Sunday, 23 December 2012

Winter's Bride

As I mentioned, I made a trip to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden with a friend. We went to see some art exhibitions, shopped and generally acted like tourists. Except we made a little photo shoot too. Since it was almost Winter Solstice (18th of December), we decided to do a Winter's Bride. In the pics I am wearing a wedding dress my friend found from a second hand shop and some vintage furs of my own. Lipstick is Make  Up Store's Black Orchid.

We took these photos at the garden of Royal Library and some dog-owners and joggers apparently were a bit amused by our behavior. I'm just happy if we brightened somebody's day.

Once again I'll mention that the furs are heritage from my mother's side and the creatures were skinned before I was even born. Also, a poor student like me could not afford furs. :)

Have a happy Christmas, Yule and slightly late Winter Solstice!

Gothic transport: a funeral vehicle

I was on holiday with a friend in Stockholm, Sweden and when we were walking from the harbor 6.30 a.m. we saw a lovely funeral vehicle. It was clearly altered to transport other than corpses.

This made me think how utterly cool car it would be, when and if in the future I would need to have one. I'm pretty sure that The Addams Family had had a funeral vehicle if it had not been so impractical considering the size of the family!

I tried to google where could one buy a funeral car but I only found american websites. No mention in my home country but that is not a surprise, since this country's population is so small. Here is one of the websites I found:

Do not know if they sell for private persons, whom are not in the business.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Web comic with a sinister and sometimes absurd sense of humour

A friend of mine introduced to me a wonderful thing: Tragedy Series. These one frame stories are delightedly morbid or tragic. The maker of these depressing situations is Benjamin Dewey, who is a professional comic book artist. I did not want to brake the copyright, so you just have to trust me on this and open a link.

Here are some of my favorite tragedies, I hope you find yours!

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Gothidays 2012 Day 4: metal covers of Burton's Nightmare before Christmas' songs

I believe every little goth has at least at some point watched Tim Burton's Nightmare before Christmas during the Holidays, or even held it as a tradition to watch it every year. I must admit that for me the magic of Nightmare before Christmas is wearing off during the years, but I do enjoy the songs. Especially the new versions of those songs, made by well-known artists.

This is a relatively new Christmas thinggy for me, since I just learned about it a few days ago from a friend. Here are some of the songs on youtube and an article in wikipedia. They can also be found in Spotify. Enjoy!

Monday, 3 December 2012

Gothidays 2012 Day 2: Black Christmas Tree

Lovely Professor Z's Gothidays 2012 are on, so check it here and participate! I for one am very interested to see how other goths do their Christmas decorations, and maybe apply those witty ideas to my own Holidays.

I do not have that much decorative stuff for the Holidays, since I am a student so there are many other things to invest my money than cookie-jars that look like Santa Claus. But some things I have bought and one of them is a black Christmas tree. I found it from a random shop two days before Christmas and I was thrilled. Since it was so close to the Grand Day, the tree decorations were at least -50%, so I bought silvery and purple-y glass balls to go with the tree.

Oh, Joker is peeking behind a tree!

After that I have slowly bought more Holiday themed stuff, but always at the after-X-mas sales. 

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Sophistiqué Noir's monthly theme post: maxi skirt

The winter has arrived to my home town, so maxi skirts are a sensible way to dress against the frost and ice.

I went to a nearby park to take some pictures of me and the amazing weather. In the pictures I'm wearing a winter coat with fake fur collar. The hat is mink, but it was inherited from a relative so I do not have a bad consciousness about it. The maxi skirt is a product of Raven and it is some weird fake material. Though sometimes it looks like leather and sometimes like PVC.  I bought it 2006 or something, so it is a good product, there is no abrasion or anything.

Here are the other participants of Sophistiqué Noir's Monthly Theme.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Pearls from Finland - creepy graphic novels

This post is about two graphic novels from my home country, which I think should be translated but probably never will. I thought it would be nice to talk about artwork, which normally would be left unnoticed outside the linguistic area (meaning Finnish speakers). The stories are creepy, despairing and beautiful. These novels deal with jealousy,  fear, greed and fear, so the themes are quite sinister so they should fit to a blog with gothic aesthetics.

