Michael Kerbow is an artist based in San Francisco who works in a variety of mediums including painting, assemblage, drawing and digital photography.
Of particular note are his large oil and acrylic paintings that depict surreal and at times nightmarish visions of the future, where industry and human development has grown without regulation or care for the environment.
My work explores the way in which we engage with our surroundings and the possible consequences our actions have upon the world in which we live. Through my work I attempt to question the rationale of our choices, and try to reveal the dichotomy that may exist between what we desire and what we manifest.
Recently my work has focused upon the mechanisms that power our society and examines how they may influence the construct for a possible future.
During his time spent in Hong Kong, Thailand, and China, American painter Brian Mashburn observed a worryingly escalating urban condition: the growth of cities, industry, and urban populations are nearing out-of-control state, with potentially disastrous implications for both nature and human society.
Mashburn has channeled these feelings and concerns into his exquisite oil paintings depicting a post-apocalyptic future with natural and industrial elements together with a touch of sublime Romanticism, seemingly taking inspiration from 19th century German painter Caspar David Friedrich.
Like the seductive draw of an epic disaster, he travels this path towards overload in both subject matter and style.
Comparing his methodical brushstrokes to to the monotonous processes of mass production, Mashburn observes, “In the end, they both produce a polluted, drab landscape.”
This stubbornness also speaks to the self-destructive tendencies of modern society- where the depletion of resources is protected, and celebrated, as a staple of “freedom.”
Mashburn graduated from UNC (Chapel Hill) in 2002 with a BFA in Painting and Drawing and currently lives and works in NC.
A daguerrotype of Poe made several months before his death in 1849.
Posted By Eliza Strickland.
During the waning months of 1847, Edgar Allan Poe sat at his desk with a tortoiseshell cat draped around his shoulders and dreamed the universe into being.
Poe believed the book he wrote in that feline-festooned state to be his best work, and he expected its impact to resonate through the ages. It did not. The book, Eureka: A Prose Poem, was largely ignored at the time, and has been dismissed by most Poe scholars as the ramblings of an armchair cosmologist.
Yet in that book, Poe presented a spooky intuitive description of the Big Bang theory more than 70 years before astrophysicists came up with the idea.
At the time, Poe lived in the rural village of Fordham (now part of the Bronx) in a small cottage suffused with a miasma of melancholy.
His beloved wife, Virginia, whom he had taken as a child bride when she was just 13, had died in that cottage earlier in the year, leaving Poe in despair.
With life and death heavy on his mind, he turned his thoughts to the origin of the universe—and to its ultimate fate.
He began by contemplating gravity, which he defined as “the fact that every atom attracts every other atom,” and he then wondered about the source of that attraction. His startling conclusion was that matter’s natural state is “oneness,” and that the universe began in that state.
But the “primordial particle” was blown apart, seeding space with atoms that long to be reunited. Here’s the key passage in which Poe describes his version of the Big Bang:
Let us now endeavor to conceive what Matter must be, when, or if, in its absolute extreme of Simplicity. Here the Reason flies at once to Imparticularity — to a particle — to one particle — a particle of one kind — of one character — of one nature — of one size — of one form — a particle, therefore, “without form and void” — a particle positively a particle at all points — a particle absolutely unique, individual, undivided, and not indivisible only because He who created it, by dint of his Will, can by an infinitely less energetic exercise of the same Will, as a matter of course, divide it….
The willing into being the primordial particle, has completed the act, or more properly the conception, of Creation. We now proceed to the ultimate purpose for which we are to suppose the Particle created — that is to say, the ultimate purpose so far as our considerations yet enable us to see it — the constitution of the Universe from it, the Particle.
How can we not feature something that boasts airships, Arctic wastes, tentacles and sensuality – all at once? Impossible, I say! So here is the “Airships and Tentacles” Series by Myke Amend, combining Vernian and Lovecraftian atmosphere and concepts into strange-fiction fantasy horror mashups:
—- What are your influences, besides the obvious Lovecraft references and airship-induced themes?
“I would count my artistic influences over my lifetime as: Gustav Dore, Pieter Brueghel (the Elder mostly, but I admire the entire family’s work) Zdzislaw Beksinski, Bethalynne Bajema, Michael Whelan, Derek Riggs, Dave McKean, and Gerald Brom – though recently I have found myself very drawn by the works of newer artists such as Brian Despain, Travis Louie, Chet Zar, and Chris Mars.
I don’t see any of which really showing in my works, regretfully, but they are there – each encouraging me to try something new and experimental in the styling, media, or feel of each work I do.
I am also influenced by the written works of Edgar Allen Poe, Algernon Blackwood, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H.G. Wells, Robert W. Chambers, Gordon R. Dickson, Tolkien, Jules Verne, Terry Brooks, H.P. Lovecraft, Mary Shelley, Neil Gaiman, and Warren Ellis.
In my teen years, it was music – gloomy gothy music, deathrock, horror punk ordered by mail or shared through duplicated cassettes – and the largest assortment of obscure and semi-unknown metal and progressive metal bands – many of which I picked out of the music store almost entirely according to their album art, hence Derek Riggs (Illustrator for Iron Maiden) listed in my artistic influences.
Most influential, especially in my youth, outside of Dungeons and Dragons and Dark Sun campaigns, were the entire series of Final Fantasy games, the Dragon Warrior games, as well as Chrono-Cross and Chrono Trigger – leading into my earlier adult years with games such as the Heroes of Might and Magic series, Xenosaga, Dark Cloud, and Dark Cloud II.
Audio-visual eye-candy tends to grab me more than anything else these days. This perhaps because I regrettably find myself with less time for reading or for visiting my favorite museums.
Doctor Who, Torchwood, The Golden Compass, Stardust, Mirrormask, Pan’s Labyrinth, City of Lost Children, Chronos, Howl’s Moving Castle, Casshern, Brazil, the Adventures of Baron Munchausen account for much of what I have been doing over this last year or so.”
“The Machine” was done for for Josh Pfeiffer/the Steampunk Industrial Band “Vernian Process”.