I don’t know if it’s art, but I like it

Mahatma Gandhi in Typewriter Art

I was recently reading a post regarding typewriter art, the grand-daddy of ASCII art. If you thought it was arduous in a word processor, imagine the patience you’d need to do that on a typewriter? That’s monk level dedication, either that or you’d die from liquid paper fumes.

This reminded me of my previous post on chalk art and some other unconventional media for art. Perhaps my most favourite is ‘fantasy art': the hallmark or cheesy fantasy/action movies, heavy metal album covers and Sandman panel vans.

The three unholy pillars of this particular art form would have to be:

Barbarian art (aka cheesy action movie)

'Selene' by Clyde CaldwellYou know what I mean, think Arnie, cold steel and animal skins. There were a whole bunch of these movies in the late 70s and early 80s, including of course the Conan series of films. Since it’s taken off as an independent art form of it’s own, with many artists making a living from this!

There’s something strangely enticing about these images, but I just can’t put my finger on it.

So synonymous is this genre with some-what dodgy movies, that it’s often the subject of spoof—the films Army of Darkness and National Lampoon’s Vacation spring to mind.

Heavy metal album art

'Master of the Moon' by DioI can’t say which came first, the barbarian movies or the evil albums, but these are awesome. My personal favourites are albums by Iron Maiden (with that cute recurring skeletal chap!) and Dio. Excellent stuff. By the way, my thanks goes to Frankie Death for allowing me—or not as was more likely the case—to ‘backup’ his collection of Iron Maiden and Megadeth CDs :)

Of course you can’t discuss this genre without discussing the covers of albums by Cannibal Corpse, which are…disturbing.

Auto art

Panel-van mural by Hans KreuzenImagine driving around Sydney in the early 80s with Conan and some nude chick on the side of your van? I remember seeing lots of these when I was growing up (yes, I’m a westie) but nothing seems to remain of this once proud Aussie institution of manhood.

Of course it’s not just Sandman panel vans any more, airbrushing is now a form of high art in hot rod and custom shops (think American Chopper or American Hot Rod). Whilst the late model car customisation scene is also big on elaborate airbrushing, it’s normally more ‘flames and stripes’ rather than ‘swords and skin’ variety.

I was surprised to find quite a few custom paint shops in Australia, such as Kreative Power, House of Kolor and Advanced Airbrush. How pissed would you be if a pigeon shat on that?!