Friday, April 28, 2006

Dark Crusades

I just received word from Hammy at Peaceville Records that the long-awaited Autopsy DVD Dark Crusades is FINALLY AVAILABLE! Dark Crusades features over three hours of live footage documenting this seminal legend of death metal and even a homemade video by the band! It also features my very own maggot ridden artwork on the cover. It was a real honor to have been involved in this project and although I haven't received any copies yet and can't attest to the packaging or overall quality, diehard Autopsy fans should be foaming at the mouth! Contact Peaceville Records for more information.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Markus Wolff's 'Heathen Art' Manifesto

Heathen Art - A Reluctant Manifesto

I chose 'reluctant' because this exhibit is not a presentation of a movement or new ism or genre, nor are these notes meant to be a 'program' for their work. The common denominator of the artists represented here is that most of them are spiritually aligned with what can be called the heathen path, which was bound to manifest in their work.

Thus, the choice behind the exhibition title is simple: this collection of artists has decided, in art as in life, to turn away from the dominant monotheisms of our day and to reconsider the worth of the old religions and folkways of Europe. This means discovering societal forms that knew no separation between the religious and secular, where, at the highest level, spirit and action were one. These societies were also characterised by a religious variety that is unknown today, manifesting in local cults and variances. Yet at the center of these cultures lies the same cyclical view of the world in which the tides of the seasons are celebrated in festival, and in which, at the end of an age, a new world will inevitably arise from the old.

Just as there was no separation between art and life, there was not yet a distinction between fine art and crafts - all creative activity was an expression of the skill and soul of the creator. Ornamentation and iconography was filled with symbolic significance. And much of the artistic practice was specifically informed by religious and/or magical concerns. These same motivations are obviously embraced by at least some of the artists in this exhibit.

This preoccupation with pre-Christian motifs and art has its precedents. Artists as far back as the Classicists and certainly the Romantics found inspiration in newly rediscovered texts such as the Eddas and the Nibelungenlied. In the second half of the 19th century, National Romantic movements swept most of Europe, and inspired a new examination of native myths and the value of folk art. This paved the way for Art Noveau's adaptation of ancient ornament, and the Symbolist penchant for the bizarre and mystical led to some of the most memorable images of gods and goddesses, myths and fairy tales.

Just as the best Symbolist and Surrealist artists, the 'new heathen' artists champion content and intent rather than style and mannerism. To them, the past is a guide that animates the present and each work completes a cycle of learning and discovery. This includes a healthy respect for traditional skill and craftsmanship.

Henry Corbin, in his work Recovering a Visionary Geography, wrote "that we must abandon homogeneous chronological time in order to enter that qualitative time which is the history of the soul." In my mind, this is precisely the state that would be most condusive to tapping into the works presented here.

– Markus Wolff
August 2005

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Night Of The Undead Leg!

I received some photos a while back from a rabid Engorged fan who has devoted one of his legs to some of my album cover imagery. I was told this is a work in progress! Special thanks to Bryan for sharing his leg and for the guy in E.T.T.S. for finding Bryan at last year's Maryland Death Fest and sending me his cellphone photo of the tattoo! I think the tattoo work was done by a New Jersey artist named Shlak, but I may be wrong about that.
Hail the Hordes of Violence!

Friday, April 07, 2006

Dealing with the Devil

OVO #16, the 'AntiChrist' issue, has recently received mention on the Church Of Satan website. Just go to 'news' and scroll down. OVO #16 features cover art by your faithful harbinger of doom, Dennis Dread. And despite my inflammatory drawing, this zine actually presents a relatively scholarly and rational critique of the Christian mythos so don't expect a silly black metal tirade full of upside down crosses (damn!). You can download this issue for free at OVO!

Man Ray, 1934

"Each one of us, in his timidity, has a limit beyond which he is outraged. It is inevitable that he who by concentrated application has extended this limit for himself, should arouse the resentment of those who have accepted conventions which, since accepted by all, require no initiative of application, And this resentment generally takes the form of meaningless laughter or of criticism, if not persecution. But this apparent violation is preferable to the monstrous habits condoned by etiquette and estheticism."

Man Ray, Paris, 1934

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Happy Birthday Roger Corman!

Born April 5th, 1926...
the King of B-Movie Trash turns 80 years old today!
Roger Corman is credited with producing over 800 movies and directed more than 50 films himself, including Bucket of Blood (1959), about a creepy artist who sculpts with human victims! He is most widely known for his film adaptations of Edgar Allen Poe stories, nearly all of which starred eccentric horror legend Vincent Price (The Premature Burial being the only exception). Mr. Corman's first film was Monster From The Ocean Floor (1954), about a giant squid (or octopus, or one-eyed ameba, or atomic mutant depending on who you ask). Incidentally, the giant squid is incredible. Ahem.
A few years after the financial success of The Monster From The Ocean Floor, a business associate bet Mr. Corman that he couldn't direct a film in less than three days. He directed The Little Shop Of Horrors (1960), starring a young Jack Nicholson, in just two days.
He won the bet.