Badger Antoniou (I.B.J.A. Antoniou) is a horror writer. Or at least, they’d like to be. Their work focuses on themes of the uncanny, straddling the line between familiarity and the bizarre. Their art practice primarily consists of writing and bookbinding, and they are learning how to make their own paper to have further input in the style, feel, and design of their books.
      Their early influences revolve around the slasher movies of the 1980s, taking inspiration from their frequent gratuitous gore, highly stylized color palates, and the combination of bad scriptwriting and over-the-top acting resulting in unintentionally strange and memorable characters. They cite Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween III: Season of the Witch, A Nightmare on Elm Street, and Children of the Corn as the biggest influences on their work so far.

I like the heebie-jeebies. It’s a great phrase, I don’t know where it came from but I do know what it conjures up for me: a creeping feeling of dread coupled with a sense of bemusement. A cross between the unknown and the familiar. It feels so weird, it’s great. Most of my free time is consumed by my need to seek out this strangeness, sometimes capturing and transforming it into new things that others can enjoy.
     My work for this show consists of books I’ve made over the course of the last few years – everything from my nonfiction endeavors in capturing the realities of the Salem Witch Trials, to screenprinted photos of dark rides and front yard Halloween attractions; to my more recent projects in the world of horror fiction. Through these books I have been trying to find that unfamiliar-and-yet-familiar feeling, that high strangeness, in an attempt to communicate it to others.
     I think a lot of us exist, those who seek out the weird and the macabre, even if we don’t look like it on the outside. And I’d like to help us find each other, even if it is only through narrative. As Rod Serling put it, “There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.” I hope some of you will choose to visit this dimension with me.
      I’d like to take a moment to say my thank yous: to my parents and grandparents, Gabe and his amazing family, Khadine, Maddy, Avery, Kayla, Sam, Jhona, Halley, Gabriella, Willamina, Zo, Darin, Lauren, Sephora, Ashley, Alana, Barrett, Cam, all of the incredible staff and faculty at the SMFA who have helped me along the way, Eric Lowther and the Haunted Overload team, Erin and Brian, Trent Reznor, Jhonen Vasquez, Rod Serling, John Carpenter, Wes Craven, Agnes Obel, Neil Gaiman, the artists who created Marble Hornets, Stephen Gammell, Jordan Peele, Kendall Reiss, Ria Brodell, Willoughby Lucas Hastings, my classmates and the Senior Thesis Program! And all of the other great people I’ve forgotten to include!

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