Article by Sara Darling
THE BOOK OF BLACK
I am not somebody who would necessarily pick up a ‘book of black’ in a book store. Perhaps in my teen years when I was into The Cure and wearing purple lipstick and heavy eyeliner...but something in my later years has compelled me to have a look.
Possibly it’s because I have now expanded my horizons in the arts and literature world, and I don’t have to be into goth music to appreciate the dark side; And, it is a colour that grows on you as it is so complex.
Artists, authors, poets and photographers have put this base colour on a pedestal for centuries, and the Book of Black, compiled by Faye Dowling, is a collection of the images which represent the dark side at its best. Showcasing everything from fine art to street style which makes up the heart of today's alternative visual culture. Vampires and demons have become screen icons of the modern underworld.
Not just filled with images of skulls, which have always been a popular emblem of Gothic writers, tattoo artists and in design, the book is structured over three defining chapters (Gods & Monsters, The Kingdom of Darkness, and Dark Arts/Higher Power).
Of course, for some this narrative evokes an existential turmoil or fear of the supernatural, of what they don’t know. Mystical creatures are often used as rejection and reaction to the natural world, and are themes which crop up time and time again, but it’s not that we fear or dread the supernatural creature, but that we want to BE the supernatural creature.
Anyone who has experienced conflict or has an interest in popular culture will appreciate the seminal gothic artworks, which are juxtaposed alongside emerging artists of today.
And it is the perfect gift for Halloween, or just if you want to indulge in your own dark side.
The Book of Black by Faye Dowling is available from Laurence King RRP £12.99 from September 4th.
Buy it here
Reporting on cultural and creative events along with a broad view of social issues.
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