Things To Do

Two must-see art shows bring monsters to life

“Release the Krake-mel!,” by Zard Apuya. (Courtesy photo)

From Frankenstein to Freddy Krueger to The Walking Dead zombies, every horror figure known in popular culture started out as an idea, and ultimately, sprang from an artistic mind. It is artists who bring to life the dark recesses of monsters, goblins, vampires and werewolves, successfully scaring the pants off of anyone who experiences it.

This Halloween, Thumbprint Gallery presents two must-see shows, Zombies Amongst Us and Monster Minis Custom Creatures.

In partnership with Subterranean Coffee Boutique in North Park, Zombies Amongst Us exhibits the art of David Russell Talbott, a series of one-panel metaphorical narratives using pulp illustration. Thumbprint tells PACIFIC to expect “characters reminiscent of those in hardboiled crime fiction, boxers, con-artists, hit-men and B-movie scream queens.” Part of his ongoing American Pulpcore series, his work dissects 1940s and 50s media and society.

Talbott notes, “the zombies are really a metaphor for cultural traditions that are dying out in our digital age.” The exhibition premieres with an artist reception Saturday, Oct. 28 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Monster Minis Custom Creatures features 20 artists using their experiences, memories and imaginations of monsters and creatures to to create original small-scale artwork. The exhibition features both 8"x 8" paintings and small sculptures to convey a variety of creatures, including vampires and scientific experiment monsters.

PACIFIC asked some of the artists about their work and their idea of the scariest monster ever:

Wally by Kevin Bannister

What was the inspiration for your monster mini?
Kevin Bannister
: It started out as a dumb little doodle, and I decided to mess around with the proportions of the skull just for fun. It got weirder and funnier as I went, and the thought of adding tiny walleyed eyeballs made me laugh so I put them in.

Scariest monster ever?
One of the scariest has got to be that ghost/spirit thing from It Follows. It can look like anyone, and nobody can see it but its next victim, and it has no other purpose than to kill you. Brilliant, simple idea and scary as hell!

Where can San Diegans see more of your work?
You can see and purchase prints of Wally for sale at Thumbprint Gallery, and I’ve also got two painted cleavers in Left Hand Black Tattoo’s Horror Business VI show on Fern Street in South Park, up until Nov. 4.

Website and social media?
@artofbannister on Instagram,


I Was a Teenage Werewolf  by Jennifer Cooksey

What was the inspiration for your monster mini?
Jennifer Cooksey
: The awesomely campy 1950s film, I Was A Teenage Werewolf.

Scariest monster ever?
I would have to say the werewolf is the scariest monster and definitely my favorite monster of all time.

Where can San Diegans see more of your work?
San Diegans can see my current works in progress on my Instagram page (@after_dark_creations_) and I will be showing at La Bodega Gallery’s Dia de Los Muertos art show on Oct. 28 in Barrio Logan. I will also be showing at the Dia de los Muertos art show at the Centro Cultural de la Raza on Oct. 29.

Website and social media?
@after_dark_creations_ on Instagram,

Candy Horror Lab: Release the Krake-mel! by Zard Apuya

What was the inspiration for your monster mini?
Zard Apuya: Halloween is just around the corner, so I figured candy would be the perfect inspiration. Then I thought to add the horror aspect to it by making them look like experiments gone wrong from a mad scientist’s lab.

Where can San Diegans see more of your work?
I do a couple of shows with Thumbprint throughout the year at their La Jolla gallery and I usually participate in their pop-up art shows downtown at Bar Basic. I also have some pieces on display at Snoice in Spring Valley

Website & social media?

Instagram: @zardapuya, Facebook: Zard Apuya Art,

Your Favorite Vampire by Evgeniya Golik

What was the inspiration for your monster mini?
Evgeniya Golik
: A picture I randomly saw in a social media feed. That was a starting point and I’ve added Halloween themed details like her wings, setting orange sun, other bats in the sky, white fog and voila, here she is!

Scariest monster ever?
I’m personally still terrified by the monster I saw in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth, who has the eye sockets in the palm of his claw-like hands and apparently has a great appetite for little children. I was not even breathing when I saw that scene.

Where can San Diegans see more of your work?
My solo show at Thumbprint Gallery is coming the second Saturday of March 2018. Also, I have a wall space in Distinction Gallery (in Escondido), where most of my originals hang right now. And there are several art works located at modern furniture shop Take Me Home in Little Italy.

Website and social media?


Zombies Amongst Us premieres at Subterranean Coffee Boutique (3764 30th St., North Park, 619.780.0916) and runs until Nov. 18.  
Monster Minis is on display until Nov. 5 at Thumbprint Gallery (920 Kline St., La Jolla, 858.354.6294).