– H.P. Lovecraft
I’d like to try something else here on EBD, and post a series of artworks I’ve come across online, illustrating lovecraftian scenes or conveying lovecraftian concepts.
There are certain visual stereotypes in this genre which are consciously or unconsciously repeated over and over again, so I thought it would be interesting to categorize the various tropes and perhaps even develop some kind of pop cultural art critique concerning these types of illustrations. If it would lead to a higher degree of awareness that these tropes exist and maybe some pressure to develop new ideas, that would be a welcome side effect.
However, I’m not doing this to put any particular artist down, nor to critique any specific piece of art. Some of the examples are fan art, some are professional illustrations, and some are my own work. Many are obviously well-executed and probably in most instances the individual creators were thinking they had an original idea. Or perhaps they didn't and created theirs as a personal version of a common visual trope. Which, I guess, begs the question, wether there is something inherently "wrong" with this in the first place. In other epochs it was totally ok for artists to riff on other artists work, often to the extent that the visual concept became a shared cultural topos, to use a more neutral term, with no original artist's name connected to it.
Well, I have more things to say about this but I'll save them for the following posts. I would very much be interested to hear your thoughts.
So here's the first series of images. Where best to begin than with the many portraits of HPL himself. The stereotypical tentacles jump out pretty obviously, but seeing them juxtaposed like this, it also helps appreciate the instances where artists tried to give it a more individualistic style or inject a more original idea. Of the tropes that I have come across this is by far the most common. If you google "lovecraft portrait" you'll get most of these and may more very similar ones. So if this one seems to obvious and boring to you I hope you'll find the following ones more interesting.
David Lee Ingersoll
I don’t know most of the creators’ names but I think given the context of this post it’s perhaps not in their interest to be credited here anyhow. If any artist would like to be credited (or if they want their artwork removed) please let me know and I shall do so.
As a bonus I'll add Erik Krieks's beautiful cover illustration for his book "From Beyond", which cleverly takes the trope I've presented above and inverts it, kind of building on the fact that we've seen the stereotype so many times that we don't even need to see his face to recognize him.