Collector Profile: David The Artman Collects Drumkits

David The Artman solves art installation issues by day and becomes a globe-trotting rock/pop/country drummer by night. In other words, he’s living the dream. Then there is his third dimension – Drumkit Collector. We love our passionate Collector psychology, so what’s his all about?

MOLAM: Hi Dave. How long have you been collecting drums?

DK: Not long really. 3 – 4 years…

When did you notice the change from ‘buying’ a set of drums to ‘collecting’ them?

having gone from the family’s kit , then my brothers and eventually my own kit through my teens to the big rack mounted Pearl drumkit endorsement deal in my 20’s then with my musical influences changing I thought I’d like to scale right back to a little sixties kit ….with my eye on of course a prized Ludwig Ringo Starr Beatle kit…. Dream on….I’d settled for an early 70’s Premier jazz kit in Grey Shimmer. Still not satisfied after a few years I found a 1968 Ludwig (not a Ringo) but a Psychedelic Oyster.. Satisfied with the psychedelic oyster for about 7 years… Then I thought I should sell the Premier.. I took some photos to post and was looking at them and I thought why am I selling this.. I didnt need the money.. I have the room.. Why can’t I have 2 drum kits and so on and so on…. Down the slippery slope I went…

1968 Ludwig 'psychedelic oyster'

1968 Ludwig ‘psychedelic oyster’

Do you have a collecting criteria (brand, era, aesthetic, sound…)?

Not a strict criteria, I’m not really fussed about the brand. some are really cheap Japanese kits from the sixties that were competing against the better USA brands of the time so they look awesome in appearance with their funky colourful wraps (exterior finish) but the wooden drum shells underneath are of a much thinner 3ply lesser quality wood and are constructed a little differently.
Era – mostly 60’s and 70’s not by choice but just because I love the wraps they were producing back then..mine are mostly smaller sized bass drum or jazz kits too… I like the smaller kits as I’m short and I like to sit high behind the kit so the kit is lower down and flat then a rock kit that would have larger diameters and depths meaning all a bit higher..
Sound – with the older kits they do have a unique tone compared to kits of today… Kits today can weigh a ton… 10ply shells and I find them very loud.. I like the older high quality kits like the ludwigs and yamaha for their thinner shells and distinct tone. Kits can vary so much with the type of skin and also just by the player…. A great player can make the cheapest nastiest kit sound awesome…
And also some are just unique or odd fashionable kits too… I have a clear acrylic ‘fibes’ USA kit from the 70’s and a ‘Simmons’ hexagon electronic kit…. Just waiting for Duran Duran reform…?

1972 USA Fibes 'clear acrylic'

1972 USA Fibes ‘clear acrylic’

(Oh, dearest Dave, that is so sweet and funny, as if Duran Duran ever split up. They were here performing 3 years ago. Timeless.)  So, do you play all of your kits ?

They do all get played from time to time.. I have favourites… I’ll be into a particular kit for awhile then for whatever reason choose another kit and then back again… .

Do they all have a turn going out to gigs with you?

Yep, absolutely. I like to mix it up. keep my drummer friends jealous and also depending on the band ie: pop, rock, country the sound of the kit or venue, stage size etc..

How egalitarian of you, like trying not to favour a particular child or something. And showing off to boot! How many kits do you have now?

mmmm 10 if you count the cheapy I found at a garage sale which our cat Monkee uses the bass drum for a bed entering through the microphone hole.

Any musicians of note played / owned them?

The only one I’m aware of is the Premier kit I was told belonged to Jim Elliott From the Cruel Sea.. A few years back I was drumming on Jim Moginie’s (midnight oil) solo record Atlas Folkloric with the brief NOT to play like legendary powerhouse oils drummer Rob Hirst, However one song required Robs special touch.. So Jim got him in.. My kit had been re-skinned for the session with my sticks leaving hit and scuffs marks in the centre of all the drums from about 2weeks of recording … Rob comes in, played one song, two takes and the skins were beaten and scuffed over the entire surface of the skin… Id never witnessed Robs manic playing up close before, totally mind blowing! He definitely gave my kit his special touch. And a lovely guy to boot. (Rob also owns several vintage Ludwig drumkits).

How fantastic! Where are your drums, are they all set up or do you have to put them in storage?

I have large rumpus room down stairs in my house where I have them semi set up with one being set up in the middle of the room with all the cymbals etc. then when I feel like a change its really simple to swap over just the drums…. The set up configuration for all my kits is the same so the cymbals and stands just remain where they are and the drums switch in and out.. Same as my live set up, I have a second set of stands and cymbals which stay in the road cases… Then when it’s gig time I grab the two road case and play eany meany miney mo with what ever kit I want to use a for the gig… I also have a kit setup in the lounge room upstairs, so when I get the urge at any given time day or night or a song comes on the radio or at 2 in the morning after a few wines I can have a bash… and its great whenever anyone visits young or old they always sit behind it and have a little tap tap saying ‘I always wanted to play drums’ or ‘I wish I could play drums’ … ‘can you show me something’ …. It’s a fun thing to have…

" My 'temple of boom' "

It is wonderful to have your collection available to visitors – interactive. People seem to reveal parts of themselves when they are around a collection – it doesn’t seem to matter if it’s art, jewellery, drums, smurfs. It’s fascinating. What is the rarest kit in your collection and why?

