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

Archive for July, 2015

 

Tooropia

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The Sphinx (1895). The Dutch Symbolist isn’t a stranger to these pages but every so often a drawing or painting by Jan Toorop draws attention to itself. The Sphinx above is oft-reproduced but you don’t always see it in colour or at a size that does justice to its detail. De Staatskas (below) is a […]

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

 


Ralph Steadman record covers

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Informal Jazz (1956) by Elmo Hope Sextet. Yesterday’s post made me realise I’d never looked to see how many album covers Ralph Steadman might have designed or illustrated. A quick delve into Discogs revealed the following haul, a couple of which I own on CD. Steadman has worked in a wide range of media but […]

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Polaroids

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I was given a Polaroid Instant Camera some years ago, not the cult SX-70, a later model. I still have it somewhere but never used it very much. The film cartridges were still available in shops, but at around £1 a shot Polaroids always seemed like a costly indulgence unless you had some specific use […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {music}, {photography}, {television} | 2 comments »

 


NecronomiCon Providence 2015

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Next month I’ll be in Providence, Rhode Island, where I’m the Artist Guest of Honour for NecronomiCon Providence 2015. This is an honour for me in more ways than one: the city of Providence, or its representation in the spectral prose of HP Lovecraft, has occupied a fair amount of my creative life, especially in […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {comics}, {events}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {work} | 4 comments »

 


Walking sticks

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If I have to use a walking stick in future then my choice of implement would have certain requirements… Who needs an Apple watch when there are timepieces like these to be found? This elegant design is from Alexander McQueen so it isn’t cheap. I wouldn’t say no to one as a present, however. Most […]

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Weekend links 269

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Grosses Wasser (1979) by Cluster. Cover art by Dieter Moebius. • RIP Dieter Moebius: one half of Cluster (with Hans-Joachim Roedelius), one third of Harmonia (with Roedelius and Michael Rother), and collaborator with many other musicians, including Brian Eno and Conny Plank. Geeta Dayal, who interviewed Moebius for Frieze in 2012, chose five favourite recordings. […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {fantasy}, {film}, {music}, {painting}, {politics}, {science fiction} | 2 comments »

 


The Dead, a film by Stan Brakhage

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In The Dead (1960), Stan Brakhage’s roaming camera explores the funerary architecture of the huge Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Shots of the tombs and the banks of the Seine viewed from a river boat may be typical tourist fare but Brakhage transforms his footage with fragmented editing, superimposition and continual cutting from positive to […]

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Out Of Limits

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Out Of Limits (1963) by The Marketts. Did you know that Marius Constant, composer of the theme for The Twilight Zone, had a career as a serious composer? I didn’t. I wonder what Constant thought about the reworking of his theme into a surf tune by Michael Z. Gordon and The Marketts in 1963. Gordon’s […]

Posted in {film}, {music}, {television} | 5 comments »

 


Blivets

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It’s a short step from Escher’s perceptual games to optical illusions in general. Blivets are one of those curious cultural artefacts that appear everywhere but whose origin is a mystery. Even the name blivet isn’t settled (or, for that matter, the meaning of the word) since the impossible figure is also known as The Devil’s […]

Posted in {art}, {magazines} | 5 comments »

 


Escher’s snakes

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The Magic Mirror of MC Escher (1985). MC Escher has been in the news recently as a result of the exhibition at the National Galleries of Scotland. By coincidence, I’ve been engaged in some Escher-like work of my own this week, the project at hand being one that makes reference to Escher-style effects rather than […]

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

 


Célio’s Les Amis du Crime

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More porn. The Internet Archive has, until recently, been a somewhat chaste place where illustrations of sexual encounters are concerned. That’s mostly a result of their books being scans of works from libraries that wouldn’t have stocked illustrated editions of De Sade and company. Les Amis du Crime, together with yesterday’s volume, is part of […]

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Veneres uti observantur in gemmis antiquis