First one is Alinka, Stories from the town of Sleepy Crane (a rough translation) by Ville Pynnönen. It was published 2004 and it tells about art school, it's pupils and headmaster. The world is slightly twisted reality with a hinch of fantasy. The story could be described as a psychological thriller. I consider all the characters to be borderline  insane, because the world the live in starts to turn into a creepy and dark place. On the other hand, the darkness seems to flow from some characters personalities, but it can also be seen as something alien that intrudes their minds.

Alinka also deals with the question what is an artist, or what it is to be an artist. I think that is a very interesting question, since these days we have so much celebrity novelists and visual artists, for example Andy Warhol or Salvador Dalí though they are kind of old but still a good example of modern society and its heroes.

The second graphic novel I'd like to introduce is something I got as a birthday present two weeks ago. Lauri and Jaakko Ahonen's Pikku Närhi, which can be translated as The Little Jaybird, was published 2012 and it is literally a graphic novel. I am too lazy to actually count, but in 150 pages there are about 15 speech bubbles. The words are simple yet very powerful, the pictures do the storytelling so it would not be hard to translate.

The Little Jaybird is a claustrophobic story about a little bird who lives with his mom in a creepy old house full of old portraits of dead relatives. The mother is paranoid, she believes the outside world is full of evil others, so she has nailed all windows shut and barricaded doors. Her son has never seen the outside of the house and now the mother is old and sickly, unable to get out of a bed. She has raised her son to be as fearful towards others and poor little jaybird is alone, trying to take care of his mother and the big old house. Here is a little sample of the novel.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Goth Mary Poppins' Creative Goth (Summer) Weeks: 25-29 tasks

Summer is over, but as Goth Mary Poppins pointed out, there are still some things one can do to manifest ones creativity in a healthy and productive way.

From last summer. It is a part of an art installation called The Official Garden. It is made out of silk ties.

Here are the tasks 25-29. I shall fulfill the tasks 22-24 on a better time, though I do not know any children so I probably just try to draw what I would try to make if I had a young relative or a friends off-spring I would want to make happy with a gift.

25. Have you ever got handmade gift from someone? If not, what would make you happy?

Well, I am happy to announce that the answer is yes. I once got a hand made perfume as a solstice present. Also I would like to believe a relative of mine has given me knitted socks, but I can not be sure. It was probably a granny or something.

26. The other side: have you ever gave handmade gift(s)? Was it a success, or a fail? Or never tried? For the next occasion, try!

When I was about 12 year-old, I made small stuffed and knitted dogs for all my family members. They are still there, sitting in a bookshelf.

 27. Handmade thing(s) you bought/ plan to buy.

Last Christmas I bought a handmade glass ornament from a Christmas market for my mother. I am visiting them next weekend, so I can take a picture of it and add it to this post. It is a blue star and I am happy to say she keeps it in sight all year around.

 28.  Share your best tips about DIY.

Don't know if this is wrong to say, but I think handmade things should not look handmade. I mean in my little world of words and their meanings I consider "handmade" to mean something that is a bit sloppy, rustic, bohemian and so on, which can look adorable, don't get me wrong! But when trying to achieve an elegant gothic look rustic is not exactly the word you are looking for, if you catch my drift?

Of course, when one examines all those wonderful bloggers and their DIY tips one must admit it is hardly sloppy looking. It is just that I myself need more practice to achieve that same level, but that means a bunch of quite moderate outcomes before my skills develop, I might add.

Therefore I have no great tips about DIY, except that "simple is usually best". Like me changing buttons to a jacket and it instantly looks more glamorous.

29. What/who is your inspiration?

This is a really hard question, since I draw inspiration from different things in different situations. If I would have to name something or someone at this moment, it would be The Underworld movies, especially the first one. Visually it is great!

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Bizarre art, aka. Greetings from St. Petersburg!

Since I really have nothing of my old projects ready, the art book about renaissance is still not finished and so is with the DIY jewellery, I'm going to post a few pics from St. Petersburg. I was there three days and had a two-day ticket to Hermitage Museum and there were some really bizarre artworks.

