Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A. O. S.

Austin Osman Spare

(third from the last here is one of Spare's most posthumously famous works The Vampires are Coming. This was used as a cover for the weekly occult encyclopedia /magazine Man, Myth & Magic published in 1970s UK and edited by Richard Cavendish who, through his relationship with Spare's friend Kenneth Grant, apparently had access to much of Spare's work. Apart from introducing much of the world to Spare's imagery in an iconic sort of way, this occultist review magazine was also responsible for instigating a resurgent interest in the subject among the 70s populace in general. In an even more counter-culture expression, if thats possible, the Vampires imagery has also served as a kind of logo for crust-punk legends Amebix, who have used it as a backdrop during performances.)

Austin Osman Spare was an artist and magician who to this day is terribly undocumented. Though there are publications of much of his written work available, there has never been a satisfactory retrospective of his artwork published on a large scale for the general public. The collection I've put together here is frankly quite unrepresentative. The work available on the internet thus far is sparse and unfortunately builds upon the idea, that haunted Spare his whole life, that his artistic talents could be easily dismissed along with his obscure spiritualist beliefs. His ideas, teachings and interests are far too complex and esoteric for me to elaborate on too much here, although if you're interested I highly recommend looking into it. You might start out here or here. His theories regarding sigil formation, beneficially suppressing mental faculties and automatic drawing and writing are particularly bizarre.

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