I guess it’s the 1968 Ludwig Psychedelic Oyster, from what I’ve researched not to many of these were made.. And only a few made it to our shores… The colour is no longer available from Ludwig … I was at a drum store once chatting to the sales guy and he asked what I was playing – psyc oyster etc and he goes wow not to many of them around. Turns to his filing cabinet pulls out a photo of one…. Thats it! that’s mine… The photo was of a really old fella behind it… I knew it was mine as the legs that hold the bass drum and the tom mount had unfortunately been updated.. Sales guy said the old guy would hobble in to his store like arthritic death but sit behind a kit and just come alive… I’m glad his kit lives on, And I hope the old fella is too.

I feel the same way with pieces in my collection. It is the history, and sense of playing a caretaker role, that makes one keenly aware of the people who have cared for the piece before you. Indirect relationships.

Have you had to restore any of them?

I haven’t had to do much actual repair work..Generally I just remove all the chrome give it a good polish and give the shells a good clean. the skins are generally pretty tired so at times I buy new skins for my favourite kits and hand there skins down to the other kits.. Re-skinning a whole kit top and bottom is quite costly so I usually wait until I’m doing some recording or touring and do it then. The Yamaha ‘yellow dragon’ had the wrap unfortunately ripped on the top so I flipped it to the bottom and drilled new holes for the legs and Tom mounts… So the damage is not seen now..

1970 Yamaha 'Gold Dragon'

1970 Yamaha ‘Gold Dragon’

We all love a bargain story. Which one was your best buy?

The one Monkee sleeps in.. $30 at a garage sale.. It’s a smallish kit and will be for my littlest nephews to annoy their parents with.. .. They love coming around and playing on all the drums..one is showing some signs he has what it takes… I have hooked my older nephews up with kits too but they haven’t really taken to it… Funnily enough its one of my nieces who I think has the gift… And if she sticks at it she will always have a gig… What band doesn’t want a cool chick up the back on the tubs?

Cool chicks are the best. How old were you when you started playing?

….Started when I was around 10yrs old encouraged by my parents providing a family of six kids a little japanses Star drumkit … Were they out of their minds?my older brother then got his own kit when he was 14 which was a significant upgrade from the Star kit with a few more cymbals and Tomtoms, he being able to teach his little brother (me) a few things until I surpassed him pushing him to the front of the microphone in our first band.. (Forgotten the name ) but I believe my mum knows Led Zepplin 4 as well as I do ?

And now finally what is your dream drumkit to own?

A Ringo of course… and im very fortunate to own the dream.. A ‘Ludwig 1966 ‘black oyster’ There were obviously hundreds if not thousands of these kits made but rare to find one that’s been so well looked after and in Australia …. I’m only the second owner…its a beautiful kit, records nice and always gets comments at gigs by other drummers, sound guys, punters and if they can stop talking about themselves for just a minute even some guitarists..although this is a very rare occasion (Insert drummer joke here). I know there will be a day when I possibly have to move all the kits along but it will never be the Ringo.. I just love it. For years i would look at beatles pictures, video clips etc and think “man I’d love one of those”… Its a huge part of pop music history, the most famous looking drumkit on the planet and now I have one!! I’d like to think mine was sitting on those same shelves in the ludwig factory right next to the same kit Ringo ended up with…..?

1966 'Ringo' Ludwig Black Oyster

1966 ‘Ringo’ Ludwig Black Oyster

I found it online from a guy in country Victoria who had had it for 40 years.. Also a collector, he had many kits, this was his studio kit and it never saw daylight or gigs hence the pristine condition… Some drummer friends saw it posted too but it was right at Xmas time when they didn’t have the money to spend on themselves.. A quick bit of googling and serial number checks etc and I was the proud new owner … For a $K less then i was prepared to pay….. A bargain really… Haven’t seen one as good since!

Thanks Dave. Keep on drumming!

60's Pearl Club Date 'Valencia'

60’s Pearl Club Date ‘Valencia’

Taxidermy – a true passion at the Museum of Natural History

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A beloved pet. He greets you at the door, and my goodness it takes a while before one realises he is no longer of this mortal coil.

Taxidermy – so hot right now. However, for Michael Buzza this fashion was 40 years or more in the making. He is the owner of the Museum of Natural History situated in the historic township of Guildford, West Australia. I have been there numerous times myself. A few times I marched up to the door only to find it closed. Once because they had just received a huge bullock that needed attention. Other times, for no apparent reason, but that it is a unique and independent institution which behaves according to its own needs.

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Mont Blanc – re-used is 100% recycled.

The main thing I love about this museum is that it is an obvious exercise in individual passion, plus skill. This is one of the most exhilarating aspects of this museum. Mr Buzza’s attention to the objects of his expertise reveals his respect for the nature of his subjects. There are narratives, there is attention to detail in the natural environment of the creature, there is beauty. It is a most moving aspect of the museum, the skill combined with the knowledge, love and respect that the owner has towards the protagonists of the modest museum.  Mr Buzza’s passion is genuine. So, albeit a relatively small space, the impact is huge and the rewards to the visitor magnificent.

