What I think is kind of funny about the dark imagery found in metal art and music is that a lot of it stems from the religions of this world – religions that claim to comfort while investing heavily in fear. The Catholic Church was obsessed with skulls, bones, demons and death imagery long before the 20th century dawning of metal and goth, and used dark imagery and human remains to create a powerful and fearful impression on its followers, reminding them of their certain death and potential fate in the afterlife. All over Europe in the Middle Ages, monks built magnificent chapels out of the bones of plague victims, massacre victims and members of their own ranks. When our baby is a little older, we want to tour Europe and visit all of the bone chapels; places like the Kostnice Ossuary in Czech Republic, made of the bones of 40,000 to 70,000 people; the Capela dos Ossos in Alcantarilha, Évora and Faro, Portugal; the Cathedral of Otranto in Italy, where the remains of 800 massacre victims line the walls of the chapel; the Ossuary Chapel of San Martino, and the Capuchin Crypt in Rome; and the Chapel of St Michael in Hallstatt, Austria. These aren’t the only bone chapels to be found on the continent, but they are some of the best known, and you can find stunning images of them after the jump and in the gorgeous photography book The Empire of Death. Entering a place filled with the bones of so many human beings must be a humbling experience – the energies retained in its walls, the lives of health and solitude or sickness and violence, all looming over you and multiplying in arches and columns overhead. I can only guess at the feelings I would have in such a place. I think I would be literally breathless. Check out a vast gallery of bones after the jump…
If there is one thing I have learned about heavy metal it’s that there is no one generic “metalhead.” Yes, there are people who have tried to argue that metal is a European thing or a white thing, but all that tells me about those people is that their experience is limited (and they are seriously ignorant and should just shut the hell up). Go to any metal show in L.A. and you’ll see at least half, if not more, of the crowd is latino. There are metal scenes in Singapore, Brazil, the Middle East and Africa, just as there are scenes in Scandinavia and Russia. My point is, there is no color or nationality that can truly lay claim to this music, because it is a culture that finds root in many earths. South African photographer Frank Marshall traveled to Botswana to take portraits of the metal scene there – a small but strong one, heavily influenced by bands like Iron Maiden, Megadeath and Motörhead. Talk about being outcast from society – try being a metalhead in Botswana, wearing head to toe leather in 80 degree weather. The Renegades series of portraits show people who truly live for the music they love, making bullet belts out of used bullet casings and making a style of their own when it comes to metal fashion, a kind of leather-thrash-cowboy-Mad Max look. This collection of 60 portraits is available in book form from the Rooke Gallery in Johannesberg. After the jump, check out some of Marshall’s Renegades portraits and see Botswana Heavy Metal in action…
The force of imagination is what you are going to find at Rancho Obi-Wan located in Northern California. This place is the largest STAR WARS museum on the planet. This is one place I would like to venture to in my lifetime, because this movie opened a creative portal in my mind from the first time I saw it. In the meantime, check out this cool short film about Steve Sansweet and the huge collection he has a massed after the jump…May the fucking force be with you!
I’m nerd and I don’t care! I could spend hours looking at old skate videos or listening to skate rock like the JFA, AGRESSION, ILL REPUTE, The BIG BOYS, SKOUNDRELZ and The FACTION. I remember when being a skater meant you were a punker automatically – we were one in the same. Something about 80′s skaters, they had so much fucking style; maybe this is why I have so much respect for that era. Today were are celebrating the art of skating in the 80′s with a huge FUCK YEAH 80′s Skating photo fucking gallery. So peep all of the gnarly rawness after the jump!
Today is an awesome fucking day, because we can show you the stunning piece of cinematography that the super talented Justin Oakey created for the launch of our Spring/Summer 2013 collection, CVLT Nation V. Shot in the Great White North on the banks of Lake Ontario, this film invokes the dark mystery of our latest collection. Alongside the artwork of Natvres Mortes, Maxime Taccardi, Cub of the Woods and the photography of Lele Saveri, the haunting and menacing sounds of Locrian‘s “The Crystal World” set the tone for the CVLT Nation V Lookbook. Although this is technically our Spring/Summer season, you know we see darkness everywhere, and Justin Oakey’s bleak and cold setting suits our collection perfectly. So below check out the world premiere of the CVLT Nation V lookbook…
Many years ago, one of my best friends moved to Ghana. She told me she was never moving back, and after she began to send me amazing pictures of the voodoo markets, I understood why. West African voodoo markets put most North American taxidermy appreciators to shame, at least when it comes to appreciating dried animal parts. In North America we like our taxidermy clean and sanitized, but in Ghana and the surrounding countries they pile dried heads high in the dusty sun, emitting the perfume of death in the sweltering heat. It’s where you go to get all you need for your voodoo ceremonies – again, another thing the Europeans anothropologized to death. Voodoo is at its most ancient and pure in Africa, and while animal sacrifice and strange dance ceremonies are definitely a part of it, it is far from the picture of evil that it has been characterized to be through prejudice and misunderstanding. Italian photographer Anthony Pappone traveled in West Africa photographing voodoo ceremonies, and the result is a stunning collection of images that convey both the power of voodoo and the love and joy in its followers. Below read what he has to say about this photos essay, and check out an amazing gallery of his work after the jump!
the europeans or americans believe that voodoo is ‘black magic’ that is evil but it is false,
the voodoo religion is based on respect and peace.
the fundamental bases of the voodoo religion are:
the fetishes that contain the power of the spirits.
dances with masks.
