The Art of Jeremy Mayer: Typewriters Reimagined

I love typewriters. (Like, REALLY love them.)

Part of the appeal, I suppose, stems from nostalgia: I banged out my first childhood stories on a monstrous electric typewriter that weighed almost as much as I did.

The other part is the romance of the typewriter: the mental image of a struggling writer hunched over clattering keys in a cozy attic office (with rain on the roof and endless cups of steaming coffee, natch).

I was admiring the pretty typewriter pictures Google had to offer when I came across the wholly unexpected:

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Says artist Jeremy Mayer:
“I disassemble typewriters and then reassemble them into full-scale, anatomically correct human figures. I do not solder, weld, or glue these assemblages together… I do not introduce any part to the assemblage that did not come from a typewriter.”

He makes the most incredible wildlife, too:

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I find them eerily beautiful.

There are many more stunning pieces where these came from: check out JeremyMayer.com or the artist’s tumblr, which is where these photos were sourced.

All photos in this post are copyright Jeremy Mayer.

Writers: Try a Writing “Sketchbook”

But, you’re a writer, right? Not a visual artist. What the hell would you want a sketchbook for?

I got caught up in YouTube recently, one of those tangled webs of clicking random “suggested video” links, and I ended up somehow at videos of sketchbooks. Page after page, turned for the camera, sometimes with the artist describing their ideas or inspirations. They’re visual candy, and what struck me about them was the freedom of the artist’s sketchbook.

Trying something new, crossing it out, fiddling with styles and colours and composition. Knowing even before you start that whatever you’re trying may be a colossal failure, and doing it anyway. Scribbling out, starting over, playing with ideas. Not caring about the end product, because if it sucks you don’t ever have to show anyone. The sheer joy of a happy mess unapologetic on the page.

Which is why I’ve adopted the “sketchbook” model for writing.

Sitting in front of a cold, impersonal monitor watching a cursor blink doesn’t exactly rev up my creativity. The harsh glow of the blank screen offers little in the way of inspiration. Show me a white screen and I’ll show you boredom, frustration, and occasional panic.

But show me a blank page, put a pen in my hand, and it’s on. Scribbling (even the word, scribbling, describes a freer way to write than the measured clicks of keys) encourages experimentation. Stuck? Doodle in the margins. Plotting? Draw the path of the story. Flash of inspiration? Throw a key word in the middle of a page and weave a web of related points, characters, and themes all around it. Try writing in a different colour (though not red ballpoint, trust me. It’s a bitch to read later). Your “sketchbook” will become art all on its own; ink stains, wrinkles, coffee and crumbs all marking the times and places you fleshed out your story.

At some point, it’s likely you’ll want to type up your story, whether it’s for publication or just to see it in print. I resisted the sketchbook method for quite a while, since it’s double the work: first writing longhand, then inputting every word. It feels like a huge waste of time, if you miss the major benefit: You can always edit your work on the fly as you type it up. By the time your story’s down, you’ve already caught a lot of the simple errors of tense, missing words, and the like. You’re one draft ahead. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll find that the time lost to typing is more than made up by the extra output of a few scribbles here, a few paragraphs there. A notebook can be crammed in a pocket or purse and snuck out almost anywhere in moments of inspiration, which puts you way ahead of the game in terms of production. No booting up, no waiting for apps to load, just uncap a pen and go.

Try it out, and let me know: Does it work for you?

Dark Masks and More: Evan Campbell’s Creepy Carvings

I was perusing the forums at ConceptArt again; a favourite trick when I’m lacking motivation. Something about seeing people accomplishing amazing art drives me to make more of my own.

I hit the mother lode today.

His name is Evan Campbell, and his work will blow your mind.

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“Gelatin head I sculpted and painted.”

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“Celebration”

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“Night Crawlers”

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“Bound Into”

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“God of Witches”

Here’s his Gallery of Work, which includes many more morbidly fantastic pieces, as well as an intricate step-by-step guide to casting your own macabre latex masks. More of his work can be found on Deviant Art.

I’m wowed. I’m amazed. I’m gonna go write something awesome now.

(photos all copyright Evan Campbell, sourced from ConceptArt)

If You Go Out in the Woods Today, You’ll Get One Hell of a Surprise.

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“UndeadTeds are repurposed soft toys transformed into fluffy, bloody horrors to keep you awake at night.” – UndeadTeds

Crafted by illustrator Phillip Blackman, these one-of-a-kind teddies are oozing with love. And blood. And entrails…

Click here to get yours.

(via Obvious Winner, a blog my awesome husband found.)

This Takes “Who Are You Wearing?” to a Whole New Level.

“Australian Israeli-born and currently Iceland-based conceptual jeweler Sruli Recht…recently had a roughly 1/2″ by 4″ strip of skin cut off his belly which was then tanned and wrapped around a 24k gold ring, now being offered for a half million dollars. The somewhat grotesque design doesn’t just look like random leather — it’s even got wiry belly hair. He calls it the ‘Forget Me Knot’.” – news.bme.com

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Just when I think I can’t be shocked anymore, Modblog ups the ante. Click here to continue reading about the artist’s skin-removal procedure, which, refreshingly, was performed by a doctor instead of staff at a tattoo shop. There are photos and a video, too, if you’re finished breakfast.

It wouldn’t be so bad without the hairs. The hairs make me throw up in my mouth a little.

Darken Up Your Christmas

It’s that time of year! Christmas music EVERYWHERE, glitter on everything, creepy life-sized Santa figures at the Chinese buffet…

Whether we like it or not, Christmas dominates the malls, the tv, and the radio. But thanks to Etsy, horror fans everywhere can at least make it a little more tolerable. Observe:

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Day of the Dead His and Hers Christmas Stocking

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Zombie Christmas Cards (Art by Robert Walker)

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Ho Ho With a Shotgun

(Click on item descriptions to visit their artists’ respective Etsy shops. I’m not affiliated with any of these sellers.)