Chris Dacre said he used to be dragged to church twice on Sunday and every Wednesday night. Then the unthinkable happened: The church dedicated a week to the End Times, complete with a movie series.
"We had Revelation Week in church and I was like, 'What the hell? Why are they showing this?'" Dacre, a fine arts graduate student, said. "It scared me so much that I just kind of became numb to it."
But who hasn't read the Book of Revelations - with its seven-headed dragon and overgrown locusts with bee stingers - and not had the hell scared out of them?
Recently, Dacre has become fascinated with doomsday prophecies and world events pointing in the direction of fulfillment of those prophecies, such as the Middle East conflicts and the SARS outbreak in Hong Kong.
His art exhibit, entitled "The Beginning of the End," is currently displayed in the Kachina Lounge in the Student Union Memorial Center and will remain there for the rest of the month.
The Kachina Lounge's walls are lined with black, white and red images of people, painted streaks and various symbols. Dacre said his art purposefully leaves a lot open to interpretation and that he wants to create discussion about the apocalypse.
"The end of the world is something that's always in the back of people's minds, and I think it's something people don't like to talk about," Dacre said. "It's a scary subject to a lot of people."
While interested in doomsday, Dacre remains somewhat cynical about the abundance of prophecies.
"There's a lot of stuff that seems like it's leading to that, like Armageddon," he said. "But there's always been stuff that, always looks like it's leading towards that. So who's to say that this is actually the End Times whereas it seems that every decade, there's somebody thinking some world event is about to cause the End Times. I guess I do believe it, but I hope it's not."
Dacre's work involves photo-litho posters, banners incorporating woodcuts, Xerox transfers and red ink smears. Dark, contrasted images (the pope, JFK and the Beatles) dominate and foreground the banners, while other images lie faded in the background.
"That's some woman getting spanked," Dacre said as he pointed out a slightly obscure butt crack on the banner. "I wanted things in the background to show stuff that's bad in the world. There's a woman holding a baby with gas masks on."
Dacre credited his art exhibit to his Christian upbringing.
"I'm making stuff from things that were forced on me in church," Dacre said. "What I was trying to do was recreate what I always envisioned when I was younger about the end of the world."
And whether 2004 is the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, Dacre said some prophecies are not without merit.
"There are certain things in the news that relate to some of these prophecies," he said. "You can't help but notice it. Once you know about some of these things, when you see a story on the news, it's kind of hard to let it go unnoticed."
There will be a free reception for Dacre from 5 to 7 tonight in the Kachina Lounge.