Artist: Aaron Horkey

Aaron Horkey creates fantastic works that drip with realism and glow with elegance while being truly otherworldly. Horkey describes himself as having “debilitating social ineptitude and a perverse attention to detail,” (Thinkspace Art Gallery, n.d.).

His detail is truly excruciating. His commitment to textures and fine shading is evident in every inch of his work. Horkey’s use of shadows and contrast aid in creating an atmosphere of alien beauty. He has a tremendous range of style and subject matter.

His Instagram feed features a sketch of a fawn with a rose for a head next to an intricate Gothic script, rubbing shoulders with a highly realistic portrait of a kiwi that is reminiscent of old style wood engravings.

Grotesque Beauty

“Black Lake” found on OMG Horkey

Horkey’s work cannot be comprehended in a glance. The viewer is confronted with a wash of beauty amid a nearly hidden sense of the grotesque. Looking at his work, I feel overwhelmed by a feeling of motion that gives an urgency to the viewing, as though the image may get away from me if I do not absorb it quickly enough.

The consequence is that the viewer absorbs the beauty with the grotesque, and finds it all beautiful. Nothing encapsulates this more for me than “Black Lake”. Circles expand out from fall leaves landing on the still surface of the water, while underneath a heron lies dead among the pebbles, an antler clutched in its beak.

Horkey’s skill and unique work have made him a success in the fine arts market, selling original works for upwards of $10,000 (Thinkspace Art Gallery, n.d.). His range of style and subject matter have made him popular as a commissioned artist as well. He has created incredible posters for Mondo, inspired by feature films from Jurassic Park to The Lord of the Rings.

True to his Roots

All of this success must seem a little crazy to those who knew the country boy from Windom, MN. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, to anyone who saw his earliest work. Some of it is still on display under a bridge in his hometown (Harman, 2010). The faded date, 1997, still looks good, as does the abstract mural that is already showing Horkey’s complex grasp of light and perspective.

Horkey demonstrated his love of his hometown by hosting his retrospective art show there. Although any gallery in LA or New York would have loved to have him, Horkey chose to display his work where his friends and family could easily see it.


Thinkspace Art Gallery (2005-2016). Aaron Horkey Biography & Works. Retrieved from

Mondo Tees. (n.d.). Aaron Horkey. Retrieved from

Harman, K. (2010). A Tour Through Windom with Aaron Horkey. Retrieved from

(2015) Gilded Age [Photograph]. Retrieved from 

“Black Lake” found on OMG Horkey