Like most people (I think), I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. My feed will fill up with the most stupid, crazy, weird stories that will cause blood to stream from my eyes and ears. And yet, occasionally, there will be some random link to something that is beyond a bit of genius. Today that was Brazillian Graphic Designer Butcher Billy who took famous songs and turned them into horror book covers. Each of them got my creative juices flowing, so I thought I’d share a few and what I thought the book could be.
Every Breath You Take – The Police
By now everyone knows that this song is not a love song, but instead was always a song about obsession. Of course, that didn’t stop people from having it as “their song”. So when I look at the cover, the way that he’s laid out the lyrics in the bottom left are very much a mantra of someone who has completely lost themselves in this other person. This novel is a study of a young woman who has become enamored with a man who she works with or perhaps lives in a nearby apartment. She’s constantly finding excuses to be at the same places he frequents, in a hope to just strike up a simple conversation with this guy. She knows that she’s right for him even as she watches a string of women come and go. If only he’d turn and “see you belong to me”.
Of course, the reason these other women are constantly leaving (disappearing) is that she’s making sure there is no chance for them to truly connect with anyone but her. She hides the bodies and eventually does get that one moment with him… and she’s not going to ever let him go.
Lady In Red – Chris de Burgh
Speaking of “their song”, Lady in Red is my wife and my song. We danced to it a Homecoming and then again many years later at our wedding. Yet, this cover has me seeing the song differently now…
As a serial killer, Daniel has very specific tastes. He only deserves the best. He cannot end up with just any person, what sport would that be? No, it has to be someone very special that he analyzes and then slowly brings them to the point that they are almost chasing him. Only when he can do that does the deaths mean anything.
So, when he sees Sandra at the club, she “shined so bright” and for once he saw someone who could maybe be his true love. All the death had led him to her. The only question was whether he could control his base urges and truly become a new man for her.
Or did he have to?
Everytime You Go Away – Paul Young
It’s not Jessica’s fault that she is different. Just like it wasn’t her fault that bus t-boned her car a year ago. The doctors said that it was a miracle she survived at all. Now she just wants to go back to her old life. Move on.
Yet, she gets these cravings every now and then. Hunger pangs that aren’t satisfied with anything she ends up eating. Fruit and vegetables now make her sick and at best raw meat only causes the pain to subside for a day or so. No, there’s something else now at work inside her. And now, “when the leading man appears” she finds that the urges are too much to take.
But she doesn’t have to kill him. She only needs to “take a piece of me with you”.
Maneater – Hall and Oates
I feel like this could be the sequel to Everytime You Go Away. That same creature of the night, Jessica, has continued her nightly escapades, but now she’s managed to attract the wrong attention in the form of the FBI who have now dubbed her the “Maneater”. Now she has to stay one step ahead of them all the while feeding the beast within her, for if this is her under control, what happens if she truly loses control?
I wonder what other pop songs might make good horror books? I feel like Duran Duran’s Union of the Snake could be something. Tears for Fears Everyone Wants to Rule the World. INXS Devil Inside seems a no brainer.
Got any good ones?
John McGuire is the creator/author of the steampunk comic The Gilded Age. The Trade paperback collecting the first 4 issues is finally back from the printers! If you would like to purchase a copy, go here!
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For my social media and website crew only…
25% off almost every original and print in the store.
To get started, click the coupon link here or mash the big image below.
I’ve just listed a ton of new dark art prints for sale.
I’ve got a little something for everyone.
The new prints are below.
The shop link is here.
Hi there, art lovers.
I’ve got something new for you.
For my top six paintings of all time, special edition framed canvas prints are now available.
Each print is done on a high-quality giclee canvas, stretched in a wooden frame, and lacquered up to make it last forever.
These prints are for serious art collectors.
Photographer and podcast wizard Andrew Hall recently reached out to J Edward Neill about appearing on a Dead Hand Radio podcast.
They originally planned to discuss the Cold War and its history, but quickly derailed themselves.
Instead of a history discussion, they talked at length about J Edward’s art, books, life, and influences.
If you want to learn entirely too much about J Edward 🙂 …here’s your chance.
Click the link below and enjoy.
The Fae Slayer
Lustrous art prints available in two sizes (8″ x 24″ and 10″ x 30″)
Click the pic and check it out.
I’m J Edward.
