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Monsters: ‘The Outer Limits’ trading cards
12.07.2017
09:50 am
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This morning, while taking a browse of some favorite sites, I found myself watching a short compliation video of various monsters, creatures, and nefarious extraterrestrials from that old cult classic sci-fi series The Outer Limits. Though I never saw the show until my teens, I was given an Outer Limits annual, one snowy Christmas, when I was around pre-school age. This book was filled with comic strips about ravenous alien gloop and stories about crash-landed flying saucers. It started a passion for this kind of stuff that has lasted right through. But there’s nothing new in that.

The compilation clip was by Wah Ming Chang for a project called Monsters. Chang was a cinematographer, designer, and sculptor who is probably better known to Star Trek fans as Wah Ming—the mega-talent responsible for designing the tricorder and communicator on the original series, as well as a whole host of martians, monsters, and what-have-you. (Indeed, there’s a good blog to be done on Chang.) Anyhow, Chang also designed many of the monsters and special effects for The Outer Limits—hence the fine little compilation clip (see below) of various happy memories of scary things from outer space like the “Man from Galaxy ‘X’” or “The Zanti Misfits.”

All this, eventually, made me seek out a whole set of the Monsters From Outer Limits trading cards that were issued to coincide with the original TV series by Bubbles Inc. (Topps) in 1964. Back then, a packet of these cards (with a stick of chewing gum) cost 5¢. I was way too young to have ever bought or even thought about these magnificent works of pop culture, but know now I would have tried my hardest to collect a whole set if I had been. Nowadays, a single card from this set can fetch up to $50—which is fair return on an original investment all those years ago.

Having never actually seen a full set (I don’t get out much, I live in a trailer park, I like Wheetos), I thought it would be a fun diversion to gather all these past riches together for our delight and delectation. ‘Nuff said?
 
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#1 The Television Terror.
 
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#2 The Radio-Active Man.
 
More ‘Monsters from Outer Limits’ plus video, after the jump….
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.07.2017
09:50 am
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William S. Burroughs fronts Yellow Magic Orchestra, reprograms your mind
12.07.2017
09:29 am
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For 1993’s Technodon, Yellow Magic Orchestra acquired vocal tracks from cyberpunk novelist William Gibson, dolphin-dosing scientist John C. Lilly, and Naked Lunch author William S. Burroughs.

Burroughs’ contribution to the album’s first song, “Be A Superman,” is a short vocal sample, structurally integral, information-poor. But on “I Tre Merli” (“The Three Blackbirds,” an image from a Wallace Stevens poem that points directly to Burroughs and Gysin’s “third mind”), Burroughs reads a few lines from The Job. His text comes from the book’s “DON’T HAVE TO THINK” section, which describes an exercise for “becoming oneself” through liberation from mental conditioning. According to this counterintuitive practice, you find your true self by pretending to be other people:

What I am here to learn is a new way of thinking. There are no lessons and no teachers. There are no books and no work to be done. I do almost nothing. The first step is to stop doing everything you “have to do.” Mock up a way of thinking you have to do. This is one exercise derived from Scientology we have all studied at one time or another. Exercise loosens the hold of enforced thinking and extends the range of don’t have to think.

Example: You have to run the things you are going to do today write letters call so-and-so take clothes to laundry see about getting the radiators fixed. You run these items ten times when once is already too much. So mock up a run of imaginary errands. Now mock up some thinking you don’t have to do. Select a person whose way of life is completely different from yours and mock up his thinking.

(Example: You have to mock up interviews or situations in which you play an effective role before imaginary audience. Well, mock some up. Now mock up some enforced thinking you don’t have to do, somebody else’s enforced thinking what Dutch Schultz the numbers racketeer had to think, what a hotel manager has to think what a poor Moroccan farmer has to think.)

