Dark Fiction - Dark Art

Ever since I was lucky enough to discover Roberto Segate's wonderful Dark Art I have felt his work a perfect fit for my Dark Comedy Fiction. Indeed, one of his pieces appears as a frontispiece in my Stanley McCloud novel.

I have designed several book covers featuring Roberto's images and hope to have the opportunity to create many more in the future. And yes, his work often gains more attention than my own at book signings but hey, that's fine with me - if the images catch the eye of passers-by and bring them to my table, it's an extra chance for me to sell them one of my novels and gain a new reader- mwahaha! - after all, every reader's a bonus.

Enjoy ... 

About the Artist: Roberto Segate

Roberto Segate is a Photographer & Digital Artist

2000 Photography BA degree. 2003 Photography MA Degree

I've been image making in one form or another for years and began with traditional black and white photography but when I found that I was unable to create the visions that I had in my mind using darkroom techniques I needed to think of something else. Luckily for me digital photography was breaking through and opened up possibilities which, ultimately, allowed me to reach a point where I can create anything. And although the years of formal photography education have not contributed monetarily, they did help change my way of thinking and steer me toward deeper, less obvious conclusions. 

I mainly create dark art. Some say creepy and disturbing. One thing’s for sure, the majority of my work is not exactly what you’d call pretty!  

Someone once said that I take beautiful models and make them look like crap!

That’s not strictly true. It is true that I’ve worked with many beautiful models, and that I have ‘changed their appearances’ to help create the type of image I’m looking for. They don’t look like crap by any means! In fact my images convey a thought-provoking, sombre beauty.

My work is usually dark and somewhat depressing. I create otherworldly images enhanced by troubled and lost figures, in hopeless environments. The work is 80% digital and the aim of a photoshoot is to capture model poses & expressions etc. I’m too not fussed with background or, to a large degree, the lighting, flat lighting generally works best for me. I’ll usually spend a lot of time creating the final image and make extensive use of found materials & textures etc.

I tend to focus on 'projects' and immerse myself totally; to the point of obsession.


The last project is based on the panopticon, a type of prison employing very 'efficient' surveillance; using a single guard to surveil all inmates within each cell. This in turn would instil within the prisoners a sense of paranoia and vulnerability - dehumanising and demoralising. The work describes situations and focuses on certain inmates/patients. My obsession with this project has spawned several books which catalogue the prisoners and, one book, describes the scandalous discoveries with the walls of this fictional panopticon - Northbarrow Institute for the Criminally Insane. So, you see, I rarely create happy images!!

The work is rarely pristine. I prefer to 'rough up the image', including dirty, messy elements and textures. By doing so the images become more ambiguous in terms of time & date. Adding mystery. Grunge makes perfect imperfection. ' True perfection has to be imperfect' - Oasis (Little by Little).

Some say the work is depressing, even my missus says so – she doesn’t even want the stuff on the walls!! But, the point is that I’m interested in any image which conveys a particular feeling and raises questions. If someone asks me a question about the image I know it’s worked. Indifference is not what I want. 

visit roberto segate's website

Roberto's Dark Art Books

Where the Hideous is Beautiful


Inch Kenneth, Scotland, United Kingdom, 1930-1980 (est.). A glimpse into the lives of a group of strange and deprived inhabitants, this humble collection of images combines both art and improvisation exhibiting the unique creative energies and day-to-day lives of a largely anonymous collective drawn from the urban wastes and united in depravity. Be aware: this book contains twisted dark art themes and some nudity!

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The Dark Art of Roberto Segate : A Retrospective

 This book looks back over 10 years of Roberto's work from 1996 - 2006. From his earliest work looking at the influence of Girl Power in the late 90's through to his self published Fetish calendar and on to his Dark Art works of 2004/5 

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Northbarrow Institute

Northbarrow Institute for the Criminally Insane existed as a forward thinking institute researching modern medical treatments and providing relief for those with moderate and severe mental disorders. With few details, it is not clear why Northbarrow seemingly retreated from the public gaze, although one letter was found which goes some way to providing a possible clue.


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Roberto's Dark Art Grim Zines

#1 In darkness there is beauty

Grim is a ‘cheap-as-chips’, low tech, hand made monthly collection of rough-and-ready pages with a bias toward dark imagery. Grim was inspired by indie street publications of the 70’s and 80’s, most notably band flyers. This form of rough reproduction fits my work perfectly and serves to enhance the mysterious and enigmatic nature of the images. Grim and my style of art are such a perfect fit I wish I’d thought of it years ago! 

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#2 Where the hideous is beautiful

The second edition has been a blast to make and, following on from your feedback, I’ve made a few changes and enhancements: Tracey Katz has the most deliciously twisted, creepy mind and her words are now illustrated in a regular ‘nasty little vignette‘ section. Tracey’s stuff is so cool! I feel privileged to have her words included.

Of equally interesting mind is this month’s front cover contributor; seeing the potential for this creepy image is Jack O Hare.

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#3 Can you see me now?

Grim is now becoming familiar to lots of you now (thank you so much for making this a success) and Grim 3 builds on the features of the previous 3 editions with my own photography with a mix of found materials and texts. And another ‘Nasty Little Vignette’ from dark, twisted writer Tracey Katz which binds the whole together. 

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#4 I can still hear it

A new year, a new edition. Grim 4 continues to grow with it’s home-made cut and paste retro feel; this time a nifty fold out page is included carrying the strange writings of Tracey Katz (‘Goitre’). Also featured are the words by ‘The Suicidal Rabbit’ and Sophia Disgrace. There has been a positive effort since ed.2 to include more dark and twisted written material to compliment the imagery and develop an increased sense of mystery and intrigue adding to the weirdness of Grim as a whole. 

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#5 Sometimes I lick things

Another 16 page edition,  sees its cover image given over to artist Kim Bo Yung whose superb work always excites me and fits perfectly within Grims’ dark, weird world. Very fitting too are the writings of The Suicidal Rabbit which reinforce the darkness, melancholy and depravity within. Yes Grim, with its contributors, is maturing into something much more substantial  – there are even page numbers now! 

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#6 Butterflies are fucking glorious

 When I started out on this Grim thing back in September last year I had a goal to produce 12 issues; that seemed a tall order back then but here’s Grim 6 and I’m already half way through! Looking back through past issues I’m delighted at how it’s evolved into something more than just a few photos slapped on the page; now it is far more rounded with words and illustrations supplied by Grims’ very kind contributors. I wanted Grim to be more than my images; I wanted it to be quite an eclectic collection of dark stuff, and this is how it’s turned out.  

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Why not treat yourself to some of Roberto's incredible Dark Art ...

Where the Hideous is Beautiful £14.95

The Dark Art of Roberto Segate: a Retrospective £31.55

Grim Zines £2 per issue (subscriptions available)

DELIVERY COSTS: United Kingdom: Free.   Europe (Zone 1): £1.00
USA, Canada, Australia & New Zealand (Zone 2): £2.50  

see all roberto's books here