free viagra

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 03:10

David Van Gough’s Purgatorium: x marks the spot

July 24th, 2014
Good Wombs Have Born Bad Sons, oil on canvas, 48"x36", $3500

One of twelve major paintings in David Van Gough’s 2014 solo show, Purgatorium: Good Wombs Have Born Bad Sons, oil on canvas, 48″x36″, $3500

In the opening lines of Purgatorio, Dante characterizes Purgatory’s intermediate sphere as the place “wherein the human spirit purges itself, and groweth worthy to ascend to Heaven.” As Dante’s prose ushered the Western world from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance, so too does fine artist David Van Gough strive to achieve personal cleansing and rebirth through his series Purgatorium.

Exploring themes of the artist as exile and drawing on William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Purgatorium delves into the darkest reaches of Gough’s humanity from the gnawing presence of mortality to the looming shadow of his most famous ancestor, Vincent Van Gogh. The series is an offering of suffering served to a fickle god and a cry for salvation from moral disorder and obscurity.

Opening September 6 at Bash Contemporary in San Francisco, Purgatorium is a man shouting into the void.  Previews of eleven of the twelve paintings in the series, as well as the original drawings, are available for previewing on Bash’s website now.

Purgatorium, David Van Gough, Bash Contemporary, oil painting

This is my favorite piece and the piece that I feel gets at the heart of what David is expressing about life and art in the show as a whole.  Bleak, futile, infinite and inescapable — life, death, existence and toil weigh upon us all.  We exist because we exist.  He That Dies Pays All Debts, oil on canvas, 48″x36″, $5000

If you look closely, you’ll find that each piece is composed around a large X that draws you from corner to corner — slashing through conflict and representing the catharsis of artistic expression. X marks the spot where David felt epiphany.

Each piece, from the composition to color choice and content matter, was both meticulously labored over and organically released. If the show is about anything, it’s about duality and in-betweens. The world of purgatory is an in-between state. All of the memories, both those personally experienced by the artist and the collective memories of Shakespeare and Van Gogh and other cultural references that have filtered in to shape his own existence, breathe in the in-between. Memories are not our past or our present. They linger between truth and fiction and between hope and fear.

David Van Gough unearths memories from every stage of his life symbolically in this series. He chronicles his struggle to escape the oppressive stereotype of the starving or garrote artist that has been thrust upon him as the Van Gogh legacy. The romantic ideal that the artist should suffer and sacrifice for his art does not champion art. Instead it creates a vicious self-destructive cycle whereby artists become afraid of success. Success becomes a liability to authenticity. The rest of the world can take advantage of what artists can do without adequately supporting them. The true, master artist is meant to be a mad, conflicted, alcoholic caricature rather than a human being.

David said to me that if we could unburden our preconceptions of what the artist is supposed to be, we could get back to the experience of art. The moment we stand in front of a painting, we should get everything we need to know from the physical and emotional response we have. He says that experience, whether it leads to intense love, indifference or loathing, is what he strives to create for the viewer. He wants to provoke a human to human connection.

David Van Gough, drawing, graphite on paper

Night Kept Chained Below, original drawing, $500

oil painting, david van gough, purgatorium, Bash Contemporary

David captures a medieval aesthetic and conception of androgynous femininity in this dual-portrait.  In between creator and destructor, youth and age, vitality and mortality, madness and sanity, this painting depicts the Janus and the two faced muse.  She giveth and she with-holds.  Brave New World, oil on canvas, 48″ x 36″, $3500

David Van Gough, oil painting, fine art, Bash Contemporary, Purgatorium

Here is our Sisyphus, toiling under the load of the past and the meaning of immortality.  The Dark and Backward Abysm of Time, oil on canvas, 48″ x 36″ , $400

Purgatorium challenges us to have some conversations about what art and the people who create it mean to us and represent in our life. I love David dearly and I’m fiercely proud of this show.

Do you see the X’s?

Purgatorium opens at Bash Contemporary in San Francisco on September 5 with an artist reception September 6. It will be on display through October 4. For more information, to see previews of more of the work, or to buy, visit Bash Contemporary’s website.

Share
<< >>

Gothic Summer 2014: Dark Swimsuits and Cover-ups to Die For

June 17th, 2014

SWIMSUITS
witch bathing suits black

From Left: 6 Shore Road Cabana One-Piece Swimsuit from Urban Outfitters for $138. Lisa Maree, His Queen Swimsuit from Shopbop for $220

black mesh bikini, abyss swim suit
From left: Anna Kosturova Mesh Halterkini from DollsKill for $145. And RVCA Abyss One Piece from Zappos for $68.

UNIF SWIMSUITS RELIC 666

Both Urban Outfitters and DollsKill web stores carry the above two UNIF bathing suits (about $140 each). For the Six 66 One-Piece swimsuit (left), visit DollsKill or Urban Outfitters. For the Relic Bikini (right) visit DollsKill or Urban Outfitters. So, the second I saw the Unif Relic swimsuit, I was pretty much determined to have it. And through some clever webwork I got it at a discount (still more than I should be spending on a bathing suit — but it’s like THE dream witchy suit and GOTHIC SUMMER BITCHES).

bwstripebikinis

From left: The Stripe Print Lace High Waist 2 piece from AmiClubWear for $39.99. And The Dive for Excellence Bikini in black and white from Modcloth for $34.99 for the top and $23.99 for the bottom.

black and red swimsuits
From left: Exene Swimsuit by Rat Baby from AngryYoungandPoor on sale for $28.99. And SWIM NOIR Insidious Temptation Red and Black one-piece swimsuit from Heavy Red for $86.