 

Genesis P-Orridge models a YMO shirt on the back cover of Throbbing Gristle’s ‘Greatest Hits’
 
A few paragraphs down, Burroughs provides a negative definition of this “new way of thinking”:

The new way of thinking has nothing to do with logical thought. It is no oceanic organismal subconscious body thinking. It is precisely delineated by what it is not. Not knowing what is and is not knowing we know not. Like a moving film the flow of thought seems to be continuous while actually the thoughts flow stop change and flow again. At the point where one flow stops there is a split-second hiatus. The new way of thinking grows in this hiatus between thoughts. I am watching the servants on the floor pointing to the map and not thinking anything about what I see at all. My mind moves in a series of blank factual stops without labels and without questions. The objects around me the bodies and minds of others are just there and I move between them without effort or comment. There is nothing to do here, no letters to answer no bills to pay no goals barriers or penalties. There are no considerations here that would force thinking into certain lines of structural or environmental necessities. The new way of thinking is the thinking you would do if you didn’t have to think about any of the things you ordinarily think about if you had no work to do nothing to be afraid of no plans to make. Any exercises to achieve this must themselves be set aside. It’s a way you would think if you didn’t have to think up a way of thinking you don’t have to do. We learn to stop words to see and touch words to move and use words like objects.

Continues after the jump…

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Posted by Oliver Hall
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12.07.2017
09:29 am
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The vampy and voluptuous vintage pinups of ‘good girl’ illustrator Bill Kresse
12.06.2017
11:36 am
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A cheeky illustration by New York native, Bill Kresse.
 

“Don’t ever be afraid to try something new. You will learn from it, use it, and, hopefully, profit from it.”

—Bill Kresse.

Bill Kresse is a hero in the world of illustration and comics with many accolades to his credit, including a gig he scored after graduating from high school for legendary New York studio Terrytoons as an inker in the animation department. Terrytoons produced a few cartoons you might have heard of like Mighty Mouse, a series of toons featuring the wisecracking magpies Heckle and Jeckle, and The Mighty Heroes (Diaper Man! Never forget!).

Following that dreamy-sounding job, Kresse joined the Associated Press as a member of their prestigious art department. If you were a reader of the New York Daily News in the late 60s and early 70s you probably looked forward to Kresse’s cheeky comic strip “Super” Duper which ran in the paper exclusively for several years every Sunday. Kresse and his layout artist friend Rolf Ahlsen collaborated on the storylines and comic panels for “Super” Duper which centered around the antics of tubby, girl-crazy apartment superintendent, Mr. Duper. Kresse and Ahlsen’s fictional Mr. Duper had the good fortune to work in a building inhabited by bodacious females dressed in hotpants and mini skirts. While I’m on the topic of scantily-clad, impossibly proportioned illustrated women, let’s dive into Kresse’s foray into what is commonly referred to as “vintage sleaze” in comics and his pin up art which was routinely showcased in various men’s interest digests put out by Humorama—a wickedly popular division of Martin Goodman’s massive pulp publishing firm.

In the 1950s Kresse earned the reputation of being a “good-girl” illustrator. His lighthearted pinup-style illustrations would appear in various Humorama digests for decades along with other well-known artists versed in sleaze funnies such as Bill Ward (not to be confused with Black Sabbath drummer, Bill Ward), and Superman creator Joe Shuster. So yeah, just like Clark Kent, Shuster had his own secret identity of sorts as an illustrator of fiery-hot, hardcore fetish. Go figure. Fans of Kresse and his contributions to vintage sleaze refer to him as “unappreciated” during his lifetime.

Peers of Kresse I’ve already mentioned in this post who drew classic/sleazy pinup art have already been immortalized in beautifully curated gallery shows as well as hardcover retrospectives. When it comes to Kresse, anything tangible beyond his individual vintage illustrations or comics, is a book he authored in 1984 Introduction to Cartooning. After Kresse passed away in 2014, I was hopeful that someone might finally get around to publishing a collection of his exuberant adult-oriented comics, though sadly that hasn’t happened yet. As a huge fan of all things sleazy, I can say without hesitation that Kresse deserves such an homage and more. Kresse’s work might look rather tame when compared to his contemporary Eric Stanton and one of the genre’s most prolific stars, Gene Bilbrew, but it’s still NSFW. Just like hotpants.
 

