Category Archives: Art & Literature

Dark Bloody Blue: Mood / Inspiration Board

She sits and sizzles at the poolside. Hot skin, cold fingertips, resting on her sweating glass of drink. Vivid blues of chlorinated water and powdery sky, hold up weeping palm trees and orange mountains lost in steam. Wet footprints across the concrete soon fade in the sun. She can smell the tyres burning on oven baked cars struggling to cool down; the sweet, Hawaiian Tropic on her knees and thighs; the sweat that is crawling down her neck. It is late afternoon, the saddest time of day, and not long to wait before the wicked night’s crush. But there is bliss to be found in this everyday hell. She finds hers between his mouth and hands. Beneath his feet and within his chest. A ten minute drive away at the fluorescent red slushy machine, tongue stained, brain numb, frostbitten lips to kiss him with. There is bliss to be found in this monotonous paradise. In the hum of the fan that puts him to sleep. The scent of a brand new shampoo. The white light that pours in past midday and illuminates the rising dust like holy ash from the burning wings of an angel shamed. She sips her drink, to watch the sky descend into unearthly sanguine, and observe the shadows creep, threatening to grasp her ankles and drown her in the lukewarm pool. There is bliss somewhere amidst all this.

by Y.L.H.

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Novel Opening: a University assignment from 2014 being brought to light

I could not move when I woke up. Forced to lay in the glare of white sun, sliced into pieces by the blinds over the windows. The rings on my fingers pushed hard into my teeth through the skin of my cheek. Murky waters, like a swamp, swished back and forth over my sticky eyes. The scene grew cleaner, the place growing more and more unfamiliar. My flesh felt as if it were a bag full of damp sand, and I did not kid myself that I would be exploring soon. I did not kid myself that things would turn out well from this. I ground my already grinding jaw some more, in hopes it would slip and snap and I would spill out, and all the grime and dirt would leave me. Dragging my skull across the cheap metal on my knuckles and the hot pillowcase, I dropped it over the side of the bed, and saw his black eyes twitching from behind their lids. In between the petrifying moments, sticking out like turrets through a mist, are these images of searing clarity. I find that my mind tries to erase most things, leaving just the pressure marks on paper behind, the faint idea of an idea. But moments of him are recorded in ink; ink on skin. When he lifted his stare from his bottle of Sol, choosing me from the rest. These are the dots that connect each loose line.

Let’s begin at dot number one – it is seven in the evening, mid-November, and it is cold and dark. Lucy and I are walking carefully down the metal steps of a rollercoaster ride’s exit. ‘Inferno’, eight corkscrews, five loops, no build up, abrupt ending. He stands over six foot tall with a cigarette in hand and bleached buzzcut, zipped into a chunky, nylon, khaki coat, a bit metallic, looking all over a bit sickly, almost done with living. He has a strong nose and sleepy eyes. He is waiting by the wall of one of those gravelly flowerbeds that seperates the theme park tarmac into curving pathways. Lucy slows down with me, to figure out what it is I am gaping at. “Molly”, she says, “he is gonna catch you looking!” I want him to, so much so, that I stop walking, to continue wondering, to properly wonder, at the figure glowing by the overflowing bin, lit up by the green and purple rollercoaster lights. The sounds of the screaming and the adrenaline-induced blasphemy, the deafening spin of rushing, shaking wheels, layered over indecipherable announcements from rusty tanoys like foreign tongues through radio noise – all together they weave themselves into a loud and perfect drone. Nothing can describe him except for that, devouring, simultaneously numbing and purging, terrifying and euphoric symphony.

Prose and featured image by Y.L.H.

3 miserable verses

A very vague novel idea. Here are some openings, although they all work well together as one. I like verse III the most. A novel that is like a contemporary American work, painfully real but very poetic in its awfulness. Reveals the misery of the mundane, the desperation of the every day. Finds romanticism within the ordinary. Something magical will happen to this otherwise average character – but the world will never lose its grittiness. No frills, in spite of it.

