The Proper Number of Pictures

A few weeks ago I was looking for wall art. I chose and ordered some pictures and by the time they all arrived I was knee deep in Dungeons & Dragons. Pretty distracting. But I’m finally putting them up, along with a bunch of family photos and a couple pieces we already had. It’s a lot of pictures, but I know myself; eventually I’ll think I need more. My family’s idea of “just barely decorated enough” is most people’s “waaay too much” but it makes me happy and the Robot is fine with it.

I ended up buying a couple of woodcut prints and I have no regrets. They’re nicely printed on thick paper, with clear, bold lines that read well even from across the room.

 

I also couldn’t resist a picture from Spoken in Red. Most of my family thinks Spoken in Red is too spooky so I just got a smallish one and hung it towards the corner where I sit and crochet. I don’t know why this shook spook them when they’re fine with ghosts and sharks and burning witches. Weirdos. I love it, no matter what they think.

outlander

I also got a picture I didn’t mention. This cute old “haunted house” deserved a rustic frame. I quite like the combination.

ghost story

Sharknado is old, from a local artist who adds monsters and heroes to bland landscapes. I dropped and ruined its old frame trying to rehang it, so the sharks got a new fancier one. The new frame is heavy and I want it pretty high on the wall, so I’ll probably get Mr. Robot to hang it over the weekend. Once that’s done (and a few more family photos added) our wall will feel complete. At least until I find another treasure I can’t live without.

 

Mooning Over Wall Art

I’ve been taking my sweet time redecorating my walls after all that painting. I’ve reframed several pictures, brought a couple up from the basement, added a few new bugs and bats. But I’ve realized I want a few new things to spice things up.

I’m a big believer in buying from smaller artists and crafters instead of going straight for posters and prints of already famous people or paintings, so I’ve been browsing through Etsy and such for possibilities.

So far my top contenders are:

Spoken in Red. A lot of her photos are beautiful and intriguing, and if I’m willing to spend enough I could get one printed on canvas or metal. I’ve never had anything printed on metal and I’m really tempted.

 

 

Reproductions of historical woodcuts from Morbid Curio. These are much smaller and cheaper and I love the stories behind them, so I’ll probably end up with more than one. I can feel myself falling in love already.

 

At the risk of being a goth cliche, I’m also considering these Edgar Allen Poe illustrations. The art’s not my usual style but I do so love Poe’s horror.

I’m also falling in love with this photo of famously haunted Eastern State Penitentiary and this fascinating morgue painting.

We obviously can’t afford or find room for every one, but how to decide? My heart wants them all but my walls only want three or four (and my wallet only wants one or two). Which are your favorites? Have you ever had a print on metal (and is it worth the money)?

Bugs Under Glass

I have a bad case of Olympic Fever so I haven’t had much to post about, but in my odd non-Olympic moments I’ve been mooning over pictures of Victorian style libraries and British Raj style decor. I’ve been nostalgic for India, and one of these days I’ll do a dream post full of black saris and salwar kameezes.

My dream home would mostly look like one big Victorian library/British explorer’s study. Our current house probably isn’t the one we’ll grow old (well, older) in, so we’re holding off on expensive furniture or renovations until our kids grow up and we eventually we decide we’re too lazy to ever move again move into our dream home.

But we indulge in smaller, more portable things like art and bedding. Over the years we’ve found that we both like natural specimens like rock crystals, taxidermy birds and preserved plants and insects. We own a beautiful grasshopper and a robo-beetle (rhinoceros beetle with watchworks attached) that I might have shown you before, and I couldn’t resist adding this amazing pair of cicadas from Bugs Under Glass. They aren’t the exact cicadas that whirred away every summer when I was a kid, but they’re close enough (and a lot prettier). I can’t wait until it arrives.

I especially like that preserved bugs are so sustainable. They’re generally raised on “insect farms” in and around the creatures’ regular habitat and harvested at the end of their naturally short lives. The farms provide locals with an income that preserves rain forest habitats instead of destroying them, so bonus eco-points there.

