From eccentric art to taxidermy rats, Long Beach’s Dark Art Emporium can lure anyone inside.
The walls of the gallery are painted black with cabinets filled with books, possessed-looking dolls and other oddities.
“People love the place,” said Jeremy Schott, the owner of the emporium. “I didn’t expect it to be as well-received as it has been.”
Before opening the gallery in 2016, Schott traveled as a cameraman for heavy metal bands and pro wrestling.
“I got tired of living on the road, so I didn’t know what I was going to do next,” Schott said. “When we were on the road, I was always going to places like this anyways, so I figured I’d make my own.”
Schott has always been interested in the occult, but he never enjoyed the drive to Hollywood or Burbank, which is where a lot of galleries and stores similar to his are located.
“I figured that there are other like-minded people that didn’t want to make that drive,” Schott said. “What we do is completely different than all of them, too. We are more of a fine art gallery. I don’t show much pop culture stuff.”
Schott’s inspiration for his establishment was taken from many different places from all around the world, such as the catacombs in France and Redsquare in Russia. One of his biggest inspiration is from a gallery in Burbank called Hyaena Gallery. Schott collected art and eventually became friends with the owner, Bill Shafer.
“He’s kind of my mentor,” Schott said. “he was the first dark art gallery on the west coast. I mean, our place is completely different than his, but he was the inspiration.”
Schott finds artists in different ways, such as word of mouth or through social media like Instagram.
“Some we get through submissions, some are friends of other artists, some are just my friends,” Schott said. “We show art from all over the world. We got stuff from down the street, Japan, Russia, England.”
Schott rotates the art and furniture in the gallery to continue showcasing different artists on the second Saturday of each month.
The gallery currently features work from Vincent Castiglia, who is an American painter. Castiglia has commissioned pieces for Triptykon’s album art and for the slasher film, “Savage County.”
“[Castiglia] paints in his own blood,” Schott said. “He only paints in blood…when I asked him to showcase here, he said yes, which surprised me.”
One of Schott’s main goals for the gallery is to be like the other galleries. He looks to showcase dark art and give artists that create that type of work a platform.
“I want to bring dark art into the art world as a respected form,” Schott said. “Some people think ‘oh, they just paint skulls,’ but we’re completely different.”
The Long Beach Dark Art Emporium is located at 256 Elm Ave, Long Beach, and is open Thursday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.