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

Archive for March, 2013

 

Weekend links 153

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Scarfolk, as was noted here last month, is a home from home, especially if you grew up in the 1970s. The mayor of the rabies-afflicted town, Richard Littler, talked to Creative Review about his unheimlich design project. • Ensemble Pearl, an album stream of “cosmic psychedelic space-doom minimal drone soundscapes” by Atsuo, William Herzog, Eyvind […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {collage}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {occult}, {photography} | Comments Off

 


Tarotism and Fergus Hall

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Gille Lettmann pictured in 1973 flourishing some of Fergus Hall’s Tarot cards. At the time Ms Lettmann was helping run partner Rolf-Ulrich Kaiser’s Kosmische Musik, Pilz and Ohr record labels, and thus oversaw the release of many fine albums—and a few dubious ones—before Kaiser’s empire imploded amid much bad feeling. It’s a fascinating saga, detailed […]

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

 


On the pyramid

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Lots of attention given this week to a series of photos taken from the summit of the Great Pyramid of Cheops by a Russian group of urban explorers. The Egyptian authorities who maintain the World Heritage site bar visitors from the place at night so the photographers hid in a tomb for a few hours […]

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The art of Naomichi Okutsu

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Hatsuyume – one’s first dream of the New Year – (2005). Naomichi Okutsu’s variation on the amorous octopus theme is understandably popular in the Tumblr world, but it often appears uncredited while his other work is far less visible. That seems unfortunate when there’s a lot more to his beautiful paintings than tentacle sex. His […]

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Eustace details

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St Eustace (c. 1501) by Albrecht Dürer. As is often the case with his engraving on religious themes, Dürer is less concerned with the Biblical story—in this case St Eustace’s vision of Christ appearing between the horns of a stag—than with the opportunity to render with great fidelity a wealth of natural detail. Everything here […]

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Rackham silhouettes

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Another recent work-related discovery, this edition of the tale of Sleeping Beauty was published in 1920. The text is by CS Evans, and the book is illustrated throughout by Arthur Rackham who forgoes his usual ink-and-wash style in favour of silhouettes. Many of Rackham’s other books employ silhouettes, usually as vignettes at the ends of […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {fantasy} | 6 comments »

 


The art of Mark Reep

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Crossing. Artist Mark Reep sent me a link recently to his gallery of meticulous pencil and charcoal drawings which he calls “dreams in black and white”. The combination in many of these of isolated settings with minor architectural features is something I always enjoy seeing but don’t find often enough. Offhand I can think of […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {black and white} | 3 comments »

 


Weekend links 152

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Light Moves on the Water (2010), a collage by Alexis Anne Mackenzie. “[She] stated, emphatically and more than once, that pornography cannot and should not be linked to LGBT rights…When a gay man lives somewhere where his identity is threatened, it’s clear how sex – including pornography – and sexuality are intertwined. His sexual imagination, […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {collage}, {design}, {film}, {gay}, {illustrators}, {music}, {photography}, {surrealism}, {television} | 1 comment »

 


Ugly carpets

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The latest work-related research has had me browsing pages of these garish carpet designs. The photos above and below are by Chris Maluszynski, a man who’s spent some time documenting the alarmingly vivid patterns used on the carpets in Las Vegas casinos. Maluszynski spoke to the New Yorker about his project in a piece which […]

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

 


The art of Joanna Chrobak

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Pageant III (2005–2006). A Polish artist whose paintings have that combination of technical virtuosity and strange imagination I always like to see. She also explores traditional themes such as those below. Her website is in Polish but can be translated easily enough via Google. Saint Sebastian (2007–2008). Salomé (2007–2008). Elsewhere on { feuilleton } • […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {painting} | 2 comments »

 


Brecht and Bowie

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While David Bowie is still making the news it’s worth revisiting Baal, an hour-long BBC TV adaptation of the Bertolt Brecht play broadcast in 1981. Bowie stars as the title character, a thoroughly disagreeable poet and café singer who ruins the lives of those around him. This caused a stir at the time more for […]

