Saturday, June 07, 2008


I turn 32 today. I like getting older quite a bit as it gives me more of an excuse for my uncontrollable patriarchal nature. My wife got me the new big Gary Panter book, which is pretty amazing, really makes me happy to look at it. My sons got me a high quality American flag, made in the USA. Awesome, the neighborhood i live in isn't exactly American flag country, so i enjoy sticking pins under people's bottoms in whatever way i can, especially if it is a morally & culturally complicated way. I checked out a couple of Bosch & Brueghel documentaries & books from the library as i'm heading in that direction. I think i'm going to start working on my traditional style of drawing & painting & even trying out some of that ergot influenced Dutch Mastery. I found a fun little key to Boschian symbolism which i'll reprint here, just for the hell of it.

Pigs = false priests; gluttony
Fruit = carnal pleasure
Rats = lies against the Church; filth; sex
Fish = false prophets; lewdness
Closed Books = futility of knowledge in dealing with human stupidity
Flames = ergot poisoning; fires of Hell
Flying Monsters = hallucinations of ergot poisoning sufferers; devil's envoys
Keys = knowledge
Lutes and Harps = instruments for praise of God and pursuit of earthly love
Breasts = fertility
Mussel Shells = infidelity
Black Birds = unbelievers; death or rotting flesh
Knives = punishment of evil
Rabbits = multiplication of the race
Eggs = sexual creation; key symbol of alchemy
Ice Skaters = folly
Funnels = deceit and intemperance; false alchemist or false doctor
Strawberries = fleeting joys of life, love
Owls = great learning
Ears = gossip
Spheres = alchemical apparatus

I'll have to develop some sort of similar symbolic group for my pieces, because it's alot of fun. Here are a couple of older pieces i don't know if i've placed on this blog. The first is a man to cut out & pose using brass brads. The second is a poster/calendar i did for the esoteric publisher Wonderella. The poster/calendar style is most likely the direction i'm developing next.


Wonderella 2007 calendar


Aeron said...

Happy Birthday, mo fo! That's great your library has documentaries on Bosch and Brueghel. I did a lot of research on him in my art school days and was fascinated at the idea of his parades. Apparently he designed floats and costumes that were worn in some festival of the village he lived in. If only any of that had survived the ravages of time! I can only imagine how awesome it would be to see a parade designed by Bosch of all people.

Anyhow, on the subject of Bosch, check out the Bosch booze I posted at Monster Brains today. Maybe a local liquor shop has some you can grab to go down with your cake and icecream, heheh.

And the Bosch symbolism chart is very interesting, I was aware of some of those. There's also a lot of old legends and fairy tales that he'd illustrate into the details of the paintings, none of which I can think of at this time.

The art is incredible as always, I lvoe the colors you chose for the clown body parts. Reminds me of an idea I have for some demon puppets I plan on making except actually cut out and functional in a flat puppet on a string sort of way. They're going to be based on a very old German paper puppet that I have which belonged to either my grandfather or one of my German relatives. I'll scan it sometime and post it, thing is goddamn creepy.

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

This is my favorite type of your art.

I think the art education over here is really poor. I actually only discovered Bosch, Bruegel, Goya, Dore and the gang in about 2005 when some people compared me to them at deviantart. Pretty shocking that I knew hardly any fine artists at that time.
If I buy a book about an artist or watch a tv show that has info about the story/meanings behind the art, I'll gladly take it in. But I never go out of my way to learn about artists lifes significance/meanings and art movements.

I dont think it happens to everyone who studies art history. But ArtFags who treat movements like fashion cycles really piss me off. I hate it how some serious art people disregard anything that is not with the time/movement they are living in. Surely a great artist doesent care about the zeitgeist. I dont think Goya did his war images just to be "with it".

Robert Adam Gilmour said...

Oh! and Happy Birthday!

Luke P. said...

Happy Birthday!
I just got a new puppy today - I plan on posting about it later- so you guys can sorta share a birthday.

Luke P. said...

That calendar drawing is great. I think I remember seing that on your blog before EBD and thinking 'I gotta talk to this guy'..

zeke said...

Hey Sean, happy birthday! good to hear you're dealing with the headfuck of ageing ok.
Would be good to see some close ups of the calender to admire all the lovely detail...

Jeffrey Meyer said...

Love the colors on that top piece, Sean. What method do you use?

And happy birthday. Mine is today (8th) coincidentally - and I've got a few years on you, sad to say. Getting old(er) sucks, but, I have to say I feel exactly the same as I did when I was five or ten. Very strange. Dunno if that's good or bad.

Unknown said...

happy birthday , great calendar drawing

Human Mollusk said...

Hey Sean, great work and happy birthday!

Human Mollusk said...

PS: That list of symbols in Bosch is fascinating!

SEAN said...

Aeron, i'm always surprised about things like Bosch making costumes & floats & shit, but at the same time, he's an artist so of course he was making things like that. He probably made birthday cards & who knows what else. So cool, i'd love to attend a Boschian parade when he was alive, if it was today, i think i'd want to kill myself.

Robert, my art education up until grade 12 was pretty poor, but i was also not paying attention, too busy drawing to follow what the teacher said to do. But, because i went to Catholic highschool, i raided their enormous collection of church art & spent a great deal of time absorbing that work, which is probably my favorite kind of art, outside of some specific present day dudes. Then i spent years in the library reading books on everyone & everything, which lead to my insecurity about my own work & self, but i also really got a good feeling for the entirety of human history & specifically, art history. Instead of doing formal college education, i taught myself, but stopped by art school long enough to bag a wife! ha ha.

Jeffrey, for the put together man i'm using a cheap set of transparent watercolors. I was on the super-saturated color kick at that point, my ordinary watercolor style is actually a bit more subtle & washed out. I'll try & find a good example & post it. I love watercolors though.

Thanks everyone else for the birthday wishes & niceties. It was a wonderful day.

Paleo said...

well, a little late but Happy Birthday Goblin!

I remember seeing some other drawing done in a more
arcane style like the almanach, and it was awesome, i can't
wait to see what you do with it now

You know, if you make paper puppets small enough to fit

in your scanner, you can make comics or little animations
by moving 'em gradually, you can tape a background to the

inner side of the scanner cover so it will always be in register...