Once in a while, even the pure of heart must stop singing uplifting jingles, gazing at rainbows, and being positive all the time. As the wolfbane blooms and the Autumn moon turns bright, the inner Crypt Keeper emerges to bask in the truly horrible. Just in time for Halloween season, I’m taking a look at horrible website ABOUT pages, and I’ve started a catalog of horrific examples. Several types emerge, and I remain haunted at the prospect of reading them. But for your sake, my fellow connoisseurs of content and inquisitive pilgrims on the road to judicious lucidity and undisturbed sleep, I will describe some of the worst I have witnessed…
The Slight Horror: An “About My Resume” About Page!
Yes, this one doesn’t wiggle. It doesn’t squirm. It just sits there, staring you in the eye like a person applying for their own job. It’s a zombie ABOUT page, by an artist who can’t think of anything else to say. It breaks down into something like this:
- I live and work here
- I work in this medium
- My art experience is this
- I have this degree
- My creative process is this
To wake the artist from the dead of tedious facts that tell us nothing about his or her art, I suggest weaving in a bit of story. We want to hear about that time the artist saw an elephant in their pajamas, if nothing else—but ideally, it should be something attuned to the work to which the artist would like us to pay attention. If this is YOUR page, dear reader, congratulations on the seasonal grave-like aroma arising from the page. But come November 1st, I hope you’ll have injected some life into the tomb!
Double the Horror!: A Page of Monstrous Joinings
Like evil twins or a cross between a lampfish and a child, this kind of ABOUT page marries things best left in the books of dead philosophers. Often it’s an attempt at distraction, but don’t be fooled, intrepid adventurer. While you’re grasping at the “interplay,” “juxtaposition,” or “nexus” of mumbo jumbo about light and luminosity, color and perspective, pique and piquant, you’re sinking deeper into a banal composition that leads… nowhere. Beware of this format:
- I love the intersection of… (insert any phrase that means joining two things)
- I live here
- I started in this year
- I have done these other things
- Hope you enjoy
To escape the clutches of this infernal convergence, leave the philosophy back in college. It’s as useless here as a necklace of garlic. The answer, instead, lies in the reason you get out of bed every morning, instead of lying there, corpselike. Think of the real-world aspiration your art addresses or the real-world problem it solves, and soon you’ll avoid being pressed between hypothetical concepts like so much meat in a bench vise.
A Haunted Shell of a Horror: The “Home Improvement” Style About Page
You’re watching reruns of “This Old House,” only to realize the sun has gone down, the crickets are speechless, and that rustling in the trees just outside your window is some otherworldly creature looking to improve themselves at the expense of your sanity. You look, and through the glass or vaguely reflected in a mirrored object, is a drooling monologue of fright! Such an ABOUT page sounds like the ghost of a person transformed, horribly, into a skeletal bit of architecture:
- I’m an artist. I now have the confidence to say so!
- I was born here, grew up here, and live here.
- Art makes me feel various feelings.
- I prefer to paint in this manner.
- I hope you see the beauty.
- Painting & studying make me a better painter
Dear friend, if that’s you, shake off the past and the hypothetical. It’s dragging you into an endless slumber, like a field of capricious poppies. Lean into the decisions you’ve made, and tell us not where you’ve been and what you hope, but what you’re trying to accomplish with the work.
Saved This for Last: The Ultimate Horror—An Infernal Inferno of Inferences
It might be better to be locked in a pit with a pendulum than spread out like so much spaghetti, crawling, wormlike in all directions. This ABOUT page is like putting your hand in a hole in a log. You don’t know what you’ll come up with; it took an awful dare to risk it. Cthuluesque madness awaits, as your wits falter on the altar of a page that pulls in everything and anything—gorging itself on ideas, until you run, shaken and possibly mad as a hatter from the clutches of such a website.
- I discovered myself as an artist
- Art has been my hobby since this time…
- Art is my passion now…
- Art is a universal language that connects us.
- I have no specific style—I’m always evolving.
- More about me.
- My vision is to encourage my audience to respond to my work however they may please.
- We’re all different
- Art is an emotional journey for me.
- My intuition guides my work.
- I try to tell a story.
The way out is actually simple. Stop, think about what you’d really want to say if you had no hobgoblins to fear and no life-sucking vampires to please. Click your heels together and make it clear and real. Then your disorienting parlor of panoptic horror will become a coherent palace of intelligible precision.
Now, if you’re like me—too timid a soul to wander the countryside and stalk the misty moors at night, hunting beastly ABOUT pages with arcane recipes for exorcism—you won’t be running across these horrors too often.But if you’re paying attention, you’ll come across these fell pages now and then. (That is, if you don’t turn away, shake it off, and rush for the nearest well-lit drinking establishment where you can boast of having made it safely, while trying desperately to shake that chill off your spine!) You WILL see them. And they ARE terrifying. When you do, fellow traveler, approach them gingerly but with resolve, and remember the formula I’ve provided. With such measures you can bring even the darkest biographical beastie into the light.