 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.06.2017
11:36 am
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‘Silence is violence’: Social Justice Kittens 2018 calendar is here!
12.06.2017
10:51 am
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OMG, it’s finally here! The 2018 Social Justice Kitten calendar by Sean Tejaratchi. Sean is the creator of Crap Hound and the hilarious online LiarTownUSA blog.

The calendar would make a perfect gift for that certain social justice warrior and cat lover in your life.

This is a full-color, 12” x 12” grid-style wall calendar featuring kittens!

Each month features a charming kitten professionally photographed in a heroic pose appropriate to a small cat defiantly speaking out on the hottest social justice issues of the day.

A sassy, uncompromising declaration erases any doubts about each precious cat’s passionate convictions, sense of humor, and tough-as-nails attitude!

Each of these twelve adorable kittens was subject to a week-long, grueling interview process to ensure there was absolutely nothing problematic in its beliefs.

The calendar sells for $16.00 here.


 

 

 
More after the jump…

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Posted by Tara McGinley
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12.06.2017
10:51 am
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‘Bureaucratics’: An international gallery of functionaries
12.06.2017
10:36 am
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Laurence Maillard, town clerk, Ambrief, France. Monthly salary: $657 (part-time work).
 
If you seek out the great quotations on the subject of bureaucracy, you will find that few people have anything positive to say on the subject. Mary McCarthy calls it “the modern form of despotism,” while Edna O’Brien, writing in the New York Times Book Review, asserts that “the fate of the universe will come to depend more and more on individuals as the bungling of bureaucracy permeates every corner of our existence.” A contrary note is struck by James H. Boren, author of the marvelously titled 1972 book When in Doubt, Mumble: A Bureaucrat’s Handbook, who notes that “bureaucracy is the epoxy that greases the wheels of progress.” Surprisingly, Ambrose Bierce’s legendary Devil’s Dictionary has nothing to say on the subject.

Some years ago a Dutch photographer named Jan Banning undertook an ambitious project to shoot a large number of bureaucrats all over the world in their natural setting—their own offices. He selected eight countries to work in, namely China, France, India, Bolivia, Liberia, Russia, the United States, and Yemen, and very importantly, he gave no advance notice that he would be paying a visit, so none of the offices had been tidied up to impress any foreign onlookers. Banning had a writer accompanying him on the project, who was tasked with conversing with the bureaucrat so that he or she would not be able to make the place look spiffy. Banning was intent on showing “what a local citizen would be confronted with when entering.”

Of his project, Banning says that he came to his subjects with “an anarchist’s heart, a historian’s mind and an artist’s eye.” Furthermore,
 

The photography has a conceptual, typological approach reminding of August Sander’s ‘Menschen des 20 Jahrhunderts’ (‘People of the Twentieth Century’). Each subject is posed behind his or her desk. The photos all have a square format (fitting the subject), are shot from the same height (that of the client), with the desk – its front or side photographed parallel to the horizontal edges of the frame – serving as a bulwark protecting the representative of rule and regulation against the individual citizen, the warm-blooded exception. They are full of telling details that sometimes reveal the way the state proclaims its power or the bureaucrat’s rank and function, sometimes of a more private character and are accompanied by information such as name, age, function and salary. Though there is a high degree of humour and absurdity in these photos, they also show compassion with the inhabitants of the state’s paper labyrinth.

 
Banning is surely expressing his opinion of these people in these wonderful photographs—all in all, I find that the faces of these (mostly) humble men and women undercut the negative judgment that bureaucracy invariably gets. Bureaucracy is a means to let the state assist the people, for the most part, and it is also incidentally a primary means of funding the populace. Without these specific jobs, many of these people would have no hope of earning even the paltry sums some of them are obliged to receive.

In 2011 Banning published a book of his bureaucratic portraits under the title Bureaucratics. The print run was apparently not generous enough, as the volume is sold out through regular channels. Used copies will run you $200 and up.
 

