Saturday, April 21, 2018

everybody got one i want mine

There are too many haunted mansions already, why add to the boredom?
Do you notice how there is something snug and warm about most of these depictions of Jean Ray's
famous house of horrors? How do you carry something written in the midst of WW II and great personal turmoil beyond tropes that make you want to sit comfortably near the fireplace and enjoy a good old-fashioned ghost story? How do you put the fear back in, the confusion, the scream of pure hysterical frenzy?
The answer is you cut, & let it bleed.
So lovers of the original novel, be warned, i did irrepairable damage to the book to do it justice.


( Check out the hilarious He-Man: Masters of the Universe video cover below. Of the book designs, i really like the Valdemar one, for its restraint. )






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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Round Table


A page from a new sketchbook. Yes, i have been thinking of Mme Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Octopus Wrestling


I must correct myself on the claim i made earlier in the comment section that octopuses are friendly sea creatures. Apparently, octopus wrestling used to be a sport once. This should be a good read, as it comes from the same writer as The Phantom Atlas, a book that i am enjoying immensely at the moment.


Die Ahnung - Zone 5300 Cover

Since I'm posting Lovecraft related stuff, I guess now is as good a time as any to post my recent cover artwork for the Dutch magazine  Zone 5300 (that Marcel is involved in). The issue featured also my Lovecraft-Kubin crossover short comic Die Ahnung (Premonition), which was originally part of the German-Austrian Lovecraft comic-anthology "Echo des Wahnsinns".


The little painting in the bottom right corner was actually done by Alfred Kubin in 1906.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Tropes versus Lovecraft - Part 2: Under The Surface

At first I thought I'd call this trope  "Jaws" for obvious reasons, then I thought maybe "Der dankbare Ägir" because that's the oldest instance of this concept I've come across (although not connected to anything Lovecraftian; and I'm sure there are older ones).


 
In the end I stuck with "Under the Surface", simply because it not only describes the compositional principle but also the underlying metaphorical gist of it. I guess "Above & Below" or "Upstairs, Downstairs" would have worked as well.

As I've said in a comment to the last post, I'm not interested so much in depictions of the various Mythos creatures here or even similarities in images illustrating scenes from Lovecraft's tales. After all, it is not surprising that a certain character or scene from a given story would be often depicted in a similar way. These images don't strike me to be text-based illustrations but instead the intention seems to be to find a visual expression of a philosophical idea in a pop cultural framework.
Now, of course the problem of clichéd imagery doesn't only apply to Lovecraftiana, but in this genre it strikes me as particularly interesting, because of its quasi-religious (albeit atheistic) narrative. It's almost as if these tropes evolve like other religious iconography because they best represent a core emotional effect cosmic horror is supposed to have. Naturally, that effect is diminished by every new instance you see, not to mention the problems with visually representing something which is not supposed to be depicted - another aspect which the topic at hand shares with some religions.
But like in religious iconography the lacking impact of conceptual novelty is replaced or compensated for by a joy of recognition paired with the a reconjuring of the familiar ideological content. Think "Crucifixion", think "Pieta".
Well, perhaps this is all very trivial, and I'm sure there's a wealth of art historical texts about iconographic conventions and stereotypes in other fields, which go deeper into this matter than I ever could. I was just struck by the frequent recurrance of these images in my social networks and thought I should somehow collect them. I found none of these via google; they just popped up in my timeline and usually people thought they were great representations of a Lovecraftian perspective. Make of that what you will.










Finally, if the series of images above wasn't enough, I guess you can can tell a trope is a trope when it becomes ironic. This might very well be the final stage before becoming completely stale and meaningless.




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As with the previous post, this is not meant to put any particular artist down, nor to critique any specific piece of art. I don’t know most of the creators’ names but I think given the context of this post it’s perhaps not in their interest to be credited here anyhow. If any artist would like to be credited (or if they want their artwork removed) please let me know and I shall do so.



Friday, March 30, 2018

Tropes versus Lovecraft - Part 1: The Prophet's Portrait

" A really serious weird story does not depend on a plot or incident at all, but puts all its emphasis on mood or atmosphere. What it sets out to be is simply a picture of a mood, and if it weaves the elements of suggestion with sufficient skill  it matters relatively little what fictitious elements the mood is based on. Of course the more obviously worn-out clichés (in method even more than subject-matter) had better be avoided — but a true master of atmosphere and suggestion can do wonders with even the commonest sort of theme. "

– H.P. Lovecraft


I’d like to try something else here on EBD, and post a series of artworks I’ve come across online, illustrating lovecraftian scenes or conveying lovecraftian concepts.
There are certain visual stereotypes in this genre which are consciously or unconsciously repeated over and over again, so I thought it would be interesting to categorize the various tropes and perhaps even develop some kind of pop cultural art critique concerning these types of illustrations. If it would lead to a higher degree of awareness that these tropes exist and maybe some pressure to develop new ideas, that would be a welcome side effect.

However, I’m not doing this to put any particular artist down, nor to critique any specific piece of art. Some of the examples are fan art, some are professional illustrations, and some are my own work. Many are obviously well-executed and probably in most instances the individual creators were thinking they had an original idea. Or perhaps they didn't and created theirs as a personal version of a common visual trope. Which, I guess, begs the question, wether there is something inherently "wrong" with this in the first place. In other epochs it was totally ok for artists to riff on other artists work, often to the extent that the visual concept became a shared cultural topos, to use a more neutral term, with no original artist's name connected to it.
Well, I have more things to say about this but I'll save them for the following posts. I would very much be interested to hear your thoughts.

So here's the first series of images. Where best to begin than with the many portraits of HPL himself. The stereotypical tentacles jump out pretty obviously, but seeing them juxtaposed like this, it also helps appreciate the instances where artists tried to give it a more individualistic style or inject a more original idea. Of the tropes that I have come across this is by far the most common. If you google "lovecraft portrait" you'll get most of these and may more very similar ones.  So if this one seems to obvious and boring to you I hope you'll find the following ones more interesting.











FuFu Frauenwahl

David Lee Ingersoll



I don’t know most of the creators’ names but I think given the context of this post it’s perhaps not in their interest to be credited here anyhow. If any artist would like to be credited (or if they want their artwork removed) please let me know and I shall do so.

As a bonus I'll add Erik Krieks's beautiful cover illustration for his book "From Beyond", which cleverly takes the trope I've presented above and inverts it, kind of building on the fact that we've seen the stereotype so many times that we don't even need to see his face to recognize him.

Erik Kriek
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