The Museum is based in the old Guildford Theatre, thereby the museum’s presence also acts as a wonderful preservation of 19th century architecture. The building itself is a most apt setting for the menagerie of fauna inside. One only has to look up, and up to see more specimens – a floating wall of fish species, snakes, Australian natives, a tiger, strangely some fibreglass dinosaurs – it is an eclectic placement of characters, so in keeping with a Victorian salon sensibility. There is a sitting area (much like my 1970s era family loungeroom) to watch informative videos of Mr Buzza in action, and old media snippets. There is a library to peruse. There are cabinets and drawers full of curious specimens. Mr Buzza speaks of his childhood on the farm, and at the age of 10 his interest in taxidermy was sparked. I don’t believe this childhood curiosity and wonder for the natural world ever left the taxidermist, it fuels his collecting style.

Here at the Museum of Love and Mortality we are true believers in supporting the  authentic experience. This is Australia’s most experienced taxidermist, and he has allowed his personal collection to be viewed by us, the humble public. This is a passionate collector – so when next in Perth, go and see.

Museum of Natural History
The Old Guildford Theatre
131 James Street
Guildford, Perth, West Australia
Entry: $5 and worth it

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You really can find a book for everything. Start up tips.

Save Our Skulls: The Mütter Museum’s unique call to alms

We came across this wonderful initiative by the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and had to share it with you. A part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia the Mütter Museum is a specialty museum dedicated to medical history. The collection of antique medical instruments, anatomical specimens, including human bodies and oddities, and wax models began in 1858 with a major donation by Dr Thomas Dent Mütter to further education in medicine.

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The Hyrtl collection. Image: The Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia

The museum is home to the Hyrtl skull collection. Josef Hyrtl (1810-1894) was a highly successful and internationally acclaimed Austrian anatomist. His collection of skulls was used for his own research and teachings, including amassing data to debunk the popular 19th century science of Phrenology. However, this amazing collection of skulls is under threat…from vibration! The Mütter Museum need to conserve each skull and remount them on vibration absorbing mounts to prevent future damage by the vibrations of visitors walking past them. This is where the Save our Skulls campaign comes in.

So for US$200 you could adopt (for a 12 month period) the cranium of Domenico Vanello, the 50 year old Austrian man who died in Venice of ascites (no, we didn’t know what that was either – so you see the collection is still teaching people today!); or the Swiss 48 year old Mason Soligo Domenico who died in Vienna in 1872 from diptheria; or the poor young Franz Braun who at 13 years of age committed suicide by hanging after his crime of theft had been discovered. There are a few lady craniums available for adoption still as well, like the lovely Eva Radie, the Catholic maidservant from Croatia who sadly died of unknown causes at the young age of 21.

We are saving our pennies to adopt one on behalf of MOLAM, so we’ll be sure to post a photo of it when we do.

Go on, we know you want to see your name officially mounted next to a human skull sitting in a curious museum with a German name; do your bit for history and help conserve this important collection.

Miss April Advises: Warning, not suitable for unsuitable readers: Hans A. Whey

Dear Miss April,

I have three things to say that are remotely connected but establish a pattern of inconsistency in the area of governence and moral governence on our behalf. Could you examine these articles and hopefully console me for I think that in the light of these observations my radical liberalism ( moral optimism) has been subsumed by hysterical liberal [voters]?

See three things below.

1.Artist works seized for illustrataing a sexualized Justin Beiber [ surely the beib’s publicist should have been the perp for premeditation BTW this content was shown under Mr Doyles watch with no mention of dripping cocks on Bourke street in the papers]
2.Blonde St Kilda footballer with respectable penis blackmailed by unnamed teenager[surely if your blackmailing you should be named no matter what your age or if not, your parents might need to explain how your child got to be there to take those pictures]
3.Bill Henson celebrates youth through beauty but is vilified [no one notices the beauty part except liberal Turnbull who owns one]

Liberal salutations.

Hans A. Whey

Dear Hans A. Whey

I’ve been quite oblivious to the current furore as I have other urgent matters at hand such as catching up with my cross-stitching and waiting furiously for the cinematic release of Behind the Candelabra.

However, after perusing recent newspaper articles at the local library I thought, golly, the powers that be really want to stoically protect our fragile minds from the corrupting scourge of collage. I then noted the key words – penis, child, degenerate, Justin Bieber, paedophilia –tax-payer funding – gasp! Dirty, dirty, words.

I am confident you are referring to the artwork of a young Mr Paul Yore. Unless I am mistaken and there is another hysterical bout of hypocritical self-serving Machiavellian manipulation Civic Duty afoot. He has been quite the hot ticket of late, in the city, along the hip-strip, amongst the leafy establishment, and now then down in the former-seedy-area-now-well-and-truly-gentrified St Kilda. Gosh, simply everywhere, so imagine my surprise that we all come so lately to the conclusion it is no longer suitable for the sensitive eyes of gallery hopping siblings and sensitive Councilors.

Look, to be perfectly honest with you Hans, I’m a bit of an old prude myself. I do not take kindly to nudity. I especially find male genitalia most distasteful when displayed both in flaccid and extreme performance mode even if it is plastic; combine this with the images of Justin Bieber children and you have just described to me the very things that I despise about the selfish putridity of adult humans. In my humble opinion, the only male grotesquery wont to be seen in the fine visual arts is the sacred penis of Baby Jesus, front and centre, so close to the picture plane it almost pokes one’s eye out whilst gazing in trembling holy rapture.

