then I have done my job as an artist. I have touched something within them that they are not comfortable with. I want to elicit a visceral response but maintain a sense of the absurd, creating works that are both intensely horrifically personal and humourous.

I am inspired by artists that have celebrated the grotesque: Hieronymus Bosch, Joe Coleman, Otto Dix and George Grosz.

This blog is a progression of my work, works in progress, random thoughts etc. You can join me on Facebook or view a gallery of my work on Flickr at:



Your f(r)iend,

Grant Cunningham

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Aggressive Passive

A work I started over a year about, but had to put it aside for awhile. The larger pieces tend to be very intimidating, and with the level of detail I do, I get bored working on it. So, it's been sitting and being tweaked in my head for about 10 months, and back on the easel, hopefully to completion.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cause and Affect

Cause and Affect in the window of Gallerie 1040.. think this was around 2007 or so. Putting things in chronological order is not my strong point, so I may be off by a year or three. Unfortunately I do not have a really good image of this piece and it sold very quickly.

Decisions, Decisions

Once again, a small scale 3"x3" canvas.


Leeches. Lots and lots of leeches, false friends and the illusion of time.

Bend, Spindle, Mutilate

This was part of the "My Inner Child Is a Serial Killer Series". The idea of this series was that as a serial killer, I would leave a calling card in the form of glyphs. These glyphs were predominant in this series and represented that part within each of us that is not known, a secret core that only we know that is not shared. It shows that none of us will ever be fully understood for who we are.
The evil figure is destroying the Mormon- like, conservative figurines, revealing their black hearts within. The are left twisted, broken and empty from their experience.

The Wake

I've gotten a lot of "why don't you paint happier things?" comment over the course of my arts career. This was my response to those comments, a funerary bouquet.

The Procession

This was another painting done during the Cunningham cancer-o-thon of 2006-2008. It's a bit Edward Gorey-ish with the procession of skeletons observing the figure entering its grave. I've always loved the reflection of the procession in the pavement and think that it may actually warrant a revisit in a subsequent painting.

You Are Not My Friend

A big misconception with my work is that I paint aliens. During a street arts fair I had a bunch of squeegees come up to me and say " C'est cool man, comme des X-Files".

I don't paint aliens. I paint distorted humans whose heads are filled with too much thought, their bodies neglected and starved.

This is one of my favorites.


Once again, one of my pen and ink works. I really need to try a new photography technique that will show the level of detail in my pen and ink works.

Take note of the body hidden between the cushions just below the cat, as well as the the lilliputian figure emerging from beside the right arm of the couch. He's holding a sewing needle as a spear but it unfortunately got cut off in this photo.

The Torment of Queen Lolo

Lauraine, where the hell are you? Did you fall off the face of the earth?

Lauraine Leblanc is not only a brilliant author and uber creative individual, she was also one of those people that I instantly clicked with and we had more than a few adventures. She commissioned me to paint her experience dealing with a board of directors at an organization that we both worked (and met) at. It was always very amusing watching this very eloquent and very goth woman dealing with very conservative, and very white individuals who could not get past her outward appearance to see the brilliance within.

Through a Thin Veil

I moved out on my own and the first thing I did was go down to a pet store in Verdun and buy a little black kitten for five bucks. I had always wanted a black cat and when I saw this one it was love at first sight. I named her Twilight (no, nothing to do with that damn movie). That cat ended up being my companion and faithful familiar for more than twenty years. One day she just lay down, looked up at me, I watched her pupils grow big and black and she died.

Ripped. My. Heart. Out. I ended up working on and finishing this painting in about two weeks while listening to The Cure (Disintigration) on a loop, consuming far too much red wine, and bawling my eyes out.

The figure is a crematorium (I had her cremated and still have her ashes which will be buried with me). This painting has a prominent place in my studio, and although I have had many offers from buyers, it will be one that I will not part with.

Cancer Girl

This was a tough painting to do. I lost both my mother (2006) and sister (2008) to cancer, leukemia and colon cancer respectively. I wanted to illustrate that first moment during treatment, that first time you run a brush through your hair, and hair comes away in your hands. When cancer becomes not just a scary word, but a reality. This was originally planned as the first part of a triptych illustrating diagnosis, treatment, and finally acceptance of the inevitable, but I have not yet revisited this subject.

Antisocial Behaviour

I do pen and ink work as well, using Rapidograph pens. They're done using a cross hatching with a .25 pen mostly, which as you can imagine kills the pen. The photo does not do the picture justice but some of the details include a snakes and ladders calendar on the closet door and pages of glyphs that eventually became part of my solo art show "My Inner Child Is A Serial Killer".

Last Word

A lot of my inspiration comes from people I come across in my life... could be those I've spoken with, could be the junkie on the street begging me for change with the dead look in their eyes, could be the snarky STCUM employee who hates the arduous task of making change and being paid 25 bucks an hour to do it, or the grunting man at the gym in his quest for Calvin Klein perfection but immediately heads to McD for his post workout pig out. People should not be surprised if they see a part of themselves in my paintings, but should never by so egotistical to think that the painting is about them. This is very small scale, about 3"x3" and was bought via auction by someone who abandoned it like a baby in a dumpster.


This one I did just after the great Montreal ice storm of 1998. I shattered my left wrist (I'm right handed) on the first day of it, slipping on some stairs, so this was done while I had a cast on my arm. If you look closely at the figure on the left, you can see that there are pins coming out of it's left wrist. The babies in the jar are me and my dead twin.

... And Then You Were Found

For the majority most would describe my art as "dark", but I do try to have a sense of humour about it so it's not all doom and gloom. Under an apocalyptic sky even the most hardened misanthrope can find a friend.

Meat Flower

I was (am) on a whole stinging insect theme. The bird sees that its end is imminent, but is powerless to stop in time.


This one was unfortunately destroyed in a fire but I plan on doing a re-imagining of it. I did this painting after a particularly horrendous year, shortly after the death of my mother. The figure is in a constant state of torment, an infection creeping along the ground is slowly getting closer to him. In the sand he drawing a mobius symbol, representing his unending torment. I included a detail shot of the mouth to show the nails through the tongue, representative of choking on grief.

A Day Much Like Any Other