“Tim Hall’s latest book is How America Died.
Buy it here: http://undiepress.timhallbooks.com)
“Tim Hall’s latest book is How America Died.
Buy it here: http://undiepress.timhallbooks.com)
JM – I’ve seen your nose and I have to say, it is inspirational.
I’ve noticed that you use a lot of masks in your Portraits, what’s with that?
LC – Thanks for your question. Now I need to think, and you know I hate doing that.
Masks. They don’t hide the identity. They reveal it. They create an identity where there is no identity. Our social avatar (the face we paint, the hair we cut, the body we shape) is not us. There is no us, to be precise. And this disturbing vacuum is revealed in all its inescapable horror when we wrap it in a solid, clear, coloured, definite structure: the mask. Like insects, like cicadas, we need an exoskeleton to move, laugh and sing and live, made of plastic, cardboard or simply sick imagination, as you prefer.
Masks. I got one from my cousin.
JM – It is interesting that you mention that “there is no us”. This is an old idea, that goes back to Buddhist thought and modern neuroscience is showing us that it may in fact be true.
What influences outside of photography have found their way into your particular art?
By this I mean, books, other artists, music?
LC – Influences. In photography. A classic one, sorry for being so banal: Cartier-Bresson.
I like the composition, the equilibrium of shapes and lines and focus points, the delicate tension, the irony. I like the photoshop artists, like Dragan. I like painting: Renaissance masters, like Raffaello.
And for the portraits, may I dare to mention Rembrandt?
His masterful way of handling light and darkness?
Sharp details and softness?
Music. There’s nothing more visual than music. I like dark, gloomy, gothic soft musical textures. Try Hope Sandoval, try Cranes. Dim the lights. Close your eyes. There’s no picture like that. Low saturation, diffused background, high contrast. if you want to smile, a slightly sad smile, listen to Paolo Conte.
Books? I can’t read …
JM – Okay, last question …
Luigi, how important is place for you?
You are Italian, from Genova, yet you live in London.
Why did you choose Deare Olde Londinium to live?
LC – The city is both a physical and a metaphysical space. A city is a background for your pictures, portraits or landscapes. It sets the mood and the rules. It gives you subjects: bridges or people. I was born in an old and dying city. Genova is dying of old age. You can walk in the alleys, and get a sense of history, of the past, but no sense of future. The present is confused, still, frozen in amber. People live awaiting. Godot is not coming yet. And when the wind is strong, the voice of the sea grows louder, and you forget where you are, who you are.
I missed that sometimes. I missed my sea. I missed my dirty alleys, and small vineries.
So I feel out of scale here in London, but then there is the metaphysical aspect. London offers me the gift of the long tail, a chance to socialise around an interest, whatever it is. In this case, photography. I chose London for this. It gave me, and probably will still give me (for a while, at least), the hope of being surprised.
And life without any surprises, what kind of life is it?
Luigi’s magnificent work can be found : HERE!
EM – I discovered Alberto Vargas in a bunch of old playboys. Already being into Frank Frazetta and comics the pinups really spoke to me. I enjoyed the cheesecake and the teasing along with the cute poses. It’s the same reason I would rather watch nudie cutie movies from the early 60′s instead of soft core skinamax. Titillation is more fun than straight out in your face.
JM – “Titillation is more fun than straight out in your face.” -
Agreed, the brain is indeed the greatest sexual organ. One can let the imagination just ooze out at your heart’s content. Drip. Drip.
You mentioned comics. Who? What?
Why do you think the “funny papers” have been put down & patronised for such a long time as some kind of lesser art form?
Actually, here in France (where this loafer resides) they are called the “ninth art form” & are seen with some respect. I have a feeling it’s all down to class but then being a Brit, I tend to view everything through class goggles. Even that misnomer “Graphic Novel” reeks of some kind of kowtowing for middle class acceptance. Comics, they are and comics they shall always be.
EM – I used to sell comics at antique shows when I was a kid. Thus I had access to some great old stuff like Barry Winsor Smith’s Conan comics, Vaugn Bode, Wally Wood, EC comics (before the comics code and the whole Seduction of the Innocent trials), and real old Mad magazines. Later I fell in love with Milo Manara, Liberatore, and Dave Sim’s Cerebus.
I think comics have gotten a better rep nowadays than it did when we were younger. I used to have to search drugstores and smoke shops just to find issues.. In the late 80′s I think cartoonists and writers started getting the respect they were due. Walt Simonson’s Thor was one of the first comics to become so collectible due to an artist and people like Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman also started getting recognition.
