Tuesday, 30 October 2012

MOLOCH! (and George Cruikshank)


The images in the windows of the tower in MOLOCH! follow a simple hierarchy of tiers with the rich at the top, peasants at the bottom, and some of the companies and organisations tenuously holding everything together which I borrowed from George Cruikshank's The Worship of Bacchus.


george cruikshank, cloudpine451
1860-62



george cruikshank, cloudpine451

I like the way he organised the picture with very specific examples of the effects of alcoholism at the bottom, then rising to a panorama of the whole society, and the massive profits, and costs to the public purse involved. The way he labelled everything gives a clear meaning, just like Irving Norman would later do. Of course this is the same period that Hogarth had his famous etchings including 'Gin Alley', in wide circulation. Such an ambitious work, with the industrial revolution in full swing.

george cruikshank, cloudpine451



george cruikshank, cloudpine451


I did the same thing, at the bottom are those incarcerated or without the hope of opportunity. Children videoing the burning of their schools. Occupy protesters held at Guantanamo Bay.


moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman


As we move up a tier we see the children of the elite, and their horror and fear at a glimpse of what they might become. The labeling of top public schools and the cynical Latin mottos are admittedly a pretty cheap shot. 


moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman


So we rise to the exclusive clubs of higher education, and the conditioning is complete for a role in society! Here the Bullingdon Don! I had such fun dreaming up these creatures!


moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman


Then all the way to the top of the tower, the world is their oyster! So many career choices for hungry monsters! I enjoyed the development of the American elite as klansmen and bald eagles. And at the summit, the entire penthouse floor, Goldman Sachs! Yikes!


moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman


moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman


moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman



Saturday, 27 October 2012

MOLOCH! a tribute to Irving Norman (1906-1989)

When FBI chief J. E. Hoover ordered the surveillance of all "subversive activities", one victim of continual harassment by his goons was artist Irving Norman.

For two decades spanning from the early fifties he was visited and interrogated openly because of thin Communist party links, and due to the propaganda threat of his work his career stifled, excited curators and museum directors driven off.

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman
M.F.I. Complex 1988 ©Irving Norman

You only have to take a look to see why he was "considered unfriendly" on the last FBI visit in 1974, after years of blacklisting and censorship. Take this image of the military industrial complex where there is no subtlety whatsoever! All the hypocracy is on display in the most visceral and well structured way.

He is still a relatively obscure part of the American art canon, not belonging to any of the strong movements of his time. So quietly he worked away at his visions in his beautiful mineral colours.

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman
Blind Momentum 1960 ©Irving Norman
He made many predictions of the future of the 'rat race', and some amazing technical achievements. Look how the perspective is stretched for the underground train.

Given our present day world recession, one image struck me as prescient.

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman
©Irving Norman

He pulls it off with so much humour! The financial centre as cathedral of the world, and a giant casino party to boot!

It's that ability he had of presenting a diagnostic vision of humanity with all our follies and weaknesses, yet still arriving at something I consider very beautiful. Having little support he infused his angry paintings with a little of what he loved, the traditions of Bosch and Breugel.

I wanted to try a similar image of a building with the windows facing in the same perspective, but showcasing present day institutions and crimes.

My own very small tribute to you Irving Norman, with all your broken neon, but only a sniff of your vision.

moloch, cloudpine451, irving norman
MOLOCH! 2012 ©Chris cavill



I'll explain with closeups in the next post...

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox by Allen Ginsberg

No one moves me like Allen Ginsberg, he always saw the world so clearly, and he wasn't afraid to cry about it!

For so long I wanted to illustrate this poem, and had no idea how, then came a political awakening in seeing the work of the genius visionary painter Irving Norman and I began 'MOLOCH' which took six months. Soon I was itching to get into the Ginsberg poem.

The energy I gain from working on stories or poems with left leaning ideology is pure adrenalin, and a little anger! So I came back to the Ginsberg poem and all I knew was that the runaway organisations would be dogs (loosely modeled on hyenas), and the people apes. I could only present the horror in the text with metaphors and a bit of humour.

There are other things I could explain, but feel free to comment.

Thanks again to Peter Kendell for your help shaping this and your sense of the period involved. Your suggestion to present images as a documentary really brought me into the poem more deeply. 

Thanks to Peter Hale of the estate and The Wylie Agency for permissions.

Please be sure to visit The Allen Ginsberg Project,

'Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox', taken from COLLECTED POEMS 1947-1997 by Allen Ginsberg. Copyright © 2006, Allen Ginsberg, LLC, used by permission of the Wylie Agency (UK) Limited.


Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary






Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary



Allen Ginsberg, Cloudpine, Cloudpine451, Hadda Be Playing On The Jukebox, Poem, Political Poem, Satire, Social Commentary