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Fire & Fantasy

Fire & Fantasy

September 8, 2017

Heavy Music Artwork 6th installation: Fire & Fantasy is centred around the concept of fantasy, imagination and escapism. No other...

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Avant-Garde

Avant-Garde

May 26, 2017

Heavy Music Artwork launches world’s first and only metal and rock art magazine - Issue 5 pre-sell: Avant-GardeFeaturing: Ulver, Sun O)))...

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Legacy

Legacy

March 10, 2017

The aging process affects pretty much everything in one way or another; but it may also lead to things being...

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Human

Human

January 20, 2017

The third issue of Heavy Music Artwork is an introspective outlook on music and art. Rock and metal have a...

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Folklore

Folklore

October 20, 2016

The second installment of Heavy Music Artwork is dedicated to Folk Art. Often referred to as ‘folklore’, it depicts the...

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Dark Nouveau

Dark Nouveau

July 20, 2016

The first issue is finally out and we feel inspired, happy and accomplished that we; the metal community; have a...

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Sam Shearon

Sam Shearon

September 19, 2017

Sam Shearon talks with Heavy Music Artwork Sam Shearon Aka ‘Mister-Sam’...

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Maciej Kamuda

Maciej Kamuda

July 5, 2017

The art of being yourself Most of all I'm self-taught. I...

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Cosimo Miorelli

Cosimo Miorelli

July 1, 2017

Man at work Like most people, I always drew as a...

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Rainer Kalwitz

Rainer Kalwitz

June 28, 2017

Phantastic Realism I had studied graphic arts at the university of...

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Lukasz Wodynski

Lukasz Wodynski

June 20, 2017

Living beings I graduated The School Of Fine Arts in my...

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Max Martelli

Max Martelli

June 14, 2017

Passion for Science Fiction Ever since I was young I was...

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Christian Sloan Hall

Christian Sloan Hall

June 8, 2017

The power of perseverance I was born in Santa Monica, California...

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Mike D from Killswitch Engage

Mike D from Killswitch Engage

May 31, 2017

DarkIcon studio profile All of Killswitch Engage's album artwork and tour...

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Top 10 Albums that changed my life by Drew Zaragoza of Sinicle

Top 10 Albums that changed my life by Drew Zaragoza of Sinicle

August 25, 2017

Drew Zaragoza is the front man for LA Power Trio Sinicle. He has led the band for over a decade. Los Angeles power trio Sinicle combine the groove of Heavy...

Top 10 Bands that inspired my music by Drew Rizzo of Midnite Hellion

Top 10 Bands that inspired my music by Drew Rizzo of Midnite Hellion

August 22, 2017

Drew Rizzo is the drummer and founder of Trenton, NJ’s own MIDNITE HELLION, a US Heavy Metal band formed in 2011.  He eats, breathes, and sleeps Heavy Metal, and here’s...

Metastazis & Au Dessus: End of Chapter (Les Acteurs de l'Ombre)

Metastazis & Au Dessus: End of Chapter (Les Acteurs de l'Ombre)

July 21, 2017

There were no specific directions, the band gave me total freedom to provide my interpretation of the title. I interpreted 'End of a chapter' as plain death. And I wanted...

Robert Schober aka Roboshobo & Ghost: Cirice (Universal)

Robert Schober aka Roboshobo & Ghost: Cirice (Universal)

July 14, 2017

‘Cirice’ concept was inspirited by Brian De Palma film ‘Carrie’. The idea originated with Papa himself. He wanted to set the video in a school and do a talent show...

Napalm Death & Frode Sylthe: Apex Predator, Easy Meat (Century Media)

Napalm Death & Frode Sylthe: Apex Predator, Easy Meat (Century Media)

July 7, 2017

The band have been very much involved in the process of making this album artwork. And they tend to have a lot of ideas in which direction it all should...

Nestor Avalos & Bloodbath: Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville Records)

Nestor Avalos & Bloodbath: Grand Morbid Funeral (Peaceville Records)

June 30, 2017

We started from the concept of the band and the name of the album 'Grand Morbid Funeral'. This was the determinant factor for the whole process 'a place of plague...

Sikth & Dan Mumford: Opacities (Peaceville Records)

Sikth & Dan Mumford: Opacities (Peaceville Records)

June 23, 2017

I have known most of the guys in SikTh for quite a long time, I grew up in Watford, the same town that SikTh came from, and was playing in...

Obituary & Andreas Marschall: Inked in Blood (Relapse Records)

Obituary & Andreas Marschall: Inked in Blood (Relapse Records)

June 16, 2017

The idea for ‘Inked in Blood’ was developed by the Tardy brothers and me, based on an early suggestion sketch, when the band decided to move visually in a different...

Michael Berberian from E-Kunst

Michael Berberian from E-Kunst

June 9, 2017

The art of E-Kunst Mostly known as the founder of the record label Season of Mist, Michael S. Berberian has been using metal festival for years as an alibi to visit...

