Paintings of crime scene photos by Ashley Hope

Ashley Hope paints from crime scene photos. The images in this gallery depict murders of women. Snip from artist's statement:

There are certain moments in life when one experiences space and time to an excruciating degree. There are seconds -- fleeting, momentous seconds -- when the world seems relentlessly clear, and the very nature of existence graspable. When the moment passes, you think to yourself, "My God, I just saw it. It. The truth. What was it?" Although you are unable to define, the sensation of knowing stays with you. Most likely, the Real cannot be set in words, it is beyond words. Human tragedy is almost always accompanied by that glimpse of the Real.
Link to her website. Image: Laundry, 4' x 5', oil on panel, 2007. A debut solo exhibition is currently on display at New York's Tilton Gallery. (Thanks, Susannah Breslin, via rileydog)


  1. If I recall correctly, there was recently a photographer who was working on her MFA @ Yale , and had a series of crime-scene photo re-enactments.

    Does anyone know her name? I could not track down the right person on any search engine.

  2. i’m sure someone can find merrit in this. it may even actually have some.

    Maybe i’m simple in that i don’t like art that i dont’ find enjoyabe.

    but i don’t find murdered women enjoyabe.

  3. Is nothing sacred? Do people really have to add a clause to thier will stating: “If murdered don’t let some yuppie profit off my violent death”?

  4. In my experience, I’ve heard alot of personal accounts of people having clairvoyant moments before they die, and other anecdotal accounts of this phenomenon have existed since ancient/classical days. My dad was a staunch atheist/agnostic his whole life, about 2-3 weeks before he died, he told my Mom that he spoke to God in a dream and related a detailed description about the conversation. The looks on these people’s faces look like they had a similar experience.

  5. I’m surprised by the negative comments; since when is art supposed to be ‘enjoyable’? It ain’t Kinkade. It’s brutal and powerful stuff.

  6. This reminded me immediately of another artist name Marlene Mccarty. She depicts the criminals and sometimes the victims of somewhat notorious crimes in oddly sexually explicit ways. This is done by using mostly linework with subtle shading and rare coloring but then making clothing transparent in some areas and showing extra limbs on subjects.

    Here are a few links from a basic search of her name.

  7. Oops, sorry for the double post but the third link ( is a study of the crimes which include a lot of Mccarty’s images.

  8. I dunno, I like it. Sorta reminds me of that movie Crash with the vagina wounds. Call me a sick bastard but I like the boldness of it, and it’s not distastefully done at least.

    Wouldn’t mind picking one up, but they’re probably prohibitively expensive (or not for sale), and I can’t find any prints.

  9. I think people should only paint pretty things. Art isn’t about the communication of meaning, thoughts, and feelings. It isn’t about a deep connection between viewer, artist, and subject. It’s about making people feel comfortable and pleasant.

    I’m totally serious.


    No, I am.

    Okay, I’m lying.

  10. They are fantastic…not cynic at all. I once found somebody dear to me in a very similar position as the featured pic, except it was a suicide.

    A moment like that is very surreal and I think those paintings are bringing that kind of atmosphere across wonderfully.

  11. These works are beautiful (yes, the grotesque can be stunningly gorgeous) and intense. Hope’s work reminds me of Frida Kahlo’s “A Few Little Nips” though I venture to say these are more viscerally composed, (in my very humble opinion) with more grace. If someone using the word “still life” in a clever way makes you ill, donate money toward groups that try to curb these women’s violent, sexual deaths in the first place so Ms. Hope runs out of subjects.

  12. For me the issue or question is not the “art” of these images but the artist’s intent and philosophy. She states that they provide “that glimpse of the Real” or Truth. This is an idea that is very crucial in understanding the nature of the universe (our existence) and has also been expressed in the extremely important film; “American Beauty”. The character Ricky Fitts has much the same attitude about death that this artist does as he explains why he videotaped a dead homeless woman to his girlfriend Jane. When asked by Jane; “Why did you film her?”, he replies; “It’s like God is looking right at you, just for a second, and if you are careful you can look right back.”. To which Jane asks; “And what do you see?”, and Ricky replies; “beauty”.

