I still can’t get over the beautiful vision that Alyssa Thorne brought to life with the darkly flamboyant gorgeousness of these promotional photos for The Art of Darkness. I mean…JUST LOOK AT THEM.

I realized that I’d shared them everywhere except for here on the blog, so today I am rectifying that oversight. And once you are done gorging your eyeballs on the profound beauty of these images, I entreat you to have a look at Alyssa’s website, where she has this week released her stunning Autumn Collection!

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Aron Wiesenfeld

Today I am experiencing : that incredibly intense, violent prickle of compulsion to share ALL of the incredible art, ALL OF IT, ALL AT ONCE that has been contributed by the shadowy coven of contemporary artists who appear in The Art of Darkness. Because while I’ve given some peeks here and there…it’s just not enough!

In the immortal words of Bilbo Baggins, “…after all, why not? Why shouldn’t I SHARE THE REST OF IT??”

Amy Earles

So here’s where a bit of magic comes in, between you, me, and the pages of this book. I am going to share it, and you are going to be mesmerized by the Stygian kaleidoscope of these works–utterly ensorcelled–and you are going to follow the links and tags back to the artists and take a gander at all of the other incredible things they create, and then you are going to hit the preorder button on your bookseller website of choice, and then you are going to PROMPTLY FORGET ALL OF IT! Like it was all a strange, tenebrous dream! And then you will be surprised and overjoyed when The Art of Darkness appears on your doorstep on September 6 and you will get to see all of these pieces again for the first time.

<<INSERT BIG WINK IN THE KEY OF WEIRD>>

…but in the meantime, if you would like to learn more about a handful of these creators, you will find features and interviews on this very blog on the following artists…

Bill Crisafi: artist, dreamer, feral mystic
Unfolding A Daydream: The Art Of Amy Earles
Summoning The Mystic: The Art of Caitlin McCarthy
A Depraved Brutality: The Art of Aleksandra Waliszewska

Stephen Mackey

 

Jana Heidersdorf

 

Paul Romano

 

Marci Washington

 

Nadezda

 

Darla Jackson

 

Aleksandra Waliszewska

 

Laurie Lee Brom

v

Fran Pelzman Liscio

 

Bill Crisafi

 

Chet Zar

 

Gerald Brom
Caitlin McCarthy

 

PREORDER THE ART OF DARKNESS NOW

The Art of Darkness – Preorder Bonuses Available Until August 31st!

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I am both an appreciator of the arts as well as a patron of the arts when possible, and I realize it takes no small amount of privilege to say this, but when I am able, I do put my money where my mouth is. To me, there are few things more important than supporting the creators who toil to create the work I love.

(Of course, this is up there with making donations to the organizations that do work toward the causes that are important to you, and paying your bills. This is where I am preemptively qualifying my statement for people who might want to yell at me for suggesting that in the face of the injustices and outrages that we are dealing with, the purchase of art is a frivolity at best, or somehow a slap in the face of things that actually need our dollars …and this is a lengthy aside but I live in perpetual fear of people hollering at me and shaming me, publicly. I harbor a lot of trauma related to these feelings. Real-life, meatsuit childhood and young adult trauma, as opposed to internet stuff. Which can also be scary. Both things are true. But you know how it is when you’re triggered and time stops and you can’t breathe and your face feels like a boiling hot Hot HOT tomato that might explode. But OK.)

ANYWAY. Art is NOT frivolous. I console myself with art lately, nearly drowning myself in it. A funny way to say that its beauty buoys me, it’s the life vessel that saves me from going under. I can always breathe easier and hope for better things when I look at something beautiful. It keeps me safe. And sane. Or at least the illusion of these things. And I’ll take that. Sometimes it’s the best we’ve got.

So yes, I do spring for original pieces when I can! When I can’t, prints are awesome too. So are postcards and stickers and bookmarks! In working within your means and meeting artists where they are at, you can curate a mind-blowing collection that knocks your buns all wobbly whenever you look at it. And sometimes, if you’re lucky, the artists will permit you to use the pieces on your wall in the book that you have just written.

Many thanks to David Seidman, Becky Munich, and Adam Burke. The Art of Darkness is available for preorder now and will be released into this world on September 6, 2022.

