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Weird monsters of Japanese folklore

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Ubagabi—the ghost of an old woman that appears as fireball.
 
There’s an ancient Japanese legend of the one hundred yōkai—monsters, ghosts, apparitions and demons—who parade through the streets on hot summer nights. If anyone is unfortunate to see these creatures—or to be caught up in it—then they will perish away or worse be taken captive for the twisted pleasure.

If you’ve ever watched the enjoyable trilogy of movies Yokai MonstersOne Hundred Monsters (1968), Spook Warfare (1968), and Along With Ghosts (1969)—then you’ll have a good idea what these demons look like—ogres, goblins, ghosts, sprites, spooky umbrellas and dangerous women with ever-extending serpentine necks.

All of these incredible monsters have long been a part of Japanese folklore. They were first codified in the supernatural bestiary—Gazu Hyakki Yagyō (The Illustrated Night Parade of a Hundred Demons) by artist and scholar Toriyama Sekien in 1776. It’s a kind of fabulously illustrated Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them but far, far more beautiful and eerie.

In 1881, artist Nabeta Gyokuei updated this incredible volume when he produced a picture book or e-hon of Sekien’s 100 demons. The Kaibutsu Ehon or Illustrated Book of Monsters features beautiful woodblock prints of each of the yōkai and its special powers.

The whole book can be viewed here.
 
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Kasha—a fiery yōkai—or phantom-in this case a cat that steals or devours corpses.
 
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Aoi no Ue—fictional female character from ‘The Tale of Genji’ who is possessed by demons.
 
More fabulous monsters, demons and ghosts, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Psychedelic Blasphemy! Diabolical art curated by the High Priest of the Church of Satan


Orlon Borloff, untitled collage
 
Last spring, Dangerous Minds told you about “The Devil’s Reign,” a traveling exhibit (and its companion book) of Satanic art curated by Peter H. Gilmore, author of The Satanic Scriptures, and the High Priest of the Church of Satan for fifteen years. The exhibit endeavored to explore expressions of the diabolical from many cultures, though it mostly focused on ancient deities that were repurposed as devils and demons by Christianity, and, as that’s a pretty damned (haha) fertile artistic field to harvest, a second book has been published. The Devil’s Reign II: Psychedelic Blasphemy, as the title implies, focuses on trippy and surreal expressions of the profane, as Gilmore writes in his introduction:

Blasphemy is a conscious act of rejection, showing contempt for or derision of established sacred icons. Typically it is directed at objects, people, and concepts placed on pedestals by religions. As secularism has grown, one may also deem irreverence and disgust for things held above criticism by herd culture as today’s implementation of that idea. When we dismiss what by consensus is held to be inviolable, we are blasphemers.

The 1960s spawned a movement whose intent was the expansion of the mind through the use of mind altering substances as well as meditation or sensory stimulation/deprivation techniques. Shattering what had been prior paradigms, exponents of this “counter-culture” employed non-Western sources for inspiration in creating music and visual art as a means for sharing their own inner-explorations, often fueled by drug-induced “trips.” The art in particular was characterized by bright colors, complex geometric patterning, and often employed cartoon-derived stylization to emphasize heightened sensibilities and new juxtapositions of images that embraced surrealism.

The follow-up book, like the first, is limited to 666 copies, and both are available from Howl Books, an imprint run by Florida-based tattoo artist and gallerist Andy Howl. Dangerous Minds has graciously been permitted by Howl to share a selection of images.
 

Ian Bederman, “Mushroom Cave”
 

Ramon Maiden, “Hell’s Messenger”
 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
‘Aleister & Adolf’: Douglas Rushkoff on his new graphic novel, Crowley and magical warfare


 
Aleister & Adolf is a new graphic novel from Dark Horse Comics, the product of the creative pairing of media theorist Douglas Rushkoff—Professor of Media Studies at Queens College in New York—and and award-winning illustrator Michael Avon Oeming.