COVERUPS

SKULL COVER UP
Simplicity bikini cover up in mesh skull pattern w/ drawstring waist available in black or white from Amazon starting at $19.99.

gothsarongs
From left: 62″x45″ Pentacle Pentagram Purple Rayon Sarong Skirt from Ebay seller spira_mirabilis for $15.29. And Skull Pareo Beach Scarf from Etsy seller ScarfClub for $17.90.

crochet cover ups

From left: Crochet Black and White Dress, Skirt or Bathing Suit Cover from Etsy seller HeadsToTails for $85.  And Melissa Odabash’s Elizabeth lightweight crocheted kaftan from Net-a-Porter, on sale now for $269.50.

Share

Welcome to my Dreary Family: The Leopold Kitty

June 17th, 2014
This is my Leopold Kitty.  Mine, not yours.

This is my Leopold Kitty. Mine, not yours.

Once upon a time a lovesick Dahlia met a smushcat named Mr. Bruce.  Mr. Bruce is an Exotic Himalayan who belongs to my friend Lisa.  It was love at first sight.  I considered bludgeoning Lisa and taking Mr. Bruce, but I don’t have so many friends that I can afford to kill one off.  So instead, I started a five month quest to obtain a smush of my own.

exotic himalayan cat

Lisa’s smushcat Mr. Bruce is gorgeous

Leopold joined our misfit household in late April.  He is a black Exotic Shorthair with orange eyes.  He was a show cat — almost a Grand Champion — but when he was a year and a half old he started sticking out his tongue.  For whatever reason, cat show judges find tongues offensive, and Leopold’s career as a show cat came to an abrupt end.  He spent a few years as a playboy stud.  Now he is retired, about four years old, and living the good life in casa creepies.  His tongue is always out.  Sometimes it just peeks out of his mouth.  Other times, his tongue is stuck way out and he’s definitely expressing his contempt.

I haven’t posted Leopold anywhere yet because I’ve been taking pleasure in having a secret cat.  But it’s too much cuteness to keep to myself.  His fur is silky soft black and his bright orange eyes bulge out.  He looks unreal.

I named Leopold after Nathan Leopold of Leopold and Loeb.  Leopold and Loeb were teenagers attending the University of Chicago in 1924 who kidnapped and murdered a 14 year old boy named Bobby Franks.  They believed that they were smart enough to commit the perfect crime.  Unfortunately, though they unloaded the body hours away in Indiana and obscured its identity with hydrochloric acid, their plot unravelled when police found Leopold’s rare prescription eyeglasses at the dump site.

I’m fascinated with the case for my usual perverse reasons, but as a native of the north side of Chicago, I especially connect to the restless rich teenagers who made some fatally bad choices.  Leopold and Loeb also had  a touching, warped love story.  When Loeb was eventually stabbed to death in prison, Leopold washed his naked body and cried over it.

Incidentally, it’s interesting that Leopold and Loeb were interested in this idea of committing the “perfect crime” and living Niezsche’s Superman theory.  A few weeks ago, two pre-teen girls fell into the fantasy of Slenderman.  The triggers change depending on the context of the moment, but the outcome when you’re dealing with psychopathic children is consistent.

If you want to know more about Leopold and Loeb, I heartily recommend For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder That Shocked Jazz Age Chicago by Simon Baatz.

leopold, exotic shorthair, halloween cat, ouija board, black cat

SmushDahlia, Leopold, exotic shorthair cat, persian, black cat

I was a little worried that my Matilda Beast puppy wouldn’t accept a kitty sibling.  But she’s quite taken with the Leopold cat.  She often runs up to him and licks his face.  I’ve seen her bathe out his ear with his tongue, and he leans into it.  She also tries to get him to play with her toys.  She’ll present him a ball by dropping it at his feet.  Then she looks at the ball, looks at Leo’s face, looks back at the ball.  Leopold just stares at her.  Sometimes she barks with frustration at his face and once in a while that provokes a lazy swat in her general direction.  He’s not really bothered to take her down though I’m sure he could if he wanted to.  He’s such a calming presence in the household.

Leopold and Matilda relaxing on the weekend

Leopold and Matilda relaxing on the weekend

Leopold, exotic shorthair, black cat, halloween

Leo and Bruce met last night.  They seen to really like each other.  So now there’s double cuteness.

Can you believe how freaking cute my cat is?

Share

2014: This is Gothic Summer

June 16th, 2014

GOTHIC SUMMER

“And I swear that life’s against me because it’s getting in the way.  And gothic is the summer.” — Prayers, Gothic Summer

I had a lot of existential trouble the first few months of 2014.  I don’t really want to get into it, though I may at some point.  What I will say is my choice to drop out as much as possible didn’t work.  It took my friend Lisa and a rebranding to snap me out of it.

Hence, Gothic Summer…

Dahlia

Dahlia

Lisa

Lisa

The idea of Gothic Summer was inspired by our new friend Rafael Reyes, lead singer of Prayers, a sick San Diego Cholo KILLWAVE band. Rafael has been through a violent early life that I can barely conceive of.  Yet he channels that energy into art and productivity instead of wallowing or falling deeper into the system.  Watch his video From Dog to God below:

YouTube Preview Image

Prayers are going to be playing at Loaded Hollywood with L/Viro and Vampire Slayer on June 24.  Here is their Facebook page.  You can download Prayers first album here.  Their second album, Gothic Summer, is coming out in July from Little Death Records.