The Uninvited, David Seidman

 

Vögguvísa, Becky Munich

 

Hagg Lake II, Adam Burke/Nightjar Illustration

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Nona Limmen

Anyone who has ever worked on any number of projects knows that while it’s tough to pick favorites amongst them, or favorite pieces and parts from within them…well, you’re always going to have a best-loved darling or precious or two.

Jaime Johnson Aelavanthara

Some of my favorite types of art to research and gaze upon in The Art of Darkness might not be what you’d expect to hear from me (or maybe it is if you’ve listened to my ramblings long enough!) Though I love me some ghosts and ghouls and myths and monsters…do you know what I absolutely love to lose myself in? Mysterious vistas creeping with strange flora, ancient lands, and eerie ruins. Marveling at the fragile, verdant curve of a fern, the unexpected colors and textures revealed in the heart of a crimson rosebud, a glistening drop of morning dew atop a plump, inky nightshade berry. Lonely landscapes and tenebrous topographies shadowed in wild darkness and raw beauty, where a boundless sense of nature overwhelms with breathless, bewitching intensity.

And why, even though these scenes feel fraught, fearsome, fatal – why do they still, despite everything, call to you? Why do we at times find ourselves desperate to crawl deep within these somber scenes, to disappear forever?

Nightjar Illustration / Adam Burke

Do you feel it calling, too? I’ll meet you there, in the darkness.
…where you’ll also find all of the artists I have included in this post today.

Marco Mazzoni
Yaroslav Gerzhedovich
Agostino Arrivabene

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I don’t think I can emphasize enough how thrilling it was, how absolutely ecstatic I am, to have been able to include the works of some of my favorite contemporary artists in The Art of Darkness. Creators whose visions speak to the shadowy, unfathomed corners of my heart, to my weird, wild wiggly brain noodles, to the strange mystery of my soul.

Here is another favorite spread in the book, featuring Rachael Bridge whose electric-technicolor and sunless somber palettes and portraits make me gasp in awe (HOW does she do that??) and Jana Brike’s dreamy works of vulnerable transformation and poetic exploration.

Twilight, Rachael Bridge, 2020, oil on panel.

 

The Void/Flowers of Life, Jana Brike, 2016, oil on canvas.

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Foxes stalking the darkness, padding through a thicket of thorns. Shadowy snakes snarled in somnolent repose. A skull cupped tenderly, a candle’s flame snuffed. Rendered in ash, chalk-lead, and ink on black cotton rag, the funereal monochrome visions of artist and printmaker Dylan Garrett Smith reflect the artist’s views regarding our relationships with the natural world. Combining ecological and occult concepts with existential fears and anarchism, Smith stresses the importance of the cycle of birth, bloom, and decay and the ultimate triumph of nature in the end–whatever that ‘end’ might be.

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More peeks and pages from The forthcoming The Art of Darkness (September 6th is coming quickly, preorder now!)

This is a piece titled Vögguvísa by Becky Munich, a long-time like-minded weirdo, kindred spirit, and occasional partner-in-crime. You may recall that Becky and I worked together on the beloved fan-favorite Occult Activity Books, volumes one and two!

“… On the surface these sinister, ethereal wraiths and monstrous femme fatales simultaneously menace and beguile, but in a strange and playful twist, there’s sly and creepy clever mischief to be found in the details, and it’s clear to see that this artist takes her spooky business quite seriously while winking at us playfully at the same time.”

I’ve been OBSESSED with Becky’s works ever since I first laid eyes on them and I am so pleased to have been able to include her work in The Art of Darkness. And as you can see in the second photo, the original Vögguvísa hangs on my wall, cautioning me every day to shush my pie-hole. Or choose my words wisely. Who knows! She is a very mysterious lady, after all.

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Ok, well let me clarify: at this moment in time, in the space of this very second, the above page, with artworks by Charley Harper and Ruth Marten is my favorite page in The Art of Darkness.

It’s true, while I live to revel in the velvet shadows of a moonlit midnight and seek spirits in every lonely, crumbling corner, it’s not like I’m a gloomy Gus about it. If you can’t laugh at what lies waiting in the hungry maw of darkness, if you can’t giggle with the ghosts, or cackle into the nothing of the abyss–well, that’s hardly living, you know? If I have somehow fooled you into thinking I’m all about mystery and melancholy, monsters and morbidity, okay, well, that’s all true, I am. But it’s more than balanced with a significant sense of silliness, an appreciation of the absurd, and an adoration of ridiculousness. My favorite emotion to express is “demented glee”! I mean, I’m really just a goofy fucker, is what I am trying to say here.

