The Color of Ghosts: Laurie Lipton Haunts the Web

Laurie Lipton’s work reminds me distinctly of two artists who terrified me as a child. There was my parents’ Brueghel book, in which Triumph of Death broke my brain at age 5, and my 3rd-grade discovery of Stephen Gammell’s ink drawings in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. (Gammell also illustrated a children’s book about the Holocaust called Terrible Things, which I’ve never read, but the very idea of Gammell illustrating such a thing frightens me already.) Lipton’s hyper-detailed images of lace-wrapped ghost brides, gloating war profiteers and haunted dollhouses are mixed in with images of “ordinary” scenes such as this old man (or woman?) dining alone. In context of the other works (or perhaps, even by themselves), these images hold just as much mystery.

As if Lipton’s work isn’t scary enough, selecting images of hers for this post from her MySpace page led to the most uncanny ad moment of my distinguished internet-surfing career. Even without the corresponding image, the rectangle ad below looks more like an anorexia PSA or a Caryn Drexl photo, but finding it next to Lipton’s depressing Mirror, Mirror drawing takes it to a whole new level of creepy. Click here for the larger version. After seeing it on that one page, I never saw that ad again. Can internet ads become “possessed” by the content that surrounds them? Someone in Japan, make that movie, please.

[Thanks, Xenia!]

7 Responses to “The Color of Ghosts: Laurie Lipton Haunts the Web”

  1. Caryn Drexl Says:

    Damnit! That IS my image!

    Sadly, it wouldn’t be the first time that image [or others similar] to it, would be used in a pro-anorexia [or at the very least, pro-weight loss] way. I’d shake my fist at the internet if it hadn’t made me the photographer I am.

    Though otherwise, what i find interesting is i have another image, with a similar theme to the one used in that ad, that has similarities to that Mirror, Mirror image.

    [And I am very disappointed [in myself] that I never thanked anybody after the first post made about me. I thought I did, but i guess that only happened in my head as well. So, while late, Thank you Coilhouse!]

  2. Alice Says:

    Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark! SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK!!

    *Ahem* Thanks so much for introducing me to even more great art. Ever since I was 6 I’ve wished there were more images like Stephen Gammell’s, and lo, there is!

  3. Nadya Says:

    Caryn, wow. And here I was, totally thinking I was making a joke. That’s amazing. I found another ad with the same copy and clicked on it. It’s that stupid “Acai Berry” diet, in case you want to write to them and complain.

    But yeah, your image looks very good next to Laurie’s, maybe you should write to her and say hi. Nice to see you here!

    Would be curious to see the other image you mention.

  4. Mer Says:

    “Can internet ads become “possessed” by the content that surrounds them? Someone in Japan, make that movie, please.”


  5. Jerem Morrow Says:

    GAMMELL! I know, right!?

    And Lipton’s stuff is the uber. Thanks for the heads up!

  6. Jennifer Says:

    I was terrified of those books! Saw that ad too and thought wtf… too funny that came up at such a moment.

  7. vb Says:

    This is wonderful you posted about her..I interviewed Laurie Lipton last year. Her work is mind-blowing, not just in skill and content but the fact it’s basically stipple…it’s made of thousands and thousands of ‘cross hatch’ marks..

    Myspace actually does have a content/search reader for ads and now an image reader for the ads you see..they are all personalized to what you’re looking at for every click. I really resent being on there sometimes because I know I’m being used as a marketing tool.