I’m taking cues from Rafael’s mission and the resiliency of so many of my friends to get re-energized by the things that are really important to me.

Gothic Summer is about NITE RITUAL (from another Prayers song, Ready to Bleed, kind of an inside joke) — okay Gothic Summer is about confronting the demons and dismissing them — walking out into the streets and taking back my power in the name of Vanitas.

So much of Gothic culture has been assimilated into main stream culture in a way that robs it of its historical and aesthetic significance.  Regular people are covered in skulls and bones with no concept of memento mori or the dark romantic movement.  There’s more to the lifestyle than fashion, makeup and Gore Porn.  People may think my angst is an affect I put on.  Unfortunately, there’s a very pressing knowledge that life is fleeting, uncontrollable and often painful that constantly weighs on me.   I’m trying to make meaning from the little time I have here.

With that in mind, I’ve been going out as much as I possibly can and saying yes to opportunities.

Posts on some of this stuff is coming, but Lisa and I kicked off Gothic Summer at Bats Day in the Fun Park.  We went to Funeral to see Night Nail and Untoward Children, we attended the VIP opening reception of Scratch at ESMoA.  Saturday night I did the LA Horror Show and Music Fest with John Charles.  We’re gearing up for a lot more to come including concerts, art shows and road trips.  Lisa’s pushing me (in a good way) to start making things again and I feel like I’m slowly coming out of the cloud I was in.

ArtExpo San Diego, July 24-26

Lara Dann, Cate Rangel, Christopher Ulrich, Matthew Levin and Jaclyn Alderette

A preview of the remarkable artists I’ll be showing at San Diego Art Expo with Cartwheel: by (from left to right) Lara Dann, Cate Rangel, Christopher Ulrich, Matthew Levin and Jaclyn Alderette

Thanks to Cartwheel Art, I have a thrilling opportunity to showcase some of my favorite artists at a booth at ArtExpo San Diego during Comic Con. I have chosen a selection of fine art works that challenge the stereotypical portrayals of femininity in popular culture with the hopes of presenting a counter-viewpoint to an assertion of woman as hero or villain, Madonna or whore, mother or girl, victim or avenger, because real womankind is more complicated and unknowable than all of these things put together.

Taking inspiration from the forms of nature, mythology and dreams, artists such as sculptor Matthew Levin and painters Christopher Ulrich, Jaclyn Alderete, Cate Rangel and Lara Dann offer insight into the surreality of female identity.  I may be adding one or two more artists to the booth in the next couple of weeks.

ArtExpo SD takes place at the NewSchool of Architecture and Design, aka the Wonderbread Factory Campus, 171 14th Street, San Diego, July 25 10am to 9pm, July 26th 10am to 7pm, with an opening reception on July 25 from 6pm to 9pm.  There’s a VIP preview Thursday July 24.  You can find out more by contacting me or going to ArtExpo SD VIP Party Facebook page.  It’s a free, all ages event.

In addition to the artists I’m showing, some of the other confirmed artists at the event include Katherine Brannock, Roberto Gutierrez, Rafael Reyes, Cathie Bleck, Joel Nakamura, Richard Downs, Mark Todd, Esther Pearl and Keith Dugas.

Here is Cartwheel Art’s post on the event.  Whether you’re looking for an addition to your Comic Con festivities or an alternative event, I hope you’ll check out this new venue for some incredible artistic talent.

Purgatorium by David Van Gough

My whole Gothic Summer is building towards David Van Gough’s solo show in San Francisco on September 6.  Entitled Purgatorium, it’s David’s first major show since MAN/SON and the Haunting of the American Madonna in 2012.

purgatorium, david van gough, bash contemporary, september 2014

David Van Gough’s solo show opens September 6, 2014 at Bash Contemporary in San Francisco

David describes his upcoming show as “an epic pictorial representation of the birth, assimilation, the renunciation and legacy of the artist in a modern lifetime.”  He’s exploring imagery from Shakespeare’s The Tempest as well as the ever-looming presence of artists such as his namesake Vincent Van Gogh.

David let me look at some of the sketches he drew before starting the paintings last year and they took my breath away.  One of them was such a hopeless, bleak vision of the toil of being an artist that it brought tears to my eyes.  It’s been haunting me ever since.  I’m going to see a preview of the oil paintings when I stay with David during San Diego Art Expo and I’m just as excited about that as I am about the Expo itself.

I predict Purgatorium will be the most significant solo show of the year.  A bunch of Angelenos are making the trip north for the weekend to celebrate David’s work and the closing of the Gothic Summer.

I hope you’ll join me on my Gothic Summer quest.  We as a sub-culture need a bit of a shake-up.  Personally I’ve needed a real adrenaline shot to the arm.  What are you going to do to make this Gothic Summer meaningful to you?

Share

The Grotesque Group Art Show at Modern Eden in SF

March 14th, 2014
Jaclyn Alderete

Heterotrophic Harmony by Jaclyn Alderete, $800.  I had to look this word, Heterotrophic, up.  It refers to an organism that cannot make its own food, but must consume organic carbon from organisms that do make their own food.  Mushrooms (fungi) are heterotrophic.  In the painting above I see mushrooms devouring a human organism.  I love it!  I’m reminded of an episode of Hannibal last year where mushrooms were eating diabetics alive.  I’m crazy about the sickly skin tone and the oblivion in the portrayed subject’s eyes.

I am so excited about the show currently up at San Francisco’s Modern Eden Gallery entitled, Grotesque.  The art in this group show lives up to its twisted name.