So it would stand to reason that I have massive admiration for artists who can combine these sensibilities in their practice, and these works of the kooky and the macabre, often filled with sly, weird humor are some of my favorite canvases to gaze upon. Enter Ruth Marten and Charley Harper.

…and for more thoughts, I will direct you to preorder the book!

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Histories of She, Darla Teagarden

 

As an author whose forthcoming book will ooze through the darkness of the void to triumphantly appear on our corporeal plane in less than 3 months, I am told by my publisher that I need to be hyping it at least every two weeks. Fair enough. But I struggle to do that in a way that feels in line and in keeping with the spirit of the sorts of things that I already share on social media. While I do like to ramble on about my interests and passions, this is different because there are numbers and rankings and money attached to it, which sounds crass to say, but we can’t ignore it.

So in the interest of getting you all to preorder The Art of Darkness or at the very least, share it with friends and peers who may have an interest, ask your local bookshop to carry a few copies, request it from your library, etc., I am going to share it the same way I share 90% of the things here, which is to say: HERE’S SOME ART THAT I AM EXCITED ABOUT AND I THINK YOU SHOULD BE EXCITED ABOUT IT TOO!

In terms of excitement, one of the *most exciting* things about The Art of Darkness was having the opportunity to include the works of so many contemporary artists whose works I have been crowing about and collecting for myself over the years. These are artists I have shared on my Tumblr (yes, I am still over there!) I have interviewed for my own blog or the various other outlets I have been writing for since 2010, and some of whose works are hanging behind me on the wall even as I type this out! Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing these works of shadowy brilliance on my social media accounts; I am greatly indebted to each and every one of these creators and I have no doubt you are going to see some of your favorites amongst them, too.

So…let’s kick things off with Darla Teagarden! Profoundly resonant for those among us who view the world through a splinter of enchantment, Darla Teagarden’s surreal photographic narratives walk a tremulous line between fable and reality. These feverish visions are deeply imbued with fragile secrets, intense emotion, and an eerie sense of urgency – an otherworldly plucking at the senses. Teagarden builds these vividly expressive vignettes from wood, paper, and plaster for images that also include handpicked vintage props, clothing and hand-drawn backgrounds. It is this tender, liminal space, rebuilt and reimagined many times over, in which most of her darkly cinematic images are created.

Curious to read more about this artist? See my 2016 interview with Darla Teagarden here.

 

Pre-order your copy of The Art of Darkness by August 31 from any retailer and be one of the first 100 readers to receive some bonus goodies! Details here.

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The Art of Darkness is a book that was born in my blood. I have always been obsessed with what’s in the dark, and these fears and fascinations drive just about everything I do.

🖤 Before I wrote any books, before I contributed to any blogs, before Tumblr or Pinterest or Livejournal or even my AOL user profile (ha!) I’ve perpetually been compelled to connect with others via imagery that I’ve unearthed from the darkness. I’ve been shouting into the void about these things for as long as I can recall, and it’s this very compulsion that led to the creation of this book.

🖤 A desire to share the artworks I love that haunt and horrify, mesmerize and delight, a longing to have a beautifully bound piece of the void to hold in my own hands, brimming with weirdness and wonders, the melancholic and the macabre, and all the shadows of the supernatural, the surreal, and the sublime. I can’t wait for you to hold a copy of it in your hands, too!
And in about three months’ time, we’ll both be able to!

🖤 So here’s the part where I tell you that your preorders are so, SO helpful–whether via amazon or your local bookshop or bookshop.org or even requesting a copy or two at your library!

🖤 If we’ve connected via my art writing over the last few years or if something I’ve shared has tantalized (or terrorized!) you and you’ve been wondering what’s the best way to support me and my work, your preorders of The Art of Darkness are just the thing!

🖤 And don’t forget, if you fill out the form on the Quarto website, you can receive some treats including a signed bookplate, and in the meantime, I’m not sure if I have shared this yet, but here’s a FULL jacket reveal, including that devastating cover from Alex Eckman Lawn AND a midnight bloom by Chris Mrozik on the back cover!

Antiquity_V, Alex Eckman-Lawn

 

How To Hold, Chris Mrozik

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