This week we learned that a series of artworks created by the Kray twins were set to fetch £15,000 at auction.

Artworks created by famous criminals are big business, with entire websites devoted to selling off everything and anything created by gangsters, serial killers or famous shooters.

The first question posed by work like this is whether, if it wasn't for their notoriety as criminals, anyone would attach any value to the pieces at all.

The Krays' at least demonstrate a degree of artistic skill in their colourful landscapes and abstract portraits, but as the gallery below confirms, not all killers who decide to pick up a paint brush are any good in a technical sense.

The second, altogether more intriguing question is whether viewers can ascertain some insight into the criminal mind by studying what their subconscious prompted them to paint or draw.

We all enjoy indulging in some cod psychology from time to time, and never more so when confronted with people capable of inexplicable crimes and violence.

Does John Wayne Gacy's clown paintings reveal something about his inner sickness? Should Richard Ramirez's cartoon devils be read as self-portraits? Or is all of that simply us projecting sanity onto an insane mind?

The following artworks by famous killers and criminals shouldn't be celebrated any more than their appalling crimes should ever be excused.

What they do raise, however, is some interesting questions about how we view art and creativity in relation to personality and criminality.

Take a look at the gallery below, and let us know how you feel about them.

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  • John Wayne Gacy

    John Wayne Gacy was responsible for sexually assaulting and killing at least 33 teenage boys and young men between 1972 and 1978. His gruesome secret was eventually discovered when police found bodies buried beneath his home in Illinois. The clowns in his artwork could be read as self-portraits, as in his public life Gacy dressed up as a character he called 'Pogo the Clown' at charity events and, chillingly, children's parties. It earned him the nickname 'the Killer Clown'. He was executed in 1994. (PA)

  • Artwork by John Wayne Gacy (REX)

  • A child observes a series of John Wayne Gacy's paintings (REX)

  • Charles Bronson

    The "most violent prisoner in Britain" Charles Bronson has committed most of his crimes behind bars, where he's been variously responsible for wounding other inmates, attacking prison officers and embarking on rooftop protests. Bronson is a source of endless fascination in Britain and has been the subject of many books and films. Part of his enigma are his drawings that offer a fairly explicit insight into his state of mind and attitude to life behind bars. (REX)

  • By Charles Bronson. Source: <a href="http://www.artbelow.org.uk/ab/Home.action" target="_hplink">artbelow.org.uk</a>

  • By Charles Bronson. Source: <a href="http://www.artbelow.org.uk/ab/Home.action" target="_hplink">artbelow.org.uk</a>

  • By Charles Bronson. Source: <a href="http://www.artbelow.org.uk/ab/Home.action" target="_hplink">artbelow.org.uk</a>

  • By Charles Bronson. Source: <a href="http://www.artbelow.org.uk/ab/Home.action" target="_hplink">artbelow.org.uk</a>

  • By Charles Bronson. Source: <a href="http://www.artbelow.org.uk/ab/Home.action" target="_hplink">artbelow.org.uk</a>

  • By Charles Bronson. Source: <a href="http://www.artbelow.org.uk/ab/Home.action" target="_hplink">artbelow.org.uk</a>

  • Henry Lee Lucas

    Henry Lee Lucas was convicted of 11 different cases of murder and confessed to being involved in 600 murders in total - though he later withdrew this and insisted he 'wasn't a serial killer'. The exact truth of how many and which murders he was responsible for has subsequently become blurred, though the accepted estimate is around 350.<br><br>Lucas died in prison in 2001, but not before producing some of the more technically accomplished art in this gallery; a couple of peaceful landscapes that defy what people might expect from a disturbed mind - and one snarling demon that is probably exactly what people would expect.<br><br>(PA)

  • By Henry Lee Lucas. Source: <a href="http://hafny.org/blog/2010/03/serial-killer-art-henry-lee-lucas/" target="_hplink">hafny.org</a>

  • By Henry Lee Lucas. Source: <a href="http://hafny.org/blog/2010/03/serial-killer-art-henry-lee-lucas/" target="_hplink">hafny.org</a>

