A painting by British artist John Holmes.
From the time he held his first solo art exhibition in 1961, the art of British painter and illustrator John Holmes has expanded the minds of his fans with his imaginative take on monsters and other makers of mayhem. After hustling his craft hard in the early 60s, a few years later Holmes found himself busy working almost non-stop creating artwork for all kinds of publications including Playboy and UK women’s magazine, Nova. Later, Holmes would hook up with the art director for British publishing company Granada Books, and his ghoulish illustrations would be used widely on titles from authors such as H.P. Lovecraft, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Pynchon and perhaps most famously on the cover of the 1970 edition of Germaine Greer’s book, The Female Eunuch. Holmes’ floating female torso for Greer’s book was preceded by his disquieting work featured on the album cover, gatefold and back of Ceremony: An Electronic Mass—the collaboration of prog rock band Spooky Tooth and French electro-producer Pierre Henry .
Initially, Holmes’ work was much more abstract—a stark contrast to his strangely realistic work which would make him famous. His art was also widely used for the popular series The Fontana Book of Great Horror Stories—and if you were a child of the late 60s, 70s or even the early 80s, I’m sure you will recognize at least one of Holmes’ eerie, minimalistic paintings in this post. Much of what follows is NSFW.
Holmes’ artwork which appeared on the cover of an edition of H.P. Lovecraft’s ‘The Tomb (and other stories).’
The cover of Thomas Pynchon’s ‘Gravity’s Rainbow.’
Holmes’ cover for the 1973 book by Poul Anderson, ‘Beyond the Beyond.’
More after the jump…