Jos A. Smith
If you're a regular visitor to Phantasmaphile, there's a good chance you're already a fan of Erica Jong's beauteous book, Witches, which came out in 1981. This was Jong's exploration of the witch archetype, and it had the added bonus of being lavishly and sensitively illustrated by Jos A. Smith. In happy news, Smith's original drawings for the book are currently being exhibited at Cornwall's Museum of Witchcraft through November. Oh how I wish I could see this! I may have to console myself by purchasing some limited editions prints of his from their online shop. Here are the full show details:
Witches and Witchlore: the Illustrations of Jos A Smith
With a long and varied career as an artist and illustrator, most notably for Time, Newsweek and The New York Times, and as an arts educator at New York’s prestigious Pratt Institute, Jos A. Smith (b.1936) has over twenty solo exhibitions to his name.
The exhibition at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic is the latest, showcasing his original artwork for the seminal book, ‘Witches’ by Erica Jong, first published in 1981. The exhibition was officially opened by Smith onMay 16th 2015and will run until November 2015.
The book charts the persecution of witches, through poetry, history and stories and also functions as a grimoire, or handbook for contemporary practitioners. Using pen, ink and watercolour, Jos A. Smith’s illustrations vividly explore all aspects of the various guises of the witch: from seductress to crone; perpetrator to victim. His skilled draughtsmanship reflects witchcraft’s connection to nature, with figures seamlessly blending into other forms, to create an otherworldly, eerie presence on the page. These images also express Jos’s own connection to nature through his study of esoteric religion and meditation, as he states: “I am fascinated by the lore that accrues to natural things..”
Displayed together for the first time at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic, this is the inaugural exhibition in a planned new series of temporary shows to be hosted at the museum from Spring 2015. The newly refurbished temporary exhibition space will allow the museum to examine its rich and varied objects in more depth and will also feature exciting collaborations with artists and researchers. People will have something new to see at the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic every time they visit, alongside the fascinating permanent collection.
Selected images are available for sale from the Museum's online shop as limited edition prints and high quality art cards.
(Pointy hat tip to Judika Illes for alerting me to this!)