Virtual Art Museum

Art is one of the most important things in the world to me. Since art collection is a bit of an expensive hobby, though, ever since freshman year of college, I've been downloading and keeping a collection of my favorite art pieces, in digital form, on a hard drive. I thought a fun way to blend my love for art and programming would be to make a virtual museum including some of my favorite pieces. Narrowing down my favorite art to a few images felt a little too daunting though, so I decided to pick a sub-genre. I thought the idea of making a scary-looking 3D scene would be fun, and I love horror art, so I decided to pick some of my favorite art pieces in the horror genre. So, feel free to enter my horror virtual art museum below, but please, no flash photography.

NOTE: The following Virtual Art Museum page can be a little finicky. To best view the museum, turn off adblocker and similar extensions. Also, it seems to work best in Firefox (which is the superior browser anyways). If it's not working, try just refreshing the page. Thanks <3

Art on Display
Almost all of the art I like is digital. I find most of my favorite art by browsing obscure digital art forums on DeviantArt and Reddit (to name a few subreddits: r/ImaginaryCityscapes, r/ImaginaryHorrors, and r/ImaginaryMindscapes). While I definitely enjoy works by more famous artists (my favorite "famous" artist has to be Francisco de Goya - especially the sketches and art he did later in his life), I would consider most of the art I enjoy, and all of the art in this museum, to be relatively "underground" (sorry, I know this sounds aggressively hipster). Often times, when I find art I like, I'm not even sure of the real name of the artist, just their username. It's really fun for me to be able to make up my own story for each piece, and I get to avoid the over-saturation of explanations attached to most famous art. Below is a list of art pieces in the museum, including the name of the piece, the artist, and a short description of the piece. I didn't include links, as I'd rather you go into the museum to see each piece for yourself. Each of my short explanations should provide enough context to know which image it corresponds to.
  • Searching for Signal by Hunternif
    This is a perfect example of emotion and backstory in a piece of art. The scene in the empty expanse shows the heartbreaking result of unwavering hope and desperation being met with no payoff. In my opinion, even without any violence or monsters, it's the scariest piece in the museum.
  • Statue of the Gods by Mr. Dream
    This piece really plays with size and scale, something I love. Art like this really makes me feel adventurous; it seems natural to imagine myself in the shoes of the horseback rider and to think of all the questions I'd have and wonder I'd be experiencing in that position.
  • Eat Your Heart Out by Ione Rucquoi
    Believe it or not this is actually a photo. I think it's supposed to be pro-veganism or something, but to be honest it initially drew my attention just because of how creepy the people eating looked.
  • Upload 2 by Simon Stalenhag
    This might not be considered "horror" exactly, but it's definitely "unnerving" in it's own sense. In the best way possible, I can't tell what's going on in this piece. I think it's fun to theorize what sort of society this scene is taking place in. Is this "upload" a necessity or a vice? Is the man happy? Is he addicted? Scared? Desperate? The title makes me think that he is sacrificing something to the machine, but I'm not sure.
  • The Visit From Death by Adolph von Menzel
    This is certainly the oldest piece here, and it's not digital. It's actually the first of three in a series of pieces that are snapshots of death arriving at someone's house to take their life. I love this "elegant", anthropomorphized depiction of death; it takes its shoes off, it knocks politely, it dresses professionally, etc. Even the title is a very matter-of-fact, pleasant way to think about death.
  • All Better by Yureiwomb
    This is a really cute horror piece. Sure, the rows of teeth are gross, but the depressed, wide-smiling girl in the portrait, as well as the title, invite empathy. Yureiwomb, the artist, pretty much sticks to mostly the same character in her art, and it's fun to see the different creative ways she draws them.
  • Horror Chamber by Sebastian Cabrol
    I love the character in this sketch. Something about it being so close to looking human, but also having inhuman attribites like the glowing eyes and torn skin, makes it so freaky to me. Also, I love how the point of view makes it seems like you're in the prison with it. Yikes.
  • In Due Time by BossLogic
    This is another art piece centered around a single "monster". I love how the character is just a seemingly random amalgamation of steampunk items: a stopwatch, gears, a clock, a scythe, etc. Like the Yureiwomb piece, I can't help but feel like a little sad for the monster, sitting all alone in such an unimposing position. Also, the title makes me think it's waiting patiently for something, which I find endearing. I think this might be a video game character (because people referenced it might be on the forum I found this on), but I didn't look into it really; I just find the character to be super creative.
  • Initiate by Greg Opalinski
    This piece is just begging for more information and worlbuilding to be attached to it. It's the kind of frame you would see in a movie trailer and go see a movie just because of how enticing these two characters are. On top of the crazy clothing and body paint, the portrayal of the innocent child being cared for by such an odd creature is so intriguing to me.
  • Manga Panel from Laughing Vampire by Suehiro Maruo
    This is the first of two pieces in the museum by Suehiro Maruo, my favorite horror mangaka. He mostly does Ero-Guro manga, depicting horrible, desperate scenarios constructing a depressing world view. The tough thing is most are not translated to english, so it's hard to read a lot of his work. I haven't read Laughing Vampire, but I love the chaotic nature of this panel, with the arms controlling the boy and the boy controlling the bee.
  • Manga Panel From ??? by Seuhiro Maruo
    The second of two art pieces by Maruo is a wonderful embodiment of why I love his work so much. It's tantalizingly hideous; there's an ugly skeleton in a somewhat forced embrace with a girl, a huge eye peeking from behind a curtain, and, of course, the eyeball lick. It's this bizzare, chaotic horror that nobody can capture like Maruo can.
  • Unknown Title maybe by "Macces"
    This is by far my favorite piece on this list (it's the one with the boy sitting in the corner with goggles on). I made a pendant with this character on it, I printed off a custom canvas of this, and it's the background on my computers. It's also the most elusive. I can't remember where I found this image and I can't find the author's name or any information about this piece anywhere online (yes, I already tried reverse image searching). For some reason, I have it written down somewhere that it was by someone named "Macces" and that it had something to do with World of Warcraft (maybe concept art of some sort), but I'm not too sure where I got that information. I don't want to spoil it with a long explanation; you should just look at it and come up with your own version of it's meaning. It's my favorite piece of artwork, hands-down.
  • Slum City - Na$ty
    This is actually the song that plays on loop in the background of the museum (toggle it on in the menu). I wanted to add a song from my favorite artist, "Na$ty", and this one fit perfect with the horror theme. It's a gross, scary-sounding rap song with a twist at the end.