In Aleister & Adolf the reader is taken behind the scenes of the capitalist spectacle and inside the boardrooms where corporate-occult marketing departments employ fascist sigil magick developed by the Nazis during WWII in today’s advertising logos. A place where the war for men’s minds is waged with symbols and catchy slogans. It’s a fun smart read and you’ll be much smarter after you’ve read it, trust me. And Oeming’s crisp B&W artwork is perfectly suited for getting across some often difficult and tricky philosophical concepts. He’s a unique talent indeed.

Rushkoff recently told AV Club:

“Swastikas and other sigil logos become the corporate logos of our world. And given that we’re living in a moment where those logos are migrating online where they can move on their own, it’s kind of important that we consider the origins and power of these icons.”

Grant Morrison even wrote the introduction to Aleister & Adolf. I mean, how can you lose with something like this?

I asked Douglas Rushkoff a few questions via email:

Dangerous Minds: Where did you find the inspiration for Aleister & Adolf?

Douglas Rushkoff: It’s almost easier to ask where didn’t I find inspiration for Aleister & Adolf. The moment it occurred to me was when I was in an editorial meeting at DC/Vertigo about my comic book Testament, back in 2005. The editor warned me that there was an arcane house rule against having Jesus Christ and a Superhero in the same panel. Not that I was going to get to Jesus in my story, but the rule got me thinking about other potentially blasphemous superhero/supervillain pairings. And that’s when I first got to wondering about Aleister Crowley vs. Adolf Hitler.

But as I considered the possibility, it occurred to me that they were practicing competing forms of magic at the same time. And then I began to do the research, and learned that the premise of my story was true: Aleister Crowley performed counter-sigils to Hitler’s. Crowley came up with the V for Victory sigil that Churchill used to flash—and got it to him through Ian Fleming (the James Bond author) who was MI5 at the time.

I’ve always wanted to do something about Crowley, but I’ve been afraid for a bunch of reasons. Making him something of a war hero, and contrasting him with a true villain like Hitler, became a way to depict him as something more dimensional than “the Beast.”

Did you think of the ending first? It’s a bit like a punchline, isn’t it?

Douglas Rushkoff: I didn’t think of the ending first. The first thing I thought of was to have a young American military photographer get sent to enlist Crowley in the magical effort. I wanted us to see the story through someone like us—someone more cynical, perhaps—and then get to have the vicarious thrill of being drawn into Crowley’s world.

Then, I decided I needed a framing story - just to show how relevant all this creation of sigils is to our world today. So I created a prologue for the story, that takes place in a modern advertising agency: the place where the equivalent of sigil magic is practiced today. I wanted to set the telling of the story within the frame of how corporate sigils are taking life on the Internet today. So the outer frame takes place in the mid-90’s, when the net was being turned over to marketers. The ending is pretty well broadcast up front.
 

 
Aleister & Adolph reminds me a lot of Robert Anton Wilson’s Masks of the Illuminatus—which I think is his best book—because it sort of forces its ideas into the reader’s head like an earworm that you can’t resist. Also Crowley is a character in that book, too, of course. Do you see it as a bit of a RAW homage?

Douglas Rushkoff: It’s a RAW homage in that the story has verisimilitude—it is told in a way where it’s absolutely possible for this all to happen. There’s no supernatural magic here; it’s just the magick of Will. There’s the black magic of the Nazis. But however extreme the Nazis, it was real. It’s got the reality quotient of Eyes Wide Shut or Apocalypse Now.

And that’s the understanding of sigil magic I got from Bob. It’s all very normal. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. Just that you have to participate in its perception. It’s just a different way of understanding the connections. So while the protagonist of the story starts off as a disillusioned atheist and ends up believing in magick as Magic, even Crowley (at least my Crowley) tries to convince him not to take it so literally.

I wouldn’t understand magick that way if it weren’t for Bob. It’s embedded in the fabric of reality. It doesn’t need to break the rules of reality to work. 
 