Camden Rocks Festival

Camden Rocks Festival

May 12, 2017

Camden Rocks Festival, established in 2009, is an exclusive festival held in London’s notorious Camden Town bringing you the best selection of rock, indie, metal and alternative music. Camden has...

Arnold Bocklin

The Island of the Dead, by Arnold Bocklin

The Swiss painter Arnold Bocklin died on this day in 1901, so today’s choice of painting is his masterpiece The Island of the Dead. Bocklin painted it in 1880, while convalescing on the island of Ischia after having caught the flu on a sketching trip to Naples. The composition proved so popular that he eventually painted five separate versions of the work (one of which ended up, with a certain ghoulish appropriateness, given its subject matter, in the private collection of Adolf Hitler). The picture reproduced here, which is the earliest of the five, can be found in the Kunstmuseum at Basel, the artist’s native town.

Bocklin is no longer a very well known painter, but he enjoyed an extremely high reputation in the later years of the nineteenth century. Originally trained at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, he painted mythological subject paintings and landscapes in a moodily romantic style that was to remain entirely unaffected by the innovations of his contemporaries, the French Impressionists. He was a widely travelled artist, who found his ideal landscape amidst the myriad classical ruins and coastal towns of Italy, where he lived and worked for much of his life – and memories of which he imaginatively synthesised to create The Island of the Dead, which simultaneously evokes the Borromean islands in Lake Maggiore and the cemetery island of San Michele in the Venetian lagoon, with its towering cypress trees, so dark a hue of green they appear almost black. The work is thought to have been created in response to a request from Bocklin’s romantically inclined friend Marie Berna, who wanted a painting to provoke a mood of bittersweet reverie. Its title was thought up by the art dealer Fritz Gurlitt. Bocklin himself simply referred to it as “a picture for dreaming about.”
 
Bocklin was in many respects a backward-looking, nostalgic, conservative artist, but in developing a kind of fantasy landscape intended to express intense, personal mood – to indicate a topography of emotion, rather than place – he anticipated the intense introversion, the interest in heightened or altered states of awareness such as dreams and hallucinations, that was to absorb so many painters of the avant-garde in the years around the turn of the twentieth century. Bocklin was revered by many of the leading figures in the Symbolist movement, was greatly admired by, among others, Vincent Van Gogh and Edvard Munch, and was cited by the proto-Surrealist Giorgio de Chirico as the principal inspiration for his own enigmatic depictions of a dislocated, dream-like world. The spirit of Bocklin’s work was encapsulated by the art historian Heinrich Wolfflin, who wrote in 1897 that the artist’s pictures always stem “from an inner image with the figures always seen together with landscape … The fabulous beings are not simply nude figures with mythological attributes put into a given landscape, but rather they have been born out of a contemplation of the elements, impregnated with the particular character of the momentary atmospheric mood and so are altogether inimitable and untranslatable.”
 
There are no nude figures in The Isle of the Dead, a concise and morbidly poetic reflection on the pathetic theme of the last voyage. A silhouetted figure in white – a figure that will reappear many times, incidentally, in the work of Bocklin’s admirer Giorgio de Chirico – stands upright in the hearse boat that approaches the island, a coffin balanced across its prow. The painting’s subject is the mystery that confronts all human beings as they approach the threshold of death. The figure in white robes, a costume which evokes winding sheets, is at once echoed by the upright forms of the towering cypress trees and engulfed by them – a vivid metaphor for a human soul, disappearing into a mysterious void. The sea seems as still and glaucous as a lake of oil. The rocks of the island seem to part, the very mineralogy of the painting conveying the idea of a final return to the bosom of the earth. The mood of the picture reminds me of the lines from Wordsworth’s “Lucy” poem: “No motion has she now, no force; / She neither hears nor sees; / Rolled round in earth’s diurnal course, / With rocks, and stones, and trees.”
 
Bocklin spent much of his life attempting to escape the real world of the nineteenth century – scarred by heavy industry and vast new urban agglomerations, torn by war and revolution – into an ideal past. In many respects, his attitude to the age in which he lived was identical to that of his great friend Jacob Burckhardt, author of The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy,who was also fascinated by the past – in thrall to the idea of a world that seemed both more fascinating and more enchanted than that of the later nineteenth century. “I want to get away from all of them,” wrote Burckhardt, “from the the radicals, the Communists, the industrialists, the intellectuals, the philosophers, the sophists, the state fanatics, the idealsist, from every ‘ist’ and ‘ism’”.
 
Perhaps the same escapist desires animated Bocklin when he painted The Island of the Dead, which could be said to enshrine a fantasy of escape as well as one of death – a fantasy of being able to glide, effortlessly, through the portals of time, and travel back to some secluded, sea-surrounded Arcadia. Incidentally, Bocklin inscribed his own initials on the portico of one of the crypts, cut into the face of the cliff on the right of the scene – forever laying claim to a place on the island of his dreams.
 
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