{ feuilleton }


• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for August, 2009




A=P=P=A=R=I=T=I=O=N is a collaboration between artist Cerith Wyn Evans and Throbbing Gristle, the once notorious Industrial music act now enjoying a resurgence of activity and attention. Evans and TG have an earlier connection via Derek Jarman, for whom Evans worked as an assistant. Given how much I enjoy seeing mirrors used in art, I’m very […]

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TS Eliot revealed as defender of lesbian fiction

TS Eliot revealed as defender of lesbian fiction

Posted in {books}, {gay}, {noted} | 1 comment »


Battersea Power Station


A photograph of the control room of Battersea Power Station, London, by Michael Collins, one of a series which will shortly be on display at the Royal Institute of British Architects. The images show Battersea Power Station as what Collins describes as a “twentieth century ruined castle” – a building that was built to last, […]

Posted in {architecture}, {design}, {film}, {music}, {photography} | 6 comments »


The Studio & Studio International


Back in February I posted some pictures from a 1971 collection of Art Nouveau illustration and design, some of which were competition entries from The Studio magazine. The Studio, which later became the long-running Studio International, can be seen from issue 11 onwards at the Internet Archive now that they’ve started uploading Google’s book scans. […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {beardsley}, {black and white}, {books}, {design}, {typography} | Comments Off


The Thing set on survival

The Thing set on survival | Anne Billson on John Carpenter’s masterpiece.

Posted in {film}, {horror}, {noted} | 1 comment »


‘It was basically freak-out music’

‘It was basically freak-out music’ | Hawkwind again.

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William S Burroughs: A Man Within


The Ticket that Exploded. Cover design by Thomi Wroblowski for a John Calder edition, 1985. William S Burroughs: A Man Within is a feature-length documentary by Yony Leyser, and is, so the makers say, the first posthumous documentary about the always essential writer. Howard Brookner’s 1983 film, Burroughs, is probably definitive where the biography is […]

Posted in {books}, {burroughs}, {film}, {gay} | 5 comments »


Nicoletto Giganti’s naked duellists


This is something you don’t generally see in swashbuckling films, a duellist being stabbed through the eye. To judge by the plates in Nicoletto Giganti’s sword-fighting manual it seems to have been a very common form of attack; duels with bare blades were a serious business. For some reason most of the combatants in these […]

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The art of Warwick Goble, 1862–1943


Moon Maiden (1910). Goble’s Moon Maiden, an illustration from Green Willow and Other Japanese Fairy Tales, is proof that a peacock train needn’t be the sole preserve of masculine birds, but then Ruth St Denis had already shown us that. Art Passions has a decent selection of Goble’s fairy pictures although if you want to […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 3 comments »


Fillmore sealife


Country Joe & the Fish by Wilfred Weisser (1968). A pair of sea-themed psychedelic posters from a small collection here. Most of the examples are familiar faces but these two stood out for me, especially the octopus one by Wilfred Weisser which I hadn’t seen before. The figures in Bob Fried‘s poster below look like […]

Posted in {design}, {music}, {psychedelia} | 1 comment »


More book design


Yes, it’s been a busy year. These are books three and four respectively of the titles I’ve been designing for Tachyon Publications, and there are more on the way. Kage Baker’s The Hotel Under the Sand is a charming fantasy for children concerning the hotel of the title and its curious inhabitants, which include a […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {science fiction}, {work} | 2 comments »


Forbidden Colours


Wilhelm von Gloeden‘s version of the Flandrin pose as it appears on the cover of a 1989 Gallimard edition of Forbidden Colours by Yukio Mishima. I included this photograph in the very first posting which examines the recurrence of Flandrin’s Jeune Homme Assis au Bord de la Mer but this is the first time I’ve […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {film}, {gay} | 3 comments »


Matt Prior’s Golden Bail


Another work update and the second beer label I’ve done for the Adur Brewery who like to match their bespoke ales with bespoke artwork. This one is cricket-themed, as you may have noticed, Matt Prior being a cricket player, apparently, and the Ashes tournament currently in progress. I know next to nothing about the sport […]

Posted in {design}, {drugs}, {work} | 4 comments »


Unearthed again – golden hare that obsessed a nation

Unearthed again – golden hare that obsessed a nation | Kit Williams and Masquerade.