Lately I’ve been as busy as ever in my life, creating new original canvasses. I’ve got trees, swords, towers, ships, and bones…so many bones. The amount of new art I’ve got quite literally covers my walls.
Typically I sell my original paintings right here, via Etsy.
But today I’m expanding. I realize not everyone likes Etsy. Moreover, Etsy takes a hefty cut out of every sale.
I’m offering a 10% discount (off any price listed on Etsy) to anyone who wishes to buy directly from me using either Paypal or Venmo.
That’s 10% off original canvas art (not prints.)
Domestic shipping is still free.
Interested art collectors should reach out to me using any of the social media links right here.
This offer is good…pretty much forever.
As ever, I love you guys.
I’m J Edward.
I paint gloomy landscapes, dark trees, infernal towers, and bones…lots of bones.
But this week, my son (aka: the G Man) added his first print to
my our Etsy store – ShadowArtFinds.
And it’s just…so…cute.
Anyways, if you want the details, just click the pic.
(All proceeds go to the G Man’s mustache-wearing piggy bank.
This week only. Through April 19th.
All my dark lady original paintings – 50% off.
See that guy in the desert?
Ok. Not really. I honestly just liked the image.
My calendar, the one in my kitchen with the Hubble photos, the stars, and the big, red, fiery galaxy, says today is April something or other. The year 2020. It suggests today rests in the heart of spring. That, today being a weekday, I should be off at my corporate day-job, and that instead of sitting in the quiet gloom of my peaceful little house, I should be pounding my life away in a turbulent office, selling machines to men I’ve never met.
I’m here. At home. Working. Writing. Painting. Listening to the birds. Watching my cat, Bacon, scale the woodshed. Waiting for my son to thump down the stairs and ask for his morning breakfast of apples and Cocoa Pebbles.
I gotta say…
This isn’t how I expected this year to begin.
And honestly, I’m torn about how it’s going. Like a piece of paper. Right down the middle. Half a sheet wants the quarantine to end tomorrow (but not for life to return to normal.) The other half wants this situation, this peace, to last…forever.
I should probably explain.
Part I – The Day Job
You see…it’s like this. The corporate life I described, the selling of industrial machines…it’s been my life for twenty years now. Every day, I abandon (I mean, used to abandon) the comforts of my little house to journey across a major city, drop my son off at school, snare meals when I could, and park my butt in the same chair in the same office, doing the exact same work I’ve always done.
Soulless work, as it happens.
Machines. Metal. Money.
Easily performed from the comfort of my kitchen? Absolutely.
And so now I ponder…
All the years I’ve put in, all the hours in traffic, all the money thrown toward fuel, meals on the go, daycare, school…
All the time lost, the driving, the wear and tear on my trusty car, the exhaustion, the working all day just to collapse in a heap and do it all over the next day…
Because of Coronavirus, because of a disease which has disrupted the flow of everything, suddenly I’m awake. I’m alive. I’m breathing. I’m at home, doing my work in a pool of sunshine, dressed comfortably, glancing out the window at a car I haven’t had to refuel in a month, peering over at my son as he merrily reads his first Tolkien novel – The Hobbit.
Again…this is not what I expected.
As I sit here, basking in soft music, I ask myself – what have I been doing all these years? Why, if I could’ve been doing this work at home (I could have…and been far more productive than while in a distant office) have I garbage-canned two decades of life? Why have any of us, with our wifi, laptop computers, and cell phones, played this absurd game?
I don’t have the answers.
But I do know this:
Now, instead of arriving home after dark every night, a hungry child in tow, an empty bank account, my gas tank on ‘E’, and my shoulders sagging…
To be fair, I’ve always painted. Always. On weekends. During holidays. I took entire vacation weeks, not to leave the house for a sandy beach, but to lock myself indoors and make art. Or write books. Or both.
And now, I paint every day. Without losing hours to a daily commute, I’m free to step away from my corporate work at day’s end and immediately begin creating. Suddenly, what was once weekend adventuring has become my primary source of everything. Income. Happiness. Stress relief. Freedom. I’ve regained a huge chunk of my life. I feel alive.
…because of Coronavirus.
Yes, that same thing which has killed tens of thousands, that disease which fills the supermarkets with Coronazombies, has somehow become a boon to me. And that’s a little messed up, isn’t it? That I should experience a renaissance while thousands of others are struggling. That I should be at peace while my neighbors just up the street can’t pay their mortgage.
