While most kids were scared shitless watching A Nightmare on Elm Street or Child's Play, the bad guys in those classic horror flicks only made Brian Hebets laugh.
"I was drawn to the characters. I found them scary, but I thought they were hilarious," Hebets, 31, says. "A lot of people didn't really see it that way, but I did."
Hebets is especially drawn to clowns, those horrifying, grinning characters that ride in tiny cars with 20 of their creepy clown friends.
"A lot of people tell me they hate clowns, and I think they're hilarious," he says. "Clowns, I guess you can say, are like my little minions in my imagination. They're just my little helpers, so I try to reference them in what I do."
Clowns, as well as the murderous Chucky doll and other horror icons, can be seen at Proceed with Caution, Hebets' first solo art show, opening with a reception from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Visual (3524 Adams Ave. in Normal Heights).
Hebets calls this collection "urban abstract." It'll feature elements that he feels represent who he is as an artist and a person: bright colors, marine life and those horror characters.
"Everything, if I was going to have to base it on anything, it would be the emotion of fear in the human psyche," he says.
The San Diego-born artist has spent the last six months creating the pieces that'll be on view. Actually, he's been preparing all his life.
"My first sketch was a critter"—from the movie Critters—"skateboarding. I did a critter piece as tribute. That's really all it is. It's just tribute to everything that kind of made me what I am today, what I do creatively. That's what all this is about."