Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Serial Killer Culture

Exploitation

Some serial killers sell their art and some are the subject of art; a handful of artists market or display their depictions of the likes of "superstar" killers such as Ramirez, Bundy, and Dahmer.  Among the most notorious are:

Nico Claux
Nico Claux

  • Nicolas "Nico" Claux, a self-proclaimed necrophile, who once was convicted of murder.  He set up a Web site to display his portraits, and he believes that serial killers reflect society's rampant consumerism and need to make them into celebrities. 
  • Joe Coleman, who creates "outsider art," which attracts buyers like Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCapprio.  Coleman has collected medical oddities and torture devices, and has devoted himself to rendering the visages of the outcasts of life — including serial killers. 

Issei Sagawa
Issei Sagawa

  •  Issei Sagawa, a killer himself who operates a Web site devoted to the crime for which he served a relatively short stretch in prison.  He killed, dismembered, and consumed parts of a female student in Paris, and then wrote a novel about it, which became a best-seller in Japan.  The Rolling Stones recorded a song about him called "Too Much Blood."
  • Julian P. Hobbes, who made a documentary, Collectors, to depict people obsessed with the many elements of serial killer culture.  He indicated that he believed serial killers were a 1990s rendition of the outlaw. He focused on Louisiana mortician Rick Staton and his business partner Tobias Allen.  Staton encourages incarcerated serial killers to give him their own artwork to sell in his "Death Row Art Shows," acquiring pieces from the likes of Richard Speck, Ottis Toole, Lucas, Gacy, Manson, and Elmer Wayne Henley.  Allen created a serial killer board game that's contained in a body bag.  The object in this game is to kill the most babies (game pieces) to become the "best" serial killer.

While some of these items are expensive or difficult to acquire, for a time the online auction site, eBay, allowed plenty of trade in serial killer odds and ends. 

 

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