Tech Details

On top of building this to display art, the museum was a great way for me to dabble in "three.js", a JavaScript library that runs on WebGL (the web version of OpenGL). It's a crazy powerful tool and it's pretty insane the quality of games and scenes you can create in your browser with this. I started out by following this boilerplate example from the three.js website, then customized the scene for myself. Check out all the cool examples and documentation here.

Here's a list of things I'd love to add if I worked on this further:
  • Horizontal Collision: Obviously, the biggest physics issue is that it doesn't account for horizontal collisions (only vertical). I'd have to add more raycasters to deal with walls. This is more complicated than just replicating the floor collision, because you need to handle every horizontal direction (and all angles in between).
  • Scene Item Placement: As it stands, the images (as well as the walls, to some extent) are placed on the walls without any nice, calculable way to place them. I should have implemented it such that I could calculate their position with a function or something, but I just lazily eyeballed it and placed the items that way. Additionally, the images are "hanging" on nothing, they are just placed really close to the walls. I think it would look a lot nicer (and, obviously, more realistic) if I placed them instead as a texture on a box, and then had that box extend into the wall.
  • Click Info: One fun feature would be if the player "clicks" on a piece of artwork, it would add text to the top right of the screen that had the artwork's title and artist name. I think I could do this pretty easily by handling a click by projecting a ray forward and detecting if it intersects with any of the artworks' associated planes. If it does, show the artwork's associated information in the top right of the screen by toggling style="display: hidden;" in the html element.
  • Frames: To make the museum look nicer, I could add frames around some/all of the artwork. I could do this by just editing the images themselves or by creating some way to add a border of a certain color around each imported image in code.
  • Natural Physical Expansion: Obviously, I could do natural physical scene expansion things, such as instead of just being one room with one theme, I could have multiple rooms, each with a different theme. I could even add multiple floors and make a completely enclosed building.

Created: 11/26/2021
Last Updated: 11/26/2021