Robert Cook creates haunting illustrations inspired by his concept of Norot, or the artistic expression of mythical, esoteric and occult elements through different media, aural and visual. Entering his illustrated world, I feel overwhelmed by the powerful figures that I confront there. I am but an observer, but they speak to me in ancient tongues and radiate a pantheistical energy and power. Cook is an expat American living in Ireland, and you can certainly see the Celtic influence on his artwork, where many lines intersect and cross each other to create interwoven and seemingly infinite patterns. His inspiration is clearly deep-seated and intellectual, based in profound contemplation of humanity and our subconscious relationship with our world. There is a lot of emotion and intuition in Cook’s work, and it draws the viewer into its universe easily, asking us to contemplate what lies beyond our rational mind. Check out more of Robert Cook’s illustrations below…
Although the Internet can be a black hole of perversion and idiocy, it can also be a place of fascinating beauty and hidden information. For example, how else would I be able to look at anatomical texts from all over the world, conceived and illustrated in the 14th to 19th centuries? The US National Library of Medicine has a digital exhibition of said texts on their website entitled Historical Anatomies, allowing us to see how the human body has been portrayed in medical terms over the past seven centuries. It’s amazing to see the difference between a text written in 1390 and one in 1790 – from a more rudimentary, yet accurate, portrayal of our nervous and skeletal systems to a skeleton gracefully posing in front of a rhinoceros (?), or against a backdrop of marble and lush garden. These images would have once been restricted to a select group of scholars, and now are available to the entire world. Check out some of my favorites below the full texts here.
A couple days ago, Sean and I were walking through a stunning BC rainforest reflecting on the connection many metalheads feel to nature. As we looked around at the cycle of growth and decay that flourished around us, we talked about how a disdain or even hate for status quo human society goes hand in hand with a love for the natural world, because one exists at the expense of another. Nature also embraces death and decay because it is at the foundation of life itself, when many human belief systems and societies fear and hide from death and death imagery, all the while obsessing over it. That’s why I am so fascinated with artists who explore human decay, and create images that celebrate its beauty, even when it is instinctively ugly. Hermann Försterling is a painter and photographer whose images remind me of our inevitable demise, twisting our faces into masks of pain and covering our bodies in earth. His work is ugly in its corpselike celebration of the human body, but at the same time it is joyful, celebrating our place in nature and its cycle of life and death. He uses copper plate etching to create haunting imagery that is bathed in the greys and blacks of decomposition. Take a peek at one of his photographic collections below and make sure to explore his site for more.
Lango Oliveira works out of Skull & Sword Tattoo in San Francisco, CA, and while he is a very talented tattooist, the work that really blows me away are his murals. The streets of San Francisco are blessed with his vibrant artwork, adorning brick walls, trucks and doorways with bright splashes of gore and mutant blood. Looking at one of his murals, it’s almost as if the wall itself is moving, being whipped by supernatural winds or attacked by demonic forces. His murals are gateways into another universe, places of immense darkness that scream with color. The fact that you can walk around San Francisco and just happen upon one of these masterpieces is amazing! Check out a gallery of his work below, and also be sure to check out his tattoos as well!
One thing that has gotten me high ever since I was around four was underground art. When I was younger I would spend hours staring at the Funkadelic album covers, and as I started to get older I would bug out on the Freak Brother comics! I didn’t know it then, but now I can see that I have always been attracted to subversive images. Maybe this is why when I first got into hardcore in the 80′s, the illustrators were just as important to me as the bands. When you saw a flyer done by Ric Clayton, Pushead, Shawn Kerri or Marc Rude you know the show was going to kick ass. Also the covers from CRASS, RUDIMENATRY PENI, AMEBIX and ICONS OF FILTH drew me in just as much as their music. When I heard that The Ajna Offensive was putting out a book entitled ENTARTETE HUNTS curated by Dennis Dread, I was very keen to see it. Once I did, I realized I was looking at underground art history, because this book features works by some of my favorites. Check out this roll call of some of the illustrators that are in this 400 page book: Nick Blinko (Rudimentary Peni), Ed Repka (Megadeth), S. Clay Wilson (Zap Comix), Erik Danielsson (Watain), Kristian “Necrolord” Wåhlin (Dissesction), Sean Taggart (Crumbsuckers), Joe Petagno (Motörhead), Jos. A. Smith (Bathory), Bobby BeauSoleil (Lucifer Rising), Dennis Dread (Darkthrone), Michel “Away” Langevin (Voivod), plus 30 more insane artists not mention here…Now peep an unreal gallery of some their amazing ART!
