Welcome back! As promised, this seventh installment of Gross Anatomy will examine my collaboration with Bobby BeauSoleil for The Lucifer Rising Suite. This spectacular collection of music spans several decades and much of it was recorded at Tracy Prison from 1976-1979 between violent inmate uprisings and lockdowns using sparse equipment and handmade synthesizers. It doesn't get much more D.I.Y. than that. Working with Bobby has been a remarkable experience in many ways and this project just might be my proudest accomplishment to date. Take a look...
I started this sketch knowing that I wanted to meld certain Eastern and Western influences. There is a Crowleyian undercurrent running through Kenneth Anger's film and Bobby's score that I consciously tapped when developing this design. In fact, Bobby's art direction could be summarized in one simple maxim: "Do what thou wilt."
I worked for hours on these subtle hues of grey. The process is not entirely unlike watching moss form on a rock. Again, I was fascinated with the symbol of the hood and the nature of things revealed and concealed.
Long Way Home. This is Bobby's drawing for the cover. He's developed an interesting technique over the years by covering illustration board with cooking oil and rubbing colored pencils until it becomes a fluid tactile medium. He uses pencils almost like finger paint to very dramatic effect. The lighting in this drawing is beautiful!
The result of our combined effort is a sort of gnostic reflection on “Darkness” and “Light” that says more about the complexities of Bobby’s life than we could’ve ever hoped to express in words or music alone. But this wasn't the end of the journey...
One of these hippies needs a head shave.
Once the design was complete I printed a small copy and hand delivered it to Oregon State Prison for Bobby's final approval. This was perhaps the most humbling and harrowing undertaking I've experienced in a long time. OSP allows visitors to bring color photos and prints into the visiting area so, with a very low resolution copy in my nervous hands, I once again walked down the Hallways of Always to meet the man. It wasn't easy to sit across from Bobby and watch his furrowed brow as he reviewed the final art for the very first time. I imagine even harsh art school "critiques" are painless in comparison. But after only a few moments of very careful scrutiny he looked up at me over his reading glasses and said, "It's beautiful, man! Perfect!" Mission complete.
The Lucifer Rising Suite is available NOW from The Ajna Offensive!