Correggio, Madonna of the Basket, c 1524, held in the National Gallery of London.

Correggio, Madonna of the Basket, c 1524, held in the National Gallery of London.

Needless to say, I was ready with softened nib pencil to underline the compelling arguments against Mr Yore’s work, justifying the necessity to ensure that I had no opportunity whatsoever to assess for myself the level to which I objected to the work. I was not disappointed. The complainant articulates: “The Pope is f—d, Everything is f—-d, the police are f—-d, Pigs with guns…The police would have loved that one…And when you go into the grotto, it looked like teenage boys with erections, with stickers over them…Degenerate…It’s not the right time to do any of that stuff at the moment anyway, you know what I mean with all the stuff with the Roman Catholic Church.”

Touché.

However, that being said so eloquently, I am but one among many and I have enough experience to realise that everyone has a right to tell their story, and to suffocate those who try to do so is a most heinous moral crime.

So what of it Mr Yore, are you trying to outdo the Pope with your sequined dresses and garish aesthetics? Is that it? You, a formidable man of a long 25 years, who looks around you to see the magnificent institution ruled by the Holy Seed See so vulnerable now that you choose to kick it while it’s down? What with all of the terrible truth coming out and such, and those thousands of victims who survived the stuff of nightmares persecute the sacred institution? Or perhaps you see those victims who did not survive.

All I can find from Mr Yore: “We live in a time that is very important for artists and musicians and writers to express themselves and a lot of people are confused about society and see the world as a dark place”. Ha! Well thoughts like that will get you arrested in these times sir, so is it worth it? Well, actually I suspect probably now more than ever. But I hear the City of Port Philip could just save themselves around $100,000 a year, and as long as it makes good economic sense it’s a win-win, right?

Children and artists, they make from what they see. Point in hand I move on to your second article, St Kilda Teen. You say she blackmailed someone? I do not recall, I was under the distinct impression the young lass was rather generously democratic with her photography. She too shared with us the visual outpouring of the world around her, it just happened to be a vast array of footballer penii*.

Should her name have been published? I thought St Kilda Teen was her name. Are her parents responsible? Well, responsible enough to send her to school. The visiting footballers successfully seemed to take over at that point.

Or did they? A most unusual event occurred, the girl did not go away. How utterly incredulous and confusing this is for young gods such as these – desire begets undesirable consequences?? How were they to foresee that this 17-year old girl would expect they admired her and wanted to be with her just because they graced her with their penetrative presence? They, along with other naked penises needed protection, stat; and that’s where multi-million dollar businesses can truly be rather helpful.

And so it came to be. The child was a child no more, she had transformed into the Femme Fatale. Vulnerable, abused, at risk? No, monsieur, no, you have it all askew. She is a liar, a temptress, a young lady that uses her sexuality to corrupt the heroes – and, how you say, does not shut up when men tell her to. This is the perfect French film script, non?

Quelle Horreur ! The underage Femme Fatale is, in popular media, somewhat akin to the most frightening of all underage seductresses, the man-hating, satan-worshipping, teenage lesbian murderess – terrifying to powerful heterosexual men, however completely fictional to all other social groups.

So in real life when a child has quite literally been debased what do powerful people do? Why, the send in an experienced, respected, compassionate family man. Unfortunately, it was reported he might have been accompanied by a bottle of wine, illicit substances, and alas, his penis. Heroes fall quickly when we see the world through the eyes of another. And the child eventually disappears.

Mr Bill Henson is a master of beauty, a Renaissance spirit, a painter’s photographer. There is no denying the true art of his magnificent works – you know, there’s no icky bits, nor ugly truths. Chiaroscuro. Allow me to repeat, Chiii-rrrra-scurr-o. You can’t argue with that.

And let us be quite frank with each other, once there is the sound argument of ‘but he’s famous internationally; he’s in all the national collections; it’s beautiful; important; investment’ – why, debate closed! Alas, herein lies our most despicable of lost opportunities. Debate never happened; not even a delicate vapour of conversation. What we got was:

Degenerate
Ignoramus
Paedophile
Wowser
You are
Am not

Not quite what one hopes for to invigorate important public discourse and insight. It does make one wonder the role of art in the first place, yes? But Sir, it would be grotesquely remiss of me to neglect to state indefatigably and publicly: therein lies in Mr Henson’s work a potent sexuality that one would need to have their eyes poked out with hot skewers to be unable to recognise. I would like to clarify, as I am merely a lay-person more interested in sneering at neighbours through my curtained windows , I do not believe they are in the slightest way pornographic. However, I find it incredulous that anyone could look at these images and not recognise their own selves at a time in the world where adults did not exist, where emotions ran deep and strong… and unfathomable.

Dearie-me, perhaps that is why the viewer can be so drawn in, but so uncomfortable. It is a world that we are perhaps not meant to observe, a burgeoning sexuality that needs to be protected from adults, from our gaze and interpretations. So much more difficult to do with photography – n’est pas? – we feel our presence, the subject’s, the photographer’s, it becomes so literal that we almost place ourselves in the role of intruder, destroyer, adult. What a lively conversation that would have made.

