Your humble goth reporter has been spending a lot of time over on the Art Blog trying to make the whole thing as much about comic books and old video games as possible. Frankly, we're beginning to wonder if we've geeked out just a bit too far, and decided to try and expand our artistic horizons a bit. To this end, we summoned the Gothic Council to see if they could suggest some appropriately talented artists to class up our noggin.
Joining the Council this week is co-founder of the Age of Decay festival Alethea Carr, author of the Encylopedia Gothica Liisa Ladouceur, DJ Martin Oldgoth, living historian Morrighanne Burns, blogger at Night's Plutonian Shore Sarah Fanning, and doll maker Ugly Shyla.
Alethea Carr: My very favourite visual artist seems like such a stereotypical one - Charles Addams - but he isn't my favourite for stereotypical reasons. Yes, of course I love his Addams Family, but the moment I really fell in love with his work has nothing to do with them.
My parents had given me a book of his cartoons, and it was fun to pore over them and find what was "off'" in each ordinary-seeming illustration. But I got to one and its off-ness escaped me. A man, in a homey living room, is playing his cello. That's all. I searched and searched the picture, and then I finally saw it: one, tiny, panicked eye staring up from inside the cello. That eye was so horrific, so comedic, so subtle and surprising that it won my admiration for him forever. He also gave me a greater appreciation for Edward Gorey and Gahan Wilson and their benignly twisted sense of humour.
Liisa Ladouceur: Pierre Soulages. Discovered him on my last visit to Paris, there was a large retrospective of his at the Pompidou. His most recent and most famous works are very large-scale paintings that are entirely black. You would think, how many of those can you do? Well, each one is different, as the light hits its textures. I was enthralled with each one. He calls these "outrenoir." I love the idea that this guy just said one day "why not paint all in black?" and just did it.
While he seems practically unknown over here, in France/Europe he's super famous so I believe one of those beloved black painting sells for upwards of $300,000. So, no, I don't have one.
Martin Oldgoth: For me it's Arthur Rackham, His work fascinated me as a kid when I had a book whose title has long been forgotten with a cover illustrated by him. The detail in even a simple sketch was incredible.
Morrighanne Burns: Aubrey Beardsley, I had Incipit Vita Nova on a t-shirt when I was pregnant with my daughter. I love the naughtiness, the intricate work that would later inspire nouveau, a lot of his subject matter was linked with the aesthetic movement and his friends Oscar Wilde and Whistler. Take a look at the wiki art pages of his work; he died tragically young at 25, a strange looking pixie of a man who pushed the boundaries of his age.
Sarah Fanning: So hard to choose! I love the Pre-Rahpaelite movement as a whole. My mother had art books around the house and I loved looking at all the paintings in this movement. My favorites were the paintings of Ophelia by John Everett Millais and Arthur Hughes. I also love most of the works by John William Waterhouse. My favorite Pre-Raphaelite picture of all time is Dante's Dream by Dante Gabriel Rosetti.
As for more contemporary arts, I love Darla Teagarden.
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Ugly Shyla: I love Darla Teagarden's work as well. One of my faves is John Santerineross. I love his photography, and the fact he builds the sets that he uses for the photographs, he even uses his wife and friends as models. So it's almost like art within art because he's so hands on with everything. He's also one of the people that are really keeping real surrealism alive not the pop surrealism crap people try and pass of as "surrealism." His work is inspired by dreams and he works in a method that is similar to the way I work. When I first got into making art in the 90s as a teen he was some of the first modern artist a really admired, along with Steven Leyba, Steve Diet Goedde and Stephen Kasner.
Sarah Fanning: He sounds a lot like Darla. She makes her own sets and props and does all the makeup herself. Her studio is her bedroom.
Ugly Shyla: That is why I also like Darla's work. Being such a crazy DIY artist myself I always appreciate when another artist is totally hands on. John is kind of a jack of all trades too which I love. He's been a photographer for years but is now delving into some pretty bad ass short films.