{ feuilleton }


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

Archive for September, 2011


Will Bradley posters


More from American illustrator and designer Will Bradley (1868–1962) from the height of his Beardsley period circa 1894–95. These are from a collection by Edward Penfield entitled Posters in Miniature (1897) in which Bradley’s work receives more attention than some of his better-known contemporaries. Half of these designs are familiar, the rest I hadn’t seen […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {design}, {illustrators} | 2 comments »


Brion Gysin’s walk, 1966


The Cut-Ups (1966). More of the present preoccupation. Choosing Brion Gysin as a subject seems like a detour but the shots above are from Antony Balch’s 1966 film The Cut-Ups which also features William Burroughs, Ian Sommerville and someone-or-other’s cute boyfriend of the time who’s only ever credited as “Baby Zen”, a person about whom […]

Posted in {books}, {burroughs}, {film}, {gay}, {photography} | 6 comments »


Burroughs in Paris


William Burroughs and Maurice Gerodias. More specifically, William Burroughs photographed in 1959 for Life magazine by Loomis Dean. This was no doubt a story based around the publication of The Naked Lunch by Olympia Press: in the full set there’s shots of Burroughs with Olympia boss Maurice Gerodias, some pictures of the author signing copies […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {burroughs}, {magazines}, {painting}, {photography} | 2 comments »


The recurrent pose 44


An item found in a collection of erotic drawings of dubious provenance, this piece is credited to Jean Cocteau. While I can’t be 100% certain it is Cocteau’s work it does closely resemble his other erotic drawings, and the rendering of the ear and hands is typical. Cocteau (or whoever) here does the obvious jokey […]

Posted in {art}, {gay}, {photography} | 2 comments »


William Burroughs interviews


With William Burroughs: A Report from the Bunker (1982) by Victor Bockris. Design by Neville Brody. If it’s interviews you want, some of the most entertaining are in Victor Bockris’s collection of conversations between El Hombre Invisible and the various New York notables ferried round to sit at Burroughs’ table in his Bowery Bunker. The British […]

Posted in {books}, {borges}, {film}, {music} | Comments Off


Weekend links 77


Art by Tessa Farmer. • An exhibition of Tessa Farmer’s art is running at Viktor Wynd Fine Art, London, until October 30th. On Saturday, October 1st, Strange Attractor hosts Good Neighbours: Faeries, Folklore and the Art of Tessa Farmer also at Viktor Wynd. • Unearthing The Psychedelic Harp: “David Moats talks to harpist and songwriter […]

Posted in {art}, {gay}, {illustrators}, {music}, {occult}, {painting}, {psychedelia}, {sculpture}, {surrealism}, {technology} | Comments Off


Soft machines


Seven (1973) by Soft Machine. Design by Roslav Szaybo. You’re the great, grey man whose daughter licks policemen’s buttons clean, You’re the man who squats behind the man who works the soft machine. Mick Jagger, Memo From Turner (1968) By coincidence this month I’d been re-reading some William Burroughs when I picked up a nice […]

Posted in {books}, {burroughs}, {design}, {music} | 3 comments »




The Breamore Miz-Maze, Hampshire. Photo by Jim Champion. As part of the work-related research this week I was looking for designs of old turf labyrinths. It turns out I have two pages of the things in a book I’d earlier considered dropping into Oxfam so that particular volume may have gained a reprieve. Before I […]

Posted in {architecture}, {photography}, {religion}, {sculpture} | 2 comments »


Maxfield Parrish’s Arabian Nights


Despite spending years tracking down the work of various illustrators I’ve never been as familiar with the major works of Maxfield Parrish as I might. I’ve seen a couple of the plates from this 1909 edition before but the majority are new discoveries. They’re as lucious as you’d expect from Parrish, and for once the […]

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


Index, fist or manicule?


