Douglas Mcdougall is a geographer of the human face and psyche.
Charcoal-driven perceived notions bound to phrenological psychoanalytical surrealism is the method in which he records the life into his chosen subjects.
In his most recent series ‘A New God’, Theo (the bearded one) plays the Devil’s advocate out to confront new age society’s ails.
Like the anthropomorphic being Golem (from Jewish folklore), or modern day Frankenstein, he is mobilised, pushed out into the forum to confront the only God in man that can lead us through the ever perpetuating paradigm of life.
Inside and outside of who we are, what we achieve and what we do to one another as a the primary species.
The mark of man’s ‘ego’ has always set the terms, ploughed the patterns of education, construction of life and contradictory deconstruction within the human evolutionary pathways.
Is it not wisdom, imagination and willpower that is the only true God, and everything else is just that; everything else…
You are your new God.
‘by carving into the paper in a particular way, one can feel the power and the magic and the luck. The face is a mirror of the soul – for better or worse. Portraiture is my way of understanding and encapsulating the ongoing museum of human experience, to show who we really are, body and spirit’.
Douglas Mc Dougall learned how to draw as a child to pass the time while going in and out of hospitals with a blood disease. He spent countless hours in hospital wards trying to draw his surroundings, and the experience fueled his passion for art.
In his younger years, the 50-year-old artist used to do a lot of pen and ink illustration work during the night, after coming home from his day job, but eventually settled on charcoal as his medium of choice. He is currently based in Scotland.
This remarkable woodcut image comes from Charles Estienne’s (1501-1564) De Dissectione Partium corporis Humani linri tres, a 375-page opus illustrated with 62 fantastic full-page woodcuts and published in 1545.
This work is surpassed I think only by the masterpiece Fabrica by Vesalius (1543)–the great standard of anatomical illustration.
Actually, historians have determined that the Estienne book was about ready to go in 1539, but due to a variety of problems, was not published until two years following his fellow-classmate’s Vesalius’ work.
Had things gone a little differently for Estienne, he would most certainly enjoy more ethereal fame than he does now, though I’m sure some of that would be diminished by the weird and exotic nature of many of his prints.
Vesalius chose a somewhat more pragmatic approach, though just about everyone would seem so compared to Estienne. The Estienne work comes at the beginning of the wave of spectacularly illustrated early book. T
he beautiful mind here in Estienne’s effort is perhaps the most lovely of all of his illustrations–it is also the most unusual, and the most perspective-abusing.
Our subject is seated in a seemingly-normal armchair of the period, except that the posts lack arms. The perspective is such that the chair back seems to alternate position, an apparent illusion, changing from front-to-back and back-to-front, while the chair back posts seem to also alternate heights.
Nothing else seems to quite work either: the floor is at odds with the walls and ceiling, the window is falling inwards, and the chair (again) seems to float when you look at the ceiling.Be that as it may, the dissection of the brain takes place with the cadaver in the chair, the body held there with pins (one of which is seen coming through the right shoulder.
The four elements of the brain identified A to D are explained in the ornamental legend at top. We can see the rest of the top of the head placed on the stool at left, just in case anyone was wondering.
Again, the Estienne book was a magnificent and somewhat twisty-unusual accomplishment.
Had he published in 1539, which was a definite “maybe”, it would be Estienne who would’ve been known for introducing such things as the first time the entire human body was discussed and illustrated, and the first time that a serial dissection was presented and illustrated.
But he didn’t get the job done in ’39, and so he is not known for these things. But almost.
Something happened to Estienne in 1561: after he had been appointed printer to the king of France, things went badly, and he went into bankruptcy, evidently dying in debtors prison in 1564. fine, old, principled and somewhat-monied family or not, Estienne didn’t last long in incarceration.
Traditional tattoo designs, like anchors, swallows, and nautical stars, are popping up on the arms and ankles of kids in every hip neighborhood from Brooklyn to Berlin, Sao Paulo to San Francisco.
Yet these young land lubbers probably don’t even know the difference between a schooner and a ship, much less where the term “groggy” comes from. (Hint: Grog once referred to a watered-down rum issued by the British Royal Navy to every sailor over age 20.)
“There’s no way to take a tattoo home, except in your skin.”
In fact, contemporary tattooing in the West can be traced to the 15th century, when European pilgrims would mark themselves with reminders of locations they visited, as well as the names of their hometowns and spouses to help identify their bodies should they die during their travels.
“The attractions of tattoos for itinerant populations are quite obvious,” says tattoo-art historian Matt Lodder.
“They can’t be lost or stolen and they don’t encumber an already heavily burdened traveler, so it’s not a surprise that they became inextricably linked with sailors.”
Though tattooing was already present in much of Europe, during the 1700s, the visibility of exotic voyages taken by the likes of Captain James Cook helped cement the connection between tattoos and seafaring men in the popular media.
The English word “tattoo” is actually a descendant of the Tahitian word “tatau,” which Cook recorded after a stop on the island while travelling in the South Pacific.
Captain Elvy, who worked as a sideshow attraction, displays his beautiful back piece designed by “Sailor” George Fosdick.
European explorers frequently returned with tattooed foreigners to exhibit as oddities in the West, like Omai, the native Raiatean man Cook presented to King George and members of British royal society. Such publicity soon ignited a more widespread fascination with body art.