It is a rather interesting albeit shameful parody that we are at a point so vigilant to protect our children that we must whitewash, victimise, shame, objectify, and arrest them to do so. Alas, there is an ill wind my dear; a very ill wind indeed, and I suspect we won’t amble too much further along this path before we all turn to one another in a moment of horrific clarity and agree with Mr Yore. Everything is fucked.

Yours most sincerely, Miss April

* Penii – noun, plural. Anatomy, Zoology . the male organ of copulation and, in mammals, of urinary excretion. Miss April’s preferred pluralising of the singular form as the term penises can sometimes be a mouthful, although it can at times have a pleasing rhythm when strategically placed.

Heed Miss April’s Advice!

Unburden your woes, share your troubles, correspond with Miss April here! Shh, confidentiality assured!! You can Tweet Miss April and like her on Facebook!

Vampire Book List

Vampyros Lesbos, the exquisite Soledad Miranda.

Vampyros Lesbos, the exquisite Soledad Miranda.

Going through my childhood and adolescent diaries I came across a few book lists dedicated to themes of vampirism. These I created myself in the early 1990s, unfortunately I haven’t read them all! Popular authors to the more obscure, I just thought it would be somewhat interesting to publish the full homemade list. If you’ve read them all, or even some, leave your thoughts below! Keep in mind this is pre Buffy, True Blood, Twilight and Vampire Diaries.

Anne Rice – author
Stephen King – author
James Herbert – author
‘I, Vampire’, Jody Scott, The Women’s Press.
‘Dracula’s Brood’, Richard Dalby 1987, 1989, Equation, England.
‘The Wizard of the Mountain’, William Gilbert, in Dracula’s Brood.
‘Within a Silken Thread’, Eliza Lynn Linton, 1880, in Dracula’s Brood.
‘The Dracula Centenary book, Peter Haining, Souvenir Press, London, 1987.
‘The Vampyre’, John William Polidori, 1819.
Edgar Allen Poe – Author.
Bram Stoker – Author.
‘The Hunger’.
‘The Annotated Dracula’ Prf. Leonard Wolf, 1975.
‘A Biography of Dracula’, Harry Ludlam, 1962.
‘Vampyros Lesbos’, Jess Franco.
\’he Man who wrote Dracula’, Danial Farson, 1975.
‘The Search of Dracula’, Raymond T. McaNally Y Radu Florescue, 1972.
‘The Land Beyond the FOrest, Mme Emily de Laszowska Gerard, 1888, about Transylvanian superstitions.
‘The Bloody countess’, Valentin Pensorse 1962
‘The Dracula Myth’, Gabriel Ronay, 1972.
‘Dracula was a woman’, Raymond McNally, 1985.
‘The Vampire in Legend, Fact and Art’, Basil Copper, 1973.
‘The Natural History of the Vampire’, Anthony Masters, 1972, Hard-Davis.
‘The Vampire: His Kith & Kin’, Montague Summers (Kegan Paul), 1928.
‘The Vampire in Europe’, Montague Summers, 1928.
‘Vampires and Vampirism’, Dudley Wright, 1924, Rider.
‘The Heart of Miranda’, H.B. Mariott watson, 1899.
‘Stories Weird & Wonderful’, Hume Nisbet, 1900.
‘For Maurice: Five unlikely Tales’ Vernon Less (pseudonym for Violet Paget), 1927.
‘The Book of Werewolves: Being an account of a terrible superstition’, Sabine Barin-Gould, 1865, reports of vampires & wolfmen.
‘The Elemental: Tales of the Supernormal and the Inexplicable’ Ulric Evan Daubeny, 1919.

and ones for kids?

‘The Dracula Scrapbook’
‘The Little Vampire Moves In’
‘The Dracula Centenary book’
‘Transformations’
‘Vampires don’t wear polka dots’
‘The Vampires revenge’
‘Prisoner of Vampires’
‘End of the Vampires’
‘The Curse of the Vampires Socks’
The Story of Vampires’
‘Vampires Picture Books’
‘The Space Vampires’
‘The Midnight People’
‘Digital Vampires’
‘The Book of Vampires’
‘Monster Tales’

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Andy Warhol – I need the blood of a wirgin! Nope, not around here!

And Movies..