In one of those huge rooms the walls were filled with 18th and 19th century paintings, they were all huge and portrayed hounds attacking something. Like a bear or a bewildered horse or a panther or each other. Those paintings were in a way extremely grotesque. The pics are not that good because I was not sure if photographing was allowed. Turned out it was in most rooms.

I also visited the local zoological museum and it was too a bit creepy. There must have been some really enthusiastic taxidermists, since there were everything from house pets to hundreds of penguins. I mean literally, there were several glass boxes filled with them but for some reason I did not take a photo of them. Guess I'm not that big a penguin fan as the Russians  I can't help myself to think that person who went to the South Pole and killed all 75 baby penguins and their parents, stuffed them to shipping boxes and sent to St. Petersburg.

But I did take a picture of a seal with anger management problems and a sad looking baby bear left into a cabinet with no relatives.

Artistic creativity in taxidermy: revealing the inner beast of a seal

Finally two pretty pictures of an excessive decor.

A room in Hermitage

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

DIY: Booze Jello, with tip to easily alter the theme

Unfortunately I have to postpone my plans to write about the last art book. We have a little break from the university, so I'm now visiting my parents and tomorrow I'm off to Saint Petersburg. I'll be back on Monday.

Meanwhile, I made a booze jello as a birthday present for two friends. The have this habit to hold parties that last the whole weekend. The also have some special theme for it and this time it was army.

My recipe:
0,5 litre of vodka
some sugar to make it sweeter (about 2 desilitres)
about 0,5 liters of concentrated juice (green)
15 leaves of gelatine
small plastic soldiers (as decoration)
conserved pieces of pineapple (1 can, so about 200g)
a mandarin or two (fresh)

First pour the vodka in to a huge bowl. Add sugar and juice untill it tastes ok. Use the instructions of the gelatine and when it is liquid pour it into the vodka and mix it well. Pour it into the cups or what ever you are going to serve it from. Add small pieces of fruit (not necessary). Put the jello to fridge. After a few hours plant the little plastic soldiers so that the can stand in the jello, looking fierce.

Of course, this simple recipe can be altered in to a more gothic style, which is the reason I am now telling about it. For example use dark red or violet juice. Insert little plastic spiders or eye balls or fake Dracula teeth into the jello instead of soldiers. I could not put soldiers to the jello before arriving to the party-place (a distant cottage 3 hour drive away), so the jello looks a bit scruffy.

This is an easy way to impress people and make it look like you made an effort!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

DIY: spiderweb jewelry out of coasters

A few days ago I had some free time between lessons, so I went to a small shopping center next to the university. I strolled around and finally ended up at a sort of a crafts shop. They sell also all kinds of Halloween decorations and I saw these spiderweb coasters made of black felt. I thought, a spiderweb could be pretty brooch or hair jewelry. So I grabbed them and started to look for other inspiring things. Here is my pillage:

paper roses, coasters, little bird and angel wings
Also, I bought those little metal parts one needs to make them stick to the head or blouse. I have a slight problem though, the pins are so big, that one can see them behind. For example the one with bloody roses, I must either find smaller pins, or add some lace behind it to fade the metal parts away. I'm open for suggestions, because I really like it that way, but I want to actually wear it too!
The roses

The bird luckily hides the pin
Also, have not figured out how to make those little angels, tangled in the spiderweb. I had a clear vision when I bought the silvery wings, but how can I make those little figures without them looking crappy?

The two ready ones

Monday, 24 September 2012

About Gothic Art Books, and where is Goth Art going (part 2)

I shall be a bit shorter than what was the original plan. It is partly because I really am not an expert in contemporary art, and partly because I have had an extremely busy fortnight. As I said, next is Hell Hound: New Gothic Art by Francesca Gavin.

In this book there is no chapters per se. There is an introduction and the artists. What is to be noticed is that Gothic is not used as a synonym to Goth (as a sub-culture) it has certain similarity, but it is not representing the sub-culture or it's collective view of art.

I am going to aggravate a tiny bit, to make the differences between books more visible and also perhaps to stir some objections.

As said, compared to the earlier book, Gothic Art NOW, there is no chapters, or one could say each artist is a chapter. In Gothic Art NOW the artworks presented are more the popular view of what does Gothic (in the sense of being submissive to the term Goth) art look like. There was a point, that some of the artist presented in Gothic Art NOW do not consider themselves to be goths or their art to be gothic.

