Neo-Gothic Sculpture,
or the Lack Thereof

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By Charles Alexander Moffat - February 4th 2007.

In the world of Neo-Gothic Art there are a lot of photographers. Thousands of them, usually all doing the same clichés. The typical gothic girl or guy posing in a cemetary. Yawn.

Then there are amateur sketch artists. Goths being artsy, but not taking it seriously. There are tonnes of those too.

There are significantly less painters than photographers and sketch artists. I myself fall into this category, although I don't paint only gothic themes. I paint a lot of everything and the occasional neo-gothic work.

But there are a fair number of Neo-Gothic painters out there. You can see a few on these websites: Antoine Wiertz, Eliza Bathory, Stefanie Lynn Evans, Caroline Folkenroth, Victoria Van Dyke, Judith Weratschnig.

But when it comes to sculptures and sculptors, there seems to be a huge void. There are plenty of fantasy or mythological sculptors available, but no real hardcore without-a-doubt GOTHIC sculptors.

I know sculptors are a rare breed too. When training in university years ago there was plenty of painters, photographers, printmakers, etc. But the number of people who took sculpture seriously was very little. Less than 10 out of a graduating class of 400.

And none of the sculptors I knew back then were heavy into gothic culture.

There are other issues to take into account of course.

Sculpture tends to be physically demanding. It requires a person who is either strong or stubborn. Most goths are women, and the vast majority of them are none too interested in sculpture in the first place when other methods of art (especially photography) is way easier.

Sculpture is also more time consuming. Depending on the nature of the work it might take anywhere from a month to over a year to complete a specific work.

Sculpture tends to be expensive. Steel, bronze, glass doesn't come cheap unless you're picking it out of a dumpster (I'd like to see the dumpster that has old bronze thrown in it.) Even if you're making it out of wood there is a significant expense in buying the tools just to carve and cut the wood (or hammer pieces together).

This whole topic does inspire me to try my hand at Neo-Gothic sculpture myself, but alas there is another problem: My apartment is too small. I would want to build something extravagant and frankly that would require something more like a basement workshop or a garage studio to work in.

Historically I did manage to find one work of gothic sculpture from the last century, a surrealist piece by Joan Miro done in the 1970s:

Joan Miro - Gothic Personage, Bird-Flash - 1974-77

This is not to say that all the sketchers, photographers and painters out there aren't any good. They are good at what they do. I just wish there was sculptors too. Take a look at the lamp in Jason Chan's work below. Surely there's a sculptor out there somewhere who could actually build a lamp like that.

A Sketch by Jason Chan:

But I'm not done making fun of the photographic clichés. We have got to stop making these and calling it "art". Art implies that we're doing something creative. Copying the same old cliché over and over again isn't art. Its just plain repetitiveness.

I understand that there's a lot of artsy goths out there (in fact I think its great that as a social group goths are quite artistically inclined), but PLEASE people, be a bit more creative than just going out to local cemetary and striking a pose beside somebody's tombstone.

I mean, could you be any less lame?

And while I'm at it, don't go out there dressed in lingerie, BDSM gear or clubwear and try calling it art. Yes, technically it is art, but its art in the same way that paintings of Elvis are art and dogs playing poker are art. Its not something that deserves attention or even applause.

Yes, its FUN to go out and pose in the cemetary and crack jokes at the names on the tombstones (I know because I've been there and done that), but come on people! There are far more interesting places to hang out at and take photos.

And I'm not talking about old churches, railroad tracks, abandoned buildings or slums either. They've been done before plenty of times.

You want to know what would make an interesting photograph? A goth girl standing in a line-up for ice cream in a shopping mall. Juxtapose her attire with the clothes of the people around her.

If anyone out there is doing something different and gothic, I'd be interested in seeing your work. Send me an email and show me your artwork. It would be a welcome change to meet more gothic painters, printmakers and maybe someday even a gothic sculptor.

I hope this rant actually inspires some young goth out there with a flair for sculpture to take it seriously. You could be the first neo-gothic sculptor in the world.

And its a good feeling to be the first to do something.

It means that you are original. That you are genuine. The real McCoy.

And best of all it means you aren't copying what everyone else is doing.