Third revised specimen book and price list of printing material (1887), Palmer & Rey, San Francisco. Browsing through old type foundry catalogues recently reminded me of a question posed by Callum James a few years ago over at Front Free Endpaper, namely: what is the official description of those pointing hands favoured by pre-20th century […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {typography} | 11 comments »


The art of Robert Venosa, 1936–2011


A few years back, while experimenting with the hallucinogens, I experienced visions of a dynamic energy in constant high-velocity motion, crystallizing and manifesting in a form which could only be described as angelic. Potential energy, crystallizing energy and structured energy were all visible in the same instant…time and space transcended. These visions, and a new-found […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {drugs}, {magazines}, {music}, {painting}, {psychedelia} | Comments Off


Science Friction by Stan VanDerBeek


Ubuweb seems to have the best collection of films by experimental filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek (1927–1984) but not the one I was looking for, unfortunately, an abstract thing entitled Moirage. Searching around turned up Science Friction (1959), one of a number of collage animations VanDerBeek made in the 1950s. The juxtapositions of collage have always been […]

Posted in {animation}, {collage}, {film} | Comments Off


Weekend links 76


Despite appearances I’m still doing bits of design and layout work for various musicians. In the past week I’ve been trying to reorganise this sprawling website a little so it’s easier to add new work quickly and easily. One recent job was more layout than design, a CD and vinyl package for a Roly Porter […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {cities}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {illustrators}, {music}, {science fiction}, {sculpture}, {theatre}, {work} | 1 comment »


Dirty Comics


Dirty Comics, subtitled An Exhibition of Erotic Comic Art, opens at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco next month, and I’m very pleased to say that I’ll have a piece of new work in the show. Jon Macy has been mentioned here a couple of times for his comic strip adaptation of […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {gay}, {work} | Comments Off


The paper architecture of Brodsky and Utkin


A Hill with a Hole. Searching around for Kafka images yesterday turned up a reminder of the etchings of Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin, a pair of Russian “Paper Architects” who channelled their frustration with the intransigence of Soviet authorities in the 1980s into a series of remarkable drawings. As with much architectural fantasy, these […]

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


Screening Kafka


Kafka (1991). This week I completed the interior design for a new anthology from Tachyon, Kafkaesque, edited by John Kessel and James Patrick Kelly. It’s a collection of short stories either inspired by Franz Kafka, or with a Kafka-like atmosphere, and features a high calibre of contributions from writers including JG Ballard, Jorge Luis Borges, […]

Posted in {books}, {comics}, {design}, {fantasy}, {film}, {horror}, {science fiction}, {television}, {theatre}, {work} | 13 comments »


Richard Hamilton, 1922–2011


The Beatles aka The White Album (1968) by The Beatles. Design by Richard Hamilton. Hamilton admires Hunger but he has little time for the other Young British Artists. He can’t imagine a conversation with Tracey Emin lasting more than five minutes – too tedious! – and though he was quite interested in Hirst’s sharks, his […]

Posted in {art}, {design}, {music}, {painting}, {sculpture} | 4 comments »


Hive Culture and Shamanic Illuminations


Apiphobia (2011) by Anonda Bell. A couple of exhibitions opening this week for those in the New York area. Hive Culture: Captivated by the Honeybee is at the Glyndor Gallery at Wave Hill where 18 artists present works inspired by our favourite pollinating insects: Painting, prints, sculpture, photography and video are featured, by artists Jennifer […]

Posted in {art}, {drugs}, {painting}, {psychedelia}, {science} | Comments Off


Danby’s Deluge


Since John Martin’s tumultuous canvases are back in the news it’s worth remembering another 19th-century painter of Biblical cataclysm, Francis Danby (1793–1861), whose enormous The Deluge (1840) used to hang in the same room as the Martins at Tate Britain. Danby was a contemporary of Martin although not as enthusiastic about this kind of subject […]

Posted in {art}, {painting}, {religion} | Comments Off


Weekend links 75


Eternal Pain (1913) by Paul Dardé. (And also here) Rain Taxi caused a stir this week with its savaging of Hamlet’s Father by science fiction writer Orson Scott Card. The book is another of Card’s blatherings about the hell of being homosexual dressed in garments stolen from the unfortunate William Shakespeare. Rain Taxi made the […]