I knew the contemporary meaning of the word grotesque as it refers to distorted, macabre, gross things.  I did not know that it also refers to a style of art that incorporates blended human, animal and flower forms.  I think artists exploited both meanings of Grotesque very well in this show to create some provocative and sensational pieces.

The show opened on March 8 and runs through the 22.  Unfortunately I’m not going to be able to see it in person.  But there are several artists in this group whose work I’m unfamiliar with and will be looking into (possibly stalking).  It’s so thrilling to find a group show presenting dark art in a city other than New York or Los Angeles with such a high caliber of quality and originality.  I feel refreshed by all the perversions of nature!

Matthew Robertson painting

The Madness of Bobby Birdman by Matthew Robertson, $500.  I’m not normally a fan of painting drawing collage like this, but I think it’s really effective in disorienting the viewer in this piece.

Jessica L. Dalva

Chimera by Jessica L. Dalva, $800.  The red swellings around the joints are especially poignant.  This sculpture is a seriously cool interpretation of the mythical Chimera beast.  I wish I could see the face closer because I think the eyes are whited out and the expression is creepy.

mandem

The Ursury of God by Mandem, $4200.  I love everything about this painting from the cyborg nursing mechanism to the child on the right side’s gaze to the skin condition and the shroud.  Gorgeous!

The Organist by Caitlin T. McCormack

The Organist by Caitlin T. McCormack, sold.  I don’t know what the medium was here (crochet?), but the effect is great.

False Assumption by Lara Dan, $600

False Assumption by Lara Dan, $600.  The arms rising up out of the brows to pull up the hair are intense.  It’s rare to see a painting done in pastels with butterflies and flowers in the background achieve a haunting, sinister tone.

Sphinx by Terry Ribera, $1800

Sphinx by Terry Ribera, $1800.  The shading effects in this painting are really well done and I love the use of color.  The many pieces (paws, wings, tentacles) all mesh in a fluid and flawless way.

For more information and to see previews of the additional work on display, visit Modern Eden’s website.  Don’t you just love this show!

Share

Dahlia Jane’s 30th Birthday Party

March 10th, 2014
John Charles took this photo of my fiends singing me Happy Birthday.

John Charles took this photo of my fiends singing me Happy Birthday.  This is the most (live) people I’ve ever had in my apartment.  It’s such a pain to hide all of the bodies.

Aside from the acute psychosis, crushing depression and the whiny angel that occasionally pops up on my shoulder berating me to be a better person and like, do stuff with my life — it’s pretty awesome to be me.  But it’s rarely more awesome than it was on my thirtieth birthday.

Sunday, January 26 I summoned the most wicked specimens of my coven to come over for an I Want My MTV 30th Birthday Party.

MTV now is a pile of puke (I assume, I don’t actually have cable so I haven’t seen much of it in a few years.)  But in the old days, when I was a kiddie, MTV was my window to a world of alternative culture and rock stars to hero-worship.  My parents weren’t into cartoons at all.  So my brother and I were parked in front of music videos instead for hours at a time.  In fact that’s kind of all you need to know about me (my short attention span; my obsession with androgyny, big hair and rhinestones; my distrust of authority figures, all goes back to 1980s MTV).

Stefanie Vega took this picture of the mad hatter, Paul Koudounaris and Dahlia

Stefanie Vega took this picture of the mad hatter, Paul Koudounaris and Dahlia

Lani, Sonia and Keri forming a girl group

Lani, Sonia and Keri forming a girl group

Since music videos are such a big part of my identity, I built my birthday party around them.  I made a list of my favorite videos from the last 30 years (about 100) and played them during the party.  Videos such as Like a Prayer by Madonna, This is the New Shit by Marilyn Manson, We’re Not Going to Take It by Twisted Sister, My Name Is by Eminem, Last Dance for Mary Jane by Tom Petty and The Next Day by David Bowie.   Oh and, Get Ur Freak On by Missy Elliot, to which Paul Koudounaris said something like, What the fuck is this?

It was actually interesting to see the recurring themes that both the musical artists and I were frequently attracted to in videography.  For instance, I picked a bunch of videos with Catholic iconography, characters with blood dripping down their chins, all things occult and candles.  Maybe this is all telling me I should become the first serial killer nun witch.  What do you think?

Showing music videos was a great party ice breaker.  Though a few of my guests are very social, an equal number of us are stand in the corner and glower at everyone types who put the awkward in awkward silence.  I think the videos alleviated any of that kind of tension and relaxed me because if I couldn’t think of something to say I just referenced whatever video was on at the moment.

I had a great group of freaks show up including artists you know from the blog such as John Charles, Chris the Creep, David Gough, Paul Koudounaris, Matthew LeVin, Kat Philbin and Stephanie Vega, as well as great friends Glen, Sonia, Keri and Lani-monster.

I was so lucky to have my parents there too (they not only gave me life, they overlook my homicidal tendencies and love me lots.  Also, they put it in official documents that when they’re older I can pull the plug on them.  Take that little brother man!)

Dahlia Jane and John Charles, yes that's Matthew LeVin photobombing us in the right corner.

Dahlia Jane and John Charles, yes that’s Matthew LeVin photobombing us in the right corner.

Stefanie Vega took this Parisian-like photo of artists Matthew LeVin and David Van Gough having an existential conversation.

Stefanie Vega took this Parisian-like photo of artists Matthew LeVin and David Van Gough having an existential conversation.