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A small selection of illustrations from Veneres uti observantur in gemmis antiquis (1785), a study of the pornographic art of antiquity by Pierre d’Hancarville. The book comprises 80 or so drawings with accompanying text in English and French, so for once it’s possible to read the commentary. Most of the selections here are (predictably) of […]

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Weekend links 268

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A City on Pluto (1940) by Frank R. Paul. Related: Paul’s predictions about life on other planets. • 23 Skidoo’s Peel Session from September 16th, 1981. Only 18 minutes of music but I’m thrilled for its being unique material that’s never been given an official release. There are many more Peel Sessions at the uploader’s […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {fashion}, {gay}, {illustrators}, {music}, {photography}, {science fiction}, {science} | 1 comment »

 


The art of Nicholas Tolmachev

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Au Printemps. A Ukrainian artist based in Paris, Nicholas Tolmachev’s paintings of youthful figures are haunted by birds and bees. Most of these are from the artist’s Behance page but there’s more at Tumblr. BG. The Big Kiss.

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James Ellroy’s Feast of Death

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In which the Demon Dog discusses his obsession with unsolved murders whilst meeting cop friends (and Nick Nolte) over a series of dinners. Vikram Jayanti’s 90-minute film was made for the BBC’s Arena strand in 2001, and was later released on DVD. It’s one of the best films I’ve seen about Ellroy whose take-no-prisoners attitude […]

Posted in {books}, {film}, {television} | 3 comments »

 


23 Skidoo

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1: A slang phrase Postcard via. skidoo, v. N. Amer. slang. (ski’du:) Also skiddoo. [Orig. uncertain, perh. f. skedaddle v.] 2. In catch-phrases. a. Used as an exclamation of disrespect (for a person). Esp. in nonsense association with twenty-three. (temporary.) 1906 J. F. Kelly Man with Grip (ed. 2) 99 As for Belmont and Ryan […]

Posted in {books}, {burroughs}, {comics}, {film}, {music}, {occult} | 5 comments »

 


The Plutonian Drug

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Cover art by Leo Morey. To HP Lovecraft, Pluto was the planet Yuggoth, home to the fungoid, brain-harvesting Mi-go whose exploits are detailed in The Whisperer in Darkness (1931). Clark Ashton Smith wasn’t averse to imagining the planets of the Solar System as exotic worlds but in his short story The Plutonian Drug, published in […]

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The Metamorphosis of Mr Samsa, a film by Caroline Leaf

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Caroline Leaf’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s most famous story was made by animating sand on a pane of illuminated glass. Leaf made several films using this technique which gives painterly, if monochromatic, results, and is probably less time-consuming than other techniques that aim for similar effects. This is one story that’s best treated as an […]

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

 


The art of Arkhip Kuindzhi, 1842–1910

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Red Sunset on the Dnieper (c. 1905–1908). Another Russian painter I’d not come across before, Arkhip Kuindzhi had a fondness for sunsets, moonlight and isolated plumes of cumulus, all of which he painted and repainted obsessively. The obvious model for these atmospheric studies is Caspar David Friedrich although Kuindzhi’s work isn’t as hyper-real, and lacks […]

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

 


Weekend links 267

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Black Fever (2010) by Polly Morgan. • “She was something of an Auntie Mame figure for me. We spent years haunting secondhand bookstores in Berkeley, Los Angeles, and New York, talking for hours over ever more bizarre dishes of Chinese Hakka cuisine in a hole-in-the-wall eatery at Stockton and Broadway in San Francisco, watching Kenneth […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {music}, {painting}, {psychedelia}, {religion}, {sculpture}, {typography} | Comments Off

 


LVCIFER

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An engraving of Dante’s encounter with Lucifer/Satan at the end of the Inferno. Illustrators of Dante have given us a number of depictions of Dante’s fallen angel—a monstrous beast with multiple wings and three heads; icy blasts from the wings travel through the circles of Hell—but this is one I’d not seen before. The engraving […]

