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The Reliving of Grotesque Art

Probably, it didn’t go unnoticed, but more gross and weird arts, the so-called grotesque art, are filling up our screens lately. Grotesque art challenges conventional beauty standards, especially through the use of AI-generated and digitally manipulated images, aiming to rebel against societal norms. What drives the resurgence of this type of art?

In the era of the rise of social media, our visual culture has been saturated with perfect visuals, where imperfections were hidden through digital filters, and brands increasingly embraced technology to create picture-perfect, clean visuals to convey their professionalism as a brand.

At the same time, popular aesthetics in many different fields like architecture, books, furniture, car design, logos, and many more have gotten watered down and eerily similar around the world, partially through globalization. This ‘sea of sameness/age of average’ prioritized well-organized, easy-to-comprehend, and aesthetically pleasing visuals, over creative risks and authenticity.

The embrace of grotesque art can be seen as a response to a world perceived as dangerous, offering a sense of rebellion, authenticity, and a break from the beautiful yet empty visuals often seen online.

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Author

Kim Pillen

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Kim Pillen

Consultant

Before Kim Pillen started as a trend consultant at TrendsActive, she worked for four years as a creative strategist at Dept. For brands such as Philips, bol.com, Beiersdorf, JBL, and the Consumers’ Association, she built (online) campaign, brand, and social media strategies. After four years, she decided that she wanted to better understand people and society in order to advise brands more effectively. That’s how she ended up at TrendsActive. Here, she can do what she loves most: digging into people’s needs and then working with brands to see how and where they can be relevant and meaningful.

Douwe Knijff

Researcher

Douwe is fascinated by how people work. With a background in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences (Bachelor) and Psychology (Master) and an analytical mind he tries figure out how societal shifts manifest themselves through social culture and human behaviour.

Aljan De Boer

Keynote speaker

Aljan has been widely recognized as an inspiring professional speaker on the critical trends that will shape society in the decades to come. He works as the Head of Inspiration at TrendsActive, a trend consultancy from the Netherlands using social science to human-proof business decision for brands like

  • Disney
  • Vodafone
  • Hugo Boss
  • ASR
  • Rabobank

Next to his role at TrendsActive he is the Community Director at the Institute for Real Growth where he inspires and connects a global community of +400 CMOs.  

He has been on the board of the Dutch Platform of Innovative Marketing for almost a decade. Regular speaker and moderator for the Dutch Marketing Awards and 3 times winner of the best of MIE. 

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees his purpose is to help ambitious leaders and brands to human-proof their business. In 2003 he founded TrendsActive, a trend consultancy enabling brands to become more human centric.

Kees consults global brands like

  • Disney
  • The Coca-Cola Company
  • Asics
  • Discovery Channel
  • Swiss Life
  • Vodafone

and many more.

Next to being the founder of TrendsActive, he is also initiator of the first academic trend master for executives at the University of Utrecht and is initiator of various trend studies and white papers on subjects like trust, meaning, visual culture & generations.

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Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist

Kees Elands

Founder & Strategist