It all began with a television show. Curiosity sprung in me as it became a tradition for me to watch Monk with my mother every Friday night. We would sit on the couch for hours on end as we followed a detective with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder interestingly find a way to discover who the murderer was. My mother and I watched as if we were in the police department assessing clues and interviewing various suspects. All of this crime was giving us a rush. Till this day, criminal justice episodes like Law and Order, Castle, and Criminal Minds continue to drag us in these intense investigations that also have the possibility of being derived from true stories. Isn’t it amazing how such graphic and extreme television scenes displayed in front of us can inflict such an appreciation for the arts?
I always thought to myself as I would watch an extra get stabbed by the murderous actor in the scene about how well thought out everything was. From the background music to sound effects to props to makeup to the actors themselves, it is like everything in front of me is real causing me to feel real emotions in return. This is what these television shows are usually intended to do. Society’s applause for the art of the television show has taken over the real stories that are depicted on the screen. Therefore, neglecting and normalizing them.
Normalization is not restricted to television shows. Today, various types of art work are appreciated through an external lens rather than internally shutting down the culprit. This enlightening of fake art has characterized crime as beauty and talent rather than dangerous and unlawful.
Many serial killers have been brought to the public’s attention through different platforms such as television shows and artistic pieces. One serial killer whose background was lost in the beauty of his artwork was Arthur Shawcross who was known as the Genessee River Killer. Shawcross was known for being sent to prison for the murders of two young children for 15 years ONLY and once he was released again, he committed 12 more murders that involved molestation, mutilation, and cannibalism with men and females. Though he was sentenced to life in prison and passed away in 2008, his artwork lives on.
The other day, I was perusing at various artistic pieces on Pinterest as one does when I ran into this beautiful painting. Everything about it was incredibly intricate and breathe-taking. I pressed on the link of this colorful and imaginative artwork and came across a horrifying realm. On the website called “Supernaught,” there are various Shawcross paintings that are being sold at prices above three-hundred dollars. After scrolling through the various prices, my heart dropped. How can people buy the art of a man who anally mutilated and murdered a girl? They can argue that it is a crime collection piece but the immediate purchase or consideration of a painting like this normalizes the thoughts and actions of this serial killer, of his crime.
Once again, we stumble upon the ignorance that comes with artistic appreciation. Unfortunately, human minds are prioritizing curiosity over moral standards.
In a way, there is no escaping curiosity that comes with crime making it art.