I dressed up as a Black Virgin, inspired by Madonna’s Like a Virgin Wedding Dress from the 1984 MTV Music Video Awards (the year I was born). Somehow I made it through the whole party without anyone taking a full-body outfit shot. I had a lacy corset, full tulle skirt and authentic boy toy rhinestone belt. Being in a black wedding dress just felt so right (especially as I turn an age where some might see me as a spinstress). I had on a crucifix necklace and in case you were wondering, it didn’t sear through my flesh.

Just like a virgin

Just like a virgin (photo by Kat Philbin)

Stefanie Vega and Glen with Dahlia and Deirdre (photo by Paul Koudounaris)

Stefanie Vega and Glen with Dahlia and Deirdre (photo by Paul Koudounaris)

Don’t think I’m suddenly going to start acting like an adult just because the calendar says I’m 30.

Also, it wouldn’t be a Dahlia event without something really bizarre happening.  So I invited lots of people dead and alive.  But one I did not invite was a neighbor my former roommate nicknamed Crazy L*** (and she lived with ME for six months, so she has a pretty high threshold for crazy).  I wasn’t watching the door and my dad let Crazy L in.  She showed up in a mumu and house slippers claiming she wanted to know what all the noise was about.  And she stayed for at least three hours.  She ate food and talked my dad’s ear off.  We’re not friends or anything.  It was bizarre and kind of hilarious!  Invited guests were slightly perplexed at the pastel floral mumu shrouded creature in the corner.

But aside from that head shaker the day was perfectly rock and roll.

Look at some of the jaw-droopingly thoughtful and amazing gifts my friends gave me:

Rock photographer and professional bad ass John Charles gave me this concert photo he took of my love (and future antichrist baby daddy), Marilyn Manson.

Rock photographer and professional bad ass John Charles gave me this concert photo he took of my love (and future antichrist baby daddy), Marilyn Manson.  Photo of me opening John Charle’s photo by artist Kat Philbin.

and here is Marilyn hanging on the wall

and here is Marilyn hanging on the wall in my front room

David Van Gough painted this portrait of David Bowie from the Heroes era.  Both of us are madly in love with David Bowie.

David Van Gough painted this oil portrait of David Bowie from the Heroes era. Both of us are madly in love with David Bowie.  I have not hung this painting yet because I’ve been carrying it around from room to room.  Bowie is my Personal Jesus.

My other gifts were not specifically rock and roll themed, but they were all so very me:

Lisa Derrick gave me this delicate antique brooch which she found in Ireland.  The locket holds an intricate woven pattern of hair.  I like to think that I'm wearing a dead girl's hair on my neck.  This is my first authentic piece of memento mori jewelry and it's a real treasure.

Lisa Derrick gave me this delicate antique brooch which she found in Ireland. The locket holds an intricate woven pattern of hair. I like to think about how I’m wearing a dead girl’s hair on my neck. This is my first authentic piece of memento mori jewelry and it’s a real treasure.

Sonia gave me this deranged Women's Ward Insane Asylum sign.  It's perfect for my wall of insane Dahlia art.  It's also really heavy.  You could definitely bludgeon someone with it.  That's why I haven't hung it yet.  I need to get wall anchors (not because I'm planning to use it as a murder weapon first).

Sonia gave me this deranged Women’s Ward Insane Asylum sign. It’s perfect for my wall of insane Dahlia art. It’s also really heavy. You could definitely bludgeon someone with it. That’s why I haven’t hung it yet. I need to get wall anchors (not because I’m planning to use it as a murder weapon first).

Stefanie Vega and Glen gave me this heart sculpture covered in gnarly nails, which Stefanie made.  I finally have a heart!  The paper behind the heart is the incredible wrapping they put it in.

Stefanie Vega and Glen gave me this heart sculpture covered in gnarly nails, and black stitching which Stefanie made. I finally have a heart! The paper behind the heart is the incredible wrapping they put it in.

jewelled skeleton, art print

Paul Koudounaris gave me this gorgeous large print from his recent must-read Heavenly Bodies book. It’s in a temporary spot above my serial killer book collection until I find a frame grand enough for it.

And here's Dahia shocked beyond words upon opening Matthew LeVin's present (close-up directly below).  Photo by Kat Philbin.  Mind.  Blown.

And here’s Dahia shocked beyond words upon opening Matthew LeVin’s present (close-up directly below). Photo by Kat Philbin. Mind. Blown.

I don't have words.  That's me!  With fangs!  By the best sculptor I know and I'm really speechless.

I don’t have words. That’s me! With fangs! By the world’s best sculptor and I’m really speechless.

And this gift made me laugh harder than I've ever laughed (at least at something that didn't involve human suffering).  Chris the Creep painted this fantastic pop-art style portrait of the Matilda Beast.  He completely captured her demonic presence in my life.

And this gift made me laugh harder than I’ve ever laughed (at least at something that didn’t involve human suffering). Chris the Creep painted this fantastic pop-art style portrait of the Matilda Beast. He completely captured her demonic presence in my life.  It’s dead-on.

I also got some great new macabre art books that I’m very excited about and hope to review here soon.

My friends are way better than your lame friends.  In fact, you should probably just kill all of your friends and come be friends with my friends.  Unless you’re lame too, in which case go die in a hole.  Happy Birthday to me!