Josué Galarza Mendez, police officer, Betanzos, Bolivia. Monthly salary: $122.
 

Roger Vacher, narcotics agent, Clermont-Ferrand, France. Monthly salary: $2,893.
 
Many more kindly drudges after the jump….....
 

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Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.06.2017
10:36 am
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The morbid and grotesque feminist art of Elif Varol Ergen
12.06.2017
10:36 am
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‘Witch Mom’ (2016).
 
Turkish artist Elif Varol Ergen‘s paintings sometimes make me feel like I’ve accidentally chanced upon a page in her private diary which is filled with intimate descriptions of her darkest fears. It’s a bit like opening some blood-splattered horror novel and have a writhing, fanged, gelatinous-limbed creature plop from between its covers. Her paintings are sometimes that disturbing and grotesque, yet always strangely and utterly compelling.

Ergen’s mixed media pictures offer commentary on female sexuality, identity, motherhood, and sexism, through images of monstrous children, witches, rebels, and mythical goddesses. These may be the expected themes but Ergen’s approach sublimates any quotidian predictability.

There is the suggestion of torment and trauma here. Whether personal or imagined is unclear. In one painting a woman’s head is cleaved in twain revealing dozens of eyes watching, prying, and forever judging. In another, a strange, multi-breasted push-me-pull-you figure suckles guns while two small ruthless children prepare to open fire with milk-splattered handguns. In a third, young girls are punished by a rain of sperm-like snakes that fall from the sky penetrating and devouring their flesh.

Ergen describes herself as “visual artist and instructor.” She graduated in graphic design from the Fine Arts Department at Hacettepe University in 1999, before going on to study for an M.A. in the “Development of Comics in Japan and Far Eastern Cultures” in 2003, then completing a Ph.D. in “Abstract Concepts in Illustrated Children Books” at Hacettepe University in 2009. Ergen’s first paintings focussed on children and their often traumatic and abusive relationship with adults. Following the birth of her son, Ergen refocussed her attention towards motherhood and the often quite literally all-consuming relationship between mother and child, alongside the strange alienation some women feel after childbirth.

Most recently, she has created images of women and girls as witches, wiccans, and goddesses battling against the accepted censures and enforced roles of society. Here, there can be seen the influence of Japanese horror myths and the religious artwork of Albrecht Dürer. This is powerful thought-provoking art that engages both heart and mind. See more of Ergen’s work here.
 
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‘Witch Hunt’ (2016).
 
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‘Punishment of the Witches’ (2106).
 
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‘The Apocalyptic Woman’ (2017).
 
More grotesqueries, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.06.2017
10:36 am
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Mark Mothersbaugh says that tapes of DEVO jamming with David Bowie and Brian Eno have surfaced
12.06.2017
09:45 am
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Note: There has been some confusion about what happened at Sonos this week. After running this story, we were given reason to doubt that Mothersbaugh ever made these remarks. It turns out that he did say them—at a press preview of the Sonos event that took place one night earlier than the public event. Apologies to Daniel Maurer of Bedford and Bowery for casting his reportage in a negative light. The good news is that Mothersbaugh’s tapes appear to exist! Yay!

Yesterday, at an event hosted by Sonos at its Soho location in Manhattan, Mark Mothersbaugh divulged some news that has some fans of David Bowie positively salivating.

The “Song Stories” event was a tribute to Bowie, in which the lead singer of DEVO was joined by Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy, photographer Mick Rock, Motley Crüe‘s Nikki Sixx, and moderator Rob Sheffield. The idea was that each of the four guests would tell a story about Bowie and each story would be paired with a Bowie track.

According to Daniel Maurer of the Bedford and Bowery blog, Mothersbaugh let it be known that he had recently come across some tapes of a remarkable jam session that featured members of DEVO jamming with David Bowie, Brian Eno, and Holger Czukay of Can (!). “I haven’t listened to it yet because I just found this tape,” Mothersbaugh said to the startled attendees.

