Latest Books: This, That, and The Other - classic fantasy adventure sequence, written with Zel Cariad

Latest Horror Story: Final Bough - a contemporary tale of the supernatural - published in Horror Hounds

Latest Writing on Art: Books of Hours: Treasures of the Limbourg Brothers - marvellous manuscripts

Latest Writing on Film: The Valiant Ones (1975) - classic wuxia action from genre-master King Hu


                                                 




↓ NEW ↓



'Books of Hours: Treasures of the Limbourg Brothers' @remydean.bsky.social takes an illuminating look at the #art of three brothers that triggered a transition from Gothic to Renaissance medium.com/signifier/bo... #ArtHistory #History #illustration #Gothic #books

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— Signifier (@signifier.bsky.social) Jun 10, 2024 at 3:48 PM

Monday 15 January 2024

SGWRS BACH: 'Tracing the Land'

 


I am pleased to be part of this varied and intriguing line-up... 


SGWRS BACH: 'Tracing the Land'

SPEAKERS: Ellis O'Connor (Painter and Artist in Residence at Mawddach Residency), Emma Barley (Photographer, Gallery Owner, Curator), Remy Dean (Author and Artist), Dr Joe Hope (Lichen Expert), Peter Ogden (UNESCO advisor), Jane Williams (Artist and Potter). 


More information and tickets via EventBrite 

Event organised by Mawddach Residency 


Thursday 4 January 2024

...and that be 2023

 

Wishing You Health, Happiness, and all the very Best for 2024! 


Here's an incomplete summary of what I did, made, and published in 2023: 

Well, that seemed a short year! Looking back, quite a lot was done although the outcomes don't seem to match my sense of unrelenting activity... What was I doing?
I'm not getting into global issues here which were a mixed bag, heavy with bleak and there's a review of the year here at BBC News if one needs reminding. In this post, I'll endeavour to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative... it's all about me and what I enjoyed doing and discovering. 


Published Fiction 

My short story Perceived Value was published in online magazine Horror Hounds which also published Final Bough in its entirety with reproductions of the original illustrations by Katie Hone that appeared in the first limited-edition print run, back in 2008.

illustration by Katie Hone for Final Bough (2008)


Behind the scenes, I wrote two full scripts and two additional short treatments for a potential television series that probably won't ever reach the production stage. In which case (focussing on the positive, remember) I have the groundwork for a set of short stories or graphic novels. Watch this space. They're something like magical realism, maybe. Difficult to sum-up the vibe... Horror but imaginative and uplifting? I hope I have conjured wonder and amazing creatures with a supernatural-folkloric fusion. So, if you are an illustrator looking for graphic novel scripts or an eager television producer, please do email me 

Cinema Critique 


My contributions for Frame Rated have been predictably varied - my personal choice of six highlights are...  



A review of what may be my all-time favourite film, Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001), Christophe Gans' take on the Beast of Gévaudan folklore - a fantastic and rather surprising action-packed, martial-arts, monster-movie, period-drama, intrigue-thriller... and so much more! And for the newly restored Director's Cut debut on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD, I also had the opportunity to talk with Mark Dacascos about his starring role as the mystical Mani - you can read the interview transcript or watch the video HERE

The Fall of Akō Castle / Akô-jô Danzetsu (1978) is among the most important, and gorgeous, historical epics of Japan’s rich cinema heritage, telling one of the nation's most retold tales. It’s a perfectly paced, serious samurai movie based on what happened during the first years of the 18th-century and with this new high-definition restoration by Toei studios looks and sounds better than ever. 

Among the reviews I really enjoyed researching and writing last year were two early, highly influential, giallo-esque classics. One from the maestro, Mario Bava, with what is sometimes cited as the original and still definitive example of the genre: Blood and Black Lace (1964), with its beautiful use of expressionistic colour in some inspired cinematography and a twisty plot that was astoundingly original at the time. Another seminal psychological horror-thriller from Spain, one of too few from auteur Narciso Ibáñez Serrador: La Residencia / The Finishing School / The House That Screamed (1969) exploring themes of awakening sexuality and the subjugation of natural desires as a tool of authoritarian control, as well as being a great gothic horror. 

