Aoi Kotsuhiroi: creator of the The Official Shoes of Tumblr. The France-based designer’s dark, textured art-fashion pieces have certainly madetherounds, but did you know that Kotsuhiroi is also the photographer, poet and model behind these creations?
Kotsuhiroi’s website feels like a fleeting vision. Page after page of large-scale images reveal a mysterious world full of fetish objects, in both senses of the word. In a series of fragile, dreamlike images reminiscent of Sarah Moon, Kotsuhiroi’s adornments appear to radiate profound magical power, while making your fetish platform boot look like a pair of flip-flops by comparison.
In addition to fashion and photography, Kotsuhiroi has the sensibility of a writer. Rather than releasing her work in collections, such as”AW12,” she releases them as chapters of a book on her site, which is rife with poetry. On Twitter, she describes herself as a novelist. Follow her to see what she does next!
Have you ever wanted Tarot card explanations that rejected the gender binary, referenced political movements, and quoted riot grrl music? If so, this deck is for you.
In The Collective Tarot, wands, coins, cups and swords are replaced with magical found objects: keys, bones, bottles and feathers. The court cards (page, knight, king and queen) are replaced with the Seeker, Apprentice, Artist and Mentor. While most card names in the Major Arcana remain unchanged, all have inspired new interpretations. Certain cards that contain outdated tropes (for example, “The Hierophant” – when is the last time that metaphor was relevant to your life?) have been replaced with more relevant symbols, such as “The Code” (referencing the hanky code) and “Intermission.”
The deck is designed by 5 core collective members and 25 contributing artists/co-collaborators. Artist Annie Murphy, one of the deck’s creators, said she felt inspired make a new Tarot deck when she found that she and her friends were unable to relate to the Christian, Euro- and hetero-centric symbolism found in many modern decks. In crafting the Collective Tarot, Murphy and other artists wanted to represent “beings and bodies of size and of color … as well as differently-abled, multi-gendered and multi-generational characters.” The card interpretations speak to the problems of modern people – the struggle to complete an art project, negotiate a polyamory agreement, or organize a volunteer group – while remaining rich with magical lore.
The deck has been out of print for two years. Now, the artists are putting out a limited third edition. A Kickstarter (with only 5 days left to contribute!) is going on for the third print run of the Collective Tarot. Those who contribute $30 or more will get a copy of the deck. In addition to a deck, one of the prizes is a T-shirt featuring the Ace of Bones by Annie Murphy, as seen below:
In the next room, tucked away in a fireproof lockbox, there’s a handwritten note from 1952, hastily scrawled down on looseleaf paper by a man named John (aka Jack) Whiteside Parsons. (My partner and I are both fascinated by the tales surrounding Parsons and his equally scintillating wife, Marjorie Cameron.) Purchased a few years back from a reputable private collector, it’s a short list of the books from Parsons’ personal library– the ones he planned to take with him when he relocated from Southern California to Mexico. Everything from biochem science to William Blake to Alice in Wonderland. Only… Parsons never made it to Mexico. Within days of writing that note, the man blew himself up amid persistent, weird rumors of ritual workings, sex magick, portals.
Sixty years ago to this day, in fact.
June 17th, 1952: a “brilliant young rocket scientist and occultist was killed in an explosion in Pasadena of origins that remain mysterious [...] Five days later, Pasadena police closed the case and announced that he dropped a vial of fulminate of mercury onto the floor of his home laboratory [...] He was 37 years old and one of the country’s top chemical engineers, a founder of Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the inventor of the solid fuel that would take man to the moon.” (via)
Such a strange fellow, with such an utterly bizarre life trajectory! And for me, for whatever reason, something about that list of indispensable books feels more eerie and portentous than any of his “Do What Thou Wilt”/”As Above, So Below” writings. But in any case, thoughts of Parsons’ mythic Moonchild loom large in my sky tonight. His biography is one of the most compelling stranger-than-fiction stories of the 20th Century. Here’s some highly recommended reading for the newly intrigued:
“We can use art for deep change – when we undertake the journey of individuation, we can move beyond survival needs and encounter truly beautiful territory,” writes Abigail in a description of this series. “These images remind me that I can always hold myself to my greatest possibilities, that I no longer need to pretend that the conventional is something I want in any form at all … what I want is real, deep, never-ending change. A feeling of the power of choice in creating reality. The second we free ourselves of the half-truth that we are bound to the organizational templates of society and culture is the precious moment we start to self-define and steer our own ship … Who knows where we will arrive?”
Knots, keys, insects, and magic numbers: the work of Toulouse-based Guy le Tatooer is full of secrets. Too studied and obsessive to be dismissed as a meaningless †Δbleau of woo-woo symbols, Tatooer’s work radiates power, magic and history. The style seems to be inspired by retro tattoos (especially, it seems, this image of Maude Wagner, a circus performer who became first female tattoo artist in the United States, and her partner, legendary tattooist Charlie Wagner) as well as the anatomical drawings of Ernst Haeckel, traditional Mehndi patterns, a page or two from Histoire de la Magie, and much more.
Guy le Tatooer’s work was recently exhibited at the Gimpel & Muller gallery in Paris. For the exhibition, le Tatooer created silicone casts of his arm and tattooed them using the traditional electric system method. The tattooed arms were displayed in glass-covered, velvet-lined boxes with ornate carved frames, resembling fancy display cases for pressed butterflies.
Recently, Berlin-based tattoo arts collective AKA released a pack of temporary tattoos that includes an extra-weird design by Guy le Tatooer, as well as pieces by several other talented tattoo artists. More images of le Tatooer’s work, and a video, after the jump!
“Two Against One” from the album Rome, a collaboration between Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi, which came out last year. Featuring vocals by Jack White, it’s been supplied with a spectacularly hallucinatory video directed by Chris Milk and Anthony Francisco Schepperd. Just beautiful work.
The powerfully enchanting Larkin Grimm, previously interviewed by Angeliska on the Coilhouse blog and featured in Issue Four of our print issue, has a new album coming out next month! You can read about what she’s been up to recently, and preview/download her song “Paradise And So Many Colors” at the Village Voice website.
Last year, the sartorial site StyleLikeU (oh good gracious, LOVE these ladies) posted a wonderful “Closet Feature” on Grimm. It’s as endearing a portrait of the woman as you’ll find anywhere:
“The Sinister Game of Paperface” by Richard A. Kirk
Artist and author Richard A. Kirk (who we’ve mentionedtwice before on the blog) has just put a bunch of very reasonably priced prints of his recent work into his Etsy store. If you’re shopping for darkly whimsical holiday gifts for your more fae or macabre friends (or just for yourself!) you’ll definitely want to take a look at these intricate, elegant pieces.
Kirk’s phenomenal illustrated novella, The Lost Machine, is also worth checking out– a bleakly beautiful weird fiction story that features ghosts, witches, crows, and enchanted automata. Kirk’s prose is as delicate, finessed and strange as his drawings. Highly recommended.
“The Unaccountable Absence of the Wastrel” by Richard A. Kirk