  • By Henry Lee Lucas. Source: <a href="http://hafny.org/blog/2010/03/serial-killer-art-henry-lee-lucas/" target="_hplink">hafny.org</a>

  • Keith Hunter Jesperson

    Canadian-born Keith Hunter Jesperson acquired the nickname the 'Happy Faced Killer' for the smiley faces he drew on his letters to the media while on a killing spree that claimed the lives of eight women over five year in the early 90s. He late claimed to have killed up to 160 people, but only eight were proven.<br><br>His artwork were crude, quite childish cartoons, including a duck wearing a tie asking 'Who me?' and a devil looking over its shoulder.<br><br>Source: Courtesy of Riverside County, Calif

  • By Keith Hunter Jesperson. Source: <a href="http://www.francesfarmersrevenge.com/stuff/serialkillers/jespersonart.htm" target="_hplink">francesfarmersrevenge.com</a>

  • By Keith Hunter Jesperson. Source: <a href="http://www.francesfarmersrevenge.com/stuff/serialkillers/jespersonart.htm" target="_hplink">francesfarmersrevenge.com</a>

  • By Keith Hunter Jesperson. Source: <a href="http://www.francesfarmersrevenge.com/stuff/serialkillers/jespersonart.htm" target="_hplink">francesfarmersrevenge.com</a>

  • By Keith Hunter Jesperson. Source: <a href="http://www.francesfarmersrevenge.com/stuff/serialkillers/jespersonart.htm" target="_hplink">francesfarmersrevenge.com</a>

  • Ottis Elwood Toole

    Ottis Elwood Toole was responsible for some of the most deranged and reprehensible crime imaginable, from killing to necrophilia to cannabilism. An accomplice of serial killer Henry Lee Lucas, the pair confessed to killing hundreds of people in a spree that had no discernable pattern. They targeted victims of all races, genders and age and killed them by a wide variety of methods.<br><br>Like Jesperson, Toole's artwork was extremely crude and cartoon in style, including one showing eight different versions of the same male face.<br><br>(PA)

  • Richard Ramirez

    Dubbed the 'Night Stalker' Richard Ramirez is still awating execution on death row in California after killing an estimated 14 people in 1985.<br><br>His artwork includes skulls, devils and demon-like creatures - is this what you'd typically expect from the mind of a killer? Or does it look more like the drawings of any little boy?<br><br>(PA)

  • Wayne Lo

    In 1992, Taiwanese-American student Wayne Lo walked into his college in Massahusetts and opened fire, killing one student and a professor as well as wounding four others. He is currently serving two life sentences.<br><br>He now has a website on which he sells his embroidered artwork, donating the proceeds to The Galen Gibson Fund, which provides scholarships for high school graduates who want to pursue studies in theatre arts.<br><br>Source: Supplied

  • By Wayne Lo. Source: <a href="SkidLo.net" target="_hplink">SkidLo.net</a>

  • By Wayne Lo. Source: <a href="SkidLo.net" target="_hplink">SkidLo.net</a>

  • Arthur Shawcross

    Arthur John Shawcross killed 14 victims and was also convicted for the manslaughter of two children. He carried out most of his crimes in the state of New York and died in jail in 2008.<br><br>His artwork differs from the others in this gallery. It's a fantasy landscape featuring a castle and floating planets.<br><br>(PA)

  • By Arthur Shawcross (PA)

  • Adolf Hitler

    Comfortably the biggest criminal in the list, Germany dictator Adolf Hitler was responsible for the systematic murder of 11 million people. He was also a fairly competent painter, as the following slides show. (PA)

  • By Adolf Hitler (REX)

  • By Adolf Hitler (REX)

  • By Adolf Hitler (REX)

  • The Kray twins

    The Krays were huge figures in London organised crime in the 50s and 60s, who were both imprisoned for life in 1969 after being convicted of armed robberies, violent assaults, torture and murder.<br><br>Defying their hard men image, both were <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/06/20/kay-twins-artwork-sale_n_1611722.html?utm_hp_ref=uk-culture" target="_hplink">accomplished artists whose work is about to sell at auction for an estimated £15,000</a>.<br><br>(PA)

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