 
Are you aware of a recent trend among some alt-right types to organize acts of group 4Chan “meme magick”? Some of it’s just blatant harassment and bullying over Twitter, but there’s actually a sophisticated intent behind some of it. Pepe the Frog has become a hypersigil. I’m not being admiring of it—the idea that certain reichwingers would want start a magical war via social media is alarming to say the least—but the concept is a sound one magically speaking: They’ve figured out how to amplify their signal’s strength like a radio transmitter.

Douglas Rushkoff: There’s a real crossover between the alt-right and the occult. I knew a guy writing a book about it, in fact. And remember, it was one of Bush’s advisors who once explained that the future is something you create. And there’s an any-means-necessary quality to libertarianism that is consonant with chaos magic.

Plus, you’re talking about homespun propagandists inhabiting the comments sections of blogs and things. They’re not reading Bernays and Lippman. They’re waging hand-to-hand battle in the ideological trenches. A bit of NLP, rhetoric, and magic are what you turn to.

The interesting thing here is why the left does not use these techniques. It goes against our sense of what is fair. We know we’re “right” and so we want to win with the fact. Sigil magic feels like cheating on some level. So we have to ask ourselves, isn’t the full expression of our Will something we want to unleash? If not, why not?

This isn’t the freethinking/pansexual “Generation Hex” types who seemed to be on the horizon a few years ago, but rather like an evil skinheads contingent at Hogwart’s.

Douglas Rushkoff: Alas it is not. That’s partly because the freethinking pansexuals got a bit distracted by other things. And most of them worked alone. I don’t think there were nearly as many, either. That’s pretty rarified air. Back in the 80’s, there were more kids taking acid in the parking lot at AC/DC concerts than there were in the dorms of Reid College. And likewise - as a result of economics as much as anything - there’s more gamergaters throwing sigils online than Bernie Sanders supporters. Sometimes magic gets in the hands of people you’d rather not find it.
 

Photo of Douglas Rushkoff by Jeff Newelt

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
This web oracle cuts up text and audio of William S. Burroughs’ ‘Naked Lunch’


Collage by William S. Burroughs and Brion Gysin, c. 1965 (via Print)
 
What’s that, friend? You say you’d like to consult the I Ching, but it doesn’t have enough erotic hangings, aftosa infections, hot shots, or horrible “schlupping” sounds to speak to your personal situation? Well, the internet might have fucked up a few other things you could name, but it’s “got your six” this time.

Every time you visit this page, it displays 23 randomly selected paragraphs from William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. Press the “play” button at the top and you’ll also hear Burroughs read 23 randomly selected sentences from the novel. Here’s what the oracle just told me:

1 “Don’t look so frightened, young man. Just a professional joke. To say treatment is symptomatic means there is none, except to make the patient feel as comfortable as possible. And that is precisely what we attempt to do in these cases.” Once again Carl felt the impact of that cold interest on his face. “That is to say reassurance when reassurance is necessary… and, of course, suitable outlets with other individuals of similar tendencies. No isolation is indicated… the condition is no more directly contagious than cancer. Cancer, my first love,” the doctor’s voice receded. He seemed actually to have gone away through an invisible door leaving his empty body sitting there at the desk.

2 “They say somebody pushed him.”

3 The boy shied. His street-boy face, torn with black scars of junk, retained a wild, broken innocence; shy animals peering out through grey arabesques of terror.

4 “‘Doc, she sure is a dry hole…. Well, thanks for the paregoric.

5 “Brilliant chap Schafer… but…”

6 “Jesus! These ID’s got no class to them.”

7 “And I say unto you, brothers and sisters of the Anti-Fluoride movement, we have this day struck such a blow for purity as will never call a retreat…. Out, I say, with the filthy foreign fluorides! We will sweep this fair land sweet and clean as a young boy’s tensed Hank. …I will now lead you in our theme song The Old Oaken Bucket.”