Someday I might spring for a beautiful black “mormon butterfly” specimen, or a specialty “skeleton butterfly” with the scales removed from one wing to expose the delicate structures underneath. Nature is so amazing, don’t you think?

Chainsaw Art

It isn’t very goth, I suppose, but I spent part of my weekend binge watching Carver Kings on Netflix. It’s technically reality TV, so there’s a feeble attempt at drama, but mostly Carver Kings is about watching people make huge chainsaw scupltures. And that’s a pretty cool thing to watch. One year we even saw real live chainsaw carving at the state fair. I love seeing people create things, especially when they have a lot of skill.

octopus carving.jpeg
Jeffrey Michael Samudosky

 

Sometimes they carve amazingly cool stuff, but most of what they make is kind of western American folk  art–lots of snarling bears and screaming eagles and mysterious wolves, assorted other woodland creatures and occasional “wood spirit,” and maybe a dragon for the really adventurous types. It’s all over the place out here in the mountain west. You can’t buy a fishing pole or visit a canyon without wading through a gift shop full of this kind of art, and I get kind of jaded about it.

So jaded, in fact, that I forget just how much Mr. Robot likes this stuff. He likes screaming eagles and mysterious wolves, and we have exactly zero of these things in our home. We have a mountain scene with a yeti in it and a picture of sharks eating boats, but that’s not really the same, apparently. So the kids and I decided to look for an affordable chainsaw sculpture for Mr. Robot’s birthday in April. Maybe a curious little owl. He likes owls.

owls
by James Haggart, found on eBay.

Dragon bench is by Igor Loskutow. Dementor/wraith is by Denius Parson. I couldn’t find a credit for the ground sloth monster. 

Bionic

If I ever lost a limb, I’d want a super cool prosthetic from the Alternative Limb Project. Maybe a super cool tentacle or a robot-looking one that lights up. But I’d settle for basic black, I suppose. Or Vanta Black, that would be awesome.

You may or may not have seen Viktoria Modesta rocking prosthetics made by the Project. I’ve never cared much for her music, but I love her aesthetic and the way she uses prosthetic legs to achieve that bionic look. It’s got a cyborg/dystopia/healthgoth vibe that I love. And I like that she rocks the look and makes a powerful statement that this missing leg is important, yes, but only one of many important things about her.

She’s not the only one, I’ve noticed. Among others things, I love the books Michael Stokes has created featuring U.S. soldiers with various injuries and amputations. (Invictus and Always Loyal. I got them through his kickstarter campaigns.) Most such books focus on the human tragedy of war, because of course they do. That’s an important thing to focus on. But Stokes treats his injured models the same way he treats all the other well-muscled good looking guys he photographs. The soldiers’ stories tell us plenty about the human tragedy, and the photos tell a hopeful story of moving forward and making those scars and injuries just one part of a full and purposeful life.

Okay, I don’t want to totally nerd out about the social and emotional ramifications of normalizing disabilities and promoting body diversity, and I don’t want to bore you by geeking out about advances in prosthetic technology (3D printers can make limbs, y’all!), so I’ll just let this be for now.

Here. Enjoy some weird ambient music from Karmelloz instead.

Darkness of Light Tarot

I really enjoy tarot. Every deck has the same cards, the same basic set of symbols, but each artist brings something new to it. I can spend hours looking through different decks, and every once in a while I spend a stupid amount of money on one that really speaks to me. The Darkness of Light deck does just that.

darkness tarot

Some decks like to pack a lot of info onto each card–astrology signs, correspondences, all sorts of symbolic colors–but I like the more minimal, emotional approach this deck takes. Nothing gets in the way of the beautiful art and the emotions it evokes, and I love that it doesn’t shy away from the dark and the dreary.

Tarot is used to tell fortunes, after all, and some decks focus on bright and happy art as if that will ensure a good fortune. I actually own a lighter, happier deck or two and this one balances things out by looking into the shadows.

darkness tarot 2

The cards are a good weight with a nice feel so I’ll enjoy using them, but I’m half tempted to hang some as art.