Thank you so much to all my friends who came to the party, for the amazing artistic gifts and for making me feel loved.  I hope you all had a wicked good time.  And to my family who puts up with a lot, but always works to give me a special birthday.  And thank you to all my friends who sent well wishes.  I’m not the best at expressing non-murderous feelings.  But I was overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity — almost makes me want to stick around or something.  Really, thank you all so much.  Anyway, birthday over.  This was such a good birthday I think I’ll just stick at 30 for a bit now.

Share

Shopping for Creepy Stuff at The Rose Bowl Flea Market

March 4th, 2014
Pasadena California

Dahlia Jane haunts the Rose Bowl Flea Market in February 2014

If you are like me and your taste in stuff runs to the weird, old and unique, the massive monthly Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena, California is worth checking out.  The following photos show just a taste of some of the creepier items on display there in February.

The Seven Deadly Sins

The Seven Deadly Sins

So many questions come to mind

So many questions come to mind

yikes

yikes

 broken doll antique

Antique animal traps

Antique animal traps

I always say I’m just going to look around.  And I think it’s excellent advice to only carry as much cash as you can afford to spend that day.  But every once in a while I’ll see something spectacular that I cannot bear to live without.

My biggest and favorite Rose Bowl score occurred just a couple of weeks ago.  I turned a corner into a new aisle and was confronted with something so exquisite that I was afraid to even ask how much it cost because I knew immediately that I needed it no matter what: a hundred year old dilapidated hospital wheelchair.

antique wheelchair

The chair is wood with a whicker-caned seat, two big wheels that may have once been rubber, one small wheel trailing in the back, and wood feet and armrests.  It’s very heavy.  The first image that pops into my head when I look at it is of a drugged-up mental patient propped up in the chair, wheeled somewhere for the day and forgotten.  It’s theatrical.  It’s terribly sad.  It’s me.

The thing has wheels so my first thought was, let’s you and me run away together, they’ll never take us alive.  But just in case there was a way to avoid a cumbersome chase I decided to suck it up and ask how much the chair cost.

I timidly enquired with the booth’s owner and was ready to recoil from the sting of a six hundred dollar plus asking-price.  I had my pained expression locked and loaded.  But somehow, the universe was with me because he asked for only $150.  Meanwhile my companions (actual companions, the voices in my head were one hundred percent with me on this whispering, my preciousss) are saying — how are you going to get this behemoth home?  Where are you going to put it?  Did you take your meds this morning? — in the background.  And I’m thinking, okay, if I skip groceries for two weeks this could work.

I say, how about $120, thinking the guy will then say, $145 (I’ve seen a lot of Pawn Stars and Oddities on the TV, which is why I’m such a good negotiator).  I try not to look shocked when the guy takes the $120.  For this priceless treasure that I cannot live without you only want $120?  You sir, are crazy.

antique hospital wheelchair

It turned out the negotiating of the price was a lot easier than the negotiating of the fair-grounds and parking lot.  I kind of understood why the guy would rather take a lower price than have to get the chair back home.  I may have lightly nudged some random people who should’ve been paying more attention if they didn’t want to get brained by a 100 year-old wheelchair.  People can be so fussy.

Did I mention I drive a two-door sports car?

When I realized that there was absolutely no way to fit the whole chair into the car, I thought maybe I could trail it behind me on the freeway, like a trailer hitch.  That was a nonstarter with the people going home with me.  Instead, we wedged as much of the chair as we could into the trunk area and I used my scarf to tie down the trunk door.  Anything else in the car went into the laps of my passengers.  The half hour or so of surface street driving it took to get home I just sort of prayed we wouldn’t get pulled over.

My poor scarf got drafted to hold the trunk door down over the wheelchair.

My poor scarf got drafted to hold the trunk door down over the wheelchair.

We made it all the way to my garage, when for the first time in recent memory, the elevator had a broken sign on it.  So we had to go the long way around the building up some stairs.  But the point of all this is, the chair is mine now.  And I can sit in it whenever I want and wheel haphazardly around my living room. I plan to do some sick photo shoots with the chair soon as well.

I also bought two wall frames that day for $30.  I’ve bought several frames on various trips to the flea market because I like ornate, baroque-looking corners that none of the big frame stores seem to carry.

This frame was slightly broken so the seller only wanted $10 for it.  Now it's shiny black and awaiting a new piece of art.  I'm obsessed with the gargoyle demon on the bottom.

This frame was slightly broken so the seller only wanted $10 for it. Now it’s shiny black and awaiting a new piece of art. I’m obsessed with the gargoyle demon on the bottom.

The flea market can be totally hit or miss for shopping.  I’m often surprised by how much or how little someone wants for something.  I’ve left with my arms full and I’ve left empty-handed.  I’m always glad I went though because the experience gets my creative juices flowing.  I don’t typically find things that are display-ready.  Most items require paint or sewing or some kind of repurposing.

When in doubt, paint it black.

You might imagine that such a thick concentration of bizarre stuff would attract an interesting crowd, prime for people-watching, and you’d be correct.  Even when the shopping is lame, the encounters are often worthwhile.

When I visited the market in December with artist Stefanie Vega we were strolling arm in arm when an elderly, white-haired woman motioned to me.  She asked if I could help her with Instagram on her phone and proceeded to show me a black and white photo of a much younger, Marlon Brando-like nude man with a predominantly erect penis.  She said the photo was of her hot new boyfriend and asked me to give her a high-five.  I tried to direct her back to her question about the app but she obviously just wanted to show me the picture.  As Vega and I were making our escape Vega said to me, you sure attract the crazies.  Then a young man ran up to us and said we’d just been filmed for a reality show called something like, Old People Pulling Pranks.  We were presented waivers to sign.  I feel like they were breaking some kind of indecent exposure laws with that one and nudity doesn’t offend me, but I don’t get the prank so much.  Anyway, I knew my non-reaction to the photo meant the footage would never make it on the show (or at least I think I know.  Has anybody seen me on an upsetting reality show recently?)