8 “We sure did. And you know those citizens were so loaded on that marijuana they all wig inna middle of the banquet…. Me, I just had bread and milk… ulcers you know.”

9 The Embassy would give no details other than place of burial in the American Cemetery….

10 CAMPUS OF INTERZONE UNIVERSITY

11 “Oh say do that Star Spangled Banner yet wave…”

12 The old junky has found a vein… blood blossoms in the dropper like a Chinese flower… he push home the heroin and the boy who jacked off fifty years ago shine immaculate through the ravaged flesh, fill the outhouse with the sweet nutty smell of young male lust….

13 “Know Marty Steel?” Diddle.

14 Marvie does buy himself a shot glass of beer, squeezing a blackened coin out of his fly onto the table. “Keep the change.” The waiter sweeps the coin into a dust pan, he spits on the table and walks away.

15 All streets of the City slope down between deepen-ing canyons to a vast, kidney-shaped plaza full of darkness. Walls of street and plaza are perforated by dwelling cubicles and cafes, some a few feet deep, others extending out of sight in a network of rooms and corridors.

16 He paces around the boy like an aroused tom cat.

17 “With that milk sugar shit? Junk is a one-way street. No U-turn. You can’t go back no more.”

18 “Just two seconds,” I said.

19 “So long flatfoot!” I yell, giving the fruit his B production. I look into the fruit’s eyes, take in the white teeth, the Florida tan, the two hundred dollar sharkskin suit, the button-down Brooks Brothers shirt and carrying The News as a prop. “Only thing I read is Little Abner.”

20 Pigs rush up and the Prof. pours buckets of pearls into a trough….

21 Hauser had been eating breakfast when the Lieutenant called: “I want you and your partner to pick up a man named Lee, William Lee, on your way downtown. He’s in the Hotel Lamprey. 103 just off B way.”

22 “And all them junkies sitting around in the lotus posture spitting on the ground and waiting on The Man.

23 More and more static at the Drug Store, mutterings of control like a telephone off the hook… Spent all day until 8 P.M. to score for two boxes of Eukodol….

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Oliver Hall | Leave a comment
‘The world’s strangest book’ is now the world’s strangest calendar
12.06.2016
03:11 pm

Topics:
Art
Books

Tags:
Codex Seraphinianus


 
Several years ago DM highlighted the reprint edition of Codex Seraphinianus, what we termed “the strangest book in the world.” For those who don’t know, Codex Seraphinianus is, as my DM colleague Em described it, “a figurative, as well as literal, encyclopedia of weirdness insofar as it describes in great detail the basic physics, flora and fauna, and even the vaguely human-like society of a world that doesn’t happen to exist,” all lovingly described in “a language—and even a script—that no one to date has ever decoded.”

Just a few weeks ago we ran a follow-up interview with Luigi Serafini, the author of Codex Seraphinianus, to promote the new reprint edition of his 1984 book Pulcinellopaedia Seraphiniana, which is almost as weird

I was tickled to learn that for the first time the Codex has entered the wall calendar market. For each of the twelve months there is a vibrant tableau brimming with curious creatures and Serafini’s fanciful invented script, and in case that isn’t enough, a good many of the individual days on the calendar part feature bizarre Serafini images on them as well. It’s simply a gorgeous visual feast of addictive weirdness.

The Codex 2017 calendar was “personally designed by author Luigi Serafini.” The current list price for Codex Seraphinianus is $125, and even at Amazon’s discounted price of $91.99, that’s still probably a bridge too far for some of the book’s potential readership. One nice aspect of the Codex Seraphinianus calendar is that it makes the Serafini genius far more affordable. List price is $14.99 but Amazon will sell you one for just $10.49.
 

 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Dead at 17: ‘The Fatal Consequences of Masturbation’—a handy guide from 1830
12.06.2016
09:52 am

Topics:
Amusing
Belief
Books
Science/Tech

Tags:
masturbation
medicine

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‘He was young and handsome…his mother’s hope.’
 