‘Dracula’, Bela Lugosi, 1931, Universal.
‘Dracula AD 1972, Christopher Lee.
‘Dracula’, Frank Langella, 1979.
‘The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari’, Lil Dagoer & Conrad Veidt (German)
‘Noseratu’, FW Murnau, 1922.
‘Dracula’, Carlos Villarias & Edwuardo Aruzamena (Spanish), 1931.
‘Mark of the Vampire’, Bela Lugosi & Carol Borland, 1935.
‘Horror of Dracula’, Christopher Lee, Hammer Horror, 1958.
‘Dracula, prince of Darkness, Christopher lee, 1965.
‘Dracula has rise from the Grave’, Christopher Lee, 1968 (or ‘Dracula’s Revenge’)
‘Taste the Blood of Dracula’, Christopher Lee, 1969.
‘Scars of Dracula’, 1970
‘Dracula Chases the Mini Girls’
‘the Satanic Rites of Dracula’ Hammer Horror, 1973.
‘El Conde Dracula’, 1970
‘Son of Dracula’, Lon Chaney Jr, and Louise Albritton, 1943.
‘House of Dracula, John Carradine, 1945.
‘House of Frankenstein’, John Carradine, 1944.
‘The Return of the Vampire’, Matt Willis & Bela Lugosi, 1944.
‘The Return of Dracula’, Francis Lederer, 1958.
‘Count Dracula’, Philip Savill, Louis Jourdan, 1978.
‘Blacula’, William Marshall, 1972.
‘Nosferatu’ , Werner Herzog, Klaus Kinski, 1972.
‘Vampyres’, 1974, Essay Films.
‘Scream Blacula Scream’, 1973, Marshall.
‘Deafula’, 1975, Singapore.
‘Count Yorga, Vampire’, 1970, Robert Quarry.
‘The Return of Count Yorga’, 1971, Robert Quarry.
‘Salem’s Lot’, 1979.
‘The Hunger’, 1983.
‘Dracula’s Dog’, 1977. (Zoltan the dog)
‘Dracula’s Daughter’, Gloria Holden, 1936.
‘Countess Dracula’, Ingrid Pitt, Hammer Horror, 1970.
‘The Vampire Lovers’, Ingrid Pitt, 1970.
‘Kiss of the Vampire’, Don Shapr, 1962.
‘Ceremonia Sangrienta’, Lucia Bose, 1972. Spanish.
‘Dance of the Vampires’, Cadre Films, Roman Polanski, 1967.
‘Vampire Circus’, 1971, Hammer.
‘Martin’, John Mdas, Braddock Associates, 1976.
‘Dracula’, Andy Warhol, Roman Polanski, 1973.
‘Lust for a Vampire’, Michel Johnson, Hammer Horror, 1970.
‘Vamp’, Grace Jones, 1986.
‘Twins of Evil’, Hammer, 1971.
‘Reequiem pour un Vampire’, Sex Vampires’, Jean Rollins, 1971.
‘L’amante del Vampiro (The Vampire’s Lover)’, Maria Luisa Roland, 1960s, Italian.
‘L’Ultima Pred del Vapmpiro (The Last Victim of teh Vampire)’, Water Brandi, 1960s, Italian.

Nosferatu - the truth is not so pretty.

Nosferatu – the truth is not so pretty.

Happy Australia Day folks! Ancient and young, vast and small. I am very happy to be here. Enjoy the holiday!

cameronkhayes

Memories take a more solid form for Australians in 1788. In fact today hardly anyone could forget yesterday. Newly landed settlers can not be bothered to spend the energy in having to re-establish their social identity in Australia. They go about merely trying to convince people of their past proven trustworthiness and charm rather than actually demonstrating it.

Dean Wallis manages his own board of testimonials clearly written for all to see, but only from the vantage point of the ocean – Europe (yesterday). Countess Beckendorff of Berlin writes “Mr Wallis proved to be most enjoyable company at parties which I attended”. W Dawson-Smith of Forthampton House writes “Mr Wallis was regarded as one of the most desirable and fashionable men of our social group”.

In England in 1788 there were no police. Everybody wanted police but the French had already thought of it and the British Parliament could not…

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Mourning, History & Jewellery in Boston

Mourning ring made for John Gray, the infant son of John and Mary (Otis) Gray, who died six days after his birth in September 1763. The ring is made of gold, with three joined enameled scrolls and large square crystal over gold foil skull set into raised, rayed mount flanked by two small round facet-cut crystals. Scrolls contain text in raised gold Roman capitals in black cloisonné enamel.: "J:GRAY OB.17.SEP.1763.AE 6D."

Mourning ring made for John Gray, the infant son of John and Mary (Otis) Gray, who died six days after his birth in September 1763. The ring is made of gold, with three joined enameled scrolls and large square crystal over gold foil skull set into raised, rayed mount flanked by two small round facet-cut crystals. Scrolls contain text in raised gold Roman capitals in black cloisonné enamel.: “J:GRAY OB.17.SEP.1763.AE 6D.”

Before it closes on the 31st January 2013 you must go and visit the exhibition In Death Lamented at the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston – that is, if you are lucky enough to live close by!

Unfortunately we are based on the other side of the world, but I was wise enough to purchase a copy of the accompanying publication which I had to review on Amazon. I couldn’t help myself, I do that sort of thing.

Sarah Nehama I am proud to say has contributed to this blog. She is a jeweller herself and an avid collector of mourning jewellery, many pieces of hers you will see in the collection. She also authored the book. Here is a fascinating interview with her discussing mourning jewellery and items in the exhibition.

If you have seen the exhibit please let me know what you thought of it below in the comments. As a collector of mourning jewellery I would have loved to have seen it myself!

In Arcadia: the art of Tomislav Nikolic & uncomfortable stuff about God

Tomislav Nikolic, 1: Hear the passion in their voices see the heaven in their eyes,
2: Their hopes and schemes are waiting dreams for less than paradise, 2012
acrylic and marble dust on canvas and wood
Diptych: 190 x 220.5 x 10.5 cm each

I understand the relationship one is expected to have with art today, the intellectual’s rhetoric. Take for instance Tomislav Nikolic’s recent body of work in arcadia, a strong collection of paintings that could be described in terms of colour field, formal abstraction, colour theory, insert references to Rothko & US / European abstractionists, terms that can categorise to the point of malleability enabling us to digest but also at times coolly aloof. What I really take away with me from this show, my true experience, is less sophisticated – feelings, memories and private thoughts that I cannot articulate.

