Tuesday, 31 January 2012

(((Hyperpower))) 'Zine?

For a while now I've been thinking about making a 'zine, a self-published magazine of sorts with the DIY ethos and wabi-sabi nature. Of course printed media is never going to revive itself from it's inevitable death, much to the Newspaper Man's grief, but I find the physicality of a magazine enticing. It's permanent and real. Something to grip with your fingertips and experience.

It'll essentially be an artefact of a time and place, and that tangibility is exciting. And it's a bit of fun too.

So yeah, this may be in the works in the background, and I'll make sure to record its process on these here pages, with the layout and writing and illustrations and photography.

Keep an eye out.

John Martin

Over the Christmas period I went to see the fantastic John Martin exhibition over at the Tate Britain titled Apocalypse, and some of his paintings truly incurred the feeling of the end. Huge canvases of lush seething colour depicting caverns and cliff-tops and hell and biblical damnations.

Even though the critics derided his work, I think Martin is pretty damn cool. It's high drama. Imagine living in that period and viewing a work like the ever popular Apocalypse (top image); it's horrifying and thrilling at the same time!

Sometimes art doesn't have to subtle or intellectualised or pretentious, it can melodramatic, bombastic, even explosive and that's what John Martin delivers in spades.

You can check out the highly antiquated John Martin website HERE

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Alice Duke

Alice Duke has been one of those where I knew her work before I knew her. Her illustration work is fascinating, it deals in folklore and nature and human curiosity using engrossing detail and warm earthy colour. I enjoy her work, I love the mythical creatures and the transformation of the known to the unknown, especially with Exploding Shed at the bottom there, yet overall I can't help but find her work terrifying.

It truly is scary. How many heads does that scaly, hairy, feathered, winged, tangle of serpents need? And how much is the print because I want one!

You can go and check out her coooool website HERE

And you can hit the jump to check out her work with the great unsigned band Cormorant.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Roger Dean

I couldn't believe it going through our, admittedly rather brief, archive and finding that I have yet to mention the, frankly, brilliant Roger Dean. He's mostly known for his intergalactic and astoundingly beautiful and surreal landscapes, floating islands, dense jungles, monolithic rock formations, hive-like constructions and the odd pyramid or two.

However, above I've put two images of my favourite works by Mr Dean and they mainly focus on his creatures, that dragon up top is incredible in it's majesty and colour, and breathes a whole new way of thinking of what a dragon could be. And the octopus is there because I think the octopus is the boss. Obsessed with octopi(?) at the moment. Way cool.

His works are well-known for being used as record covers for bands like Yes and Rush and other prog rock royalty, and on his influencing many in the younger generations, the one that comes to mind the most is Arik Roper who is also a genius.

Check out his well made website HERE

Friday, 27 January 2012

On Writing: The Death of the Review

As a music record review writer I have found the form itself has been cheapened considerably over the last couple of years. Of course the fact that anyone can start up a blogspot and write about music makes the writing landscape so varied and interesting and colourful, but it also means there’s no filtration device. The degree of quality writing in reviews has cooled significantly.

I believe a review has it’s own art form; the writing has to be informative of the subject that you are reviewing, but it must also be entertaining and persuasive. Pure information is a pamphlet. A well-reasoned and thought-provoking discussion is a review.

This is not only restricted to digital media, which is a common misconception, printed media too have been on this slippery slope and continue to flail in their shallow puddles of vocabulary. To appeal to mass audiences does not mean the writing has to be dumbed down to the bare-essentials: clich├ęs and a formula.

In the Music and indeed the Art industry, nothing else is as important as having your work be quality and unique, so why should it be different when you’re writing about those industries?

Here I break it down where I think the quality of reviewing is going awry, and follow with how I think a review should be.

Francis Picabia

I feel I don't appreciate Francis Picabia in the right way. I suppose not in the critical frame of mind where Picabia is seen as a major figure of the DaDaism movement in France and the US in the early 20th century.

For me Picabia has always been the name next to Otaiti , that image at the top, in the Tate Modern Gallery. I've seen the painting many times with each of my visits ad with every time I am struck by its despair and tragic darkness of the image. It's probably most affecting as it's a begging and pleading naked woman on her knees with a huge disembodied hand preying nearby. The autumnal leaves and the dank muddy colours evokes the sense of transition from peak to decline.

The multi-layered imagery is superb and at times can feel like the image is moving and shifting between one scene to the next.

This the Francis Picabia I enjoy, the one with startling imagery and with stories to tell. His DaDaist works may have been influential but for me I think I prefer his images with an element of coherency.