A better man might feel guilty. He might look at himself in the mirror and say, “Your peace of mind comes at the price of others’ pain.”
But I don’t have it in me. I can’t feel guilt for no longer wanting to participate in the corporate merry-go-round of work-sleep-work. If I could (and I may yet find a way) I would give a portion of my pay to those who actually need to go into work. To the builders. The makers. The laborers. They should make more. And maybe when this is over, they will. But for me, who can literally do my work while loincloth-clad and sitting atop a grassy hill in the middle of nowhere, I question the whole point of offices. Of cubicles. Of traffic. Of executives flying across the world every day…when the meeting could’ve just been an email.
And I’m grateful to, at least for the moment, have escaped it.
I’m just sorry it took a pandemic to make this possible.
Part II – Love Distance Love
In case I made it seem like it’s all strawberries and cream, allow me to elucidate.
There’s a girl, you see.
And she lives 770 miles away.
It’s how life goes, isn’t it? For every see there’s a saw. For every up, a down. In this case, for as fortunate as I’ve been to awaken to a better life because of the quarantine, I’ve been unlucky in this crucial way.
I have no way of seeing the love of my life.
For many reasons, it’s impossible right now. Her city and mine have enforced rigorous lockdowns. We both have children who need us to stay put. While I’m locked away in artistic hermitude with my one son, she’s virtually imprisoned with her entire family, seven people, in a small rural household.
In the best of times, long-distance love is hard. Actually, hard isn’t the word. I prefer the term ‘routinely heartbreaking.’ The one person I want to see more than any other (my son notwithstanding) is the one person I can’t get to. Folks online wisecrack that their marriages might not endure the quarantine, that they might go insane spending all day with their spouse, their kids, their domestic life…and here I am, wishing I could just have a few hours, a few days, a quick break in the fabric of Corona-tude in which to hold hands with my love.
So for all my pontificating about how legendarily wonderful it is to have escaped corporate servitude, I’m torn. Like paper. In half.
With the pandemic, I’m free to live, to breathe, to exist outside the wasteful and traffic-riddled rituals of office life.
But with the quarantine, I can’t do the one thing I most desire.
I can’t look her in the eyes. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not likely for a long, long while.
I used to joke with her that we were like a military couple. One of us would get a moment’s leave from our batallion and use it to spend a few days with the other. But now it feels like a war has broken out, and that the best we can do is to write each other letters from distant battlefields. Words on a page, photos on a phone…they’re quite lovely, yet hardly a substitute for a moonlit walk, a kiss, or a shared meal.
First-world problems, right? That’s what I tell myself. People are out there struggling to pay their bills, mourning the loss of loved ones, and dying…and I’m sitting here in shorts, working from the most pleasant office in the world, soaking up the morning sun.
But even so…
…this strange balance of good fortune and heart-rending separation…
…I won’t say it’s easy.
Part III – Artistic Liberation
Ultimately, all this time alone might be accidentally ideal.
If I can’t yet see my girl, and if corporate life doesn’t have to be its typically grueling thing for the moment, I have but one choice…
More than ever before.
It’s been three weeks so far. Three weeks of isolation from everyone in the world except an eight-year old boy (who, much to my amazement, is a quiet, thoughtful bookworm.)
Three weeks of artistic hermitude.
And it promises to last a while longer.
While the world ruminates, and while everyone who’s not me craves a swift return to normal societal life (‘Why?’ I would ask) I’ve essentially started an art commune. In my kitchen and garage. For one. Paintings are flying off my brush, and flying off my walls. Thank goodness for art-lovers, collectors, and people who support local business. With their support, I’ve reached a joyous place.
I get to create.
I get to support myself with my creations.
I get to improve my craft, and enjoy the sort of peace I haven’t felt since…ever.
When corporate life reboots (And being the capitalistic nature of America, it will) I won’t have to go back. I’ll have a choice. With the strange set of circumstances surrounding Coronavirus, and the partial crumbling of yesteryear’s surprisingly fragile economy, I’ve been impossibly fortunate. I’m as grateful as one human can be. I also feel a sense of great responsibility, not to rest on my laurels and soak up the freedom, but to work harder than ever. To paint more. To write better books. To educate my son without indoctrinating him. To make no waste. To leave a tiny footprint (carbon or otherwise) on the world.
