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


 

The Art of Gothic by Natasha Scharf

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This weekend I was at the Louder Than Words music conference in Manchester to meet Peter Bebergal, author of Season of the Witch: How the Occult Saved Rock and Roll, and Mark Pilkington of Strange Attractor. By coincidence the event was hosting a discussion about goth music and culture based around The Art of Gothic, a new art book by Natasha Scharf. As mentioned last month, this book features some of my work but I hadn’t seen a copy until now.

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I’ve been fortunate recently to have my work appear in some impressive volumes but this outsize hardback takes some beating. It’s a very lavish production, 224 colour pages on heavy paper with gorgeous design by Paul Palmer-Edwards. Goth has been subject from the outset to mocking stereotypes, to a degree that many people would imagine they know exactly what a study such as this would contain. A recurrent theme of the Louder Than Words discussion was the growth of the goth subculture beyond its clichéd boundaries which is one reason my work is featured in the book. When Natasha was first in touch I thought it might be for the Cradle of Filth album covers but I’m in the chapter that examines the increasingly tangled goth/steampunk crossover. This is one development that’s come to seem almost inevitable given the roots of so much of the goth aesthetic in Victorian nightmares. Many steampunk novels tend towards the dark in their blend of science fiction and horror so the traffic goes in both directions.

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Elsewhere in the book there are chapters on Futuristic Goth, Japanese Goth, and Cybergoth, all of which maintain the requisite darkness while evolving away from the top hats, lace and veils (the latter are all present and correct elsewhere, of course). It’s a beautiful book, out now in the UK from Omnibus Press, and in the US from Backbeat Books. A few more page samples follow. There’s more at Amazon UK.

• See also: 13 Things That Prove Gothic Art Is Enchanting And Beautiful

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left: The Amazing Screw-On Head by Mike Mignola (2002); centre: the full-colour version of the ever-popular Steampunk Equation (2009), words by Jeff VanderMeer, graphics by John Coulthart; right: Dr Geof’s Medicine Lady, aka Steampunk Pinup #2.

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The mighty Giger again. I’ve got a framed print of that picture on the wall, a fact that will surprise nobody.

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Designs for 4AD by Vaughan Oliver.

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More from the Futuristic chapter. Having grumbled for years about the way the early Industrial groups have been sidelined by the post-NIN crowd, this spread was a very gratifying sight.

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Siouxsie Sioux goes Japanese circa 1982.

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Cybergoth.

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A small fraction of the fashion on display.

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Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {fashion}, {horror}, {music}, {photography}, {science fiction}, {work}.

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4 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Ana

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    Having that Giger’s print on our living room wall as I was growing up is one of the things that influenced my taste the most.

    I’m so thankful to my parents for choosing such a piece as the only thing hanging on our walls.

    (I wonder where that print went…)

  2. #2 posted by John

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    That picture was familiar to me before many of Giger’s other works as a result of it appearing on an early cover of OMNI:

    https://archive.org/details/omni-magazine-1978-11

  3. #3 posted by Thombeau

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    The book looks good, happy to see the 23 Envelope stuff. And your work, of course!

  4. #4 posted by John

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    I’m still surprised to be surrounded by so much stuff I either own or have known (and often admired) for years.

    And thanks for the plug on your site!

 


 

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