Posted: Jun 16, 2008
Friday JUNE 20
OPTIC NERVE ARTS
"Entartete Kunts” is a bastardization of the German term “degenerate art” and a snide reference to the 1937 Nazi purging of all art deemed objectionable by "Der Führer." This unfortunate pun seems somehow appropriate for a bunch of drooling degenerates that consistently crank out uncompromising eyesores with seemingly little regard for commercial viability or good taste. As it turns out, the title also insures that many local businesses will refuse to display the flyer or otherwise promote this annual optic apocalypse. Entartete Kunts is in fact a very special exhibition that assembles some of the most devoted artists from around the world for a rare glimpse into a thriving and still largely renegade culture!
SUPPORT REAL UNDERGROUND ART!
Our allies at Optic Nerve Arts have made special arrangements for this exhibit and will not be taking any percentage of final sales from this show! That means if an artist sells their work, the artist keeps all the money! This sort of deal is unheard of in the "art world". So come out for the Opening Reception June 20th and BUY ART! You’ll walk away with a piece of history knowing you did your part to support creative resistance in this age of quiet desperation, soulless conformity, and just plain old boring decency. Which side are you on?
WHO ARE THESE DEGENERATES?
J. Petagno is an icon of unbridled expression! Born under a bad sign in 1948, Petagno has unassumingly created some of the most deeply revered and unmistakable album cover art of our time. From vintage Motorhead and Alice Cooper to Angelcorpse and Thy Infernal, his art never fails to smash the retina like a broadsword to the skull! Petagno's work combusts like a Frazetta painting on methamphetamines and bad acid (not to mention bad politics), each brush stroke forging a strange and grotesque order from the frenzied maelstrom of color. His paintings often possess a mandala-like symmetry that betrays his artistic roots in the heady daze of 60's psychedelia when he created headshop posters and eventually went on to collaborate with acclaimed London art collective Hipgnosis, freelancing for Pink Floyd, The Kinks, Hawkwind, and Led Zeppelin. From blacklight posters to black metal, Joe Petagno's message of unrest has spanned generations and his art has crept into the very sinews of contemporary culture. Entartete Kunts is Joe's first public exhibit since 1979!
Chris Reifert is a legendary psychonaut of sickness! Born in California in 1969, Reifert has been drawn to the black flame of the bizarre seemingly since birth. Raised on monster flicks and horror comics, Reifert descended into the early 80's metal underground and at the age of 17 bashed the drums on Death's ground-breaking debut LP Scream Bloody Gore! Shortly after parting ways with Death in 1987, Reifert formed the cult Bay-area band Autopsy, noted for their fusion of Black Sabbath-inspired doom riffs and thrashing death metal aesthetics. Reifert continues to remain active with Abscess and side-projects Eat My Fuk, Ravenous, and Mirror Snake and increasingly garners attention for his creepy pscilocibin-infested drawings and paintings. Reifert's artwork often depicts strange worlds of anatomical atrocities, impossible architecture, and eyeballs! Lots of eyeballs. "What you see, " he explains, "is what happens when the conscious mind is shut off and the weird world of inner visions is put onto paper or canvas...Who says daydreams and nightmares have to be kept separate?"
Drew Elliott always seemed like such a nice guy. Who would ever suspect that this soft-spoken boy next door would go on to become a serial monster artist and help launch death metal illustration as it is known today?? Emerging during the 80's zine movement, Drew's drawings first appeared in Blatch and Black Market before he earned world-wide underground recognition with album covers for death & thrash acts such as Necrophagia, Blood Feast, Hellion, Indestroy, Post Mortem, and Amorphis. Drew provided art for the Metal Blade compilations Speed and Complete Death as well as New Renaissance comps Thrash Metal Attack, Speed Metal Hell, and Satan's Revenge, all highly sought by rabid collectors today. More recently Drew has provided tour shirts for Nachtmystium and SUNN O))). Drew can also do more push ups than you so don't fuck with him.
Rev. Kriss Hades is a psychedelic black metal surrealist hailing from Melbourne, Australia. Widely regarded for his extreme electric guitar work for pioneering death metal act Sadistik Exekution, his visionary creations range from cyber-surrealist images to transgressive religious art and realms of otherworldly science fiction. Currently operating as a solo noise artist, his mesmerizing live multi-media performances combine abstract and unrelenting virtuoso electric guitar with nightmare film images and animations of his unique artwork. Hail the harbinger of chaos!
