Paweł Wesołowski – Visualisation and analysis of Marilyn Manson’s paintings

Only a few people associate Marilyn Manson with painting, because he was tagged as an antichrist and a shocking rock star that kills chickens on the stage and cuts off his ribs. Focusing on this stereotypical image, one may belittle his artistic work, overlooking music filled with commentaries on the contemporary world and unusual, disturbing paintings.

Some of Marilyn Manson’s earliest works date back from 1995. Watercolour painting initially treated only as a hobby became a passion and an integral element of his creative activity. His pictures were put on display on many exhibitions, and the latest one entitled Masquerade is currently taking place in the Netherlands (

More information and trivia can be found on the MansonWiki, a site maintained by the fans of the musician ( A full gallery of paintings used in this article is available at Marilyn Manson’s official site (

The analysis focuses on the brightness of paintings, saturation of colours and their hues. Visualisations were created using ImagePlot program.

Brightness (X axis – median brightness, Y axis – standard deviation brightness)

The majority of Manson’s paintings has very bright colouring, and darker ones do not deviate much from the main group – only few visibly differentiate itself. It is mainly because of the white backgrounds, which probably serves as a means of focusing the viewer’s attention on the character presented on the painting. Characters themselves may be painted with darker colours, but it does not always influence the general brightness of the painting.

Saturation (X axis – median saturation, Y axis – standard deviation saturation)

The majority of paintings has small or low saturation. It may serve to make the grotesque characters less real. They also become more static, as if the author’s intention was to create a study of a particular case immortalised in a still frame.

Hues (X axis – median hue, Y axis – standard deviation hue)

Despite the visualisation’s help it is hard to describe which hues dominate Manson’s works – paintings on the left are characterised by yellow hues, but they also have a lot of different ones – greys, greens and reds. There are very few pictures which have a limited palette of colours – on the right there are only some red, blue and green ones.

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