November Fat Canary Journal Artist Feature - Nicolas Bruno

N I C O L A S   B R U N O
Northport, NY


There is dark mystery in the work of the photographer Nicolas Bruno.  His series, “Between the Realms", is laden with angst, fear and psychological drama - surprising, coming from this serene, zen-ful young artist.  Yet, looking at his work it is clear that Bruno’s in the midst of a battle with personal demons. 

The source of Bruno’s artistic insight arrived unexpectedly at the young age of 15, in the form of a unexplainable and frightening condition called sleep paralysis.  A well-documented condition that paralyzes its victim with hallucinations during the twilight between wakefulness and sleep.

A somewhat common phenomenon that affects up to 40% of us at least once during our lifetimes, it has been part of the human condition for hundreds of years, with many recurring themes appearing in folk law and myths throughout the ages. Bruno has tapped into this legacy with remarkable images, mostly with himself as the model, in bizarre and otherworldly scenes.

The theme of the sleep paralysis nightmare is also scattered throughout art history.  Henry Fuseli, the 18th century painter, whose work The Nightmare is often linked to this condition, as are the etchings of Thomas Rowlandson and William Blake. 

Following in this artistic tradition, Bruno too finds inspiration in the horrors he encounters in sleep.   His efforts are to subdue the creatures of his night terrors through creative expression. By recreating scenes from his hallucinations, Bruno has thrown these demons to the ground and the result are remarkable images that are timeless and enduring.


 Ocean Breathes Salty


Nicolas Bruno studied at Purchase College of New York, where he received his BFA in Photography in 2015. His studio practice is based in Northport, New York, where he photographs and fabricates props for his compositions. Bruno weaves together his terrifying experiences of Sleep Paralysis with surreal self-portraiture in a therapeutic translation of night terror to image. His constructed worlds of uncertainty exist on plane between waking and sleeping, where he is tormented by a physical embrace of the subconscious and its perils, all while being paralyzed in bed. Influences of 19th century Romanticists, historical texts of occultism, and dream symbolism lace each composition with various visual dialogues of the macabre.



Haven Gallery, Northport
February 23, 2019
Please visit for details. 




For a printed version of this feature, please click here


Anonymous said…
"Serene" and "zen-ful" are not what I would expect from the mastermind behind these images. At very least, I'd guess that Bruno is an ancient soul, with work that delves far beyond the "here and now." It's beautiful, and it's as compelling as it is disturbing.


  • "Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing - and keeping the unknown always beyond you." Georgia O'Keeffe