Splendid Suns

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I answered a few interview questions recently for Shunga Gallery, a site concerned with the erotic side of Japanese prints, and with contemporary practitioners who work in a similar areas. (All NSFW, needless to say.) I’m not really an erotic artist but Marijn has selected a few examples of my artwork that contain prominent erections, going back to the badly-proportioned drawing of the Great God Pan that I did in 1986 for my late friend, Ed, when he was part of a Dutch music & performance group, Abrahadabra. The drawing appeared in the zine of the same name, and later provoked mild disapproval from the organisers of a video festival in Den Haag where Ed and friends were using it as a flyer to promote their activities. Also at Shunga Gallery are a few pages from the rebarbative Reverbstorm, a book that’s the darkest and nastiest thing I’ll ever do. Some of that artwork provoked a rather more serious form of disapproval, as I explain in the interview.

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Splendid Suns 1: The Blazon.

At the opposite end of the graphic spectrum I’ve allowed Marijn to post a couple of pieces from an unfinished picture series that I’ve been chipping away at for a while. Splendid Suns is the working title, the series being based on the alchemical illustrations from the Splendor Solis, with the content best described as occult/psychedelic gay porn. The vague intention behind this series was to do a kind of homoerotic equivalent of those erotic blacklight posters that flourished briefly in the early 1970s, with the Splendor Solis paintings providing a thematic thread. An Art Nouveau style suited this for a number of reasons. Several of the typefaces that were in continual use during the occult revival of the late 60s and early 70s are Art Nouveau designs, while the peacock happens to be a symbol common to alchemy, Art Nouveau and psychedelic art. The sixteenth painting in the Splendor Solis series shows imagery associated with Venus/Juno, including a peacock which is Juno’s sacred animal.

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Splendid Suns 2: The Flask.

Thinking up things like this is always the easy part, finding the time to do them, and do them well, is often another matter. After starting on a third picture I got sidetracked by other work, but now the series has been made public I have an additional incentive to continue with it. When I have the time, that is…

Elsewhere on { feuilleton }
The gay artists archive

Previously on { feuilleton }
Typefaces of the occult revival
Splendor Solis revisited
The Arms of the Art

2 thoughts on “Splendid Suns”

  1. I am glad that we were able to make a modest contribution to your decision to take up this erotic work again and look forward to the future result.

  2. Thanks, Marijn. I’m not sure when I’ll have the time but it’s something to keep in mind for the future.

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