Occultism in art has had a renaissance over the last half-decade as the general public has become more exposed to, and therefore interested in, esoteric symbols and ideologies through the ubiquity of tattooing, platforms like Tumblr and Instagram and the proliferation and accessibility of information from the internet. In its wake, new artists have found recognition.
Ostensibly, an upturn in curiosity about all manner of curios could be tied to the spiritual void created by contemporary society and its politics. What I mean by this vast claim is that we are hurtling forward at an unprecedented rate into the ‘future’. Our world is hyper-connected and our access to knowledge unprecedented. We can almost, in some shape or form, have anything we want.
So, why don’t we want it? Most do. Yet there are some who feel the vacuum of disillusionment deep in their chests. Longing for a connection not just to each other half the world away, but something that’s more deeply rooted in our individual and collective psyches - the need to fill the void that has been left by the increasingly entrenched secularism whose purpose claims to be for the good, to be scientific and empirical. In augmenting ourselves in this new world, we’ve left behind the old one of our ancients. It’s to them, something eternal, that many hope to reconnect.
In this noble quest, many have turned to Eastern mysticism, to travel to far away lands where people talk, act, think and behave nothing like their parents or friends. Others have planted themselves into their own nation, discovering myths and symbols of their predecessors for whom they still own a great deal of DNA. This has led many people towards esoteric and occult studies, in both their relationship to contemporary culture and their vision of post-Pagan society.
Sex, Jack Kerouac exclaimed, was the one and only Holy thing in life. It is the honest connection where worldly matters of appearance, acting out personas or otherwise putting on a face dissolve into a moment as pure as it can be. Although, since his wise words, written at a time when the world was slowly being cocooned into a new wave of hyper-consumerism and advertisements, even sex has lost this sacred status. Since pornography became as prevalent as it is today, sex has become similarly sullied by a performative expectation and attitude towards how and where it fits into our lives. Sex, under such circumstances, loses any power beyond the merely physical - of which even that has been weakened.
Where does an artist from Instagram come into this then? SP3KTR as the name is stylised, draws on esoteric and ancient symbolism, combined with a lustful eroticism which reclaims the human body to a more honest state, as if rewinding time and stripping away all superfluous conventions and preconceptions that the last few generations have been subjected to. In SP3KTR's depiction of the body, sex is once again Holy, a powerful bond strengthened by its stripped-back presentation.
Some of the most influential erotic art is some of the most simple. It doesn’t require the vivacity and pomp of over-accentuated curves and features to resonate with us, rather, in ancient depictions we are able to connect to the human energy of the act in the most primal way. It is, in a word, honest.
Not much can be found about SP3KTR online, besides being a resident of Boulder, Colorado and a self-proclaimed ‘Supernatural Fuck Machine’ (all capitalised, for effect). The artworks are mainly monochromatic, each coming with an accompanying text that errs between erotic and darkly humorous. This kind of dissonance underlines the fun behind a lot of the pieces which contain men fucking women, but also shemen fucking mythical creatures. Yes, there’s everything else in between.
Drawing on the satanic influences that permeate his works is the orgiastic appeal of pure chaos. The images are sharply finished in a kind of wood-carved style infused with a touch of art nouveau, retaining a rawness that keeps them true to their subject matter.
It isn’t all ancient sex mixed with witty text though. There’s a deeply musical element to the works. Metal, namely. Any of these designs could be t-shirts, flyers, posters or album covers. It's in this disparate lineage, of music, art, theology and philosophy that SP3KTR's artistic mythology is constructed.
With people’s minds flitting between what they should and shouldn’t do, think, look like, there needs to be more artists who have cultivated an image that comes across as direct and honest. SP3KTR makes something dark more accessible, inviting people into this ancient world of satanic ritual and sacrifice by having a bit of fun with it. It’s a welcome respite from artists who take themselves too seriously. Still, this is serious art and you should seriously take a look.
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