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Moldover’s CD case: a working theremin. In May this year, Brian Eno was writing in Prospect magazine about the current state of the music business as it continues to be assailed by digital technology. Among the things Eno discussed was the packaging of music: The duplicability of recordings has had another unexpected effect. The pressure […]

Posted in {design}, {electronica}, {music}, {technology} | 7 comments »


New Modofly books


Steampunk: Life in Our New Century! I’m behind on work updates again. Still being very productive on a range of different fronts—mostly book and CD design as usual—but the workload means that site updates tend to suffer. Anyway… This new Steampunk illustration was a quick piece done at the weekend to accompany an article Jeff […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {science fiction}, {work} | 4 comments »


Faust’s blood, sweat and hell-fire

Faust’s blood, sweat and hell-fire | A lavish new stage production of Goethe.

Posted in {books}, {noted}, {religion}, {theatre} | 4 comments »


The art of Michael Dotson


Dream House #3 (2009). Many of Michael Dotson‘s vivid acrylic paintings would make good illustrations for JG Ballard books or for some of his more hallucinatory short stories. Not all of these stylised urban landscapes and empty sports arenas have the requisite latent menace to be truly Ballardian but the anomalous black pyramid in Dream […]

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Le Phallus phénoménal


Le Phallus phénoménal (1793–1794). This blurred and discoloured picture arrives following a discussion with Paul Rumsey in the comments for an earlier post about engravings of monstrous whales. The pictures there were by engraver Hieronymus Cock whose surname gives us an additional resonance when discussing Moby Dick and sperm whales. The picture I posted of […]

Posted in {art}, {science} | 2 comments »


Dream sleeves: John Walsh on how a 40 year old idea could save the music industry

Dream sleeves: John Walsh on how a 40 year old idea could save the music industry

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L’Androgyne by Alexandre Séon (1890). Related to yesterday’s post, I’ve been re-reading various books this week for details of the most curious character associated with the French Symbolist movement, novelist and occultist Joséphin Péladan (1859–1918), also known as Sâr Peladan, a Babylonian title he bestowed upon himself as more befitting his adopted role as Rosicrucian […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {eye candy}, {fashion}, {gay}, {occult}, {painting}, {symbolists} | 3 comments »


Delville, Scriabin and Prometheus


Another striking design found by chance. Symbolist artist Jean Delville (1867–1953) created this sheet music title page for Promethée by Scriabin in 1912, and the pair are well-matched given their shared predilection for mysticism (Theosophy in Delville’s case). Delville had also dealt with Prometheus in a typically dramatic, if sexless, picture a few years earlier […]

Posted in {art}, {illustrators}, {music}, {occult}, {painting}, {symbolists} | 6 comments »


Caldwell & Co


A cosmic pendant lamp by New York lighting manufacturer, Caldwell & Co, created for the Rockefeller Center in 1932. The company’s Art Deco-styled designs for that building feature a number of other flying saucer pendants although none as striking as this one. The photo is one of many made available by the Smithsonian Institute on […]

Posted in {architecture}, {design}, {technology} | 1 comment »


Computers draw a new chapter in comics

Computers draw a new chapter in comics | Artist Dave Gibbons on comics and technology.

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Rashied Ali, 1935–2009


The death this week of guitar pioneer Les Paul is already receiving considerable attention; less will be given to the passing of drummer Rashied Ali. The latter means more for me as a musician since I’m listening to his work all the time. Ali famously (and to some, controversially) replaced drummer Elvin Jones as John […]

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March of the Penguins


top left: David Pelham’s classic design (1972); top right: photography by Lionel F Williams (Eye) and SOA / Photonica (Cogs) (1996). bottom left and right: photography by Véronique Rolland (2000 & 2008). In April this year I wrote about James Pardey’s excellent site devoted to book covers from the Penguin science fiction range. I’m often […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {science fiction} | 7 comments »


Steinlen’s cats


Chat Noir poster (1896). We had Louis Wain yesterday so it only seems right to follow with the other notable cat artist of the period, and also the one whose work I prefer, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen (1859–1923). Steinlen’s designs for the Montmartre cabaret, Le Chat Noir, of which there are many variations, are dismayingly ubiquitous […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {illustrators}, {painting}, {sculpture} | 7 comments »