On the drive into the market this recent time my parents and I saw a young man with long shaggy hair and a beard sporting a frilly white dress and a backpack walking determinedly.  He was a curious sight.  And later that day I made eye-contact with the actor who plays Blake on Workaholics (I didn’t say hello because it took me a second to place who he was.  My first thought was, I know you!  And by the time that made it to, I don’t know you, I know you from TV, he’d vanished into the crowd again.)

How insane is my new chair?  Have you been to the Rose Bowl Flea Market and if so, do you have a favorite find?

The Rose Bowl Flea Market is the second Sunday of every month (in other words, this coming Sunday the 9).  Parking is free and admission after 9 is $8.  Click here to visit the Rose Bowl Flea Market website.  I’m resolved to skip March to give my bank account a breather, but the call of so much weird stuff in one place may be too strong to resist.

Share

Laluzapalooza 2014 Preview

March 3rd, 2014
mixed media assemblage, doll, reliquary, art

Church of the Muskrat Skull by Vega — Vega is of course a close friend and one of my favorite creators and this piece is everything I expect from her.  I want to scoop up this little saint and remove her from her treacherous post as keeper of the road kill.  This sculpture has such a beautiful message to consider the lives and the suffering of those that are often deemed as beneath our notice.

Springtime in LA means Laluzapaloooza.  Every spring La Luz de Jesus plants a bevy of budding artists alongside some of their proven annuals, and the art world swarms in to make bets on who will bloom.

The 28th annual juried group-show opens this Friday, March 7 at La Luz de Jesus Gallery in Los Angeles, California.  As always, the show does not have a theme.  Every year there are well-known artists alongside complete unknowns.  And the show is often considered a gateway not just to showing at La Luz de Jesus, but to showing in many Los Angeles galleries.  There’s always tension right around the publishing of the accepted list and artists feel real pressure to make it on the wall.

La Luz de Jesus had an unbelievable 16,000 submissions this year from artists competing for less than 200 spots. I’ll speak frankly and say that I don’t understand all of the included pieces. In fact, quite a few make me say, are you kidding me? But the range of styles and mediums within the alternative and lowbrow art movements are well represented. And it really wouldn’t surprise me if there were other art consumers out there looking at the pieces I’m drawn to and having that, what in the world, why would they pick this?, reaction. The brilliance of this show is that it exposes you to work from artists you’d never make a trip to a gallery to see as well as introducing work from unknown artists whose other work you’ll seek out in the future.

I’ve showcased art from the show in this post, which seduces me with its dark theatrics and technical skill.

New Friend by Horacio Martinez

New Friend by Horacio Martinez — I’m drawn to the sense of calm and even whimsy in this deeply macabre painting.  Here is Death coming to take a child, and yet it is not a moment of horror.   I’m so curious to know what inspired the artist to create this scene.  There’s a lovely soft quality to this piece as well.

Master Study: Transition (The Bark of Dante / Watson and the Shark) by Christopher Ulrich

Master Study: Transition (The Bark of Dante / Watson and the Shark) by Christopher Ulrich — I’m almost speechless by this tableau.  Christopher Ulrich should’ve been born in the time of the Renaissance Masters.  His work seems too grand for a contemporary audience often unable to grasp the subtleties of the allegories he depicts (and I’m including myself in that group).  But I feel privileged to see it.

Spiked by Michael Foulkrod

Spiked by Michael Foulkrod — I want to know the woman in this portrait.  She seems alluring and impenetrable.  I’m also curious about why the artist left the piece looking unfinished beneath her chest.

Final Embrace by JAW Cooper

Final Embrace by JAW Cooper — Jaw Cooper is another artist whose work I’ve been watching for the last several years.  This painting does a great job blending Eastern and Western traditions in art.  The composition is striking and wistful.  There’s a great sadness here.

Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman Black Swan

Deirdre Sullivan-Beeman Black Swan — I like the blending of Fantasy Art and Fine Art in this piece.  The golden water is beautiful.

Spider by Gail Potocki

Spider by Gail Potocki — This is a piece that I’m especially curious to see in person because the darkened shrouds give it such a mysterious weight.  The figure is creepy and androgynous and I can’t get a sense of time or place.  I want to know more.

Norman Rides a Peacock by Briana Bainbridge

Norman Rides a Peacock by Briana Bainbridge — I can’t resist a fetal skull.  I can’t do it. I want to hold dead baby Norman and pet his peacock and have a lovely day together at the Arboretum.

LaLuzapalooza is on display at La Luz de Jesus through March 30. For more information or to see more previews from the show, visit La Luz de Jesus’s website.

Share

Dark Art Books to Gift 2013

December 16th, 2013

Need a last minute holiday gift for a dark-minded soul?  Lucky for you, this has been an exceptional year for dark, goth and stunning art books.

The following books have all been released in 2013 (most this fall).  And yes I desperately want all of them (except the two I already have — Frolich by Brandi Milne and Heavenly Bodies by Paul Koudounaris — both of which are perfection).

