member of:Observers of the Interdependence of Domestic Objects and Their Influence on Everyday Life

This group has been active for a long time and has already made some remarkable assertions which render life simpler from the practical point of view. For example, I move a pot of green color five centimeters to the right, I push in the thumbtack beside the comb and if Mr. A (another adherent like me) at this moment puts his volume about bee-keeping beside a pattern for cutting out vests, I am sure to meet on the sidewalk of the avenida Madero a woman who intrigues me and whose origin and address I never could have known...
--Remedios Varo

(Slideshow is of Artwork by Remedios Varo)
By believing passionately in something that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we have not sufficiently desired.
--Franz Kafka

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Haunted Nonsense

It’s been quite a while since I’ve been inspired to provide a visit on this blog to Carroll’s particular version of Wonderland, but finally I have found the proper artist...

“Mad Hatter”

“Upon being informed of an impending event providing incentive to compose a series of illustrations for the enchanting "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking-Glass" by the brilliantly snarky Lewis Carroll, I was at once in a state of heightened exultation. In my visual interpretations it is quite apparent I am fond of top hats and mad grins – like a chef who adds pepper to every dish, even dishes who protest, I seem to somehow manifest one or both of these into quite a volume of my work, even a piece dedicated to frowns and people without heads. So it is not surprising how I gravitate towards the deliciously smiley enthusiast of top hats, the Mad Hatter, as well as selecting him the subject of my first illustration. These two books contain a host of the most charmingly bizarre characters ever to have lived in the memory of a work of literature, and the Hatter is quite positively one of the most enchanting citizens of Wonderland. Of course joining him we have the Hatter’s two good friends the March Hare and the Dormouse, not at all of a mind to permit the fellow a soliloquy.” --Jesse E. Larson

“Tweedledum and eedeldeewT”

Tweedledum and Tweedledee
Agreed to have a battle!
For Tweedledum said Tweedledee
Had spoiled his nice new rattle.

Just then flew down a monstrous crow,
As black as a tar-barrel!
Which frightened both the heroes so,
They quite forgot their quarrel.
--Lewis Carroll

I discovered the art work of Jesse E. Larson on RedBubble, where he describes himself thus:
“Jesse E. Larson is host to numerous unrelated titles, some of which include barbering, burying and broomstick-watching – and on occasion, chimney-sweeping, crayoning, and hiding in bell towers – but most notably, illustrating. When not confined to the shadows of an ivy embraced abbey or the attic of a house that does not exist, he attempts to compose to paper visuals of a nonsensical nature with a disposition of mystery, monstrosity, and the macabre. Other times he pretends he is a pirate. An interest in the visual arts was instigated many years ago when he was visiting a rookery while abroad in Romania. It so happened that during this time one of the birds engaged him in conversation, and he having penned a quick sketch of the Parachute Jump – for a visual representation was politely requested – was told by the fowl that the depiction had been very fine. This gracious bit of praise influenced further experimentation and has continued to the present.”

His writing style is such that I will not bore you in this post with my own...

“The Jabberwock’s Waistcoat”

except to say that more of his works can be found at his fantastically-titled blog, Haunted Nonsense, that he sells not just prints but also t-shirts on his RedBubble site, and that it is through his illustrations that I discovered the deliciously Edwardian ghost detective Thomas Carnaki.


Larson describes and illustrates the good detective in such a tantalizing way that I immediately procured my own copy of his exploits:
“The English investigator of things that go bump in the night was created by authour William Hope Hodgson in the early years of last century. The "Ghost-Finder’s” initial appearance in the publications The Idler and The New Magazine coincided with the ever intriguing age of Spirituality which was pockmarked with candle-lit rooms and mournfully adorned individuals of heightened sensitivities to the visits of the deceased and otherwise ethereal passers-by. The Edwardian detective shares similar shades of tone with the brooding Sherlock Holmes, and as a Holmes enthusiast I can honestly expound of my own conviction, Carnacki as most deserving of sharing a hansom cab with the enigmatic gentleman of Baker’s Street. Of the ghosts haunting the pages of Carnackian adventures one may be reminded at times of the dreadful manifestations of H.P. Lovecraft, who was so wonderfully capable of provoking a sense of fear and uncertainty of the unknown foliations and age of existence.”--Jesse E. Larson

...and I have also discovered that much of William Hope Hodgson’s writing can be found on-line, here, for free. Go now, and read. Then come back, and visit Mr. Larson’s site, and request that he illustrate more of those stories!

However, he also creates his own kingdoms of nonsense with words, solidifying them with illustrative proof:

"During the afternoon before last I had taken to the foothills of the Loombezzo's for a walk when a rainstorm quickly overtook the vicinity and I was moved to extend the embrace of my umbrella in an effort to keep at least a portion of myself from becoming damp. The breath of the atmosphere became so hurried, I quickly lost grip of the bamboo handle to an impolite gale and my benefactor had been carried into the obscurity of the churning nimbus thundering aloft. Immediately following this occurrence an excited paper fan of an alarming size flip-flapped through the surrounding thicket and proceeded in this manner straight towards my position inducing me to take to my heels at once. I was pursued by this frantic beast for several hours until I escaped its interest and it began chasing an untenanted pram. This unfortunate experience incited the composing of the work below, and further suggested it be one in a series of similar attitudes."

"Le Ventilateur de non-Sequitur" (1 and 2)

And there is a rumor afoot that he has his own illustrated story coming out soon...


  1. First of all I don't think you could ever bore us with your writing. Secondly, this is a positively enchanting post, thank you zoe!!!

  2. Ah, the spirit of Edward Gorey lives on!