Louis Wain at Nunnington Hall


The Mother of Triplets. Anyone in the vicinity of Nunnington Hall in North Yorkshire over the next month has the opportunity to view and—if you’re wealthy enough—buy some pictures by Victorian cat artist Louis Wain (1860–1939). Wain is famously “The Cat Artist Who Went Mad” (as Chris Beetles’ gallery site puts it) and that piece […]

Posted in {art}, {illustrators} | 7 comments »


Automates Ki


Following the post last week about the Gamelatron, Masha left a comment referring me to the similar, if less harmonious, Automates Ki systems of Canadian composer Maxime De La Rochefoucauld who describes his constructions as “musical robots activated by inaudible frequencies”. He also says: Ki is a japanese concept : roughly, it is the invisible […]

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Of the Monstrous Pictures of Whales


When Herman Melville complains in chapter 55 of Moby Dick about erroneous representations of whales, this is the kind of thing he had in mind. Among those he takes to task, however, I don’t recall any of them having two blow-holes like the creature above. The coat of arms of Portugal. These fanciful beasts are […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {science} | 8 comments »


David Trautimas


The Fishing Complex (2008). Canadian artist David Trautimas re-purposes household and other objects into fantasy buildings by exaggerating their scale then montaging them into landscapes. This example is from his Habitat Machines series; there’s also an Industrial Parkland series. Many of the former group are pleasantly convincing, and their weathered appearance adds to the impression […]

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The art of Goh Mishima, 1924–1989


Untitled. The gay artists archive is currently receiving more than twice as many visits as the rest of these pages so here’s a new addition to what is, it should be stressed, only a personal selection, not a definitive catalogue. Goh Mishima (born Tsuyoshi Yoshida) specialised in what everyone seems to call “Yakazuza porn” although […]

Posted in {art}, {gay} | 4 comments »


Jan Saenredam’s whale


Still reading Moby Dick at a leisurely pace. After finishing Melville’s chapters on the representations of whales I thought I’d see if the pictures he most prefers are online anywhere. A vain search, as it turns out, but I did discover this splendid depiction, Stranded Sperm Whale, by Dutch artist Jan Saenredam (1565–1607). On 19 […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {science} | 4 comments »


The art of Julien Champagne, 1877–1932


An obscure occult artist even among catalogues of obscure occult artists, Julien Champagne (also listed as Jean-Julian) is known principally for his associations with the persistently elusive 20th century alchemist Fulcanelli. Champagne provided a frontispiece (below) for Fulcanelli’s examination of architectural symbolism, Le Mystère des Cathédrales (1926), and is continually rumoured to have been Fulcanelli […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {occult}, {painting}, {symbolists} | 3 comments »


Shared Worlds 2009


Shared Worlds is a fantasy writing-oriented summer camp for teenagers created by Jeremy Jones and Jeff VanderMeer, and hosted at Wofford College, South Carolina. Jeff asked me to design a small booklet to be printed at the end of this year’s activities as a means of showcasing examples of the writings produced during the various […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {work} | 4 comments »


Ancient Cities Lost to the Seas

Ancient Cities Lost to the Seas | Dunwich and others.

Posted in {architecture}, {noted} | 2 comments »


The Gamelatron


The Gamelatron at Galapagos Art Space March 2009. Photo by Gisella Sorrentino. A laptop-controlled gamelan orchestra by Zemi17 aka A. Taylor Kuffner. See it in operation here. (Is it Gamelatron or GamelaTron? Their spellings differ…) The GamelaTron is the fruit of a collaboration between The League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots (LEMUR) and the composer […]

Posted in {music}, {technology} | 2 comments »


Dogged by rumour: The riddles of Oz

Dogged by rumour: The riddles of Oz | Andrew Johnson and David Randall sift the truth from the lies surrounding the most watched film ever.

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Patrick Bokanowski again


“A prolonged, dense and visually visceral experience of the kind that is rare in cinema today. Difficult to define and locate, its strangeness is quite unique. That its elements are not constructed in a traditional way should not be a barrier to those who wish to cross the bridge to what Jean-Luc Godard proposed as […]

Posted in {animation}, {film} | 4 comments »


Dream and Delirium

Dream and Delirium | Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo diaries reviewed.

Posted in {books}, {film}, {noted} | Comments Off







“feed your head”