The recording stems from the sessions for DEVO’s first album, Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo!, which was recorded at the studio of renowned Krautrock producer and musician Conny Plank near Cologne, Germany. Brian Eno produced the album with occasional assistance from Bowie, who was filming the David Hemmings movie Just a Gigolo nearby. Bowie also remixed most of the album’s tracks. Apparently all the members of DEVO participated in the jam session, except for the band’s “bassist,” who had “missed his connecting flight because he was fighting with his girlfriend on an airport pay phone.” Presumably this refers to Gerald Casale?
 

 
In 1977, the wife of Michael Aylward, the guitarist in another noted Akron band, Tin Huey, sent Bowie and Iggy Pop a tape of DEVO’s demo songs; both musicians immediately became fans of the band and expressed an interest in producing DEVO’s first album. DEVO’s first gigs in New York took place on July 8 and 9, 1977, when the band played two sets per night at Max’s Kansas City. According to Mothersbaugh at Sonos last night, Bowie “came out on stage when we played our second show at Max’s” on the first night.
 

He came out on stage and goes, “This is the band of the future, I’m going to produce them this Christmas in Tokyo!” And we’re all like, “Sounds great to us. We’re sleeping in an Econoline van out in front on Bowery tonight, on top of our equipment.”

 
As Maurer writes, “Bowie ended up taking the band out on the town, putting Mothersbaugh up in his hotel room, and introducing the Akron, Ohio innocent to sushi.”

Mothersbaugh apparently found the tape after bringing his DEVO archive back to his studio. The jam session featuring DEVO, Bowie, Eno, and Czukay isn’t the only interesting tape he found, however. Mothersbaugh also found the 24-track master tapes used for the album, accompanied by Eno’s documentation of each song’s instruments, effects, and audio settings: “There’s these tracks down below that say things like: ‘David’s vocals’ and ‘Brian’s extra synths.’ And I’m like, ‘I remember turning that stuff off when we were doing our final mixes.’”

The band’s lead singer explained the band’s reluctance to use the vocal of a pop star as massive as Bowie by reference to DEVO’s paranoia of having their distinct sound messed with after so many negative experiences with hinky industry people and unauthorized releases.

Mothersbaugh indicated that he’ll have a listen to the tapes. “I’m thinking we should see what’s on those tapes. ... I’m really curious to see what the heck they did.” He joked by saying that DEVO “might have been more successful” if they had used Bowie’s vocal tracks.

Interestingly, Bryan Rolli’s account at Billboard of the Sonos event makes no mention of Mothersbaugh’s revelations, so we’ll see what shakes out.

Here’s footage of DEVO playing Max’s Kansas City that first night, July 8, 1977:

 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.06.2017
09:45 am
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Retro recipes from Johnny Cash, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Boris Karloff & more!
12.05.2017
02:00 pm
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Johnny Cash is all of us this holiday season. Drunk, hiding in the bushes and eating cake.
 
On average, people gain anywhere between seven to ten pounds over the holiday season. The annual feeding frenzy is now in full swing ready to send our cholesterol into outer space while we simultaneously pour all kinds of delicious booze all over our livers. While I love pie and bourbon just as much as anyone else, I also like to cook so I thought it would be fun to share some fun celebrity recipes from yesteryear.

Most of the recipes below were published in the 1978 charity cookbook, Habilitat’s Celebrity Cookbook, 1930’s What Actors Eat When They Eat, and 1981’s Celebrity Cookbook. I’ve included a nice selection of recipes shared by icons such as Cary Grant’s barbequed chicken, Boris Karloff’s guacamole (which calls for sherry mind you), and Johnny Cash’s “Old Iron Pot” family style chili. The majority of the recipes are of the traditional variety—such as beef stew and meatloaf, though there are a few curve balls. Like Bette Davis’ “Mustard Gelatin Ring” which sounds about as appetizing as the rat she served to Joan Crawford in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), and actress Bea Arthur’s fancy-sounding “Avocado with Jellied Madrilene.” For those of you who lack Arthur’s gastronomical refinement, madrilene is a cold tomato consommé. Check them all out below!
 