Animal sacrifices to give thanks to the spirits.
the veneration of ancestors.
More than meets the (electric) Eye.
Polaroid > Instagram, a foto essay. By Ralph Division (Planks)
When I think about annoying trends I always find myself left with fake retro – Be it music or visual
aesthetics. Ever since the Eighties became ever so popular again it brought this wave of pictures,
made up to look contemporary from that era. In times of Instagram and Hipstamatic it is easy to
copy these grainy, soulful images most of us grew up with. But do they feel real? Not to me. One
of the coolest things to unfortunately wither and die in the last decade was the Polaroid technology.
These quirky, white-framed images never really made a 100% shot of reality. I remember my
mother saying how terrible the quality is. But it had feeling – and that’s what the ever evolving
To take pictures of a show used to be something special. Most people came to enjoy the music and
raise their hands, X’ed up or with devils horns, to cheer and celebrate. If you go to a show today you
will find more cameras than people in the first row. Cellphones or super expensive digital cameras
are common toys – and they all kind of take the same shots.
While I was watching The Omen the other day, I remembered how as a teenager I used to dream about having my own darkroom one day, where I could hang row upon row of prints I manipulated and developed with my own hands. In the ensuing years, digital cameras made my dream obsolete, and I forgot about it until I watched the photographer develop his prints and squint at the supernatural unfolding before his eyes. The digital age of photography has made it in some ways easier and in others more difficult to come up with photography that feels like a work of art. I think the bar has been raised for true photographic innovation because of programs like Photoshop and Lightroom that do things that were nearly impossible with analog developing techniques. Jim Kazanjian has found a way to make digital photography reach it’s pinnacle of creativity and realism in his digital sculptures. He takes thousands of images and recomposes them to create fantastical buildings that would confound any real world architect. His use of photos to create his masterpieces makes them startlingly real, as if you could actually imagine such a building existing, hear it creak as the wind pushes it on its tilting foundation. After the jump, check out a gallery of Jim Kazanjian’s stunning photographic works.
I’m always looking for unique and quality vintage, antique, and handmade items to add to my wardrobe. So, it should be obvious that I’m an extreme Etsy fiend. I was lurking through the site when I first noticed Fila Arcana -let me tell you, if you’re into the film “The Craft”, you’ll love what Fila Arcana from Toronto, Ontario, has got going. The style is eerie yet delicate, mysterious and pure, like a witches student, or black magic lolita. Mina Sewell Mancuso, the High Priestess of Fila Arcana, hand-embroiders beautiful works onto pinback buttons, wall hangings, and peter pan-style detachable collars. All the designs she offers are inspired by “alchemy, the occult, and all things esoteric.” Items adorned with symbols, moon phases, beasts, palmistry, and more. All conjured by hand, the details in each piece are skillfully intricate, classical, and bewitching.
“I render secret things in colored threads.”
Even though I don’t see it when I look out my window, I live in a country at war. For the past decade, kids from my neighborhood have joined the US military – to get a degree, a “good” job, a paycheck, to fight for a false ideal – and they come back with war in their minds and hearts. I can’t see the violence and trauma in their souls, nor can I see the indelible images in their brains; they aren’t things I even want to imagine. The fear, the smells of burning flesh and blood, the ear-crushing booms of bombs and bullets are all real life horror and nightmare. If I Am Your Mirror captures this in breathtaking painted animation; director and animator Garrett DeHart was inspired by Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart and romantic painting, and sets a scene of mass murder and revenge that has left me unsettled and sad, but at the same time blown away by the beauty of his film. The protagonist is played by Larry Holdman (Batman Begins, Memento), whom the film is also in memory of, and his character invites us into the dark and paranoid worldview of a veteran of the Civil War. His world is painted black after witnessing so much murder and mayhem, some at his own hands, and he is unable to cope with the world around him. At times we are in his mind, at others we are watching him from the outside, but the lines are blurred and leave the viewer with a feeling of sickness at the cruelty of human beings. This film may mean different things to different people, but to me it is a reminder of why war is to be abhorred and not exalted, and it will keep me speaking out against the bullshit and lies that push my neighbors into its clutches, only to come back broken and scarred. Check out If I Am Your Mirror below and more information about the film and DeHart after the jump.