Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Art of Darkness 3 : Roger Koch
Your old pal Kyle recently joined a Facebook group page, ( I know, I know...Facebook is the tool of the devil, just hear me out on this one), called HAMMERMANIACS, (link here!), which, as you have most likely figured out, is a page devoted to the wonderful, elegant brand of horror that the British studio, Hammer, brought to the world in the fifties, sixties and seventies. It's a page I advise all classic horror fans to embrace as its populated by a great group of well informed, passionate souls who work hard to keep the memory of Hammer alive in minds and hearts, all over the globe.
I've only been a member myself for the past few days, and already I've discovered a treasure trove of absolutely beautiful, rare images from the Hammer archives, on-set images, cast portraits, foreign one-sheets and much more, all in one place. Its a pretty phenomenal little corner of the Internet, guys.
I must admit that I often feel rather isolated among my peers, even in the horror community, when I share my love for classic horror. It seems that time is slowly eroding the legacies of the great studio pictures of old, and today's audiences are, for the most part, far less accepting of beautiful black and white or glorious Technicolour. Its a real shame, and something that admittedly gives me the blues when I'm feeling particularly reflective. To be invited to join HAMMERMANIACS and to meet so many kindred souls in one place who are, 'Holding the fire', has really lifted my spirits.
So far, I've met and befriended some very warm, funny and talented people, and its to the work of one of these cool cats, that I'd like to draw your attention on this fine, rainswept Scottish morning. A humble, unassuming, yet extremely gifted artist by the name of Roger Koch.
Rogers knowledge of the genre and its history shines through his every piece. Among his cavalcade of creeps and killers, you'll find everything from a plethora of Harryhausen creations, to the Universal's stars and it's monsters, and from 50's B-movies to Hammer Legends. There are far, far too many to mention here; the man is carrying around an encyclopedia of horror in his damn head, and that, folks, is something that impresses the hell out of yours truly. To know that there are still people out there who remember and love THEM!, DR PHIBES, BRIDES OF DRACULA, THE TINGLER, THE BEAST FROM 20,000 FATHOMS and many more precious films, well.....it just makes my dark heart sing.
What impresses and delights me even more, is when someone takes that knowledge and shares it with the world in a passionate, beautiful and entertaining manner, and this is where Roger Koch truly shines. He's not only an incredibly gifted artist, he has a knack for capturing the majesty, the elegance, and often the bleakness of his chosen subjects, (just look below at his GOJIRA pieces as a prime example). Stunning.
I wrote an editorial a while back regarding some classic 'Top Trumps' cards that had a profound effect on my childhood, (you can view the article and all the cards here), and Rogers work holds the same fascination for me. He's a far more accomplished artist than whomever put those bad boys together, ( I loved them through a child's eye, you understand), but his work has that same chilling power, and wealth of weird, wonderful and frightening monsters. That its crafted with so much love and talent is what truly elevates it to some of my all-time favourite work. Rogers work isn't simply a representation of these characters that haunted our pasts; its beautiful art, in and of itself.
There are far too many of his wonderful portraits to chose from, (covering a whole range of materials from Acrylics, Oils, Pastels and Chalks), so I'll have to select a few of my personal favourites. You'll find more of his work over at HAMMERMANIACS, where he's rightly celebrated as a legend.
I'll stop my rambling now, and let you guys get down to what your here for. Be sure to click on the images to enlarge, and enjoy....