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

Archive for December, 2009

 

New projects and new interview

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The final post of an exceptionally productive year arrives with 2010 already shaping up to be just as busy and stimulating work-wise. In 2009 I designed at least 12 books (or was it 13? I’ve lost count…), 8 or 9 book covers, several CDs and many one-off commissions, as well as producing that calendar. If […]

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Autobahn animated

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The Düsseldorf maestros are treated to some animated illustration in this 1979 film by Roger Mainwood which takes Kraftwerk’s Autobahn as its soundtrack. Mark at Strange Attractor provided the tip and he compares the animation style to René Laloux and Roland Topor’s Fantastic Planet (1973). The purple humanoid floating through surreal landscapes is certainly reminiscent […]

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Me, Paul Bowles and that forgotten night in Tangier

Me, Paul Bowles and that forgotten night in Tangier

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Bruegel in winter

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The Hunters in the Snow (1565). Most of the snow here in Manchester melted over Christmas but it’s likely there’ll be more on the way given the unusually low temperatures. Whatever the complaints about the weather, the empty-handed hunters painted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder (c.1525–1569) had it worse. Of the two paintings, Winter Landscape […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {wordpress} | 4 comments »

 


Winter panoramas

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Staromestske Namesti (Old Town Square), Prague. Continuing the winter theme with some views from my favourite panorama site, 360 Cities. These are all from the northern hemisphere, I was hoping for something from Antarctica but it’s not represented there. The view over the frozen tundra at Barrow, Alaska, can stand in for the continent’s absence, […]

Posted in {architecture}, {cities}, {photography} | 2 comments »

 


Winter music

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Kjendalskronebrae, Nordfjord, Norway (c. 1900). From the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division via Wood s Lot. Are you suffering list fatigue yet? I certainly have been, especially from the apparently endless “best ___ of the decade” catalogues which would have you believe that the significant cultural products of the past ten years have […]

Posted in {electronica}, {film}, {kubrick}, {music}, {photography} | 11 comments »

 


Strange Attractor Salon

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Some of my work makes a rare appearance in the gallery world next month as part of the Strange Attractor Salon at Viktor Wynd Fine Art, London. The Major Arcana (2006) will be one of the designs on display as a large print with its occult theme complementing the esoteric tenor of the exhibition. Not […]

Posted in {art}, {design}, {events}, {occult}, {work} | 1 comment »

 


Winter light

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Dolmen in the Snow (1807). Some paintings for the Winter Solstice by one of my favourite Romantic artists, Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840). Snow scenes tend to inspire picturesque cliché but in Friedrich’s paintings winter is merely another season in which to evoke his Christian mysticism through the depiction of landscape. The pagan dolmen above is […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {occult}, {painting}, {religion} | 5 comments »

 


The tights have it

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In which the marvellous Hedi Slimane captures dancer Oscar Nilsson resting during a performance involving a percussive score tapped out by someone wearing a bear’s head. (Video here and here.) There’s probably a joke to be made there about bears and twinks but you won’t find me attempting it. The picture below is from a […]

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Dan O’Bannon, 1946–2009

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Re-release poster by Bemis Balkind. Alien was a big deal for me when it appeared in late 1979, one of those films which seems to arrive at exactly the right moment. I’d just left school, I was eagerly reading reprints of French and Belgian comic strips in Heavy Metal magazine, and also paperback reprints of […]

Posted in {art}, {comics}, {design}, {film}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {painting}, {science fiction}, {surrealism} | 6 comments »

 


More Steampunk and the Crawling Chaos

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Yes, it’s these again, and no, I’m not posting them because it Christmas (although you probably don’t believe that). This is the first opportunity I’ve had to add the designs to CafePress after letting them sit for a while seeing as they’re all still available on Modofly’s book range. I’ve had queries recently for the […]

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Alice in Acidland

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No idea how this piece of exploitation from 1968 evaded my attention for so long but going by the IMDB reviews it’s probably safe to say that any obscurity is well-deserved: this movie is very accurate, as every girl i have met that smokes weed instantly becomes a bisexual nymphomaniac. scientific studies have actual proved […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {drugs}, {fantasy}, {film}, {psychedelia}, {science} | 9 comments »

 


Styles of Ornament

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Pages from Styles of Ornament (1904), a collection of ornamental designs by Alexander Speltz. This is one of a great collection of books from the Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin. I only found their collection today so I’ve yet to take a detailed look at the […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {books}, {design}, {magazines}, {typography} | Comments Off

 


Queer Noise and the Wolf Girl

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Two recent pieces of work which were being created at the same time so they share some similarity of style (and the same baroque flourish). Queer Noise is a music-related event taking place in Manchester (UK) next month. Music journalist Jon Savage will be leading the discussion and some may recognise the event title as […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {gay}, {music}, {work} | 9 comments »

 


The art of Ivan Bilibin, 1876–1942

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Ivan Tsarevich catching the Firebird’s feather (1899). The Firebird again, one of Bilibin’s many illustrations of Slavic folktales. These examples are from the collection at Wikimedia Commons. SurLaLune has more of Tsarevitch Ivan, the Firebird and the Grey Wolf (1899) along with other Bilibin books while the trusty Internet Archive has a 1917 edition of […]

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

 


Grandville’s Un Autre Monde

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Un Autre Monde by JJ Grandville is a satire from 1844 whose wittily inventive illustrations were among that select group of prior works which received praise from the Surrealists. Some of them also act as early examples of humorous science fiction, and the two pieces shown here have been reprinted endlessly, they even turn up […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {comics}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {science fiction}, {surrealism} | 5 comments »

 


The New World: a misunderstood masterpiece?