Posted in {film}, {music}, {television}, {theatre} | 1 comment »

 


Terror and Magnificence

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Christ Church, Spitalfields, London, in 2001. A photo I took with a disposable film camera. And so let us beginne; and, as the Fabrick takes its Shape in front of you, alwaies keep the Structure intirely in Mind as you inscribe it. First, you must measure out or cast the Area in as exact a […]

Posted in {architecture}, {books}, {music}, {occult}, {photography}, {religion}, {television} | 4 comments »

 


Maldoror

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Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror continues to provoke attempts at visual illustration. B. Oliver-White’s brief Super-8 film borrows some text from the Fourth Canto which is complemented by vague and grainy shots resembling outtakes from Eraserhead. Given the difficulties of fixing Maldoror‘s shifting terrain this seems a better approach than more literal depictions. Watch it […]

Posted in {books}, {film} | 1 comment »

 


Abrahadabra

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01 First (1985). I’ve linked to so many publications at the Internet Archive I’m a little surprised it’s taken me this long to find something featuring my own work. Abrahadabra was a Dutch periodical covering subjects familiar to readers of the esoteric magazines of the 1980s (RE/Search, Rapid Eye, etc): Industrial music of the TG/Psychic […]

Posted in {magazines}, {music}, {occult}, {work} | 2 comments »

 


Weekend links 151

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Untitled art by Yang Yongliang. There’s more at But Does It Float. • “Newly unearthed ITV play could be first ever gay television drama“. Writer Gerald Savory, incidentally, also adapted Dracula for the BBC in 1977, still the version that’s closest to the novel. • Craig Redman and Karl Maier‘s poster designs for the Bavarian […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {burroughs}, {design}, {electronica}, {gay}, {music}, {photography}, {television} | 1 comment »

 


Brush of Baphomet by Kenneth Anger

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Another recent piece of Angeriana, and another short video sketch, Brush of Baphomet (2009) is a kind of addendum to Anger’s The Man We Want to Hang (2002), being a further look at Aleister Crowley’s paintings. The title refers to one of Crowley’s many occult names. As a painter Crowley’s technical ability was almost nil […]

Posted in {art}, {electronica}, {film}, {music}, {occult}, {painting} | 3 comments »

 


Pamela Colman Smith’s Annancy Stories

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Pamela Colman Smith’s work has appeared here before but this is an example of her early illustration I hadn’t seen until now. Annancy Stories (1899) was written and illustrated by Smith, being her own presentation of the Jamaican versions of the Anansi trickster stories. Smith’s mother was Jamaican, and the family lived in Kingston for […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {illustrators} | 1 comment »

 


Reverbstorm at Supervert

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Keith Seward’s Horror Panegyric was a concise examination of David Britton’s multimedia Lord Horror project which Savoy Books published in 2007. I designed the book, the cover of which was my Arcimboldo pastiche of Lord Horror’s profile which appeared on the cover of issue 3 of Reverbstorm. The Supervert site which hosts an online copy […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {design}, {work} | 2 comments »

 


Anger Sees Red

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A video sketch from 2004 in which Kenneth Anger manages to give us in four minutes some familiar preoccupations: Rudolph Valentino, occult symbolism, and a hunky guy in the form of the sunbathing gentleman named Red who provides the focus of the piece. The copy on YouTube is labelled “restricted work print” so this may […]

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The art of Ferenc Helbing, 1870–1958

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Beautiful Century drew my attention to this Hungarian artist and designer, one of many Eastern Europeans passed over in fin de siècle art books by virtue of working too far from Paris, Munich or Vienna. Helbing’s work would have been most visible to Hungarians in the designs he produced for the nation’s banknotes but on […]