Finding inspiration in real historic events and persons, director Kinji Fukasaku was bold enough to fuse chanbara, period drama, Japanese ghost story, and Hammeresque supernatural gothic horror in the highly entertaining Edo-period fantasy Samurai Reincarnation / Makai Tenshô (1981). With very satisfying results. 

In my most popular extended review published in Frame Rated you get three-for-one with the boxset of newly restored versions of Tod Browning’s Sideshow Shockers (1925–1932) which comprises his infamous Freaks (1932): a controversial fusion of strange soap and horror - accompanied by two I had never sen before, and very few had ever seen these prints of The Mystic (1925): an entertaining and satisfying supernatural thriller - and The Unknown (1927): gruelling but absorbing intense psychological thriller and my personal favourite of the trio. 

Curating Contemporary Art and Illustration


I have also continued as curator for The Signifier : six : shot : gallery and was pleased to host some super fresh illustration showcases. Zel Cariad closed 2023 with her fascinating exhibition Creatures on show over the festive seasons and Nanae Kawahara rang-in 2024 with her whimsical yet profound exhibition View. And you can view both for free using the links below (click on the colourful images):


 

submissions guidelines for artist can be found in this edition of Signified newsletter: HERE




Writing on Art and Design


I have contributed several online articles about art, art history, design, and media. 
For Signifier my personal choice of six highlights are... 


Félix González-Torres and Depletion Art
Intersections with the works of Anish Kapoor 
Abram Games: Poster Boy 
Two Classical Chinese Scroll Paintings of Landscapes
Artists Using Light as Their Dominant Medium
Costume as Concept and Sculpture
   

My updates on this weblog are sporadic, with occasional bursts... To keep up with what I've produced, as well as information on forthcoming events and live appearances, the best SNS is my new Bluesky - if you are on Bluesky, too, come say "hello" - and of course, most of my long-form writing appears online at Medium sooner or later, so please do follow my account there.

I began using my YouTube channel more over the last few months - there are plans in the pipeline, so check-that out from time to time, or subscribe for what I think may be surprising content later this year?


                                  

__________________________________


in memoriam 



Mr Barnum (2009 - 2023) 

A Relentlessly Loving and Energising Presence
Best Friend to the Whole Family


Tuesday 16 May 2023

Mark Dacascos - Meeting one of my Heroes (Who is Sometimes a Villain)

I recently enjoyed a quick-fire chat with actor, top entertainer, martial arts superstar, and delightful gent,  Mark Dacascos

We chatted about a variety of things but his career is so rich and varied that I had to focus on asking about what may be my favourite film of all, Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) which has just been released by StudioCanal on HD Blu-ray as a 4K Director's Cut supervised by Chritsophe Gans so, of course we touch upon Mark's work on Gans' debut feature, the beautiful live-action adaptation of the classic manga, Crying Freeman (1995). 

We also cover his recurring super-villain role as Giyera for seasons three and four of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.facing-off with Keanu Reeves in John Wick Chapter 3: Parabellum (2019), and finally bring things right up-to-date with Knights of the Zodiac (2023), the current series of Warrior (2023) and, of course, Iron Chef(Can you guess what Mark's favourite meal is?) 

 


You can read the transcript published in Frame Rated where the uncut video has also been posted - I kinda became a vlogger by accident... The video may not be HD but you can see and hear Mark Dacascos clearly and he is a lively and entertaining interviewee, as one might expect. 

You can read, watch, and listen to my interview with Mark Dacascos HERE - a Frame Rated exclusive. 

You can read my extended review of the new Director's Cut of Brotherhood of the Wolf  HERE - also published in Frame Rated


Mark Dacascos as Mani in Brotherhood of the Wolf


Mark Dacascos IMDb filmography    |    Mark Dacascos on Twitter 

Saturday 4 February 2023

THE ASEMIC TERRAIN - Exhibition

 


A showcase of my drawn poetry and visual writing is the current exhibition at 

The Signifier : six : shot : gallery  


I have this idea that our living landscapes are already poems written in a language of minerals, chemical processes, and ongoing energy exchanges. It is an unfinished epic poem, already spanning billions of years but with a fractal metre of minutes, months, millennia… land stanzas spanning portions of our perceptive interaction through the lens of living. 

