Here is my piece for the In the Depths show to be held at Copro Gallery in August. The show is curated by Cris Velasco and features works themed around the writing of H. P. Lovecraft.
I always associate the works of Lovecraft with the doldrums of summer. I was barely a teenager when I discovered Lovecraft, thanks to a rich vein – that reeked of the last owner’s cigarette smoke – in a nearby used bookshop. It was a discursion from Tolkien, Verne and Peake, my other favorites at the time.
It is pointless to pretend that his lush writing did not have an influence on my developing artistic aesthetic. All those strange cities and damp gardens, and of course the monsters, had a way of sticking in the mind and resurfacing at unexpected moments.
Maybe one day someone will hire me to illustrate a Lovecraftian edition, until then, I’ll leave you with the Nameless Larvae of the Other Gods. If you are interested in purchasing this piece from the show, please contact Copro Gallery.
Nameless Larvae of the Other Gods, 2016, ink on paper, 14″ x 10″
Pierre Huyghe from LACMA on Vimeo.
I came across the work of this artist, Pierre Huyghe today, thanks to a friend giving me one of his book covers. The video contains some arresting images, which resonated with me. Apparently there was a controversy about the dog in the video, but it was checked out and deemed to be happy and healthy.
Detail from Bellman . 2009 . Ink on Paper
One of the joys of the year coming to a close is thinking about what will come in the next year. This is a time when I make a lot of lists; possible names of new drawings, ideas for images, books I want to read and things to research. Right now I am thinking of a series of drawings that could be a book, or an exhibition or both. Time will tell. It’s going to be called Oneiric Natural History.
Bug Head (working title)
Along with a couple fairly involved ink drawings, I also have several paintings on the go. Everything is in various states, from OMFG why did I start this thing? to hey this is working. So, those of you who paint will know the piece above (put through a render on my “tin type” app) only has a neutral layer of oil. What you see here will vanish pretty quickly. I’ll post updates as I go along. I’m racking up half finished works to get me through the winter, like a squirrel storing nuts, or maybe a nut storing squirrels. Who’s to say?
Today’s musical recommendation is Foam Island by Darkstar. Or anything by Darkstar actually. Music is essential in the studio. If you don’t know them, check out Foam Island, I doubt you will be disappointed.
The Dawn Botanist – Tears of the Poppy (Detail)
All images © Richard A. Kirk. Any reuse is strictly prohibited without permission of Richard A. Kirk
There is still much to be done on this new drawing, but having finished one fairly defined section I thought I’d share a work in progress (WIP). If you saw my earlier post on this piece, you’ll notice that I have added to the title. “Tears of the Poppy” is a line taken from the text of Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, a book that has been occupying my reading time and weirdly, or perhaps not so weirdly, my dreams for a few weeks now. The phrase fits the theme of this work.
Graphite Under-drawing for the Dawn Botanist (working title)
All images © Richard A. Kirk.
Here is a look at the drawing’s bones. What you see here will soon disappear under layers of ink. I find these line drawings have a beauty of their own, which is why I always take the time to make a high resolution scan of them before rendering.
The Dawn Botanist – detail
The ink looks a bit darker here than it is in the original. This is a first pass with a uniform value. With the next pass, I’ll be deepening shadows and accentuating highlights.
One of the great things about working in ink is the simplicity of of the tools. It’s amazing what you can do with a bottle of ink, some water and a brush.
Like a lot of artists, my favorite time to work is in the early morning. The house and the neighborhood are quiet, the mind is rested and not yet full of the concerns of the day. In the morning, it is possible to focus and get a different perspective on a creative project. I can’t tell you how many times I have woken up, walked down to my studio and looked at some problem that seemed intractable the night before, just to see how obvious the solution really was. I rely on this little gift of clarity. That is why I like to do the problem solving at the sketching or under-drawing stage. Once the ink is on the paper, I have to live with my mistakes and let them become part of what I have created.
I came across this image while poking around on the Morgan Library and Museum website. It’s a beautiful sketch by Audubon. In the notes I discovered that Audubon had written a few lines in graphite on the back of the paper. I don’t know the circumstances that would have enabled Audubon to work at such a time, but the note is a moving reminder of what artist’s sometimes ask, and receive, from their work.
“I drew this Hare during one of the days of deepest sorrow I have felt in my life, and my only solace was derived from my Labour – This morning our beloved Daughter Eliza died at 2 o’clock – She is now in Heaven, and May our God ever bless her soul!”
James John Audubon, from the back of drawing “Gray Rabbit, Old Male, Female and Young.” Morgan Library and Museum.
Last summer, my friend Steve Venright, and a car load of his wonderful family, came through for a visit. I’ve known Steve since we were teenagers (gasp). I just found this photo, which I had quite forgotten about, in my camera. It’s a good one don’t you think? Besides being an amazing poet, Steve is also the producer of Dreaming Like Mad with Dion McGregor. That beautiful art work is by Kerry Zentner. Check out Steve’s website at TVR.
Fellow London artist Sarah Legault’s animated film Dear Love is now available on her Etsy site. When I received mine, I found an actual book from the film enclosed in the DVD case! This film is visually beautiful as well as genuinely moving. I hope you’ll check it out.
Mr. Crow is to be congratulated on his posture.
Last summer I spent some time photographing things in my garden with a macro lens. Some of the pictures were put on a blog called Nocturnalogic, which I have since discontinued. I have salvaged the images and added them to a gallery as part of this blog. Simply mouse over “Gallery” in the header and then click on “Nocturnalogic” when it appears. Nature is integral to my work and taking these images are a way of looking closer. I hope you like them.
On another note, I have been compressing my web presence somewhat in recent days. Like untended plants, these blogs, sites, and social media platforms can grow leggy and pale. My Etsy site was closed as part of this process and it is my intent to use Big Cartel as my sole online shop. At the moment you can find prints, but I’ll be gradually introducing some selected originals and maybe even a book or two.