Across all cultures and periods in art, the Garden of Eden has always been depicted as a paradise — the place man could live in complete bliss, never privy to the harsh realities of “original sin.” Artist Zac Scheinbaum’s flora and fauna takes this ancient fable, and invert it, creating a darker, more sinister version of the Garden — one where temptation, malice, and death prey on even the purest of hearts. Tattooing exclusively in black and grey, his version of Eden is home to the creatures that lurk in the shadows of the night, the very things that long to entrap you in eternal damnation.
Crawling, slithering, and flying their way across the skin, Scheinbaum’s creatures take on an incredibly ominous feeling, as if their presence is an omen of something unspeakable yet to come. A combination of delicate shading and blackwork, his tattoos articulate a unique balance of light and dark — the lightness of the butterfly’s wings draw you in, as the darker, more nefarious creatures like the blackwork snake entrap your attention. A beautiful rose calls to you, as a spider’s web looms behind it. The purity of the holy lamb beckons for your attention, only to find that it’s too late — the unhallowed grounds have ensnared it in an untimely fate.
In an interview with Highlark Magazine, Scheinbaum says that his inspiration comes from countless forced trips to the museum in his youth. “I've always been more interested in works of art, especially religious or some older European paintings because they weren't afraid to depict brutality or violence or swords,” he explains. “Then you start seeing as you explore more and more into the art world how other cultures interpret those things, or the stories or myths that go along with them.” His fine art takes on similar bewitching undertones. Enticing chrysanthemums rest on the backs of coiling black cobras as they draw you nearer and nearer, never once revealing their malevolence.
Late last year, Scheinbaum announced his departure from King’s Avenue this coming April, but if you missed the boat for appointments, there’s still a silver lining to look forward to. Scheinbaum, along with fellow King’s Avenue artist, Justin Weatherholtz, will be showing a selection of his fine art at the Goodbye Art Show Thursday, March 30th. If you’ve yet to catch some of Scheinbaum’s haunting creatures in action, this is your last chance — at least for a while. Better to catch his creatures in action before they catch you.