ELL Is Real

November 2019

A series of wax crayon drawings by Natalie Petrosky

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Press Release:

There is a large billboard on the left side of I-71 in Ohio that you can see while traveling south from Columbus to Cincinnati that simply states ‘HELL IS REAL’. A loaded statement for many reasons, sure, but twelve years of Catholic school has made me numb to that message or anyone trying to preach it. I have always been more concerned with the aesthetic of the text itself. The background is black. The text is white in all capital letters. Except the ‘H’. The H is a red capital letter with a white outline.

I have made the drive from Akron/Cleveland, OH to Knoxville, TN repeatedly over the past 6 years of my life. It’s pretty much a straight 8 hour shot south, I-71 to I-75. I have passed that sign every time and I cannot stop thinking about the H in HELL. It seems like such a weird choice to make one letter different from the rest. It must mean something.

What in God’s name is that H doing?

The image in my drawings is an altered version of a treasure chest from an old Wario game. I was interested in what the shadow self would covet and find valuable. That form now acts as multiple things at once. Maybe it can be the H in HELL.

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