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Sleep Paralysis
Exploring the concept of a nightmare that most of us have seen at some point but written off as an overactive imagination.

If you've ever had a sleep paralysis hallucination then you know how terrifying it is to see your nightmare standing seemingly right in front of you - even if you're aware that you're dreaming. Having heard many accounts of this recurring beast but never having experienced it myself, I decided to use my boyfriend's specific description of his sleep paralysis nightmare as a design brief and treat it with the same attention to functionality as if it were part of a tv show.

sleep paralysis monster with smoke (above) Eternally accompanied by the sound and heavy aura of white noise, this sleep paralysis monster is the embodiment of dark static, down to the lightning-quick flickering of its head as it turns to face you. *example is shown in video below

What does it want? How does it move? Why have so many people seen it just before they wake up and find themselves alone in the room? I was able to answer these questions and more by connecting sleep paralysis episodes with short-term memory loss - the type you experience upon forgetting what you were doing after walking into a room. All living organisms need to feed one way or another after all, so I wondered whether this monster (since it is not an entirely physical being) would choose to feed off of similarly intangible materials, such as memories. By feeding off of individuals' memories during a nightmare, it could believably survive every night, leave no physical traces, and seem to disappear like a dream if it happened to have been seen, since the victim would have no memory of the feeding itself!

sleep paralysis monster scaring child
sleep paralysis monster with menacing hands over child
    • sleep paralysis monster standing over girl
    • sleep paralysis monster in smoke
    • sketches of movement
    • sleep paralysis monster stading over a bed
    • sketch of monster
    • detailed design of monster
    • sleep paralysis monster in doorway

Painting Process

Sketch Process