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Wavelength

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Thanks be to YouTube for once more resurrecting moments of underground cinema which would otherwise be very difficult to see. Wavelength (1967) is Michael Snow’s experimental masterwork, a 45-minute zoom across a New York loft that ends on a photograph of waves that fills the screen. This recipe for ennui is not without incident: we […]

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

 


Weekend links 150

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One of A Pair of Peacocks (2012) by Feanne. • Jonathan Barnbrook reveals his package design for the new David Bowie CD. The Barnbrook studio has also designed the catalogue for the forthcoming V&A Bowie exhibition. And there’s more (don’t worry, it’ll be over soon): Jon Savage on When Bowie met Burroughs. • “Witches have […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {magazines}, {music}, {occult}, {science fiction}, {work} | 2 comments »

 


() by Morgan Fisher

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Here’s a good one for enthusiasts of cinematic formalism. () (2003) is a 20-minute soundless assembly by Morgan Fisher of isolated moments from many feature films: () is made up entirely of “inserts” from feature films organized according to Oulipian principles. Inserts were usually shot by assistants when star actors, large crews, or expensive sets […]

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

 


Raising the roof

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Roger Dean’s album cover art extends further than his sleeve illustrations for Yes. His earlier designs for the Vertigo label showed his visual invention to good effect, and a couple of those designs have had their imitators. The cover art for Dedicated To You, But You Weren’t Listening by the Keith Tippett Group is one […]

Posted in {architecture}, {design}, {music}, {psychedelia}, {science fiction} | 3 comments »

 


Babel details

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The Tower of Babel (c. 1563) by Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna. Seeing as how I have a fetish for Towers of Babel I ought to have examined this one sooner, the copy at the Google Art Project being one which allows you to explore the surface of the picture in greater detail […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {painting}, {religion} | 2 comments »

 


MMM

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Post number three thousand, and searching the memory for anything which might be filed under MMM led to more occult art. Moina MacGregor Mathers (1865–1928) was the wife of Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, one of the founders of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn in the 1880s. Moina was the sister of the French […]

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Whirlpools

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This was a surprise. My first thought on seeing the cover for Ethel Archer’s “book of verse”, The Whirlpool, was that its swirling waters were borrowed from Harry Clarke’s typically astonishing illustration for A Descent into the Maelström by Edgar Allan Poe. The problem there is that the Ethel Archer book was published in 1911 […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {illustrators}, {occult} | 4 comments »

 


Out of season

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Photographer Andrew G Fisher sent a link to his web galleries recently, among which there’s a great series of shots from various seaside towns. If I respond to these more than the others it’s because I grew up by the sea. Views like this are an indelible feature of my childhood memories, they often recur […]

Posted in {architecture}, {photography} | 1 comment »

 


Weekend links 149

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It’s not cheap but it’s rather tasty: The Changing Faces of Bowie, a limited print at the V&A shop produced for the forthcoming David Bowie exhibition. One hundred artists and designers were asked to choose or create a Bowie-related type design, the collection being printed on holographic paper. Creative Review looked at some details. Related: […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {film}, {gay}, {horror}, {music}, {sculpture}, {television} | 1 comment »

 


Paul Delvaux: The Sleepwalker of Saint-Idesbald

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Saint-Idesbald is a small, unremarkable seaside town on the Belgian coast situated between Ostend and the border with France. I spent a week there on a school camping holiday in the 1970s unaware that it was the home of the great Surrealist painter Paul Delvaux (1897–1994). I suppose you could make the argument that the […]

Posted in {art}, {film}, {painting}, {surrealism} | 1 comment »

 


Alembic and Ligier Richier

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Current reading is Alembic (1992), a curious novel by Timothy d’Arch Smith whose publishings prior to this were all non-fiction, among them a study of the Uranian poets, a bibliography of Montague Summers, and The Books of the Beast, one of the many books about Aleister Crowley. Alembic reflects some of these interests and blends […]

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“feed your head”