Our word ‘poem’ proceeds from the French poème, Latin poema, Greek poēma, already an ancient variant of poiēma meaning ‘fiction’, derived from poiein meaning to ‘create’… ergo : Creation is pre- and post-literate Poetry : ad infinitum...

click HERE to continue reading

Tuesday 3 January 2023

22 into 23 - Happy New Year!


The close of 2022 marked my second year as curator of The Signifier : six : shot : gallery which officially launched January 2021 and, every calendar month since, has hosted an artist’s showcase of just six images linked by aesthetics, techniques, processes, philosophies, formal or conceptual elements. 

Some of those exhibiting with us are already well-established, internationally renowned artists, some have gone on to win major accolades since featuring. That’s not saying they wouldn’t have without the six shot! They were clearly on those positive trajectories when selected, but Signifier believes their successes are worth celebrating. Plus, it’s a welcome vote of confidence in the acumen of the curator’s eye. 

You can read my summary of all 24 exhibitions HERE




...and I am very happy to announce that year three is off to a stonking start with an exhibition by one of my favourite creative persons, Jonathan Meades, who you may know better as a television film-maker, newspaper columnist, and audacious author. 

You can view his six shots, Treyfs and Artknacks, HERE

I continue writing as a critic at Frame Rated, which keeps me in fine company among a top-notch team of movie buffs and film fans. During 2022, I wrote retrospective reviews for a couple of mainstream 1980s crowd-pleasers that I still love: 


  


...as well as plenty of other, perhaps more 'cult' favourites, a few of which I link to below including high camp horror, visionary science fiction suspense, a seminal Vampire classic, a dreamy Japanese thriller, Italian Giallo essentials, and an edge-of-the-seat Korean thriller... (kudos for knowing the film before clicking on the thumbnail to read the extended reviews): 


 

  

  


In addition to curating the aforementioned Signifier : six : shot : gallery, I also edit The Signifier publication on Medium and contribute regular articles on art, design, and media. My most popular pieces this year included articles about the art of chess, Gustav Klimt's paintings of trees, an ancient magical scroll featuring nine Chinese dragons, an overview of Joan Miró, a celebration of J-Pop-Art phenomena Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, and a School of Athens Renaissance reunion... 


   



As for fiction, my best-selling book of 2022 was a close tie between This That and The Other Books One and Two, and when Books Three and Four catch-up, I assume pressure for Part Five will mount! Zel and me are sure looking forward to That! 

Big 'thank you' goes to all those who have joined Rietta and Carla on their adventures across the Three Realms so far. All your support - whether that's reading the books, sending us letters of encouragement, or helping to spread the word on social media - is always appreciated... and for those yet to get involved in the epic fantasy adventure, please check-out the four-book sequence so far via amazon


That's all for now, except for me to wish you and yours all the very best for 2023!

For news and updates follow me on 

Twitter   |   Medium 


Saturday 16 July 2022

Inside the Cave of Wild Humphrey Kynaston

Shropshire Council's Great Outdoors website have kindly used my text about Wild Humphrey Kynaston in their new virtual walk-through of his cosy cave abode. Thank you, Folklore Thursday for first publishing my article titled, A Real Robin Hood: Tales of Wild Kynaston and his Satanic Steed, Beelzebub, in which I retell some of the surviving tales about the Shropshire outlaw and highwayman, whilst looking at the real historical backdrop to his life. 

Nesscliffe Hills and The Cliffe Countryside Heritage Site is steeped in 3,000 years of human history, an Iron Age hillfort, saw pits where trees were planked by hand on site, World War II trenches, squatters cottages, an observation post, a terrace where archery competitions were held two hundred years ago, and Kynaston's Cave - hideout of Wild Humphrey the Highwayman. A new online walkthrough takes you inside, accompanied by my text commentary...