I've found there to be a lacking of decent websites to link to unfortunately so here's a bundle to make up for it: HERE, HERE and HERE.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

The Body in Photograms by Red

The Body is something which is constantly and thoroughly used within archaic and contemporary art. Whether it is the all-time acclaimed works of the legends Pablo Picasso or Lucien Freud to the more modern works of Jenny Saville, Andres Serrano and Dylan Ricci.
It is a free and marvelous thing to use as subject matter. Not one body is the same and each of us have contours, freckles, scars, lumps and bumps that artists find irresistible.

For a recent project that I have done I looked at my face and other body parts in the medium of photogams. (The best way to explain what a photogram is, is to click on the Wiki link i am afraid!) Throughout my photographic up-bringing I have always loved the darkroom and the photogram techniques.

Fox Talbot and Anna Atkins are the main proprietors of the object onto photo-sensitive paper then exposure method.....

William Henry Fox Talbot

Anna Atkins

So within this project I combined both body and photograms.

The project title being 'Primitive' enabled me to use the most greatest primitive method of producing images there is, plus it is my favourite so this was a good project for me.

I stumbled across the technique for producing photograms of my face through experimentation in the darkroom with fix on my finger tips...
Vaseline on my lips...

E45 cream on my hands...
I liked the E45 cream.
Through much experimenting I had the idea to put the cream on one side of my face and print my face directly onto the photo-sensitive paper....

It was quite a break- through as the imprint has created a foetus looking pattern or shape on the paper. I had never seen anything like this before. So I had to expand on it.

I started putting the cream on both sides of my face (above), to show contact between the two faces, as if they are kissing.

The lack of intimidating and complicated techniques within this project just demonstrate the effectiveness of experimentation and simplicity within photography. If you want your face covered in cream and fixative to create pictures which completely sum up you as an artist, then do it. Less is sometimes (well in this case) more.

These however are not all the finished pictures... there is a lot more to show. But unfortunately they are with my tutor being marked.... so... watch this space!



Jake and Dinos Champman

Sorry I haven't posted in a while and neglected the blog. But am back for a reign of terror ;)

Jake and Dinos Champman I discovered in current project that I am doing in my Photography degree at AUCB, called Photography and Realism.

I am blessed with erratic and bizarre dreams which are elusive and clear as day and I hoped that this would be a great starting point for this Realism project. So within a meeting with the legend that is Hitesh Ambasna he guided me towards the Champman brother duo.

The work which I was introduced to was there constructed 'mini' scenes. Such as this...

Their work employs death, sex, Nazism, children and the actions in the consumer lifestyle.
There is such a splendid amount going on.

A lot of the work from these concept artists I cant help but feel is quite, (putting it plainly), 'fucked up'.

And I like 'fucked up'!

The work of these sublime artists evokes an emotion or terror from the audience or onlooker. The best form of art (in my opinion) is that, that scares the shit out of the viewer. It wouldnt be worth while otherwise.
Go along and get scared shitless yourself.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Horseback, Denis Forkas Kostromitin and My Bandcamp Experiment

Not gonna lie, this is just an experiment to see whether I can embed Bandcamp players. And it turns out it does work. Good times. And so I thought what better an opportunity than now to introduce you to the fantastic Drone band Horseback.

Horseback's type of drone is not the churning hatred spewed forth by Sunn o))) but it's misty and shimmers and dances. In some cases it's pretty. But a lot of the time it's huge and grinding like huge ice bergs breaking off the shelf.

Colossal. Check 'em out.

Actually, that's some pretty sweet record artwork with a rather interesting back story.

Andreas Gursky

It was Cherub The Great who alerted me to my ignorance of big, well known photographers. I realised that as an Internet fiend I appeared to have undercut those that are at the top, those that are well-known and well liked and hugely popular and headed straight into the unknown, missing out on that top sector.

And it seems Andreas Gursky appears to be the grand-daddy of that layer, take a look, he has the highest selling photograph ever, and that sold only a few months back in November 2011. Who knows where it'll escalate?

The image itself, that top'un, is a bit minimal, i.e it's a path with a river and some mist. BUT it's not just that, Cherub The Great tells me that that part of a path that runs alongside the Rhine in Germany is in an industrialised area and very busy with pedestrians. The image itself has been digitally edited to remove buildings and people and sidewalk furniture and the mist hides further buildings and whatnot.

So as a piece of work it's highly textural and work intensive, but for me in all honestly the image does feel rather bland. In other words, there's no colourful or shiny things to hold my attention. And I have a pretty poor attention span.

