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Beauty in Decay: The Art of Dylan Garrett Smith

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Somewhere between life and death, in a liminal space of melancholia and dark beauty lies the work of Dylan Garrett Smith. The Pennsylvania-based artist creates stunning pieces that explore nature’s fragile cycle of bloom and decay.

Smith’s website describes him as:

“An artist/printmaker whose work is a product of his views regarding humanity’s relationships with – and the continually growing distance from – the natural world. Combining concepts of occultism, ecology, and memento mori, Smith stresses the importance of the cycle of birth-bloom-decay and the necessity of solitude in nature. Ashes, chalk-lead and ink on black cotton rag paper serve as the primary media to make his images, while reinforcing the natural process of life, death, and rebirth”

Each piece is a haunting tribute to the natural world, revering its beauty and power, mourning its ending and celebrating its eventual renewal.

“The Collector I” (pitcher plants/bones)
Ashes, chalk-lead, and ink on black cotton-rag paper


“The Collector II” (deer/skulls)
Ashes, chalk-lead, and ink on black cotton-rag paper


“The Collector III” (Venus fly traps/teeth)
Ashes, chalk-lead, and ink on black cotton-rag paper


Smith has displayed his work in a number of solo and collaborative exhibitions across the US. His own exhibitions have included An Offering (2017), What You Fear Will Come Upon You (2016), Birth, Bloom Decay, The Quiet Dark, Welcome Home, Hollow Upon Hollow (collaborative works with Crystal Lee Lucas) (2015) and V.I.T.R.I.O.L (2014). Additionally, Smith has an impressive repertoire of design and musical clients including Cvlt Nation and Vegan Treats Bakery, as well as the bands Sodom and Mastodon.

“A New Seed is Sown,” 2017
Ashes, chalk-lead and ink on black cotton-rag paper


“The Binding Ritual,” 2017
Ashes, chalk-lead and ink on black cotton-rag paper


“The Blind-Worm’s Sting”, 2017
Ashes, chalk-lead and ink on black cotton-rag paper

Smith’s work is displayed on his website in decadent gothic frames that compliment and enhance the atmosphere of his visions. For some frame inspiration of your own, see our article on creating a Victorian gallery wall.

“Rot From the Inside Out”
Ashes, chalk-lead and ink on black cotton-rag paper


Whilst Smith’s original pieces are highly sought-after, it is possible to capture some of his artistic magic in the postcard sets available on his store. The first set contains 4×6″ mini-prints of “Two Lovers,” “The Abomination of Abominations,” “A New Seed is Sown,” “The Binding Ritual,” and “Carrion.”

“Two Lovers”
4×6″ Mini Print/Postcard//$20


The second postcard set contains 4×6″ mini-prints of “A House for Agatha,” “Luperci,” “The Blind Worm’s Sting,” “...Then you will come to their village,” and “Only the Moon Howls.” These sets are ideal, either as gifts for your loved ones, or to frame and hang in their own right.

“A House for Agatha”
4×6″ Mini Print/Postcard//$20


There are also tote bags featuring Smith’s artwork, perfect for carrying books, stationery, or art supplies.

“Rise and Fall”
Tote Bag//$20


For those darklings who are cultivating a pin collection, Smith has crafted a delicate and detailed addition. “Naturae” features a mournful goat under a dripping crescent moon, that comes mounted on a haunting forest scene.



Smith’s creative outlets do not stop at artwork – he also makes perfume under the brand name BirthBloomDecay. The scents, “A Sky of Different Stars,” and “An Offering,” promise an otherworldly experience for the wearer.

“Our sun sets against indecipherable deciduous silhouettes and the air thickens as you continue to climb along a gently worn path to an undisclosed location. As your journey through the darkness continues, the scent of smoke, dead leaves, labdanum and moss swirl around you, fusing with distant chants. Follow us to the fire; for the forest, we’ve prepared An Offering.”

“An Offering” – fragrance by BirthBloomDecay//$10+

The book ALL IS EQUAL IN THE EYES OF DIRT / UNDERNEATH is Smith’s collaborative poetic and artistic work with Joseph Madaleine. These are a limited, hand-numbered collection of 50.





Follow Dylan Garrett Smith on Instagram or Tumblr to see more of his work.

All images from Dylan Garrett Smith

Items can be purchased from Dylan Garrett Smith’s store.

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About The Author

Charlotte Keighron is a UK based spook with a love of all things dark, occult, creepy and gothic. Find her on Instagram or creeping under a pile of books, embroidery and black clothes.

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