To both thrive and honor this existence.
Yes, maybe I am the guy in the desert. Maybe I really am striding alone atop a sandy dune.
But it’s ok.
Despite everything, I count myself as one of the luckiest guys in the universe.
However, if anyone wants to kidnap my girl and bring her to me, the first ten paintings are free…
Stay safe out there.
Join my one-man art commune here.
I’m J Edward.
I paint. A lot. Maybe too much. Honestly, these days, it’s all I do. If I’m not painting, I’m preparing canvasses. If I’m not prepping, I’m conceptualizing new trees, new landscapes, new ways to end the world.
All day. Every day. And most of the nights, too.
Yes. It’s true. I have no social life. I live in a colorful hole, and I’m fine with it.
For the last two years, life has been good to me. I’ve found myself able to make a living almost purely via art. It’s a dreamlike state, and surely one I never thought I’d reach. Yet here I am, up to my elbows in Mars Black and Unbleached Titanium, knee-deep in stacks of pristine canvasses gleaned from the shelves of the local Michael’s craft store. My house is a museum, almost every square inch of my walls covered up by images of trees, ships, towers, and strange, surrealistic objects.
It’s a good life.
But there is one thing.
One little dilemma.
A small something about which my collectors have reached out and tapped me on my shoulder.
I never sign my work.
The other day, a nice lady who’d just purchased several originals and prints sent me a message. She was very polite. Very reasonable. “I was disappointed,” she said. “None of the pieces were signed.”
She explained her distress at length, and I tried (and hopefully succeeded) in politely and honestly explaining myself.
“I never sign them,” I said. “It’s about the art, not the artist.”
“It’s just a thing with me.”
She never did reply. As of today, I’m not sure whether she understood. Or appreciated my view. Or whether she quietly fumed and plotted never again to buy from me.
Frankly, I get it.
Truth is…original art isn’t quite like any other consumer purchase. It’s just not. Sure, a signed Spiderman # 1 comic might fetch a high price, but it’s not the only Spiderman # 1, and it’s probably not the only signed one, either. Paintings, especially canvas paintings properly varnished and cared for, have a long, long shelf (or wall) life, and tend to endure the ages better than other items, given that they are rarely touched, typically only viewed.
What I’m really getting at is…
…what my point is…
…my art will outlive me.
Being of only modest talent and ambition, I’m never going to be the next Van Gogh or H.R. Giger or Zdzislaw Beksinki. And yet, I’ve still created things, unique things, in which my beloved patrons have placed much faith. These objects, well cared for, might sit upon their walls, their children’s walls, for many decades to come. With any luck, I’ll be long gone before they start to decay, and the slow entropy of the years wears down their color.
And finally, on that day, the person who created them (me) will no longer be recognized as their creator. These creations will become creator-less. Orphans, if you will, haunting the walls of people who haven’t the faintest idea who I am…or who I was. They’ll become free, in a way. Unbound to me.
If I sit on my couch and dwell on it, I realize something:
Most artists are not okay with this arrangement.
I suppose, not signing a painting (or a sculpture, or any hand-crafted item) is a little like having a child and giving it no last name. It’s maybe a bit like having a favorite pet, then forgetting it once it passes on. To some collectors and artists, it might even be considered arrogant. I’ve been called as much by a few buyers. And on the same subject, I’ve been asked, “Why? Why don’t you sign them? Don’t you want to be remembered?”
The short answer is…
…way deep down…
I don’t care about being remembered.
And while it may challenge the prevailing wisdom of signing one’s art with a flourish (or at least subtly inking the back of the canvas) I know I’m not the only one. To me, the art really is all about the art. My part, creating it, is my joy, my passion, and oftentimes my suffering. But after I’m done, after each piece ends up on someone else’s wall, it becomes no longer mine to claim. My part in the story ends with each painting that leaves my walls, and a fresh story begins in the dwelling of its new owner.
To me, my reasoning feels genuine. Simple. Honest.
These created things spend mere moments in my hands, and possibly lifetimes in the presence of others.
And truly, art belongs to everyone. What I see and feel as I create in each piece has no bearing on what its owner will feel.
So perhaps, in the end, my true signature is…
…no signature at all.
We’ll leave it at that.