Didn't mean for the second installment of this series to be so far behind the other one, but my head got stuck in less important stuff...reading, work, you know, the usual. At any rate, this category seems to make sense for me: commissioned pieces.
My husband and I are very unusual gift-givers: books,games, and dvds are infrequent options, along with other standards like clothes, because we usually just get those things as they come out, and there's a rotation in this house of books that don't get a permanent place on the shelf, and video games too, so for us, media can be impersonal. And we're a very affectionate couple (I know, blech!), so we show our love in other ways. Like with museum quality mummy linen. I'm dead serious. BUT, as that is not a one of a kind thing he created just for me, I'll stick in this post just to those kinds of things.
The first commission, sweetly enough, was a portrait of me, done for my birthday. This was when we had just started dating, the first occasion we had to exchange gifts with each other. We also got our wedding date written in Mayan Calendar style on our honeymoon. Nice and colorful, and personal. Then, things got weird.
We tend to be repeat customers of artists we love, so I have lots of things from M.S. Corley, who is now designing some of the most beautiful book covers I've ever seen for Valancourt Books and others. It started out with Lovecraftian portraiture, like a hall of descendants--with Wilbur Whateley, Obed Marsh, and Nathaniel Peasely, among others. This one, an inked sketch of the crucial scene of M.R. James's "The Mezzotint," is one of my absolute favorites. This is the animated image from his blog.
Other sketchwork includes another literary reference, this time to Matthew Lewis' The Monk. If you're the kind of person to read this blog, and you haven't read this definitive Gothic title, shut down this page and go do it right now. It's that goddamn good. This is a scene of the Bloody Nun, an apparition that one of the protagonists of the story draws after hearing the legend attached to her abode. I'm simply thrilled with the details of the characters, their expressions, and the architecture. Just as much care was given to the paper, stained with tea for age, and Goya as an influential stylist--a great success.
More complicated pieces: Hubby and I are tremendous Vincent Price fans. A memorable one is House of Usher, inspired by the Poe story "The Fall of the House of Usher." In this film, Price's character Usher showcases a series of family portraits, done for the film by Burt Schoenberg, considered an experimental artist to capture the insane and the bizarre in this images. Some of the originals sadly disappeared, which made getting the reproduction you see here very, very difficult. But the result was excellent, no?
Then there's the model car from the Etsy shop Classic Wrecks, modeled after Dante Ford's beat-up '57 Chevy in my husband's novel Grim Devices. It wasn't enough to have the car and the color right, I just had to include the blood and teeth of the neo-Nazi who gets his face broken on the fin. Obviously.
One I'm most proud of is the Lutin, done by the sculpture genius Jacob Petersson. His style is incredible, and was a perfect match to represent the classic French trope of the lutin, written chillingly well in Andy's short story, "Sac a Dos," in Silver Blade magazine Just as I had hoped he would, the lutin appears to float on his perch, sitting on an invisible plane. This one was probably the coolest, because Jacob kept me involved in the process, and I got to see pictures of various stages as the magic happened. I'm so pleased with this one, and it will travel with us wherever we go.
As for what's next? Well, cover art for books doesn't just make itself...I'm very pleased with the writing of A Vision in Crimson, first installment in my series of epic romantic fantasy infused with the paranormal. It's a one of a kind story, and it should have a one of a kind cover. Stay tuned.