In Hell Hound I think it is even less that way. In the introduction term Gothic is almost reduced to mean the same thing as fear. The artists introduced are somehow dealing with fear, politics and society or the concept of art itself in their work.

Of coarse it is quite visible why goths like these artists, or why people in general consider them to be presenting dark aesthetics. There is a certain sinister allure in the artworks mentioned whether they are paintings, video installations or statues. I can't say I instantly fell in love with every artist or liked every work, but they do give a bigger picture of all art that could be considered gothic or even goth.

The variety of styles, methods and concepts is remarkable considering the way Gothic Art Now presented different works of art, or artists.

Nevertheless, I strongly recommend to explore both of the books I shortly presented. 

Next time: Degradation and Renaissance: Decadence in Finland's Fine Arts and Literature

Thursday, 13 September 2012

About Gothic Art Books, and where is Goth Art going (part 1)

There is no strict definition of what is "goth" and what is not. So it is no surprise that this applies to gothic art too. There are still some generally approved indicators which can lead to a conclusion of something being goth. For example descriptive words like sinister, twisted, wicked, creepy, dark and decayed are marks that can point something being gothic. (But can very well not point, it depends of the density of these words, are they used by many people or many of them at the same time and so on.)

I'm now in separate posts going to present two art books that use word "Gothic" in their title and one book, which is in Finnish but the title can be translated as "Degradation and Renaissance: Decadence in Finland's Fine Arts and Literature".

I'll start with Gothic Art NOW by Jasmine Becket-Griffith, which was published 2008. It introduces many fine pieces of art like Dorian Cleavenger's The Chambermaid, for which Dita Von Teese modelled, and Jessica Joslin's sculptures.

There is also quite a number of artists introduced whose work looks like something one finds in Deviantart, made by thousands of others.  Those digital paintings are pretty, but they are more posters and market art (I'm not sure how this is said in English, but in my language this means something pretty but not of good quality or not that significant).

Left Shannon Hourigan, right Rachel Anderson

In Gothic Art NOW the artworks are divided into eight chapters like Femme Fatales, Men in Black and Gothic Elegance. In Femme Fatales there are women, but those art works do not differ in style or use of equipment from Men in Black chapter's content. Or from others on that matter. I would say that the first three chapters are quite fan-art and J-pop oriented.

Somehow different is chapter Lurking Horror where are probably the best works and there are many different styles. More great works are in chapter Creepy Creations and there is even some statues. It differs from other chapters too, in a positive way.

This might sound really negative, but I do not mean it that harsh. I'm only saying, that if the content had been organized in some other way, the book would give much more professional feel. I do think that almost every work it presents is pretty or intriguing.

What do you think, what does "gothic art" mean to you?

Next time: Hell Hound: New Gothic Art.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Being open-minded leads to cool purchases.

Today is hopefully my first lesson of the year. I am planning to start to study French, but I was not lucky enough to fit into the group. Unfortunately I do not know what is my position in the queue to the course. Well, it is to be found out in the next hour. I hope somebody will cancel and I get to learn a new language.

I have also one other thing on my mind. I wanted to show my new school bag, which I bought in Warsaw. My hunch says it is for about 10-year-old boys, but I like it. My mini laptop fits in it perfectly!
What can one learn from this? At least to be open-minded about shopping in different sections and not to stare the label of the product.

As I mentioned, I bought a wig to use, since I have dreamed of a black/blue hair but can not keep it up by dyeing. So this is today's style.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Warsaw: Books and dark architecture

As I earlier mentioned, I was on a weekend-trip to Warsaw. It was a group of writers, who write books for youth and children. First we went to see the Warsaw university's library which was an amazing building. The architect's key idea was to make a sort of a symbiosis between nature and city. The whole place was full of plants and it looked like it was from a sci-fi film.

The library had a huge roof garden, but when looking at the pictures one could think it is just some ordinary garden. Also, the coldness of last winter had killed some of the plants and it looked a bit dull.

The non-living green parts are copper and I must say I think it looked very stylish. The grey color of concrete made the place serene.