Although we have a very long way to go until it’s revered the way comics (er manga)are in Japan. Mandrake books puts all other comic shops to shame.
JM – Ach! Hopefully comics will never be respectable …
What about the other influences for your work?
Literary or musical?
What tunes do you like to work to?
I sense a dark sense of humour in your stuff, have you ever heard of the UnPop! movement?
EM – I enjoy reading bizzaro fiction and subversive non fiction on survivalism, cannabalism, weapon re-arming manuals, eugenics, lock picking, religion, disease…. all that kinda fun.
Usually when I’m working I listen to black metal or industrial music. I find it really relaxing, it’s too bad that it drives my wife absolutely bonkers.
I first heard of UnPop via Gidget Gein. I was incredibly flattered to find out that we both loved each other’s work. Damn shame that he died
JM – I’ve got an old copy of the SAS survival manual at my shack in Wales. Used to enjoy myself making pungee stick traps in the woods and hoping the local farmers would step in them.
Don’t think I ever caught me one though. Boo!
Extreme music does have a calming effect on the mind, I concur.
What was the standout 2009 album for you?
I would say that Monoliths & Dimensions by Sunn O))) blew everything else out of the water.
An absolute masterpiece. With Attila Csihar‘s growling to boot.
EM – Yeah, anything by Ragnar Benson is usually good fun survival reading. I still need to get a copy of his Mantrapping book.
I really enjoyed Sunn O)))’s M&D (I finally picked it up 2 months ago). The soundscapes remind me of Ulver. Which is a good thing seeing as I thought Ulver’s Shadows of the SunNachtmystium, Satyricon, Immortal and Watain so last year was a banner year for me. Generally if I have a big workweek ahead of me, I need to go to the music shop and stock up on new tunes…it’s my fuel…that and large amounts of caffeine. was one of my faves last year. I think the topper for me though was Enslaved’s Vertebrae.. With every cd those guys get better and better. I’m also a HUGE fan of
JM – I’m a White Russian & Pina Colada man meself. Actually all booze helps grease the mind-streets.
Being an artist, what’s your opinion on the state of so-called “art” in our modern world?
Does it still have any biting relevance or is it just another commodity, like mouthwash or condoms?
EM – White Russians will forever remind me of The Big Lebowski.
I’ve always felt that creating art is rather masturbatory. When money is involved it becomes a commodity and an investment. It’s a slippery slope, you want to be able to do your own thing for your own personal enjoyment but that doesn’t pay the bills. So you have to try and sell what you do so you can eat and keep creating. It then in a sense can become diluted because now the prime drive is tainted by the need to sell. At least that’s the way I feel…personally I see myself more as an illustrator than an artist because of that.
Now if you can still be relevant and not trite or cliché then that’s a major bonus.
Does that make any sense?
JM – Indeed it does, Sir!
I tend to think that the word “art” has become somewhat debased in our society.
I blame Puritanism in all its forms where the outcome is that You’re Rich ‘Cos God Loves You, Not Those Other Bastards. Things were more colourful before. Even the way we dress. For example, during the Industrial Revolution & The Victorian Age(that expression of Puritanism that our esteemed leaders seem bent on recreating) the Top Hat and straight trousers were the height of fashion & they were based on nothing more than pipes and Industrial towers!
Makes me want to run naked through the woods with antlers on my head shouting Crowley’s Ode To Pan.
But, hey, that’s just me.
Talking of Dear Old Nutty Al, you’re work seems to have a slight occult nuance to it.
Would you agree?
EM – That’s a great way to look at things and also is one of the reasons why I like the steampunk aesthetic and also latex fashion designs. Have you seen Skingraft or Steamtrunk Couture?
Gotta love Al’s syphilitic brain. I appreciate a lot of occult concepts. I discovered the magician, Eliphas Levi’s quote “To affirm and will what ought to be is to create; to affirm and will what ought not to be is to destroy” just a couple weeks after I had the words “create” and “destroy” tattooed on my wrists. Quite symbolic and coincidental. Generally though, I align myself more with LaVey Satanism. At the same time I also really dig Taoism which is kinda ironic since “going with the flow” isn’t exactly a satanic proactive attitude.