 

You can make a virtual visit via this link - scroll down the informative article to find VR compatible, 360° walkthroughs of the Nesscliffe Hill Camp dig - conducted during the summer of 2021 by Southampton & Oxford University Archaeology Departments; and a look inside the small but, for the time, well-appointed hideout of Kynaston’s Cave - a Scheduled Monument, situated high up and cut into the vertical quarry face of distinctive red sandstone, accessible only by a long flight of treacherous steps that are not safe for public use! 

Friday 7 January 2022

...onward into 2022

Happy New Year! 

Here is a brief round-up of things I did in 2021 that may be of interest to others... 

I already summarised the first quarter HERE which saw plenty of my writings published, about film and art, plus a virtual author's tour of schools for World Book Day following-on from a couple of virtual residencies. 

The summer saw more writing, but a lot of it was 'in the background', including a new lease of life for an array of television script ideas, due to an injection of funding to facilitate their collaborative development. It may be a while until any of that is likely to be unleashed, though! 

My visual art also explored avenues anew and collided with text to take things in a whole new direction... I wrote a related piece for Signifier about this merging and morphing into post-literate abstraction - click image below to read for free: 

Writing to Escape the Words in Signifier

I am honoured to have been accepted as an Arts Council of Wales Associate and looking forward to exploring all that may entail. In my role as Creative Consultant in Education I offered distanced learning, a mentoring programme, and also oversaw a collaboration with the forward thinking school Ysgol y Foryd, near Rhyl, and two inspiring artists, Sal Maguire of Round the Twist, and Liam Rickard aka WorldWideWelshman, who helped the pupils explore illustration, folklore, climate, and to write and perform their own original (and super-catchy) songs - one about the myth of the fearsome, flood-bringing Afanc, and another that's a pop party anthem.

This creative adventure continues with the preliminary planning of a second educational project, and I'm looking forward to developing this into 2022 with three new Creative Practitioners - Tara Dean, along with Libby Edwards and Stuart Loughland of Magic Light Productions. The potential is immense and I can only expect... the unexpected!  

I was inaugural Curator for Signifier : Six : Shot : Gallery which featured a dozen artists in its first year: Stephen Green, Julie Upmeyer, Lou Gunstone, Tim Pugh, Elin Hughes, David Thomas, Jan Gardner, KK Sharma, Géraldine Swatridge, Darren Neave, James Milne, and currenlty samples from my Biodes series are the January 2022 exhibition. The Signifier’s Six Shot is an online gallery that showcases just six images linked by aesthetics, techniques, processes, philosophies, formal or conceptual elements. The accompanying statement by the artist may not necessarily explain the work but will help build a deeper and more meaningful engagement with it. 

(I am currenlty sorting out the Six Shot schedule for 2022, so if you would be interested in showing work, feel free contact me with your proposal and a request for guidelines.)

I continued to contribute regular articles on art, design, and media to the Signifier publication and you can 'jump in' with these selected examples - try to guess the subject before clicking on the image: 

 

...and I enjoyed writing regular reviews of film and television as a critic at Frame Rated. Here are a few choice retrospectives, 'deep-dives', and reviews I particularly enjoyed - see if you can identify the movies from these stills before clicking-through to the reviews: 

 

If you have enjoyed any of my art and writing, please consider showing some love and support. Simply spreading the word via your social channels would be a big help and won't cost a penny. So, take a moment to share articles, art, and reviews that you found of interest because, chances are, others may also. 

Much of my online writing is syndicated to the Medium platform where I am listed as a Top Writer in the categories of Art and Movies. If you haven't yet, please consider subscribing to Medium via - this link - I receive a small referral fee and you get unlimited access to The Signifier publication and Six Shot Gallery, plus Frame Rated and all the quality writing on Medium, which is focussed on providing a smooth reader experience across multiple devices and platforms. It’s a great deal!

The best way to support any indie author, is to purchase their books! If you enjoy the work of a writer, then a reader review on your preferred peer-sharing platform is a brilliant way to show support and get the word out to others who may also enjoy their books. If you know anyone who enjoys reading “imaginative fiction at its best,”  This, That, and The Other is my latest series of epic fantasy adventure novels, written with Zel Cariad, and the first four are available from The Red Sparrow Press.

That's all for now, except for me to wish you and yours all the very best for 2022!

For news and updates follow me on 

Twitter   |   Medium