I adored other houses too. These were homes for humans instead of books and I just wish I some day could live in a house like them. Unfortunately that sort of places are not common in my hometown or even in Finland, so to fulfill my dream I must wait some years.

A detail, size of a small child
Private apartments, judging by the stuff on the balconies

Unfortunately the weather was a bit gloomy and chilly. It rained on Sunday, so I had to cancel the plan to go to the parks and visit all those palaces. Well, it leaves a reason to visit Warsaw again. I felt the weekend was way too short time to really get to know that city. I actually half-serious thought about spending a year in the university, since there can be studied Scandinavian languages.

Traffic Club

In Warsaw there was this gorgeous book store, Traffic Club. It was 5 floors, there was a cafeteria and armchairs to sit and browse the books, there were movies, music, office stuff and lots of other pretty and interesting things.

I bought seven books from there. Those were old classics like Dracula, The Phantom of the Opera and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Not fancy editions, just plain old Penguin Popular Classics. I wanted them because of the content, not looks. Though I must say some of special edition books are desirable.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Flea-market findings and a new wig

I'm once again going to mention how great thing flea-markets are. First of all, it is ecological to recycle things one does no longer need. Other man's dirt is other man's treasure, or whatever that old phrase goes. That is the second reason, and I would like to show quickly my new purchases.

Last Wednesday I happened to go to a self-service flea-market. It is the way almost all flea-markets in this town are organised. It was not that common in the city I lived before, so first I was a little sceptic about it. I was used to the idea, that the owner of stuff is there selling and one can ask about the things one is possibly going to buy.

Pic was taken by Timo Liimatta
Anyways, here is two pictures where I am wearing both of my findings. These boots are probably not real lether, but they sure are comfortable and look good. The other purchase was the vest I am wearing. It is made of a thick, satin-like material, deffinately by some gothgirl who happened to be my size and was very stylish. I adored the turquose lace behind and I could not believe the prize tag said 2 euros! The lovely boots were 3 euros, so one can guess I was not going to hesitate.

What is your dearest flea-market find?

I am also wearing my new wig. I bought it because I am tired of being blond all the time. I've allways wanted to have black/dark blue hair and possibly some stripes. This is basically a dream I had and somebody made it true in the form of a fake hair. I allready have one short wig, black with bangs. When I had no time to wash my hair before lection, I would use it. I think it is better than a cap with a print "BAD HAIRDAY". They sell those in Finland, you know.

As I said, I'm getting tired with my own hair. It is so weak I can not dye it and besides I wouldn't feel up to keep it up. I decided I could get a new pretty wig which I could use when ever I pleased. I ordered the new wig via eBay and must say it was very easy and the order was not late at all, eventhough it came all the way from China.

Pic was taken by Timo Liimatta
The pictures were taken at a larp. It was a cyber-punk game and the photographer was one of the players called Timo Liimatta. As for me being not that cyber, I was a NPC (non-player-character) and I was just some office clerk having a night out. Nothing too flashy, so I wore something I could easily use myself at a bar-night.

I feel so dumb, because when I was visiting my family and went to museums and galleries and had extremely nice time with my friends, I forgot that little cable I need to transfer photos to a computer and also load the batteries. So, there is no way for me to load those photos. Luckily I'm off to my folks at Thursday and on Friday we shall travel to Warsow! Then at least I can load the photos.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Posters of famous paintings, tasteless or not?

Is it cheap to have copies of famous paintings on one's wall? I do not mean in the way that the paintings are forged, and the owner claims they are real. I mean the way that the copies are bought from an art museum's exhibition for example.

The painting is at the right-angle, me taking the pic wasn't
In my case I have seen wonderful pieces of art, fell in love with them and then I have seen that the museum sells posters or postcards of that painting. For example on the right is a picture from my living room. In the frame's is a poster of Vincent Van Gogh's Skull with a burning cigarette. In real life it is about the same size and when I pictured it at my apartment I wanted to have really massive baroque frames but could not find those at the time. Eventhough I ought to change the frames, I still occasionally stop to just look at it and think about how wonderful the brush strokes are and how it is so 3D considering other paintings of Van Gogh.