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Shadowland, a film by Anthony Lucas

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I forget who recommended this to me but the tip was probably a result of my recent work with silhouettes on Ishbelle Bee’s book covers. Shadowland (1988) is a short student film which, for the most part, concerns the conflict between stick-figure humans and an army of giant winged insects. It’s not quite a silhouette […]

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

 


Brion Gysin record covers

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Shots (1977) by Steve Lacy. Continuing an occasional series about artists or designers whose work has been used on record sleeves. The life and work of Brion Gysin (1916–1986) is the subject of a new exhibition, Unseen Collaborator, that opened last week at October Gallery, London. The gallery page mentions Gysin’s connections to the music […]

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The art of Aleksandr Kosteckij

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This is the kind of fantastic art I like a great deal: nebulous landscapes whose vast forms may be some kind of hybrid architecture; implications of the alien and mystical that retain some ambiguity; dreamlike without slipping into post-Surrealist cliché. Monsieur Thombeau at Full Fathom Five (whose excellent eye I have to thank once again) […]

Posted in {art}, {fantasy}, {painting}, {surrealism} | 5 comments »

 


The Nicolas Roeg Guardian Lecture, 1983

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More Roegery. The recent BBC documentary about Nicolas Roeg has yet to appear on YouTube but this Guardian Lecture appeared there a few days ago. Roeg was in the news in 1983 following the release of Eureka, a film with a solid reputation today but one which the distributors weren’t happy with at the time. […]

Posted in {film}, {science fiction}, {television} | 2 comments »

 


Beyond the Fragile Geometry of Space

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1: A fictional book by a fictional character. Don’t Look Now (1973): written by Allan Scott & Chris Bryant, directed by Nicolas Roeg. In the published screenplay Laura Baxter is described consulting a book written by her husband, John, but no title is given. 2: An architectural proposal for Venice. Beyond the Fragile Geometry of […]

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Weekend links 266

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Spine and cover art by John Schoenherr for the first American edition of Dune, 1965. • “[Herbert] had also taken peyote and read Jung. In 1960, a sailing buddy introduced him to the Zen thinker Alan Watts, who was living on a houseboat in Sausalito. Long conversations with Watts, the main conduit by which Zen […]

Posted in {animation}, {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {drugs}, {film}, {gay}, {magazines}, {music}, {science fiction}, {sculpture} | 2 comments »

 


Invisible Cities: Miscellanea

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Cover art: The Castle in the Pyrenees (1961) by René Magritte. A final post for this week devoted to Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, and it occurs to me that “Miscellanea” could easily be the name of one of Marco Polo’s cities. One thing that’s become apparent over the past few days is that this subject […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {cities}, {design}, {fantasy}, {painting} | Comments Off

 


Seeing Calvino: Invisible Cities

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Continuous Cities 4: Cecilia by Leighton Connor. Seeing Calvino is the most recent of the illustration projects featured this week, a group effort by three artists—Leighton Connor, Matt Kish and Joe Kuth—dedicated to picturing all 55 of the Invisible Cities. Matt Kish has been mentioned here before since he and I were among the many […]

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Gérard Trignac’s Invisible Cities

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I wrote a short appreciation of French artist Gérard Trignac back in 2006, and he’s been mentioned a few times since, so it would be remiss of me to not include his etchings in this week’s illustration series. Trignac is a favourite of mine among the current crop of French etchers and engravers for his […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {cities}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 4 comments »

 


Colleen Corradi Brannigan’s Invisible Cities

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Cities and Memory 5: Maurilia. Colleen Corradi Brannigan’s multimedia project was linked here back in 2011 when news of her endeavours reached a number of high-profile websites. These artworks are another attempt to depict all of Italo Calvino’s cities, this time using a range of media that includes sculpture. I like the variety of this […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {cities}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {painting}, {sculpture} | 1 comment »

 


 


 

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“feed your head”