Collections by Individual Artists:

Heavenly Bodies Paul Koudounaris

Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombsby Dr. Paul Koudounaris available from Amazon for $22.86 and beyond spectacular

Incurable Disorder
DROOL Incurable Disorder: The Art of Elizabeth McGrath available from Amazon for $28.51

Laurie Lipton art book
YOUR EYES WILL POP OUT OF YOUR HEAD IN AMAZEMENT The Drawings of Laurie Lipton available from Amazon for $27.90

Frohlich

Frolich by Brandi Milne available signed from her website for $45

Guillermo Del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities
Guillermo del Toro Cabinet of Curiosities: My Notebooks, Collections, and Other Obsessions available through Amazon for $34.48

Sean Madden Beyond the Sun
EEK! Beyond the Sun: The Insane Pen & Ink Art of Sean Madden available through Amazon for $14.95

Group Collections and Art History

Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell
Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell available through Amazon for $42.56

I LOVE these nineteenth century French novelty cards which depict a min Hell.  The book even comes with a 3-D viewer so you can view the art as the creators intended.

The Story of Black John Harvey
The Story of Black by John Harvey available through Amazon for $28.71

This book covers the cultural impact and connotations throughout world history of my favorite color: Black.

Night Parade of Dead Souls
The Story of Black
The Story of Black
Night Parade Of Dead Souls: Japanese Ghost Paintings (Ukiyo-e Master Series) available through Amazon for $22.39

This English book contains 70 iconic images of the Japanese female ghost or yurei by a variety of artists.

Cabinets of Wonder

Cabinets of Wonder available through Amazon for $32.51 contains 180 photographs of some of the best curiosity collections in the known world.

Taxidermy
Taxidermy by Alexis Turner available through Amazon for $24.63

The book strives to be a complete survey of the art form.

Rammstein on fire

Rammstein on Fire: New Perspectives on the Music and Performances on Amazon for $36

Happy Holidays fiends!

If you’re shopping on Amazon this season, consider clicking through my link first to help support this site at no extra cost to yourself!!!

Share

Gifts for Horror Lovers 2013

December 11th, 2013

For Women

pentagram, graphic socks, gift

Baphomet Socks from Too Fast for $10.95

Black Widow Pantyhose would look great on any femme fatale.  $12 from Karmaloop.

Black Widow Pantyhose would look great on any femme fatale. $12 from Karmaloop.

monster mouth red mini skirt
Women’s Kreepsville 666 Monster Mouth Red Mini Skirt through Amazon for $27.99

Ouija Board Horror Tank Dress is made to order by Killer Kitty for $60 from her webstore.

Ouija Board Horror Tank Dress is made to order by Killer Kitty for $60 from her webstore.

Horror Print PJ Trousers from Topshop USA for $70.  This print is also available on a Jacket for $84.

Horror Print PJ Trousers from Topshop USA for $70. This print is also available on a Jacket for $84.


For Men

Stainless Steel Big Monster Fang eyeball ring

Stainless Steel Big Monster Fang Brown Eyeball Men Boy Biker Ring through Amazon for $16.

Priceless limited edition tshirt by Fright Rags for $21.95.

Priceless limited edition tshirt by Fright Rags for $21.95.

The Shining Twins mens t-shirt from Too Fast for $26.95.

The Shining Twins mens t-shirt from Too Fast for $26.95.

slasher

Crystal Lake Boat Tours Hoodie from BigTimeTeez on Etsy for $29.99

minkslashers

How great are these?!!!  MINK presents “SLASHERS”, the new capsule collection. The collection is limited, as only 100 pieces total were made. Each piece pays homage to a horror movie anti-hero. The number on the back represents that Slasher’s “victim count”. The collection includes four jerseys featuring BATES, VORHEES, KRUEGER and MYERS.  All four jerseys feature designs on the back, front and both sleeves.  They are $50 each from MINK’s webstore.

Goat Witch Halloween Mask sculpted by Kristen Phillips and available from Trick or Treat Studios for $54.99

Goat Witch Halloween Mask sculpted by Kristen Phillips and available from Trick or Treat Studios for $54.99

For the Home

art print, Society6

American Horror Story Coven Art Print by Danielle Brady on Society6 starts at $16 for an 8×10 print.

Get a print of Billy Sawing by Dienzo from his Big Cartel shop for $20

Get a print of Billy Sawing by Dienzo from his Big Cartel shop for $20

goth candle, occult, pillar, glass

I’m crazy about the design on this Carpe Noctem Church Candle from Too Fast for $24.95

Living dead dolls Krampus set

Living Dead Dolls – Limited Edition German Exclusive Set – The Krampus (3 Piece Set – Black & Tan, Black & Red, White & Tan) The whole set is available through Amazon for $199.99 or get the White Fur, Tan Mask Doll and, the Black Fur, Red Mask Doll for $74.99 each and  the Black Fur, Tan Mask Doll for $59.99 through Amazon.

719-zo6EaWL._SL1500_Trick ‘R Treat Animated Sam 8″ Figure wobbles and plays music and dialogue from the film.  Available through Amazon for $39.99.

horror, Paul Booth, Last Rites Gallery

Lamb by Paul Booth available as a signed print in a limited run of 400. From Last Rites Gallery for $50.

Dellamorteco

Plague Doctor Statue by Dellamorteco on Etsy for $60. The statue is 9″ tall and hand-painted.  I though this was so cool that I immediately ordered one as a holiday gift for my brother.  Dellamorteco has a ton of unique horror-themed statuary.

For more Horror theme gift ideas, check out the 2012 and 2011 editions of this post.

If you’re shopping on Amazon this season, consider clicking through my link first to help support this site at no extra cost to yourself!!!

Share