Conny Cobra is the finest German export since Doro Pesch and Destruction! Born in 1976 in Karl-Marx-Stadt, East Germany on Valentine´s Day, Conny apprenticed at a newspaper printing shop before graduating from Dresden Art Academy with a major in painting, drawing, and mixed media. After realizing that "most artists at academies suck", Conny converted a dilapidated butcher shop into an art studio and on June 6th, 2006 launched her very own underground art gallery Knark-Art! Alternately brutal and sensual, Conny's work is characterized by an abstract occult sensibility and raw black line work. She continues to roam the land like a full-metal valkyrie with no time, no money, a billion ideas, and a burning soul!
Manuel Tinnemans takes the high road to Armageddon. This Dutch artist's meticulous compositions are infused with alchemical symmetry, understated grace, and moody stained-glass textures. There is a transcendent quality to Manuel's best work that would be almost ecclesial if not for its primal death-curse aesthetics. He has created art for Pentacle, Necrophagia, Sauron, Horrible Eyes, Urfaust, Fluisterwoud, and Galgeras. Not content to sit silently at a drawing table, Manuel also provides the ultra low-end bass bludgeoning and throat for Bunkur and organizes the Ashes to Ashes...Doom to Dust festival. He also designed the spectacular logo for this year's Entartete Kunts exhibit!
Nor Prego is Spain's undisputed king of the undead! Born too late in 1977, Nor hails from A Coruña and cites John Buscema, Simon Bisely, and Robert Crumb as principle early influences. He has created album covers for Machetazo, Looking For An Answer, Brody's Militia, and W.T.N. as well as label art for Living Dead Society records. Since 2003 Nor has earned his keep with a tattoo gun, branding his muscular designs upon that tastiest of all mediums: human flesh! "Tattooing," the artist states, "strikes me every day and opens up new possibilities and is now a part of my life!" Nor continues to draw inspiration from pre-1989 horror movies, comics, music, and his close friends. As well as his enemies. Whom he shall soon see driven before him and hear the lamentations of their women. Long live the black ink!
Glenn Smith is an Australian art mercenary existing in a realm where comic art, poster art, and fine art collide. A self publisher, curator, and creator of wildly imaginative images, "Glenno" is most comfortable paying the rent by employing his remarkable illustration skills for such underground ear-grinders as Conquest for Death, Agents of Abhorrence, Pod People, Blood Duster, and Captain Cleanoff. His illustrations regularly appear in magazines such as Australia's Unbelievably Bad and he also masterminds the hilarious black metal parody project, Necrotardation. His work in this year's Entartete Kunts exhibit includes a stunning tribute to Roky Erikson and the 13th Floor Elevators!
Strephon Taylor first unleashed his morbid proclivities upon an unsuspecting world as the beer swilling, devil worshipping teen singer for cult 80's thrash brigade Sacrilege B.C.! He recorded two LP's and pulled off tours of both the U.S. and Europe before the band went down in a firestorm of denim, dope, and brimstone. Since the late 80's Strephon has stepped away from the wreckage of underground music and into his true creative depths as an inspired graphic artist, working on Wacky Packages and Silly Cd's and launching his own line of t-shirts called November Fire. Strephon continues to command painstakingly detailed watercolor canvases that seem to curse, moan, and howl for the viewer's undivided attention. With burly brushstrokes and a mortician's wit he creates swirling claustrophobic masterpieces of the macabre that resemble nothing so much as tortured delirium tremens frozen in amber and indigo. Dropping acid in the graveyard never looked this good!
T. Ketola is an occultnik artist and freelance designer hailing from Finland and currently residing in Italy. Born in 1975, Ketola has been creating underground iconography since the early 1990's including collaborations with Dismember, Watain, Kaamos, Deathspell Omega, Funeral Mist, Dead Congregation and Teitanblood. He is also credited with designing Dissection's amazing death-head-on-wings insignia. A former zine editor and self-publisher, Ketola is currently focusing on book design and traditional woodcarving. His illustrations have recently graced the cover and interior of Thomas Karlsson's Qabalah, Qliphoth and Goetic Magic, released in the U.S. by Ajna Bound Publiciations.
Joseph A. Smith unknowingly earned his place in metal history when a 17 year old Swedish boy name Tomas Forsberg swiped his goat illustration for the very first Bathory LP cover! That image, one of many spectacular and hugely influential works Joe provided for Erica Jong's coffeetable grimoire Witches, has since appeared on more denim & leather jackets than nearly any other heavy metal motif. He hardly needed the attention. Joseph A. Smith was born in 1938 and after graduating from Pratt Institute with Dean's medal in 1958 he has enjoyed twenty one solo exhibitions and has been included in over one hundred group exhibitions throughout the United States. His illustration work has appeared in the pages of Time, Newsweek, and Harpers and is represented in public collections in the U.S., Germany, Cypress, Japan and Mexico. He authored The Pen & Ink Book, wrote & illustrated the Circus Train, as well as some 50 children's books! Since 1961 Joe has been employed at Pratt Institute as Professor of Fine Art and he intends to remain so "until they decide to bury me on the campus."
