Wednesday, 25 December 2013

DIY: Gingerbread Dinosaurs

As I mentioned in a previous post, me and my friends are spending the Yule/Christmas together and were planning to do less traditional gingerbread installation. Unfortunately we did not buy enough gingerbread dough and before we had the chance to plan the whole installation with the meteor and a volcano, the dough was no more. So all we got is some dinosaurs.

The inspiration came from two little molds I found with a friend, but since they really were tiny, we needed to make some more from cardboard. Unfortunately I did not remember to take a pic of them. But I do have some photos from the edible dinosaurs.

Carefully placing the T-Rex 

After the oven

Above you can see the T-Rex with some not that impressive sugar frosting. I think this is a great evidence of the unfortunate fact that I am not an artist, or at least my skills are not that good. :D The idea of Jurassic Park scene or the Apocalypse of Dinosaurs was good, but the competence of the makers was not.

Merry Christams and happy Yule!

Monday, 23 December 2013

Gothic Art in Spotlight: Paul Delvaux

I happened to see an art program in a TV the other day. It was High Art of the Low Countries by BBC and it introduced some of the artists of Belgium and Netherlands. Thanks to this TV-show, I found out more about one particular artist: Paul Delvaux (1987-1994).

When art history happens and categories are created, Delvaux is often seen as a surrealist and that definition describes his work quite well. I also see much of macabre in his paintings. The paintings are often creepy in a more modern way, with a lot of maidens and allusions to the popular and macabre theme of "Death and Maiden". On the other hand, some Delvaux's works refer to older macabre art, like deathbeds from the Middle Ages.


Also the macabre art from 15th century to 16th century have a lot of surrealistic themes and situations, so I guess it once again comes down to context. One of my favorite artists from that era is Hieronymus Bosch (c. 1450-1516). There is a huge similarity between Delvaux painting in the second picture and these two:


Although these paintings of Delvaux and these details of Bosch's paintings are similar, the context was different when they were made and the word "art" did not mean the same thing during the 16th century as it does during the 20th century. When Bosch painted, the Renaissance was slowly kicking in, but his paintings are more medieval in theme, which is about christian beliefs of Hell and Sin and other things that were important themes during the Middle Ages when life was hard, there were many wars and pestilence. Delvaux's art was created in a different atmosphere. He lived both of the World Wars, but the knowledge of Medicine escalated during his lifetime and an ordinary cold could not kill that easily and therefore the meaning of Death in the culture was indeed different and that makes the macabre art of the Middle Ages and the 20th century different from each other.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

4 easy ways to goth up the Holidays

In this post I am going to point out four easy ways to goth up the celebrations that occur in the latter half of December. One reason for this post is that I am going to spend my Christmas with some friends and we are going to do all kinds of funny things, since we all represent the darker subcultures. I shall make posts about them in the end of December. 

1. The Gingerbread House
Instead of the traditional gingerbread house you could try to make the house of The Addams Family as a 2D background for example and then the characters in front of it. Or, if you have to spend Christmas with people who are not going to allow you to do anything too bold, just add two little gingerbread men to the traditional installaton and call them Hansel and Gretel. Me and my friends are probably going to make an installation of the final days of the dinosaurs or a dramatic Jurassic Park scenario.

2. Snowman
I saw one with devil horns in a park the other day. Too bad I did not have my camera with me. So the tip is, why not make a really sinister looking snowman next to the gates of your garden? See if any Christmas carollers dear to knock your door.

3. Candles
This time of the year is mostly dark and all celebration is concentrated around the day when sun is starting to shine a bit more, basically all celebration in the end of December is about celebrating the turning point of winter towards spring and summer. Generally people tend to burn more candles when it is dark and cold, but some people claim people used to burn a lot of candles and torches during the winter solstice to encourage sun to "win the darkness".

I am not going to say goths are the children of darkness or anything that cheesy, but I'd like to point out that a lonely candle makes the darkness around seem even more dark. Candles seem to be widely accepted decorations in goth subculture and so they are when it comes to christmas ornaments. But those candles with happy little elves and reindeer are not that goth-y. On the other hand I think those candles with an elf or an angel decoration are a bit perverse and sadistic. I mean, you burn them. The little happy elves are going to melt.

4. Special Christmas decorations
There are a lot of little enterprises who make all kinds of decorations and I am quite sure a goth can find a lot of creepy and kooky ornaments online. I myself bought some silver hand grenade ornaments for the spruce. First of all I think they are pretty in a very disturbing way. Secondly, I do not believe violence is productive way to solve conflicts and I think these ornaments can be seen as a joke or a twisted way to reflect how people have through out times justified a lot of violence, death and war with religion.