I.
Up until now, any money I’ve had, I pissed it away. I don’t fucking know where any of it went. I imagine myself chucking a lit match onto a pile of cash. Sometimes it makes me feel sick; other times, I rejoice in the cleanliness of having nothing, and wish perhaps that I had even less, less and less to lose. The shame of privilege always kicks in.

II.
I am disenchanted with my life. My father compares me to every other person my age, and older, and younger, but always more successful. They are more hardworking than I am, I must be lacking, all of my fucking money is gone. And I am a brainless imp beneath the manager, who spends her 8-hour shift writing up the staff rota for a soulless suburban high street store.

III.
It is good to be ragged and pained. It is worth it. You might then learn something. From disease and dust, from the grime and gore. There rises the man. Not from the sand nor ocean, not sun, nor hope nor glee. The man, the woman, the beast arises, from the grimness, gutter, blood and rot; crime and anger, deception, foulness, fear and lust. There it grows, there it blossoms, flowers in the rancid muck.

Prose and featured image by Y.L.H.

If you can’t find a friend, make one!

About to watch ‘May’ on Netflix again. I last watched it on a strange, sunny morning at home, and had to pause it for lunch. It is so peculiar and addictive. The perfect horror movie. I am painfully hungover and wanting something to get lost in and inspire me. Currently listening to Coheed & Cambria for this reason. Also have watched every Grimes interview I could find on YouTube. It all seems to be working.

Hyperrealistic Art – come visit the beautiful Uncanny Valley

Enjoy the uncomfortable sensation of the inanimate object tiptoeing the brink of life. Here are just a few. Click on the images to enlarge.

Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Choi Xooang
Thomas Kuebler
Thomas Kuebler
Jamie Salmon
Jamie Salmon
Sam Jinks
Sam Jinks
Ron Mueck
Ron Mueck
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Duane Hanson
Patricia Piccinini
Patricia Piccinini
Patricia Piccinini
Patricia Piccinini

‘Champagne and Wax Crayons’ by Ben Tallon

Champagne and Wax CrayonsBeing creative is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I can’t tell if I’m trying too hard or if I’m lazy, but such is the doubt that comes hand in hand with creativity. Pursuing a creative career can be much harder than working your way up the ladder of 9 to 5’s. There is no set route, no guidelines, nobody setting you tasks, nobody setting you goals. It is such unknown, ever-changing territory, and there are never two stories the same from those who have been successful at making their passion their livelihood; a sure-fire strategy doesn’t exist. From a more positive angle, there is no right or wrong in the creative industries, and you are in charge of your art and your hours, and that is all part of the dream. So it depends how you look at it.

Ben Tallon’s first book, Champagne and Wax Crayons, is an autobiography starting from childhood, about how he got to make a good living from freelance illustration, managed to tick off his ultimate client bucket list within three years of graduation, and why we must value the journey just as much, if not more, than reaching our destination. At the end of each chapter is a list entitled “What I’ve Learnt”, summarising the key lessons of each stage in Tallon’s life, and every single one is invaluable. This book came to me exactly when I needed it. I had actually purchased Susan Jeffers Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway on my kindle the night before – so you can guess the kind of mindset I’ve been in recently. I got as far as the third chapter, feeling just as hopeless. When you’re at the stage of purchasing self-help books in early hours of the morning, it’s hard to take the suggestion of post-it-noting your entire home with inspirational reminders seriously. My cynicism levels went through the roof.

Champagne and Wax Crayons has given me clarity and courage about taking the road less trodden. It is absolutely honest, which is what makes it so useful, as well as endearing. It presents the reality of sacrifice and how, actually, that is one of the greatest parts of the endeavour. There is deep satisfaction to be found in the obsessiveness and the struggle, and you’re not crazy to think so, too. The book teaches the same mantra as Susan Jeffer’s, to feel the fear and do it anyway, but it does so implicitly and thoughtfully, through real-life, tried and tested experience. It suggests that the key to progressing in your creative pursuit is to simplify things as much as possible. Follow your nose as opposed to the target, as long as you’re enjoying yourself. Enjoy it, enjoy it, enjoy it. And above all else, thank you, Ben, for the reminder: it is okay that you do not know what you’re doing. Nobody else does either.