French is the somewhat misleading moniker of this prolific young art shredder hailing from Aldershot, U.K.! Widely exhibited throughout the world, French's sharp style combines impeccable penmanship, imaginative (de)composition, and flights of surreal gore-splattered fancy. Inspired by war, darkness, gross anatomy, nature, skateboarding, and heavy metal, he has created a massive body of work and a small intestine's length of high rolling clients including Vans Footwear, Century Media Records, Virgin Music, Zero Skateboards, and Portland's own monolithic Nike. French's detailed designs draw a thin line between mainstream cool and underground nausea, full of tongue-in-cheek wit but stopping short of lazy hipster irony. Death hasn't looked this fun in a long time!
Musta Aurinko is a self-styled occultist, explorer of the unknown, and gazer beyond the veil of Maya! Seemingly conjuring atavistic impulses and esoteric phenomena with each new work of art, Musta attempts to give proper form to the formless, to bring vision to the void. Since her early childhood in Moscow she has recognized her innate magical sensitivities as "both a gift and a curse", invoking the Black Sun and forging past mere metaphorical work toward the essential path of liberation. Her heavily shaded drawings recall the satanic splendor of Rosaleen Norton and she similarly bridges worlds in an effort to transcend the bounds of this earthly sphere. Musta's illustrations, symbols, and logos have graced black metal, dark ambient, and experimental electronic projects including Black Seas of Infinity and Blackdeath. Entartete Kunts is Musta Aurinko's first international exhibition.
Paul "Unhinged" McCarroll is a Belfast born artist and din-merchant residing in sunny Northern Ireland, casting his spurious scrawls upon the extreme music underworld from his hermetic cell. A variety of mediums and styles have been inflicted on such luminaries as Regurgitate, Primordial, The Exploited, Adorior and many more including his own dank outsider-metal machine Scald. Digital painting is now the favored expression of contempt, with wounds undressed and entrails lovingly arranged, Paul chuckles at blasphemy and peels another scab from the mask of humanity.
Bobby BeauSoleil was born under the sign of the scorpion in 1947 in Santa Barbara, California. Roughly translated, Beausoleil means "Beautiful Sun" and Bobby has seized this meaning in more recent years by capitalizing the 'S' for emphasis. The name itself betrays certain artistic and spiritual coordinates. It has also inherited a stinging irony. Bobby is a convicted murderer and has been in prison since his arrest in 1969 following a drug deal gone horribly wrong. As a teen runaway and free-booting musician during the late 60's Bobby frequently jammed with Charles Manson and often visited his commune at Spahn Ranch in Death Valley. This was a relationship he would soon regret. While he sat in Los Angeles County jail on one count of murder in the first degree, several members of Charles Manson's "family" invaded two wealthy homes in the Hollywood Hills and effectively decimated the already strained hopes of the Aquarian youth movement. The brutal massacre that unfolded those dark nights in 1969 and the inflammatory graffiti scrawled across the Tate-LaBianca households would forever associate BeauSoleil with the enduring hysteria of the Manson mythos. It is an association that has cast a dark pall over his otherwise peaceful life and prodigious creative achievements. Remarkably, nearly 40 years in prison have neither stripped his humanity nor contained his spirit. Bobby is a living embodiment of Milton's Bringer of Light and a Luciferian force of the will triumphant. An artist, musician, husband, father, and friend, Bobby's contributions to Entartete Kunts were created within the confines of prison and are clearly the residue of deeply personal erotic imaginings and whimsical reflections of life beyond razor wire.
Dennis Dread is a ballpoint necro-wizard and spends his evenings hunched over a drawing table in a moldy basement, howling at the moon and raising the dead! Born at home in 1972 in New York's folklore-rich Hudson River Valley, near influential historical locales such as Sing Sing Prison and Sleepy Hollow, he enjoyed a childhood of monster movies and home-made comic books and at the age of 18 began silkscreen printing for the infamous terrorist t-shirt company Mutilation Graphics. At some point during a stint of booze-fueled travels, Dread jumped off a freight train passing through Portland, Oregon and the "city of roses" has served as his headquarters ever since. Dread's visceral and obsessively detailed ballpoint pen drawings regularly appear in zines and on metal and punk records, including work for such extreme-noise luminaries as Abscess, Darkthrone, Abigail, Phobia, and Engorged. Dread edits and self-publishes the long running underground art magazine Destroying Angels and is the curator of Entartete Kunts! Buy him a beer and wish him luck…