 

 

 
Many more after the jump…

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Posted by Cherrybomb
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12.05.2017
02:00 pm
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This Busta Rhymes/Cookie Monster video is what America needs right now
12.05.2017
11:33 am
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YouTube user Mylo the Cat aka isthishowyougoviral aka Adam Schleichkorn brings us the Muppets-rap mashup we didn’t know we’ve been waiting for—a lengthy montage of Cookie Monster acting as MC over Busta Rhymes’ first single “Woo Hah! Got You All In Check,” which went to #1 on the U.S. rap charts more than 20 years ago, in 1996.

The video came out yesterday. Of the clip, Schleichkorn says. “I just wanted to make something to lighten the mood, in between the inevitable countless amounts of terrible news stories that will come out this week.”

What does he know that we don’t? Oh right, nothing at all. Bad news. That’s one thing you can bank on in 2017.

Earlier this year Schleichkorn came out with an amusing video in which Big Bird does the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” We liked that one too.
 

 
via Nerdcore
 

Posted by Martin Schneider
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12.05.2017
11:33 am
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The Peopled Wound: The dark dreams, visions, and fantasies of Alessandro Sicioldr
12.05.2017
10:40 am
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The artist draws and paints pictures inspired by “visions.” These are fleeting visions, “images floating in the stream of consciousnesses,” the kind that everybody experiences. The only difference is this artist fixes his visions on paper and canvas. Maybe not the only difference…

We’re not in Kansas, anymore, but somewhere deep in the imagination of Italian artist Alessandro Sicioldr.

Initially they are just quick impressions and I sketch them in one of my sketchbooks. This is the moment where the image has the greatest power in me. The painting or the drawing is a sacralisation of an idea, but the real idea lies in the sketchbook. I am very jealous of them, they are like a diary of inner exploration.

Sicioldr was born in Tarquinia, he now lives and works in Perugia. Art was not his first choice. He graduated in computer science before taking up a paintbrush. He is self-taught, though his father, also a painter, gave him “some basis” in the craft which influenced his liking for Renaissance artists like Piero Della Francesca. But Sicioldr has never been to an art class in his life. Instead, he taught himself by copying paintings. He’s lucky. He lives in a country that filled with great art.

He has a liking for the Baroque, citing painters like Cagnacci, Cavallino, Stanzione, Ribera, as well a taste for Mannerism and for medieval art. Old art is better.

The quality of colours, the beauty of the composition, the technical capabilities, the concepts and the symbology was way greater in the past. I’m not a nostalgist, I just want to study from the best sources, taking inspiration from the entire history.

Once Sicioldr has sketched his visions on paper, he begins the process of “craftsmanship and improvisation.”

I have no rules for references, often I paint from imagination because it is hard to find models like a giant bird chariot with a strange head inside moving on roots with heads inside and pulled by sacerdotes wearing red capes in an icy landscape.

He has claimed he finds it difficult to talk about his pictures, their meaning, and imagery, “since they speak through a visual language which is ambiguous, sibylline.” Coming from a scientific background, Sicioldr is “careful when talking about mind, spirituality, symbolism and topics involving facts that are impossible to prove with rational means.” He just feels some images have an important meaning and so he paints them.

Rules and boundaries are useless when dealing with metaphysics, so I just let my inner world speak without asking questions. These images are important for me and when I think about them I get a particular feeling. They need to be represented and they follow their strange irrational rules. Why do I put an element there, or use that particular color? It is because it should go there, these are the rules of the painting. I don’t think about symbolism because deliberate and intellectual reasoning can spoil the purity of a composition and the result can easily be fake. I recently discovered that a lot, maybe all of my paintings are composed within the rules of the golden section without knowing, I find this incredible but this is how human minds work.

See more of Alessandro Sicioldr’s here.
 
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More strange visions, after the jump…
 

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Posted by Paul Gallagher
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12.05.2017
10:40 am
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