Cult Visions Exhibition & Book Launch @ The Black Heart

30th June 2016
Review by Demitri Levantis
Photography by Olivier M.

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The Black Heart in Camden has played host to many great artists over the years, plenty of bands from many different genres come to mind. But art and design and new books isn’t something one always finds in such a venue.

And the Heart hosted its first such exhibition on Friday 30 June for the release of the new book Black Metal: Into The Abyss by Dayal Patterson. As well as artwork by internationally renowned band logo artist Christophe Szpajdel and London illustrator Billie Webster.

Black Metal: Into The Abyss features bands from as far and wide as Brazil, as well as throughout Europe. It continues an ongoing conversation with Black Metal groups who have shaped the genre as well as add new material and experimentation to the world of Black Metal.

“The first Cult Visions event was very satisfying on both a personal and professional level,’ explained Dayal. His first book Black Metal: Evolution of the Cult was published in 2013, followed by Cult Never Dies last year.

 ‘Writing a book can be a fairly solitary affair,’ Dayal added. ‘Other than the bands you’re talking to, and most sales these days are made online via our webstore so it’s nice to meet people face to face and talk about the books directly.

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‘It was also great to be able to invite Christophe and Billie to exhibit their work in London and to have some of the Cult Never Dies family playing some tunes to create something more interesting than just a typical book signing. I hope we can do something similar again soon!’

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Black Metal: Into The Abyss was featured alongside other merchandise from Dayal’s publishing company Cult Never Dies, such as t shirts featuring classic bands like Ulver and Rotting Christ.

Christophe Szpajdel, originally from Belgium, is a renowned band logo artists, most famous for designing the logo for Norwegian Black Metal veterans Emperor. Other works include bands: Enthroned, Nunslaughter, Old Man’s Child and Inferi. Along with many other bands from across the globe.

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The work featured included books and merchandise full to the brim of logos, not just of bands but several humorous ventures like the titles of TV shows like Coronation Street. Looking through the many pieces, it was fascinating to see how Christophe had established the typical art form associated with Black Metal bands, including the oval shaping of the logo and the placing of inverted crosses among other fonts and designs.

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It was an interesting exhibition, one any keen fan of such artwork should check out. Christophe’s work is still in high demand for new albums and upcoming artists today.

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Also featured at the exhibition was the works of London based illustrator Billie Webster. Her work is inspired by ancient mythologies, medical and veterinary specimens and the memento mori. Past achievements include the Saatchi Gallery Art Prize in 2012.

‘Christophe and I first worked together earlier this year when I interviewed him for my thesis paper on the role of artwork in metal,’ Billie explained about the exhibition. ‘I’m so humbled to have been invited to participate in the Cult Visions exhibition, and extremely grateful to Dayal for organising the event. Dayal’s work has been instrumental to the black metal scene and he is very well respected as a result!

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‘It’s always great to work with like minded individuals that share the same passions as you. I’ve been a fan of Christophe’s work for a while. Our work goes very well together, not just because we create art for the metal industry but because we share a lot of the same inspirations and influences; especially nature.’

It was quite a mesmerising journey looking through the wide array of dark and morbid themed works Billie had produced over the years, most of them in black and white. Billie said it was worth showcasing her work in order to show the appreciation of fine art in the metal community.

‘Another part of the exhibition that I loved is that all three of us have been working hard on promoting the importance metal artwork..’ she added. ‘Sadly I think sometimes the visuals of the scene can get overlooked, but I think that’s definitely changing now! I’m really pleased with how the evening went, the work looked great and I had a fantastic time meeting fellow metalheads and art enthusiasts. I’m very grateful to everyone that came out to support us!’

Overall the evening felt like a successful venture, displaying a side of the music industry which does not gain as much recognition among fans as does the music and performances of bands. It was another night that revealed just how much work from so many outlets and contributors goes into the release of a new album or setup for a band’s image and renown.

The Black Heart has helped many new bands find their feet in the London metal world, and now it has paid a good homage to the people behind the artistic identities of both the fans and musicians who populate such world. Here’s to those who document and illustrate the community of metal!

Dayal Paterson’s latest work, ‘Black Metal- Into The Abyss’ is available now from his web-store here.

You can also follow the art of Billie Webster on Facebook.

 

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