Nightmare – Art

Nightmare art by Paul Bielaczyc

Nightmare Art Print

From the Artist

About the Piece:

Where do nightmares come from? Are they figments of our imagination, or physical beings that exist in our world? What if all of our dreams begin as pleasant ones, without a single bad dream to haunt our sleep. However as we sleep, there are creatures that come out at night and feed upon the positive energy and happy emotions in our dreams. As these creatures, these Nightmares, devour those feelings, they sustain themselves and survive, but our peaceful dreams are drained and corrupted, leaving behind only the twisted remains, the frightening visions that terrorize our sleep.

The original is in the private collection of Paul Bielaczyc.



  People’s Choice, Chattacon XXX, 2005.

  2nd Place Professional, Chattacon XXX, 2005.

  1st Place Professional, MidSouthCon 23, 2005.

  1st Place Amateur, Dragon*Con, 2005.

  Best 2-D Amateur, Dragon*Con, 2005.

  Best Action, Masters of Fantasy, 2005

  21st Annual Chesley Award – Best Monochrome Unpublished

  Best Black and White, GenCon 2011

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More about creatures from our nightmares

Nightmares and dreams have long been a source of fascination and fear, inspiring myths and legends about creatures that lurk in the shadows of our subconscious minds. These mythical beings, often born from the tapestry of human imagination, embody the eerie and mysterious elements of the dream realm.

One such creature is the Night Hag, a cross-cultural figure known for haunting the dreams of sleepers. In various traditions, she is believed to sit on the chest of her victims, causing a sensation of suffocation known as sleep paralysis. The Night Hag feeds on the fear and despair she induces, making her a symbol of nocturnal terror across different cultures.

In Japanese folklore, the Baku is a benevolent creature that devours dreams, especially nightmares. Described as a chimera with elements of various animals, the Baku is called upon to protect individuals from malevolent dreams. It is said that the Baku consumes bad dreams, leaving only peaceful and pleasant ones in its wake.

The Alp, a creature from Germanic folklore, is another entity associated with nightmares. This supernatural being is believed to sit on the chests of sleepers, causing a sensation of pressure and inducing unsettling dreams. In some traditions, the Alp is said to drink the blood or milk of its victims, leaving them weakened and fatigued upon waking.

The African myth of the Popobawa tells of a shape-shifting bat-like creature that terrorizes communities by feeding on their nightmares. Legend has it that the Popobawa can transform from a human to a bat and enters homes at night, striking fear into the hearts of those it visits.

These mythical creatures, rooted in the fabric of cultural storytelling, serve as symbolic representations of the fears and anxieties that manifest in our dreams. Exploring these legends provides a glimpse into the collective human psyche and the ways in which different cultures have grappled with the mysterious realm of the unconscious mind.

About Paul Bielaczyc

Portrait of Paul Bielaczyc

I have been drawing and whatnot since as long as I can remember.  Any spot in my school notebooks that didn’t have notes were filled with sketches. I drew mostly from the D&D adventures that my brother ran, as well as the fantasy books I was reading. I did a few pieces based on Terry Brooks’ Shannara series, but focusing on being a nerd, I didn’t have much time for art in high school.

When I got to college I dual majored in Computer Science and Art History. I minored in Studio Art, and took as many art classes as my schedule allowed. I seemed to be pursuing a career in art or art education, but decided to try graduate school in Computer Science.  I graduated in 2004 with a Master’s in CS, but again switched paths and returned to my art interests. Mike, my brother, and I co-own Aradani Studios, a costuming and art company that we founded in 2002. We travel mostly in the Southeast United States, to various conventions and Renaissance Festivals, selling our art, and our ears.

I currently call Nashville, TN my home, and don’t see that changing for quite some time. This is where my friends, my family, and my career is. When I first posted this bio, I said that, “I still have no idea what I want to do with my life.” Well, in those 4 years that I wrote that, I think I have found my calling. At the age of 26, I won the most prestigious fantasy art award there is, the Chesley Award. Mike and I have slowly but steadily grown this business into something that now employs other people! And most importantly, I love what I do, and I truly enjoy being able to talk about my art with people, and have a dialogue with them.

And I owe all of this to my brother. Without him, I don’t know where I would be today, but it wouldn’t be here. And I hope he always remembers that I am grateful to him.

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