Thursday, October 23, 2014

Women of the Wild: the Work of Rik Garrett

"Earth Magic" was my way of investigating this way of historically making women the "other,"

Rik Garrett

When I first heard about Earth Magic, I was skeptical. A book combining photography and the talismanic world of witchcraft didn't seem like the most comfortable mix. I envisioned women in witch hats posed in a ridiculous fashion. How could witchcraft be captured in all of its raw beauty with the snap of the lens? We live in a world where the ways of our past are increasingly sold as nothing more than brief explosions of pop culture. I grew up believing that witchcraft was sacred, therefore I am always wary when books like this cross my path.

Yet something gave me hope, and that was Fulgur. If Fulgur had taken the decision to publish Rik Garret’s Earth Magic, then surely there was more to it than my preconceived notions. The independent publishing house of Fulgur doesn’t often back artists working and exhibiting in the US. I figured that maybe this was my chance to be pleasantly surprised. With that in mind I packed my things and drove down to New York to attend a signing in a small bookshop in Brooklyn in which Garret was scheduled to speak.

I walked into Catland having never laid my eyes on a piece of his work. As I sat in the dark and crowded room, all that lay on the screen before me was the cover of his book.

Enter Rik Garrett.

Garrett doesn't fit in with the stereotypes that one associates with a self-proclaimed witch. There was no long hair, nor an abundance of finger jewelry. He exuded charm as he spoke about the historical context of witchcraft. As the slides changed he explained some of his own personal magical working, his ideas seemingly matching well with a lot of my own thoughts. There were no buzz words, there was no spouting off orders that he was a part of. It was natural. His talk flowed with life. It was about will. I was intrigued yet still hesitant. I was yet to see his work.

Then the slide changed and the first image of his work came through.

I was stricken.

His work makes you feel like a voyeur sneaking glimpses into a world that isn't for human eyes. You feel like an intruder peeking into something that is beyond time, magic appears to be taking place right in front of you. If I could go back in time I would have researched his work beforehand so that I wasn't taken away so dramatically. It would have made it easier for me to focus on his talk. Upon glimpsing his work I was uncontrollably pulled from where I was and into the sacred and haunting place of the wild women.

The next day I made my way over to an exhibit that was featuring his collection at the Stephen Romano Gallery. Four different exhibits were showing, all inspired by witchcraft. I made my way to Garretts exhibit. Walking in was like stepping into the private inner sanctum of those wild women. In contrast to the previous evening, the exhibit took place in a bright and airy location. On the floor there was a painted circle. The walls held perfectly placed sigils. There were no distractions as we gazed upon original pieces of his art. The room was mixture of witchcraft and clean western mysticism.

There again, were the images from Earth Magic that had so enraptured me. Once again I was taken away, transported beyond myself into a world so completely perfect.


Rik Garretts work can be viewed at the Stephen Romano Gallery at 111 Front Street in Brooklyn, NY through November 30th
You can follow him through his site:
And follow his documentation of Chicago's Occult History at Occult Chicago

I would highly recommend you pick up a copy of his new book Earth Magic

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sweet As Death: Allie Hartley's Visions

"Wonder had gone away, and he had forgotten that all life is only a set of pictures in the brain, among which there is no difference betwixt those born of real things and those born of inward dreamings, and no cause to value the one above the other."

- HP Lovcraft (from the Silver Key)

Within the realm of occultic creations there are a few artists that stand out. They create images that pull from the deepest parts of our psyches. When you see the images they weave you know them, and you feel yourself take in the beauty from someplace deeper inside than just an onlooker. You are not merely a bystander, you are transported to another dimension, another place. Somewhere darker and more, in the most meaningful manifestation of that word, than your daily life often provides.

Amid this there is an artist, if artist ever had more meaning, and her name is Allie Hartley.

With the simplest of utensils she forces creation from someplace far away, yet so close to where and who we are. Her work is patterned after the ideas and visions of our world. A shaded version of our world. Where magic and mystery still dance. Where behind every shadow there is something that lurks, something that is hiding and waiting for you to look away.

Walk around that corner, down that alley way, along and beneath the aging architecture of the city, you will find the men and women, or better yet the ladies and gentlemen, of the night and the monsters that populate the world. Those very monsters who walk among us, breathing heavily, working ritual, bringing forth wonders and death all around us. And if you open that doorway that you find down that empty alley you'll walk right into the strangest of happenings.

Whether it is the workings of some ancient Egyptian cult, skrying down the angels from the sky, or speaking with beings from another planet, you will find what it is you have been so scared to look at, so fearful that you would find. That very moment that will haunt you as long as you live here on this plane. There is no place she is unwilling to go, no taboo part of history that she is not willing to pull from the pages of ancient texts and lather with the spew of some Lovecraftian monster.

You can further explore her work on Deviant Art and help support and further her work through Etsy 

She has had showings across the US, from Rochester, NY to Los Angeles, CA

( Chill of the Evening, The Seventh Star, and Escape is a Hoax have been provided by Allie Hartley for this article.)