What is surprising is that there doesn't seem to be an official website for Mr. Gursky so here is the best I can do, GOOGLE IMAGES YAY: HERE

Anka Zhuravleva

Man, that top picture is explosive! I love photography that is subtle and nuanced and carefully framed and balanced, but when it's as high-octane and eye-grabbing as Anka Zhuravleva then it's a real sight to behold. This difficult-to-type name has been sitting idle on a list scrawled on a post-it note inside a small black notebook for waaay too long.

And just as the first is a bluster of movement the second is contemplative and as the subject locks eyes with the viewer it's also a little creepy. Especially with the ghostly limbs beneath the water's surface.

Anka Zhuravleva has many interesting ideas that results in outstanding photography, and all viewable on her beguilingly minimal website: HERE

Keith Haring

So, looking through images to try and find a nice background for the spiffy new About page and I remembered I had taken this picture in Pisa last summer of this gem of a Keith Haring work, titled 'Tuttomondo'. It was tucked away in an alley beside a cafe and easily missable, thankfully my Pa hunted it down and it was worth the trek.

My favourite guy is that wolf-looking one in the middle-ish area. He's cool.

I'll probably lie and say I'll do a future post on Keith Haring, even though I should cause he's great, but all I'm going to do is point you in the right direction.

Check out the Keith Haring site: HERE


Record Review: Mastodon - 'The Hunter'

‘The Hunter’
[Roadrunner Records]

This record needs to be listened to under the night sky; my eyes are drawn to finding the Hunter that has stood poised for a millennia or two. A sword raised and a bow drawn. An image drawn with stars captures rather elegantly the scope of Mastodon’s latest release The Hunter. Mastodon had explored flight and wide expanses of the sky with Crack The Skye, now on The Hunter they’ve strapped themselves on to a rocket and are falling through space with style.

Record Review: Giant Squid - 'Cenotes' EP

‘Cenotes’ - EP
Giant Squid
[Translation Loss]

Giant Squid’s music is as strange and rare and phenomenal as their namesake. Their works are subtle and nuanced, a delicate orchestration of oceanic sounds dancing lithely with the guitar’s heavy-handed jig. The band’s ecological philosophy deserts their urban surroundings of hometown Sacramento, California, you’ll be more likely to find them roaming a nature reserve or peering into rock pools by the sea.

It is that natural curiosity that shines through their body of work, most noticeably on 2009’s full length The Ichthyologist, where multiple guests leant their instrumentation to Giant Squid’s complex orchestration. Flutes, banjos, violins, cellos, trumpets, oboes, all additions that were explored to their limits and bent to main songwriter Aaron Gregory’s will. The Ichthyologist got them signed; it was that good.

Now Giant Squid return with the EP Cenotes (suh-noh-tees), a comparatively simpler record, the grandiose composition stripped away and no guests are involved. This is Giant Squid spouting their own black and inky concoctions.

Record Review: Saturnalia Temple - 'Aion of Drakon'

First Posted at: No Clean Singing

‘Aion of Drakon’
Saturnalia Temple
[AJNA Offensive]

Have you ever had that dream where it’s really urgent and really important to get somewhere but things are holding you back? Cobwebs, mud, vines, family members, waves crashing down on you; you spend your strength fighting off and fighting through to get to do this really important thing. Desperation sets in and you feel hopelessly lost, the ground elevates around you and then you fall. Then there’s that stomach plunge feeling when you wake up and you literally jerk awake in the smallest moment of absolute terror.

Saturnalia Temple is the deluge of mud that surrounds your knees and forces you into a crawl. They tap that desperation and play on your astral paranoia, they channel the occult and raise their altars and pillars and summon the beasts in the forests. They tether you down, they plunge their knife, then you wake in terror.


I find Blogger so restricting at times, it's frustrating that the images are so small because you lose so much lush detail in HUSH's work.

Anyway, HUSH's work is a real show of fine art technicality blended with a whirlpool of graffiti that makes for fascinating street art. The bold, ravelling colours that flourish beneath the cold greys of the detailed portraitures set a perfect balance that juxtaposes but is still great to look at.

Honestly, HUSH is doing something really exciting with this work, and I'm sure to keep a close eye on what he gets up to project-wise.

For more information, check out his website: HERE

A New Year

I'm always astounded when I return to this often forgotten, tiring little corner of the Internet that I call mine. It sits ticking away gaining a frankly unbelievable amount of pageviews that are wholly undeserved. Since (((Hyperpower)))'s carnation there's been over 14,000 visits of which I am wholly thankful for each every one. I hope, like I keep on promising, to fill these pages with more content over the next year, there'll be more art, music and I will probably be using this space as a gathering place of all of my writing that is published on other sites.

But, that's saying and not doing so I'll leave you with a cool tune off a cool record.

Chelsea Wolfe - 'Pale On Pale' off the record Apokalypsis