Altars of Madness is a 3-part exhibition that explores extreme metal, divided into sections focusing on grindcore, death metal and black metal. The exhibition, curated by Damien Deroubaix and Jérôme Lefèvre, opened on May 18th, 2013 in Luxembourg at Casino Luxembourg, and will run until Sept 15th, 2013 followed by an exhibition at Confort Moderne in Poitiers (FR) from Sept 28th to Dec 15th, 2013. Featuring noted artists like Matthew Barney, Nicholas Bullen, Larry Carroll, Grégory Cuquel, Damien Deroubaix, Seldon Hunt, Gregory Jacobsen,Theodor Kittelsen, Harmony Korine, Élodie Lesourd, Juan Pablo Macias, Maël Nozahic, Torbjorn Rodland, Steven Shearer, Mark Titchner, Gee Vaucher and Banks Violette, this exhibition is a skillful examination of the influence of metal on the art world. As a part of the exhibition, Napalm Death and Blockheads performed a show on July 3rd, tying in the visuals and the music in a tangible way, and to close the exhibition Final (Justin K Broadrick) and soleil[s]noir will perform at Espace Découverte. Below you can check out some of the haunting pieces that are a part of this exhibition – one that metal fans around Europe should definitely try to make their way out to!
All photos: WILI – Media Makers, Casino Luxembourg, 2013
Being a Cali kid, I’m supposed to know how to drive, but I don’t. That might be weird in way, but I do have a love for cars. Maybe this is why I have always thought that Ed “Big Daddy” Roth was a cool dude. Before I had ever seen any of his cars, I knew his cartoons featuring Rat Fink – who to me is a total icon of counter culture – plus I know for a fact he had an influence on many of the artists from the early 80′s punk scene. Ed was a man of fucking passion and was so talented, from being an expert auto painter/customizer to a barber to a cartoonist. When I look at the stuff he created it really inspires me because I realize that as long as I follow my heart, everything else will follow. Today CVLT Nation salutes Ed “Big Daddy” Roth with a huge gallery of his cartoons and outergaltic rides!
The paintings of Christian Rex van Minnen would look at home in another dimension, hanging on the walls of a Renaissance palace owned by a wealthy mutant. I imagine myself walking down an ornate hall cluttered with oil paintings of their terrifying ancestors, their bulbous growths and glistening fluids looming over me. His paintings are rife with Western gluttony and luxury, justified by centuries of despotic rule. At the same time, he creates the perfect foil to his rich colors and lustrous oils with his subjects’ erupting skin, all bubbling boils and cancerous lumps, afflicted with the diseases of the poor. Our luxury is consuming itself with pestilence, exposing the ugly reality behind the decadent mask. His subjects are faceless, in that they often don’t have any discernable features, but van Minnen makes their faces from other stuff, piecing together their personality with bumps, folds, pores, tattoos and droplets. You feel their gaze although they have no eyes. It’s kind of awkward, but stunning at the same time; portraits that would suit the house of a collector of curiosities. You can check out some of his paintings below, and I highly recommend following his Instagram if you are into the weird!
You know when you see album artwork, and the amazingness of it alone forces you to listen to the music enclosed within it? I am a sucker for good album artwork, and more often than not, when a band has some really, really sick composition on its album cover, it makes me like their music more. Couple this with my passion for fantasy artwork, and Nick Keller hits my art spot! His highly detailed oil paintings transport me into a world whipped with ferocious winds that whirl around me and fill me with a delicious dread. He manages to create a sense of sharpness with soft lines, a myriad of colors all blending together but still distinct, almost as if I am seeing through a fog that cuts me. He envisions giants who descend upon the earth, their very size and power malice alone, but their intentions with what awaits them on earth are unclear. They are full of fire and blinding light, and could crush us with one small movement, but they seem to exist without regard for us who look upon them. His subjects seem like extensions of the natural world, while at the same time they are extraterrestrial, but they grow out of flame and mountain and cloud and ocean and tree, and more a part of this earth than anything that lives and dies on it. His paintings tell stories that are too vast for words. No wonder this Wellington, NZ based artist was chosen to do conceptual artwork for The Hobbit, he is actually capable of capturing in images the complexity of Tolkien’s texts. Keller is also the artist behind covers for NZ bands Beastwars and Heresiarch. Enter his worlds at your own risk below…
Can you see the pain in color? Can you see the revolution in color? Can you see the ghost of right now in color? Frida Kahlo was an artist that worked magic with her creative expression, and became an artist that would go on to change the world. When I look into her paintings, I see joy surrounded by anguish. For some reason, Frida’s style inspires me to make it through my hard times on this planet. I have so much respect for her – the way she gave a voice to the voiceless. Frida’s pieces are decades old, but still resonate with the human condition that we all face today. Something I find interesting is the way she used vibrant colors to paint gothic scenes of surrealism. Today CVLT Nation celebrates Frida Kahlo with an essay of her work, plus we are showing the Frida Documentary…May the ghost of color haunt me forever!