The New World: a misunderstood masterpiece? | John Patterson on Terrence Malick’s film.

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Jewelled butterflies and cephalopods

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Above: gold, silver & enamel butterfly and squid, both by John Paul Miller. More at this Flickr page. Below: Tintenfisch und Schmetterling (Octopus and Butterfly; 1900) by Wilhelm Lucas von Cranach, a master jeweller who liked his octopuses. Tips by Chateau Thombeau and Fine & Dandy (NSFW). Previously on { feuilleton } • Geoffrey Haberman’s […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {fashion}, {sculpture} | 2 comments »

 


Ronald Balfour’s Rubáiyát

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If the work of illustrator Ronald Balfour (1896–1941) isn’t as well-known as it should be it’s probably because his 1920 edition of the Rubáiyát is his sole major work according to a recent feature in Book & Magazine Collector. These illustrations were produced when he was 24 and while the drawing can be uncertain in […]

Posted in {art}, {beardsley}, {black and white}, {books}, {illustrators} | 10 comments »

 


Eros: From Hesiod’s Theogony to Late Antiquity

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Man courting a boy at the palaestra (530–430 BCE). Greek love seems to be the theme this week. Having been reading in Margaret Walters’s The Nude Male about the sodomitical habits of the Spartans (are you listening, Frank Miller?), and the general enthusiasm (a Greek term, incidentally) for the youthful male body, news arrives of […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {gay}, {painting}, {sculpture} | 2 comments »

 


Return to Wonderland

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As the festive season shambles into view I’ve reworked my psychedelic interpretation of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland from calendar to poster format for those who might prefer the latter. There are two poster sizes, the standard CafePress large and small, and the calendar is still on sale, of course. By coincidence, the dreadfully-named Syfy channel […]

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

 


The fascinating phallus

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The latest used book purchase was this volume from 1978 and just the kind of unusual art book I enjoy finding. The witty cover design is by Patricia Pillay. Inside, Margaret Walters argues the necessity of her study by pointing out how little the male nude has been seriously studied in 20th century art history […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {painting}, {sculpture} | 2 comments »

 


Jack Rose, 1971–2009

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It was a shock this weekend to hear of the sudden death (heart attack, apparently) of American guitarist Jack Rose. I think I saw him perform four times in all, the first occasion being at Spaceland in Los Angeles, 2005, where I snapped this photo which I used for a poster design when he played […]

Posted in {design}, {music}, {photography}, {work} | 1 comment »

 


Teleny, Or the Reverse of the Medal

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Bibliothèque Libertine edition (1996). The quintessence of bliss can, therefore, only be enjoyed by beings of the same sex… Teleny More Wildeana, and yes, it’s that painting again… Teleny is an authorless and explicitly homoerotic novel often attributed to Oscar Wilde although what evidence there is regarding its creation points to it being the work […]

Posted in {art}, {beardsley}, {books}, {comics}, {design}, {gay} | 9 comments »

 


Peyote Queen by Storm de Hirsch

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Ubuweb turns up another gem of abstract cinema with this 1965 work by Storm de Hirsch. The only film of hers I’d seen prior to this was Third Eye Butterfly (1968), screened at the 2005 Summer of Love psychedelia exhibition. Both these shorts share the same spilt-screen effect but Peyote Queen cuts kaleidoscopic views of […]

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Death in Genoa

Death in Genoa | Simon Callow plays Oscar Wilde in a drama available as a free download.

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Manuel Albarran’s metal couture

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Beautiful, deliriously impractical and no doubt very expensive. More here. Via Chateau Thombeau. (Yes, he’s back!)

Posted in {art}, {fashion}, {sculpture} | 4 comments »

 


Kubrick shirts

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These days I still wear T-shirts but only under other clothes, I’m no longer happy with the T-shirt as an item on its own. (It doesn’t help that my arms are so skinny they always look awkward depending from a pair of short sleeves.) The irony is that I’ve spent a lot of time over […]

Posted in {design}, {fashion}, {film}, {horror}, {kubrick}, {science fiction} | 3 comments »

 


Kwaidan

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Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things (1904), a book by Lafcadio Hearn retelling Japanese ghost stories. Later an incredible film by Masaki Kobayashi and a drawing by Vania Zouravliov. Kwaidan (aka Kaidan; 1964). Kwaidan by Vania Zouravliov (no date). • Kwaidan, Stories and Studies of Strange Things by Lafcadio Hearn with an introduction by […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {film}, {horror} | 7 comments »

 


The end of Orpheus

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Orphée endormant Cerbère by Henri Peinte (1887). It’s often difficult to imagine a perfectly innocent motive when looking at works such as these. Did the world really need another statue of Orpheus or is the true intention revealed by those carefully sculpted buttocks, with the mythology added as a convenient subterfuge? We’ll never know, of […]

Posted in {art}, {eye candy}, {gay}, {sculpture} | 5 comments »

 


 




 

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“feed your head”