Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Dark Folk Art Masks

I could make an entire collection from Halloween masks. While they used to be flimsy and mass-produced, you can now find artists creating beautiful masks that are worthy of displaying on a wall. If only I had another wall.

The masks I'm showing you today are from an artist who studied folk art and it's evident in her work. Galina (Sergivev Posad, Russia) uses everything from paper maché to injected plastics to create her masks. Her shop is called Rhythm Box Masks.

Lucifer Devil Mask
Skull Mask
Santa Muerte Mask
Skull Mask
Daemon Mask
Darn it, now I want a wall of skull masks. It never ends, does it?

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Paper Anatomy

You don't see many artists doing quilling, but when you do it's amazing. I remember being in junior high when I saw my first quilling kit at the local craft store. It seemed like such a simple thing to roll tiny strips of paper and glue them together to make beautiful flowers. My excitement turned to frustration when the paper tore and the glue stuck to my fingers and the paper in the most unattractive way. It's harder than it looks.

Sarah Yakawonis (Greene, Maine) must be a very patient person. Her fine-art quilling produces intricate images of anatomy using hundreds of pieces of hand-torn paper. They really are magnificent. Her shop is Yakawonis Quilling and along with her original art she offers prints of her work.

Anatomical Hand
Anatomical Back
Quilled Skull
Full Figure Muscle Structure
Veins of the Head
Neck Muscles
I'm fascinated by these images and would love to see them in person.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Freak Show Clothing

I am possibly the only person in the world who doesn't look good in a t-shirt. You might call me a freak- I do. That doesn't stop me from buying them, though, because I fall in love with the creative designs. I have a large pile of t-shirts in a stack labeled "needs to be altered."

The designs by Freak Show Clothing are calling to me. Hey, add another to the pile, right?

Hatchet Rose
Sword Swallower
Dead Johnny's Barbershop
Little Hooligan Toddler T-shirt
Snow White
I may not look good in t-shirts, but I look fabulous in black. Sold!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Let's Have a Pillow Fight

I'll bet we can have a fight over which of these pillows is the best. It will probably come to blows because how can we pick just one? Amanda Treder has an eye for finding the perfect images to transfer to pillow covers. Her pillows will give even your brightest room a dark edge. And that is a good thing. The pillow covers are velveteen- I love that. Her shop is called treder.  Don't miss it.

Edgar Allan Poe Portrait
Creature from the Black Lagoon
H. P. Lovecraft Portrait
I Only Have Eyes For You Set
Smoking Skeleton
You can choose from a few different colors for you pillows, but black and white are always in style.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Macabre Mix

There are so many amazing artists in the world, that I can't keep up! So, I'm cleaning out my files and showing you a variety of delightful items by various artists. I hope you'll visit all of their shops. They deserve the attention.

Raven Teddy Doll from boverly8
Silver Vintage Skull Pin from CMajorJewelry
Death and Resurrection Pendant from alishaanti
Black Leather Vase from LeasBoutique
Miniature Devil in a Graveyard from S3CreationsIL
Bronze Cat Skull from mrsoles
Laser Cut Devil Charm from Shareliving
I feel so much better get these posted. I hate when items get sold before you see them!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Nature Can Be Oddly Beautiful

The illustrations by A. L. Swartz are quiet, elegant, and perhaps startling to those not familiar with Dark Art. Three-eyed creatures, skulls, and exposed anatomy are all part of Swartz's surreal world. He says he creates his "own realm of esoterically-charged flora and fauna, drawing heavily on the themes of symbiotic relationships, the circle of life, and the classic concept of memento mori." You'll find his work for sale at SkullGardenShop and can learn where he'll be exhibiting at Skull Garden.

Blue Jay with Yellow Roses
Seeker Fox
The Wooden Tarot Deck
Original Painting Osara Goat
Ruby Cat Skull
Amethyst Skull
I love the details in these illustrations. I could look at them for hours.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Retro Halloween Art Explosion

Stephanie Buscema is one busy, spooky, woman. Her bright, sassy illustrations end up on everything from prints, to pins, to clothing and fabric design- and she runs it all herself. Sure there is an Etsy shop (StephBuscemaMart) to draw you in with prints and pins, but if you really want to see what she has to offer, you need to hop over to her website The Art of Stephanie Buscema and then link over to her shop Kitschy Witch Designs.

Buscema's style has a retro comic book feel and her images focus on Halloween past and outer space. I think I need some of the fabric to whip up a skirt.