Most particularly the diptych leaves me strangely exhilarated, the combination of scale and hallucinogenic qualities of the palette produce an uncharacteristic (for me) optimism and an altogether unreasonable thrill that – sigh, I just know that something good is going to happen. The optical illusion that one is larger than the other – first the left one, then the right one – produces an anthropomorphic rhythmical breathing pulse. The colours of in arcadia are saturated, they are beaming, they are the colours of Titian, the colours of the Masters, the colours of religious art; the blue of the Virgin Mary, the gold of icons, the light of Mystics.  And that is perhaps what I’m not supposed to talk about in this day and age, in the age of the intellect. I don’t want to throw my hat in with religion and the rhetoric of new age spiritualism leaves me squirming with ill ease, but where does that leave me?

DEATH. It’s still fairly sexy right now in contemporary art. Actually, over the past 5 years or so it has become positively mainstream. You can doll yourself up from head-to-toe in skulls. What underlies this fad? Could it be that the combination of the outing of atheism, plus the witnessing to mad behaviours of religious mania, encourages us to become less afraid of death? Are we becoming more present? It would be lovely to think of it is an awakening to the fragile beauty of our mortality: “Only by embracing our mortality can we be happy in the time we have.” – Dr Gordon Livingston

Or perhaps we are afraid that the true death is looming, with the effects of climate change ravaging our world emblematic of an innate self-destruction, and the cold inaction of those in power, perhaps we now see that we might bear witness to the death of us all. If we are all gone, then death is absolute. There is no remembrance; we have fallen into nothingness.

Non omnis moriar, said Horace’s Odes – I shall not wholly die. Yes, and he was right. As long as people remembered, then death was not complete. Only if there were nobody at all left to remember would death be complete.” – Alexander McCall Smith, The Charming Quirks of Others

Nicolas Poussin, The Arcadian Shepherds, c 1628-9, 101 x 82 cm, Devonshire Collection, Chatsworth House.

Et in Arcadia ego – Even in Arcadia there I am.

Arcadia – the pastoral idyll, the classical Utopia; at one with nature, ourselves, life itself, it is pure contentment, Heaven on Earth.  But even in Arcadia, Death exists.  As I know Nikolic painted Don’t really want to know it better, want to keep it in the land of fantasy, in response to Poussin’s The Arcadian Shepherds, c 1628-9, he too must have been thinking of death.

6:Tomislav Nikolic, Don’t really want to know it better, want to keep it in the land of fantasy, 2012
acrylic, marble dust and 22.5ct champagne leaf on canvas and wood
104 x 85.5 x 6 cm

Poussin’s first version of this work is a classic Memento Mori allegory, telling the audience that even saucy bare breasted nymphs, and partying shepherds at one with nature must succumb to death, inscribed in stone ET IN ARCADIA EGO and a skull staring down at them to boot! Today the theme has a more interesting dimension to it, we can ponder our own mortality not as a Christian did with Poussin –  do not succumb to vanities, obey God in this life to ensure your place in Heaven, etc., etc. We can ponder Memento Mori with the tiny voice of Dawkins in our ear, ‘there is no God!’. Aware of our own mortality, without responsibility to secure an afterlife of bliss, our reasoning forces us to realise we are responsible for each other. The reprieve from suffering in this world can only come from ourselves; the responsibility for the continuation of life is ours.

But it’s not quite as easy as that though is it? The conscious process of considering our own mortality is going to lead us into the unknown. It is going to lead all of us in different ways because we are bound by our own experiences, intellect, capabilities, personalities, ability to process thoughts and emotions, not to mention ye olde family and culture. Some people need religion, others only for a short time, and others not at all.

I come away from Nikolic’s work thinking about the notion of Agape.  As he, the artist, peeks into the esoteric material of Alice Bailey, the Seven Rays, and Theosophy. It reveals (to me anyway) a longing to discover the mystery of what one feels but can not explain. Love. The love that connects and overwhelms us, that identifies the energy of life as something sacred, an ancient pre-God notion where the concept of Agape was so powerful and confusing that it somehow transformed into God. God is easier. With him we don’t have to think so much, he just is, and tells us what to do.

Tomislav Nikolic, 7: a constant overlapping, a cyclic development and a process of fusion, which is most confusing, 2012
acrylic, marble dust and 24 ct gold leaf on canvas and wood
85 x 108 x 5.5 cm

Let’s return to Ancient Greece for a moment. Andrea Mantegna painted Parnassus (1497) and Triumph of the Virtues (1502) for Isabella d’Este.  500 years later Tomislav Nikolic, using Mantegna’s works for inspiration, paints Hear the passion in their voices see the heaven in their eyes and Their hopes and schemes are waiting dreams for less than paradise, for us. This is the exhilarating diptych I referred to earlier, recalling the language of the Mystics – Agape.

“What is this which shines on me and pierces my heart without hurting it? I shudder and am aflame at the same time: I shudder, because I am so dissimilar to it, and I am aflame, because I am so similar to it. It is Wisdom, Wisdom itself which shines on me, breaking up my cloudiness, which yet covers me once more as I fall away from it through the darkness and rubble of my troubles.” – St Augustine, Confessions, I I.9.

