I’ve seen many photos of serial killer John Wayne Gacy’s paintings throughout the years, but it wasn’t until January of this year that I saw one in person for the first time.
I was in a record store in Savannah, Georgia a few months ago, and underneath a glass case by the register, I saw a small painting. The style looked familiar.
Now, just in case you aren’t a total weirdo like I am, you should be aware that there is a whole industry out there dedicated to art by criminals and serial killers. This “murderabilia” marketis definitely controversial, and there are websites that sell these original pieces of art for hefty prices.
The painting I saw at the record store in Savannah was a painting by John Wayne Gacy. Not only was it a Gacy original, it was a painting of another serial killer, the infamous Ed Gein. I asked the guy behind the counter if it was for sale and he immediately said “no.”
Many notorious criminals take up art after they get to prison: Charles Manson, Henry Lee Lucas, and Danny Rolling to name a few. But Gacy is the most well known of the bunch, mostly because he focused his art on something that creeps all of us out: clowns.
Gacy’s kindred for clowns actually started well before his painting. When he was still on the loose, Gacy used his free time to dress up as a clown he called Pogo and entertain at children’s parties and events.
That all came to a crashing halt when Gacy was convicted of 33 murders after his home was found to be a makeshift slaughterhouse. Dozens of bodies of young men were discovered by police in the crawlspace of Gacy’s Chicago home in December 1978. Gacy was executed by lethal injection in 1994.
In his 16 years of incarceration, Gacy took up art to pass the time. Let’s take a look at some of his works. How would you like to have one of these hanging in your living room?
Here’s a self-portrait of (non-clown) Gacy.
Finally, here’s a painting John Wayne Gacy did of GG Allin. If you don’t know who GG Allinis…well, that’s a whole other story…