  13. what is the difference between these and the photos of a couple of seasons ago on America’s next top model – where the models were posed as murder victims? why are all the murder victims young shapely women? sorry this is just a continuation of the pornography of violence against women – it is so common now – sex/(young) women/murder that society doesn’t even blink and eye. It is prurient titillation at it’s worst no matter how facile the artist. there is no ‘beauty’ here,no looking at god, no celebration of the love of life – are you kidding me? i created an installation as a memorium to murdered women with their names – those hundreds of thousands of names through history and culture and time – painted by hand – covering the walls of the gallery – i ran out of room i had thousands and thousands and thousands more. i tried to give them their voices and bodies and names back to them – what does this artist bring to the discussion? nothing new – same old crap – a new take on ‘death while female’ – what garbage- what a load of conceit – what a waste, might as well just go see Marilyn Manson’s nice watercolours of Elizabeth Short’s desecrated body.

  14. I think the softness of the medium opens me to the message in a way that photographs would not allow. More evocative than photos would be. I’m also moved by the idea that the artist took quite a bit of time to document what was done to these women.

    It’s not a happy thing, but it is what is.

  15. Wow, I’m actually a little surprised at some of the thinking here.
    @Gwyllion – Not all death related art is a memorial. And your way of expressing death as an artist is no more or less valid than this artist because it’s less visceral. As an artist, I am insulted by your assumption that “there is no ‘beauty’ here,no looking at god, no celebration of the love of life”. If you want to ask about the power and impact of depictions of murder victims, take a look at the crucifix. (Please no religious debate here, I’m just making a point) There’s an image that has been powerful enough to cornerstone a church for quite a while.
    Besides, I would think that realistic depictions of this sort of violence would be seen in a better light than the glamourized violence in the media.
    Personally, I think these images are striking and very well done. (I agree they remind me of Khalo as well.)

  16. Hamish, yes, of course it’s art.

    Cpt. Tim, you’re not supposed to find murdered women enjoyable, so it’s just as well that you don’t. These aren’t murdered women. They’re pictures. They’re careful and oddly respectful. They make us look at the subjects through a different set of eyes.

    Dronestate, you don’t know whether the artist is a yuppie, you don’t know how much work was involved or profit was made, and I really don’t think you read the artist’s statement.

    Whooooo, I find those links much creepier than Ashley Hope’s work.

    Gwyllion, you’re running on automatic if you think this is “just a continuation of the pornography of violence against women,” or if you think there’s no difference between these and an America’s next top model shoot. A top model photo shoot aims for glamour. Ashley Hope is aiming for the clarity of the real. Those intentions are opposed, not identical.

    You say it’s prurient titillation. That is: you’re asserting that people are going to masturbate while looking at these paintings. You’re wrong. I’ve seen lots and lots and lots of prurient, titillating images, and these ain’t it.

    Anyone who could get off while looking at Ashley Hope’s paintings could also get off while looking at holy cards, forensic crime scene photos, or your memorial art installation. That is: only a person who’s blind to artistic subtext and intention could find these pictures sexy.

  17. I tried for two and a half hours to establish an account, but your system does not work. It never recognised any passwords,including the ones it gave me.

    Your succint summary regarding the various comments on Ashley Hope’s paintings stands as a masterpiece of both perception and communication. Your use of the English language in deftly dissecting the various observations, some quite inane, establishes you as every bit as skillful with the pen as Ashley Hope is with the brush.

    Thanks for putting into words what most people felt when they read some of those comments, particularly the one about Ashley being a yuppie.

    Oh, Ashley is anything but a yuppie. But then I’m no doubt biased; I’m her dad.
    Ol’ man Hope

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