Andrea Mantegna, Parnassus, 1497, Tempera and gold on canvas, 63 x 75 1/2 inches

Andrea Mantegna, Triumph of Virtues, 1502, tempera on canvas, 63 x 75 1/2 inches. Louvre, Paris

Parnassus, home to the Muses – Goddesses who inspired knowledge in arts and sciences. It is the land of poetry, literature, and learning. Another woman, Minerva Warrior Goddess of Wisdom, ejects the Vices from the garden of Virtues. Out says she to idleness, sloth, hate, lust, avarice and ingratitude. She, the powerful symbol of Wisdom, and Protector of the arts and sciences.  How telling that Wisdom is represented by a woman. I always thought Eve’s act was not a sign of weakness, but represented an admirable and courageous intellectual curiosity.

Arts, mythology, science, they were intimately acquainted, the combination of which was believed to be the path to wisdom.  How thrilling are those conversations that twist and turn from conjecture, allegory, evidence, to build stories that can teach us so more effectively then the retelling of facts.

It is ironic that our capacity for religion is seemingly intrinsically linked to our own extraordinary survival and evolution as a species. Our human drive to discover, to find answers to this painful human existence, this extraordinary world wherein we find ourselves. Our feelings of  ‘something bigger than ourselves’ developed our minds, imagination and intellect (actually, discovering red meat was delicious to eat had quite a bit to do with that too).

Like Tomislav Nikolic who travels to Arcadia, bringing back with him a plethora of confusing emotions and ideas, and pop lyrics, will we permit ourselves to delve into this layered conversation?  I do not believe in God, but yet I find myself talking to a God that I know my kind invented, when I need to. It gives me comfort, helps me to understand, and I am the wiser for it.  Only if he starts to talk back will I begin to worry.

PS: Tomislav Nikolic is represented by Jensen Gallery, Sydney. His exhibition in arcadia is happening now until 22nd December 2012.
PPS: I saw a preview of the show in Melbourne at Greenwood Street Projects. You can find out more about the artist on his website page, and see the complete body of work on-line here.

Detail: 1: Hear the passion in their voices see the heaven in their eyes,
2: Their hopes and schemes are waiting dreams for less than paradise, 2012
acrylic and marble dust on canvas and wood
Diptych: 190 x 220.5 x 10.5 cm each

Detail: 1: Hear the passion in their voices see the heaven in their eyes,
2: Their hopes and schemes are waiting dreams for less than paradise, 2012
acrylic and marble dust on canvas and wood
Diptych: 190 x 220.5 x 10.5 cm each

Spoilt For Choice: A Classic Seed Pearl Mourning Ring

Here is a re-posting of a short piece I wrote for the fabulous site Art of Mourning. This delightful mourning ring in its original Rundell and Bridge box is in the  MOLAM collection of yours truly. It’s fine craftsmanship is a delight to see. It also explains my decision making process for this particular piece.

Click here to read the post Spoilt for Choice: decision-making 101 for the collector.

Classic Georgian mourning ring dedicated to a Miss Tylor 1797 and Miss Jane Tylor 1804.

Antique Jewellery Collections: Unmissable Links!

This blog does of course celebrate the collecting desire. Closest to the MOLAM heart is antique jewellery, particularly the field of mourning and sentimental jewellery. Many of our readers are friendly with the Art of Mourning site; the most generous, spectacular and in-depth reference site for aficionados of mourning jewellery. Well, there are some other reference pages that also display a generous spirit in sharing their pieces. Let’s take a look:

Cathy Gordon

Possibly one of the most spectacular collections I’ve had the pleasure of eye-molesting. The collector is knowledgeable in an array of fields, and a noted expert on Miriam Haskell jewellery, but it is her Stuart Crystal and eye miniatures that gets my heart racing!

Things Gone By

This is an online retail space, but there are links to previous sales that prove to be a wealth of reference material. Some glorious pieces here on their Things Gone By Museum page.

Time Dances By

The combination of pugs and mourning jewellery – perfecto! Time Dances By is also generous enough to keep links to previously sold items on their Museum page, these type of archival pages are invaluable research links.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Of course many public institutions have started to list their collections on-line, but the V&A are of an altogether different league for antique jewellery enthusiasts. Prepare to be amazed.

Don Shelton

Don Shelton has an extraordinary blog showcasing his extraordinary collection of portrait miniatures. For jewellery enthusiasts you would know that the traditional portrait miniature crossed over into sentimental and mourning jewellery and you will find much to learn and delight in on this site.

Morning Glory Antiques

Morning Glory is another on-line vintage and antique jewellery store, but it to keeps numerous links to previous sales, as well articles and reference information. There are many links to peruse, but Georgian jewelry, and Victorian jewelry are of particular interest.

Museum of Love and Mortality

What? Who me? Yes, we have a Facebook page which we posted a number of personal collection items onto but then Pinterest came along, so we are slowly posting images on there. Also, included are special items that although not in our collection are ones that we admire and covet!

Do you have other reference sites to recommend? Please do so in the comments section below to share knowledge!

From my own personal collection of mourning jewellery. A lovely mourning miniature, 18th C or early 19th C, dedicated to H.