He was young and handsome, his mother’s pride and joy—but he died in torment, blind, sick and paralyzed—at the age of seventeen. If only he’d known the perils of masturbation, then he might have lived a better life.

This, in a nutshell, was the warning to young French men as published in Le livre sans titre (“The Book With No Title”) in 1830. At that time, masturbation was considered by moralists and physicians as a malady which lead to early death.

In 1716, Dr. Balthazar Bekker published a pamphlet on this “heinous sin” of “self-pollution” entitled Onania, which cautioned the reader self-abuse would lead to:

Disturbances of the stomach and digestion, loss of appetite or ravenous hunger, vomiting, nausea, weakening of the organs of breathing, coughing, hoarseness, paralysis, weakening of the organ of generation to the point of impotence, lack of libido, back pain, disorders of the eye and ear, total diminution of bodily powers, paleness, thinness, pimples on the face, decline of intellectual powers, loss of memory, attacks of rage, madness, idiocy, epilepsy, fever and finally suicide.

Yeah, but still…

Then in A Medicinal Dictionary of 1745, Dr. Robert James stated that onanism was responsible for “the most deplorable and generally incurable disorders.”

Another medical book L’Onanisme by physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot claimed semen was an essential body oil—which when wasted through masturbation caused:

....a perceptible reduction of strength, of memory and even of reason; blurred vision, all the nervous disorders, all types of gout and rheumatism, weakening of the organs of generation, blood in the urine, disturbance of the appetite, headaches and a great number of other disorders.

These men weren’t quacks, either—they were highly eminent and respectable scientists working in the Age of Enlightenment. It is hardly surprising that these seemingly informed and scientific views should become so ubiquitous in the 19th century that they could end up as the cautionary tale of Le livre sans titre.

This edition of the book was the find of Jim Edmondson who scanned the pages and posted them on his blog.
 
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‘He became corrupted! Soon his crime makes him old before his time. His back becomes hunched.’
 
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‘A devouring fire burns up his entrails; he suffers from horrible stomach pains.’
 
More cautionary tales of jerkin’ the gherkin, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Primo Levi returns to Auschwitz
12.01.2016
02:24 pm

Topics:
Books
Literature
Thinkers

Tags:
Holocaust
Primo Levi

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In 1982, the writer Primo Levi returned to Auschwitz concentration camp. It was forty years since he had been imprisoned there. His journey was filmed for a documentary for Italian television.

Levi had been captured as a resistance fighter in Italy. At first, he was sent to an Italian concentration camp at Fossoli. When this was taken over by the Nazis, Levi was transported by cattle truck to Monowitz—one of the three main camps at Auschwitz—on February 21st, 1944.

Levi had thought they were being transported to Austerlitz. No one had ever heard of Auschwitz. Six-hundred -and-fifty Italian Jews were transported. Forty-five people crammed into each sealed train carriage for five days without food or water.

I remember that our breath would freeze on the car bolts and we would compete in scraping off the frost, full of rust as it was, to have a few drops with which to wet our lips.

Levi was imprisoned in Auschwitz for eleven months until the camp was liberated by the Russian army in January 1945. Of the 650 Italian Jews transported to the camp only twenty survived.

In his book Survival in Auschwitz (aka If This Be A Man), Levi wrote of the way he and other prisoners attempted to “adapt”—the man who hummed Mozart; the slave laborer who juggled stones; the prisoner who said he had got the better of Hitler just by being alive.

But adapting was never easy. Even the most trivial of things made it difficult to survive. Shoes, for example. Mismatched pairs would be thrown at the prisoner—one with a heel, one without, one too small, one too big—which made walking impossible. These shoes caused infections—sores that never healed. The prisoners with swollen or infected feet were sent to the infirmary. But as “swollen feet” was not a recognized disease—these men and women were sent to the gas chamber.