So, I claim that at least some famous masterpieces can look good in posters. But try to imagine Rembrandt's Night Watch at a student dormroom's wall. There is no way it could be the same size as the original and therefore a part of it's power and effect on the viewer is gone.

Framed postcards and a part of my bookshelf
That exactly has happened with these art works at the left. Those are postcards of Outi Heiskanen's paintings. I bought them as a memory from an art exhibition, since there was no chance I, being a student, could buy one for real. The lowest one on the wall is Pilvihippa which roughly translates to "Hide and seek in the coulds". In real life it is 29X38cm so all little details can not be seen. Long story short, they are all individual paintings, but I made a collage of them. I think it looks pretty and light, but someone could well think it is totally tastless and lower-middle class.

The source
The latest replica I have bought is Georgia O'Keeffe's Horse's Skull with White Rose and luckyly the museum had made the posters allmost exactly the same size. I have not put mine in frames yet, so here is a picture of it from the O'Keeffe Museum's pages. O'Keeffe has made many elegant and intensive paintings of bones she found at the Mexico landscape.

Two weeks ago I did not know of O'Keeffe, but on my vacation I stumbled to a art museum and voilà! Had that funny feeling under my breastbone again. :D

Thursday, 2 August 2012

There is no vacation without some bones!

Skulls from a swamp grave, Finland's National Museum
I'm still visiting my family and my original plan was to make posts when I was back home. This plan has changed a little, since I just had to show some photos. These pictures are from today.

I, with some dashing company, went to Finland's National Museum and Finnish Museum of Natural History and here are the things that took my breath away.

I don't really remember all the details of these skulls, but there has been many communal graves at that period of time, for example these fellows were from a huge grave and the had all sorts of jewellery buried with them. The scientists are not sure why were all these people in a one big grave and who exactly they even were.

Skeletons, Finnish Museum of Natural History
After the National Museum was time for some nature and there too were some beautiful skeletons. There were also a huge amount of stuffed animals and for some reason the huge cats were closest to my heart.

At the wall in the left pic is a skeleton of a python. I'm not sure how long it was but I bet it was more than 7 meters. Underneath it at the left is a wolf and I believe there is no mistaking with those massive antlers of the creature at the right. At the center is a skeleton of a lion.

I think a person who had designed all these stuffed animals was a sort of an artist. I'm not sure can one see it from the picture but they were really vivid and many oh the animals had life-like expressions on their faces.

The lurking lion is simply fantastic!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Goth Mary Poppins' Creative Goth Summer Weeks: 14th task

Next: Anything else, clothing related, left out from the previous four posts. I'll show you a bag. ^^

I've been working and also made that little trip away from all my material belongings, so I haven't been able to participate so often. This is one of my few handmade things and alas, I must confess it is yet again not made by me! ;D But I deffinately shall start making things myself, though I have no idea what would they be.

This necklace is made by a mother of my dear friend, she is one crafty woman. She is actually a teacher of arts and crafts so she is allways looking for new things to make and this is just one of the fabilous jewellery she has made.

The necklace is made of an old silk tie. It is stitched narrower from the other end too and inside there is little wooden pearls. Then the maker has separated all pearls by binding the bar to a little string of balls.

As seen in the pictures, it can be used in many ways, one can tie it to the wrist and it looks also great. Or, if one has a massive hair extensions, it can be used around the head or as a decorative way to tie ones hair.

I'm a bit frustrated, because this week is going to a busy one for me, so I probably won't be able to participate to CGSW that much. :( And at Sunday I am off to visit my parents whom live 200 kilometers away so I won't be home for two weeks.

Also, this weekend I'll be a volunteer worker at Finncon, which is one of Europe's biggest scifi- and fantasy convention. I'll be working at the greenroom, making sure all the guest speakers and other important people have their beverages and peace to get ready for their shows. There is really no reason to brag, I got there only because I have a proof about my knowledge of hygiene, because that is a big part of my real summer job. Therefore it is not probable I get them food poisoned or anything. Still, I'm pretty excited, since many of the guest speakers are people whose work I like or, like the case is with some Finnish authors, I know them personally via family. This is also the first time I ever volunteer to help in any convention, so I think I deserve my child like happiness. ^^