Thursday, 4 November 2010

Mad fantastical magical genius

Intrigued (and also a bit piqued) by this British artist, Austin Osman Spare, that I'd never ever heard of. Contemporary of Aleister Crowley, drew like Aubrey Beardsley, mad Blake-ian artist type... How can I have never heard of him, or come across him ever? Everybody else has, like Alan Moore on the Culture Show. Had you?

"... Monstrous or fantastic magical and sexual imagery", genius draughtsman, fiercely anti-commercial. Sounds my cup of tea. Anyway he's on at the perfectly named Cuming Museum, anybody want to see it with me?

“I have had a hard life, but I blame nobody but myself. I am responsible for my own misfortunes. I am rather apt to butt at a brick wall at times, and find, in the end, I cannot do any good about it. I cannot change things, so I give it my best.”


  1. Injured and no bed! And he still worked. This and the Paddy Hill story in The Guardian Law section today have me thinking about suffering.

  2. Are we sure Alan Moore didn’t make him up? Like William Boyd and Nat Tate?

  3. Poor Paddy Hill. Sometimes you can really see what a rotten callous machine the state is. 'I wake up every morning and all I can think about is killing cops. But I'm not evil: I'm traumatised and I desperately need help. I have spent the last 20 years begging the state to help me' You'd think it was the least they could do!

    Tim, I did wonder. If Alan Moore were to make up an artist, that is exactly the artist he'd make up. But apparently his work is in the V&A and the RA. (William Boyd cheekily included Nat Tate as a character in Any Human Heart later on.)

  4. Wasn't he one of the artists pastiched by Moore in Lost Girls?

  5. I haven't read Lost Girls Billy. It looked a bit pervy (in a dirty old man kind of way) but I'm sure it's good.