In total 1.1 million humans were killed at Auschwitz—90% were Jewish.

One in six of all Jewish people killed during the Holocaust (Shoah) died at Auschwitz.

The ones who adapted to everything are the ones who survived. But the majority did not adapt and died.

Watch Primo Levi’s return to Auschwitz, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
Rarely seen film footage of hippie bard Richard Brautigan
11.29.2016
10:05 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Heroes
Literature
Pop Culture

Tags:
Richard Brautigan


Photo: Baron Wolman
 
The following is an edited version of an article I wrote on Dangerous Minds back in 2012 when Jubilee Hitchhiker: The Life and Times of Richard Brautigan, the then-new biography of the poet, was published. I felt I couldn’t improve upon it so am sharing it again in a different context, as a preamble to this new video I put together of footage I’d never seen before of Richard Brautigan. This is an excerpt from a documentary about The Summer Of Love which was broadcast on the Canadian TV series The Way It Is in 1967. There is very little Brautigan on film, so for fans of the bard of San Francisco this is a short, but sweet, visit with one of our great countercultural heroes.

Richard Brautigan, Jack Kerouac and The Doors were my saviors in the year of the Summer Of Love. I was stuck in the suburbs of Virginia, surrounded by jocks and greasers, mostly always alone in my room full of beatnik books, magical vinyl and a meerschaum pipe full of banana peel. It was the year I read Brautigan’s second book Trout Fishing In America and the year that I left home for San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury.

Those were the days when a book or a record album could change your life. If literature had a Beatles, his name was Richard Brautigan. It comes as no surprise that John Lennon was a Brautigan fan. They both had a whimsical point of view that started in the square inch field and expanded into the cosmos.

In 1968, I lived inside of a parachute inside of a dance hall in a ghost town near Los Gatos, California. It was my summer of In Watermelon Sugar. I read that book like a preacher reads the Bible. It was my new testament. Brautigan’s poems and prose had this uncanny ability to gently slap you upside the head while disappearing into what is being described. In Watermelon Sugar was Brautigan’s river Tao, a sweet subtle liquid that flowed through the pink flesh of our being.

William Carlos Williams famously wrote “no ideas but in things” and embodied that thought in poems like “The Red Wheelbarrow.” Brautigan wrote from a similar point of view - a kind of American Zen that was ordinary and transcendental, modern and prophetic…

  I like to think (and
  the sooner the better!)
  of a cybernetic meadow
  where mammals and computers
  live together in mutually
  programming harmony
  like pure water
  touching clear sky.

For many of us, Brautigan was a door into a consciousness that was liberating in its playfulness and here and nowness. Reading Brautigan is like taking a pure hit of oxygen. Things sparkle. There is a sense of boundless delight and eroticism in his prose and poetry - a promise of the unspeakable, where language transcends itself.

Watch the clip after the jump…

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
The strange case of the lovely sketchbooks by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s father


 
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the celebrated author of detective fiction who created the immortal (and highly adaptable) character Sherlock Holmes, was the product of an artistically gifted family. An uncle, the marvelously-named Dicky Doyle, became quite famous as an illustrator during a noteworthy tenure at Punch. Other uncles James and Henry Doyle were also artists of some repute.

And then there was his father, Charles Altamont Doyle. Charles was also an artist, but he achieved no prominence in his lifetime. He was employed as a civil servant in Edinburgh, an assistant surveyor in the Scottish Office of Works. Though as a young man he was cheerful and curious, he retired at the improbable age of 46, suffering from headaches, alcoholism and depression. He spent the last dozen years of his life involuntarily committed to various asylums, and his 1893 death certificate lists his cause of death as epilepsy.

