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Warren Ellis Would Be Pleased With the Way He’s Obliterating My Mind Right Now

26 May

I’m currently reading his book Shivering Sands and I have come to a few conclusions.

Firstly, I would give just about anything to live with this man for a month. I get this feeling that we would have epic fights concluded with us both running to notebooks to write things down.

Secondly,  he has a way of spinning words that is so direct, honest and assertive that you feel yourself sympathetically agreeing with anything he says. Until you suddenly snap out of it and realize that he just said something you don’t agree with in any way, e.g. his feelings on whether man should colonize Mars. I completely disagree with him (which will be the topic of another post, hopefully today) but while I was reading his essay on it I couldn’t help but feel a sense of “go git ’em, humans!” and get excited about the idea.

I can’t really say more right now because, though this book is not long by any means, each essay has so much… idea and philosophy in it that I am reading it very slowly and thinking very, very hard about each one. I would like to include this quote from it, however:

“If I’m good and if I’m lucky, I can change the way you think, just a little bit. I can tell you my secrets, and reveal things to you, and get you a little drunk with ideas, and dramatise the world you live in, just for a little while. That’s what stories are for, and that’s why I’m here.”

This is something dear to my heart; the whole reason I ever started writing (even as a child) was because I wanted to show other people things they may not have seen and alter their reality or show them a different reality. I collect experience and knowledge like the most rabid treasure hunter because each piece that I find expands my world… and then I can expand yours.

Mr. Ellis understands this completely. Finding a kindred spirit can be a rare flower in this desert of a culture- I think I have found mine. More detailed ruminations on his essays to follow.


When Frou-Frou Whimsy Meets the Metaphysical

16 May

Miss Calascione’s work is at turns fantastic, frightening, distasteful and almost unbelievably graceful. She melds a masterful knowledge of the symbolism of Freudian and Jungian psychology in the best Surrealist style with luminescent, dainty figures whose initial Rococo vanity mask the deeper meaning of the works. These paintings are stories which, though they may be snapshots,  create a compelling atmosphere of a world like our own, but where our desires and thoughts have shapes and bodies outside of our minds.

Calascione draws her subjects from classical mythology, fairy tales, psychological archetypes and from her own, highly imaginative, mind. There is something disquieting about many of her works, such as Rapunzil, which features a half man-half bird perched on the  eponymous lady’s window, playing a tune. We see the notes riding a musical staff over to her as she sits in a chair, holding scissors, her long hair flowing around her and looking up to the ceiling in an attitude of longing and anguish. However, this Rapunzel is not simply a beautiful maiden. She also happens to have cat ears, claws, fangs and large, green cat’s eyes. To see such human feeling, such deep depression, frustration  and longing displayed in such completely inhuman eyes is unsettling.  The scissors she holds are beginning to cut off a lock of her long hair- could the painting be about changing oneself to fit into society, but always being painfully aware of your true nature and your entrapment within it? It’s one of many, many possibilities, which is what makes Calascione’s work so fun.

The artist’s works and messages are certainly mysterious, but they are a truly lovely mystery. For people who enjoy erudite references and odd symbolism, her paintings are a gold-mine. Calascione’s works may not have any certain answers, but they make you think and think hard. In the end, what else is art supposed to do?