So needless to say, I definitely have an occult tinge… good eye
JM - I read The Satanic Bible years ago and found it to be a mix of Nietzsche and Crowley. Also used to know members of The Temple Of Set. I painted a picture for them of Set to use in their rituals. It was kinda ironic as they would preach Redbeard’s Might Is Right, yet were all on welfare & the leader was so asthmatic that he was practically housebound. . They put a curse on my neighbours, though. Never did find out if it worked!
Anton La Vey was an interesting cat, though. Part occultist, part entertainer & part charalatan..
I think we all have those dichotomies in us, Lao Tzu & Vlad The Impaler, The Dude & Walter etc …
“Have you seen Skingraft or Steamtrunk Couture?”
Nope, but I can guess the Steampunk connection. It’s an interesting subculture that I need to go beyond my copies of The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen and the William Gibson novel.
Where do think we as a culture are heading? Is the End Of The World Nigh!?
EM – Oh, we’re doomed. I think all signs point to that this is going to be a very dark ride. It’s not going to be 2012 or the second coming of christ (lower case c on purpose)… we as humans have screwed the pooch all by ourselves. James Lovelock’s “Revenge of Gaia” really opened my eyes. I truly don’t think there is going to be any kind of “fixing” that will bring us back from the precipice that we’re standing on. I know that every generation has it’s hardships and there has always been the the guy saying that the sky is falling but I’m having a very hard time feeling warm and fuzzy nowadays. Don’t get me started on what’s going on in the states. I think it’s starting to get to that point in time when I grow my beard, find a cabin in the woods and write my manifesto.
JM – Well, I’ve already got the beard.
Yeah, Lovelock’s a thought provoking read. His almost boy scout-like outlook for the dangerous times ahead.
I recommend John Gray‘s “Straw Dogs: Thoughts On Humans And Other Animals” as a philosophical accompaniment. You won’t be disappointed.
Okay, Ed; Last question.
Future projects. What of them? (except, of course, the living in a shack with semi-automatic weapons)
It’s been a blast Daddy-o!
EM – Oooh, I’ll have to check that out!
Last question?!? Aw, I was having fun.
Right now, I’m concentrating on new work. I’ve got a couple solo shows coming up plus another version of The Golden Gals Gone Wild event that will be at the Erotic Art Museum in Miami. This year is looking to be rather hectic and exciting. Lotta creativity brewing and even some side projects that I won’t jinx by saying what they will be but are gonna be pretty rad.
I’ll make sure to keep you updated. Thanks again for this opportunity. This was one of my most fun interviews
In 1993 Ed was anointed reigning illustrator for Tattoo Magazine, a role he still kicks ass at. He and his wife started Cha-Pow!, an animation ink and paint company that is still thriving and well known for its work on MTV, Nickelodeon, and Saturday Night Live. Since then, they’ve expanded their empire into custom made dolls and Ed’s illustration work has been featured in everything from The LA Times to Equus Eroticus and used for bands as diverse as The Genitorturers and SPiT LiKE THiS. Ed throws all this work into the world from his cocoon in the boondocks of Jersey, where he lives with his loving wife and chihuahuas.
The first book collecting some of Ed’s art was released just a few months ago.
You can see more of his stuff at www.edmironiuk.com
Pomegranates? How easy are those to find for a Stellar’s Jay? Not fuckin’ very. But a good martini is worth lugging huge fruit in one’s talons. A good martini is worth just about any inconvenience. If you’re a simp. Dirty Bird prefers to simply lift the juice from the nearest convenient store rather than pick the pulp from around the seeds after a capricious flight home from the pomegranate field. Wherever you get your heady pom-juice, it makes for a sweet-tart refreshing sort of cocktail. Pomtinis will add lift to your flight. But be careful, they go down easy.
Dirty Bird is always on the look-out for something to cool him down on hot summer days. One afternoon, outside his secret cabin in the forest, Dirty was drinking martinis—as he likes to. He passed out after staggering toward the lavender patch to inhale their uplifting odors. When he came-to, he’d saved his cocktail (of course), though it was full of lavender blossoms. He drank it down after doing his best to blow the purple flower-cups out of his glass. Its flowery finish refreshed Dirty like sunshine spring-water splashing off chiming stones. He went straight to his mixing-lab, snatching up a glassful of flowers on his way. After a day of experimenting, many recipes were born. This one with lemonade comes closest to the refreshing experience of awakening in one’s garden, surprised and delighted by the luck of letting Nature pick a bed of flowers for one’s nap.