Memento Mori Charm Bracelet
Mr. Fluffy Are You There? Giclée Print
Storm Hags Hedge Riders T-shirt
Mallory Bones Giclée Print
Fortune Teller Spinner Wheel Pin
Count Orlok Giclée Print

Here is a quick look at some of Buscema's textiles.


These are fun, right? Make sure you check out all the links to see she has to offer.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Book: Voodoo in Haiti in the 1930s

Sometimes, things call to you. You keep getting signs and realize it's time to stop ignoring them and just give in. That's what happened to me with the writer Zora Neale Hurston. Hurston was born in 1891 in Eatonville, Florida and died in 1960 in Fort Pierce, Florida. In between those years, this African-American woman saw more, did more, than I can ever hope to do.

Reading is something that I really enjoy, and southern women writers have a special place in my heart. Their writing always seems to be a good combination of the mystical and practical. So, a year or so ago when my friend's girlfriend, an English teach in a local high school, told me her favorite author was Zora Neal Hurston, an African-American writer from the South, I was a bit taken aback. How had I never heard of her? She promised to lend me some books, but time when on and we forgot about it. Then, a few months ago, I opened my Facebook feed and front and center some nonprofit or other had a large quote from Zora Neale Hurston.
"There are years that ask questions and years that answer." 
A few days later a New York Times crossword puzzle clue had something to do with a southern writer "Zora _____ Huston." I thought, what is going on? I jumped over to Wikipedia and learned that Hurston had written a book about her travels to Haiti where she studied Voodoo. I knew then that it was time for me to discover Zora Neale Hurston.

A quick text to my friend's girlfriend - now my friend, resulted in her lending me three books: a novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, an autobiography Dust Tracks on the Road, and the nonfiction "Tell My Horse: Voodoo and Life in Haiti and Jamaica." I read the three books in that order and am so glad I did.

The novel was amazing, the autobiography was fantastic (in all sense of that word), and the look at Voodoo was fascinating. For purposes of the blog, I'm going to focus on Tell My Horse.

Hurston was in her 40's when she got the opportunity to travel to Jamaica and Haiti. She had been studying southern American culture- specifically African American stories and songs prior to that. This would have been in the mid 1920s and 1930s. Although she doesn't say it, you can tell that Hurston had some very good contacts before she went to Haiti. She seems immediately able to make connections with the most important practitioners of Voodoo. Make no mistake- Hurston had grown up impoverished, often unwanted, and black in a time when this country had no place for educated women of any color. Hurston was educated through her own perseverance, but in this instance, her color and education gave her an advantage. She seems to have been able to successfully mix with both the high society of Haiti as well as the uneducated and illiterate poor.

She spends about 2 years in Jamaica and Haiti meeting with Voodoo practitioners, attending their rituals, and even studying with one Voodoo houngan (priest). Tell My Horse sets out to give us an overview of the loa (Voodoo gods), details of the ceremonies she attended, captures the music and chants that she heard, and paints a picture of pre-WWII Haiti that is as colorful as it is chaotic.

At times, I got a little lost with the unfamiliar terminology, but her description of the ceremonies had me entranced. I wasn't sure if she was hallucinating or if she really saw such things as a dead man sitting up during one ceremony or her description of a secret cult ceremony that sacrificed people. Her observations on zombies is mind-boggling. There is a chapter on poisons too.

If you have a weak stomach for things like animal sacrifice, you're going to have to brace yourself to get through some of ceremonial descriptions. So many chickens were sacrificed it's no wonder people were poor.

Overall, I found this book fascinating. I'm always interested in how other cultures come to grips with death and Hurston's experience showed that Haitians held both life and death in high esteem. I'm recommending this book to anyone interested in rituals, mysticism, and the celebration of life and death.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Anthropomorphic Fantasy Dolls

Sometimes I have fantasies of quitting my job and making odd dolls all day and night. I wouldn't be able to sell any of them so the fantasy usually ends in me being in debtor's prison making weird mice taxidermy (I adjust to my circumstances pretty well.)

It's people like Zlata that fuel my dream. When I look at the anthropomorphic dolls she is creating my mouth falls open. She creates figures for a world she calls Athrogon, and all are hand made from bits of fabric and clay that only she can breathe life into.  I'm in awe. The shop is Zlata's Fantasy Forest.

Brown Bat Soft Sculpture
Ravena Art Doll
Flying Fox Soft Sculpture
Mrs. Pumpkin Soft Sculpture
Mermaid Katrina Art Doll
Furry Deer Art Doll

I'm so impressed with these dolls. I must find out more about Zlata. Visit her shop and make sure you open each image to see the full photos.