Autumn's Cold Brings The Pagan Dead Who Seek The Warmth Of The Samhain Fire

Last night I finally got around to picking up some turnips to make myself some traditional Samhnag, carved turnip lanterns for Samhain. I will say that carving a turnip wasn't as hard as I feared after getting started but I can imagine the Irish were ecstatic to find pumpkins in America, as turnips are solid and much harder to hollow and much smaller (mine are of course on the smaller side because they're ...shop rite turnips). I think they come out looking really neat though, because the purple shows through in a really neat way when they're illuminated.
I had read that the pungent smell of turnip as you carve was supposed to mimic the smell of putrefaction and death. It definitely stunk up the whole house but smelled more like radish to me. Hopefully with these hung in the tree out back I will be safe from the creeping spirits of the dead as the veil between the worlds is lifted!

I also did a little experiment with painting on bone this week. I have some whale bones (salvaged by myself from a rotting whale in maine!) that I've been wanting to try painting on and my upcoming Sea Monster themed show seemed like the perfect time so I wanted to experiment on some random bones I had lying around first. I can't remember where I got these deer mandibles but they were in sort of scuzzy shape (a faint bit of fur still visible in places!) so I did a lot of sanding to prepare one and coated it in a gloss spray enamel to try to even out the painting surface. It's astounding how the slightest texture or bump can mess up a tiny detailed line. I sprayed gloss enamel between color layers too because I remember reading that the key to Russian lacquer work was doing this, so that the colors appeared to be floating above each other. Not sure that's exactly what I accomplished but I think the enamel gave the colors a pretty cool clarity. I'm probably going to give this one as a gift and have some ideas for the other:

In other news I finally got around to posting a mix on my friend Jeff's mix blog. It's a pared down best of of a much much longer running collection of witch themed songs Mike and I have been working on for a long time. This is the first time I've ever attempted to share music on the internet (last time I made a mix tape it was actually a tape, REALLY!) so hopefully I did it right. Click the title to download. Happy Halloween!:

all of them witches
the trial-exorcist
come to the sabbat-black widow
white witch of rose hall- coven
queen of bees- witchcraft
the witch-the rattles
season of the witch-donovan
baba yaga- the pagans
you must be a witch-the lollipop shop
wicked old witch- john fogarty
the witch- the sonics
witchfinder general- witchfinder general
angel witch- angel witch
burn witch burn- morticia
burning witches- warlock
bewitched- candelmass
witchcult today- electric wizard
tres brujas- the sword
death by bewitchment- exorcist
don't burn the witch- venom
witch ghetto- darkthrone
a witch is born- gehenna
the witches reel- Vincent Price


What Is This That Stands Before Me? Figure In Black Which Points At Me

Once again, I've been absent because it's fall and that's the time I most want to be outside doing things. Last weekend I went to the Keene, NH pumpkin festival which is a totally over the top Wicker Man type celebration with a HUGE towers and racks and racks of jack-o-lanterns (the official count this year was 22,949).
Annnnyyyywayyyyy what I've been working on is the aforementioned Video Violence group show which will be on display during Exhumed Film's 24 Hour Horror-thon next week. The idea was to redesign or alter packaging from a cult vhs video and I chose Haxan. I opted to make a completely new package. Haxan is amazing for so many reasons. It's silent and came out in 1922 but is way ahead of its time in terms of subject matter and has some of the coolest most brilliantly stylized effects. In addition to having tons of really cool (and at the time shocking) imagery related to European witchcraft at it's heart the message is a warning against religious hysteria and superstition and presents a case for scientific thought and reason. So best of both worlds really! I recommend the Criterion version which has the original film with its score and a later edited down version called "Witchcraft Through the Ages" with a jazz score and narration by William Burroughs (this is actually the version that my video is).

The idea for me was to design something that looked like the kind of case a film that came out in 1922 would come in (not to get all steampunk on you) and to make something that looks like a grimoire. I found a wooden jewelry box that was shaped like a book at a craft store (where I actually find tons of cool wooden objects like the crosses from my show).
I hacked the drawer off the "spine" and cut a piece to put inside so the video would rest flush with the spine when it was in the box and then stained it and did the painting directly on the wood. Here are a billion pictures:

The picture on the tape is actually salvaged from the original box. The closures are some velvet strips which attach over the spine with velcro, and the spine can be removed to access the vhs inside. Overall, I'm really excited how it came out though it's maybe embarassingly over the top. Painting directly on wood was a little tricky but I just kind of worked through it and accepted that it might not look perfect. Anyway Watch Haxan, and go check out the show!

Exhumed Films 24 Hour Horror-Thon @ The International House
3701 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA

P.S.- R.I.P. Ari Up


Dissolving Into Gray Interview With Michael Bukowski


Hey remember the interview my friend Denis did with me last month? This month he interviewed one of my favorite creeps in the world, Mike (aka Michael Bukowski), about his upcoming art show and work, telling Michael Graves to f off, being a life long weirdo, travel etc. Read it!

PS- that's mikes MADBALL collection behind him. It's great!


To Walk The Night, To Forever Roam

So, I know I've been posting less lately, and that's because I'm working at a less feverish pace and enjoying my favorite season. This weekend was amazing. There was the Hallowed Halloween group show at Proximity which mike had an amazing piece in, the Birth Noise/Cat Vet/Trophy Wife/Zombie Dogs show, the Russian Cultural Festival, and the Shoppers/Pink Coffins/Straightjacket Nation show (with bonus backyard bonfire). Also I met a cool rat and it peed on me.

The one project I did finish this past week was the header for The Living Doorway. I'm really into how it came out and it was really fun to paint at a reasonable pace and not have my eyes cross after like 12 hours straight of painting one thing.
Jaime had asked for a "satanic goat horned vulture" so I had no problem staying inspired. Note the little demon signatures on the skulls because I'm a dweeb. I'll never get tired of drawing that smoke junk....

Next up is the Haxan box for the Video Violence show. I did a lot of hacksawing and sanding and I have the wooden book/box ready to go. Just working out the design of the illustration itself.

In other news my show comes down Thursday evening so we can hang Mike's new show!:
Monster Manual and D&D toy inspired weirdness. As the person who is privy to his work in every stage I can say that this show will be really fucking cool and you shouldn't miss it if you're anywhere in the area!

I sold everything but three pieces from my show and a number of prints which I just sent off to be printed and the awesome news is that the money I made from the show almost completely pays for....my trip to ROMANIA this fall (where I will no doubt learn about spooky new shit to come home and paint about). Romania, home of Transylvania, the Carpathian mountains, the painted churches, the Borgo Pass, like 20 different castles the Vlad Tepes set foot in once that claim to be "Dracula's Castle", the Merry Cemetery , wolves, bears etc etc etc. Mike and I leave in mid-november and we'll have about ten days. I'm currently learning how to count in Romanian and hopefully will work my way up to the necessary pleasantries and pleas for vegetarian food. I'll be smuggling home a coffin full of Transylvanian soil and plague rats if anyone is interested...

Finally, I've been meaning to mention this for a while and this seems like a good time: you should really be reading Destroying Angels if you like outsider, punk and metal art. It's definitely one of those zines that was exactly what I was looking for when my awesome friend Ned lent me his back issues. Tons of interviews with people with an awesome perspective on making art that's based on a real love of the subject matter and a genuine passion for what they do. Lots of artists I've admired for years as well as a few I didn't know about, or whose work I had seen and liked but never known much about. The tenth issue just got reprinted and you should definitely grab it while you can. 3D cover, awesome interviews! Maybe you're lucky and you also have a cool friend like Ned who has the back issues too.

Enough already!!!!