But during his period of commitment, Doyle père continued to make art, and even illustrated for his son an 1888 edition of A Study in Scarlet, the very first Sherlock Holmes story. But the depth of Charles’ talent only really emerged decades after his death, in the most improbable of ways:

Doyle’s book came to light in early 1977. It belonged to an Englishwoman who had been given it more than twenty years before by a friend who had in turn bought it in a job lot of books at a house sale in New Forest. This was probably Bignell House, Conan Doyle’s country retreat near Minstead, which was sold by the Doyle family in 1955. For years the book lay undisturbed, stored with other items in a children’s playroom.But finally, on the recommendation of a painter friend, its owner approached the Maas Gallery with it. The Maas Gallery, one of the leading dealers in Victorian art in London, quickly realized that the Doyle book was a major find. Richard or “Dicky” Doyle, Charles’ brother, had long been familiar to art historians as a talented and successful Victorian illustrator, but only in the previous ten years had there been any awareness of Charles—and even then only through rare original works. Here, however, was evidence for the first time of a more systematic output which, in its scope and originality, entitled Charles to artistic status in his own right.

The foregoing comes from Michael Baker’s exhaustively researched biography of Charles Altamont Doyle, which served as the introduction to his lovely book The Doyle Diary, which reproduced the unearthed sketchbook/journal. Doyle’s drawings reproduced therein reveal a melancholic soul—hardly surprising as all the works are dated during his lengthy confinement—with a naturalist’s flair for rendering birds and flora, plus an interest in the Victorian vogue for fairies. It’s a volume of escapist work, heavy on spiritualist and fantasy themes, and it opens with the inscription “Keep steadily in view that this Book is ascribed wholly to the produce of a MADMAN. Whereabouts would you say was the deficiency of Intellect? Or depraved taste? If in the whole Book you can find a single evidence of either, mark it and record it against me.” Doyle clearly bristled strongly against his internment, and found in art an escape.

The Doyle Diary, published in 1978, is long out of print, though curiously, someone seems to believe there’s a demand for housewares emblazoned with Doyle’s fairy paintings. We’ve selected some favorite sketchbook images to show you. Clicking an image spawns an enlargement.
 

 

 
More after the jump…

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
The kitschy erotic art of Suzanne Ballivet (NSFW)
11.18.2016
09:39 am

Topics:
Art
Books
Sex

Tags:
erotica
Suzanne Ballivet

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The great Impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir sanded the corners off his wooden furniture so there could be no sharp edges against which his children could accidentally injure themselves. It was a nice idea—but not altogether practical as the furniture—the hard substance—against which his offspring could accidentally injure themselves was still very much present.

This story came to mind while looking at the erotic artwork of French artist Suzanne Ballivet. Firstly, because of their style many of her drawings reminded me of Renoir—and to some extent those artists to be found camped out on the streets of Paris who sketch kitschy portraits of tourists where the faces are always smiling and almost cherubic.

Secondly, just as Renoir sanded his furniture to soften the blow, Ballivet produced sensuous—often highly explicit—erotic images in a very twee, kitsch and populist manner—like the overly sweet images found on Christmas cards or shortbread tins or hanging on an elderly relative’s wall. The style may look soft but the content is undoubtedly hard.

Suzanne Ballivet was born in Paris in 1904. She was the daughter of local photographer Jules Ballivet—who was best known for his photographs of Montpellier in the south of France. Ballivet became a costume designer in theater before finding her true métier in the 1940s as an artist producing comic and often explicit illustrations for magazines and classic works of erotic literature like Pierre Louÿs’ Les Chansons de Bilitis, Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal and Leopold von Sacher-Masoch’s Venus in Furs.

Ballivet also illustrated several other literary works by Balzac, Rimbaud, Raymond Radiguet, Anatole France, Mirabeau, Charles Dickens and mores contemporary writers like Collette, Raymond Peynet and Albert Dubout—who she married in 1968.

Though Ballivet’s work is best known in France, her pioneering erotic art has influenced a whole generation of succeeding graphic artists and illustrators of erotica and is eminently collectible.
 
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More erotic art from Suzanne Ballivet, after the jump…

Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment
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