Posted in {abstract cinema}, {art}, {books}, {borges}, {design}, {electronica}, {fashion}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {photography}, {science fiction}, {science}, {sculpture}, {technology} | 5 comments »


Initiations in the Abyss: A Surrealist Apocalypse


Among the many books inspired or influenced by the events of September 11th, 2001, Jim Harter’s Initiations in the Abyss: A Surrealist Apocalypse is one of the more obscure titles, and one you’re unlikely to hear about elsewhere. Harter is an American artist and archivist best known for his collections of wood engraving illustration published […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {collage}, {politics}, {psychedelia}, {surrealism} | 10 comments »


Graphic design in Heat


Amy Brenneman. In which Neville Brody’s early record sleeves lurk in the midst of a Michael Mann crime drama… I picked up some cheap DVDs last week, among them a copy of Mann’s Heat (1995) which I hadn’t seen for over ten years. I like Mann best when he’s doing his high-tech thriller thing (although […]

Posted in {design}, {film}, {music} | 9 comments »


Taj Mahal panoramas


The standard view plus tourists by Michael Maniezzo. Jeffrey Bartholet has a lengthy piece at Smithsonian Magazine entitled How to Save the Taj Mahal?, a brief history of the monument and also an examination of the preservation problems the site faces. Reading his essay it occurred to me that despite the Taj Mahal being one […]

Posted in {architecture}, {photography} | Comments Off


Joseph Balthazar Silvestre’s Alphabet-album


Monsieur Silvestre’s Alphabet-album, a collection of decorative alphabets, has a lengthy subtitle—Collection de Soixante Feuilles d’Alphabets Historiés et Fleuronnés, tirés des Principales Bibliothèques de l’Europe—and is a good example of how the 19th century, always characterised as a period of over-elaborate decoration, contains the seeds of 20th-century design. Silvestre’s book dates from 1843 yet contains […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {typography} | 1 comment »


The art of Edouard Martinet


A couple of gorgeous pieces by French sculptor Edouard Martinet who creates insects and other animals from car and motorcycle parts, kitchen utensils, old typewriters and similar detritus. These are so good I’m surprised his work hasn’t already done the rounds of all the sites which favour this kind of sculpture. I covet that mantis. […]

Posted in {art}, {sculpture} | 3 comments »


Anna & the Juniper Dog


The Juniper Dog strained its twisted roots against an ember red sky, snarling out swarms of night moths, barking flocks of owls from its splintery jaws. It howled the sea. Spat stars. Clouds roiled and clotted through the tree dog’s teeth. Anna & the Juniper Dog was published this summer although it’s a tale which […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {music}, {typography} | 1 comment »


Weekend links 74


Johnny YesNo video cover, 1983. Design by Neville Brody. Being a Cabaret Voltaire enthusiast of long standing it was good to hear last week about the imminent reappearance of Johnny YesNo, an hour-long film by Peter Care for which the Cabs provided the soundtrack. Mute Records will be releasing Care’s debut on DVD in a […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {film}, {music}, {photography}, {science fiction}, {science} | 5 comments »


SteamPunk Magazine


The phone line trouble was resolved quicker than I expected thanks to a couple of efficient engineers and a new line. Normal service is now resumed. Last month seemed to be one rush job after another, of which this was one of the results, a cover for a forthcoming collection of pieces from SteamPunk Magazine. […]

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


Mongolian impressions


My phone line problem still hasn’t been resolved but I am able to get online again for longer than two minutes at a time…for now. Posting may remain sporadic for the next few days. This is the third time I’ve written about Impressions de la Haute Mongolie, a 50-minute film made by José Montes-Baquer in […]

Posted in {art}, {drugs}, {film}, {surrealism} | 3 comments »







“feed your head”