I was pretty cynical while reading this book, because I knew Whitley Strieber was a famous horror story writer at the time and while I found the book interesting, I still took it with a pinch of salt.
Over the years I've gained more respect for Whitley's honesty, but I still don't know what that encounter was all about and Whitley seems to be in the same boat.
"The cover painting of an alien was rendered by Ted Seth Jacobs.
The painting is considered one of the most widely recognized popular culture images of alleged "grey" aliens.
"The Communion cover," Jacobs recounts,"was painted in my small apartment on East 83rd St, in New York City.
Whitley sat with me first for a drawing of the Alien.
As I sketched, he would indicate how to change the portrait so that it would more match what he saw.
It was, I believe, the process used by police sketch artists.
Every last detail was corrected according to his instructions.
At one point, he said the image corresponded exactly to what he had seen.
With Whitley beside me for the subsequent session, I began to paint the image on a wooden prepared panel, going through the same process as for the drawing, until Whitley finally said the image was exact.
... As to the gender of the Alien image, to tell the truth, the subject didn't come up.
I don't even know if the 'greys' have gender as we understand it.
Whitley corrected the developing image to have a certain fragility, a vulnerability.
I suppose we Earthlings usually associate these qualities with femininity.""
I'm also a big fan of the books on subliminal techniques allegedly used by advertising companies and the like that were "exposed" by authors such as Wilson Bryan Key.
No wonder I like gin;-)
I noticed quite by accident when I was putting together my post on the year 1987 that there appeared to be...to me anyway...a subliminal face painted into the background of the face on Whitley's novel 'Communion'.1987: The Present Can Only Be Viewed from the Past?
I only noticed it when I had Peter Jackson's movie poster for his 1987 alien movie 'Bad Taste', next to Strieber's 'Communion' cover, because the "hidden "face looked very similar to Jackson's alien face.Interview with Wilson Bryan Key
Q: The cover art for Communion is a classic image in our culture. I've heard of many people who are unable to bear to look at the cover, and as many who find it almost alluring. There's a trace of a smile on that figure that I've always found interesting. I'd love to ask you about how you came to paint that figure, what the process was and what your interest in the subject may be. Before we get to that classic image, though, I wonder if you could tell me a little bit about a mystery. When I designed my Whitley Strieber website, I came across an image of what seems to be an alternate version of your cover art for Majestic. It featured a soldier standing above a deceased alien being on the desert sand. When the book was produced, the soldier had been “painted out” of the scene.
A: Well my friend, you have touched what is a sore spot with me, about the Majestic cover illustration. I originally produced what in my humble estimation, was the perfect graphic synthesis of the story. It was an image suggesting the opposition of Authority and the Alien Phenomena. Whitley had emphasized the delicate fragile nature of the alien, and I contrasted it with a rather unfeeling brutal earthling standing over the fallen creature. To me, it was a rather terrifying image. I also personally think it would have sold the book much more successfully. Whitley had told me that the Communion cover had become a classic in the publishing field. As you may infer, my most endearing quality is my modesty, but I feel all this is only the truth as I perceive it! When I received a copy of Majestic, I was stunned and outraged. My painting had been completely emasculated. All the impact was gone. I was also offended to see that some of the light effects had been altered. This may not seem so important, but I am considered an authority on effects of light as applied to painting, and have a published book on the subject (now out-of-print) titled Light For The Artist. I also have a long ongoing career as a teacher, and my emphasis is on the interactions of light and structure, or form.
Q: Would you share your reflections on your painting for Whitley Strieber's Communion? Were you pleased with the painting? And were you consciously trying to convey a female alien being, and if so, how did you go about this without the standard clues that reveal gender?
As to the gender of the Alien image, to tell the truth, the subject didn't come up. I don't even know if the 'greys' have gender as we understand it. As was the case with the Majestic alien, Whitley corrected the developing image to have a certain fragility, a vulnerability. I suppose we Earthlings usually associate these qualities with femininity.
A: Once in Boulder Colorado, I was doing a mural in a hotel where a whole convention of UFO experts was meeting - one of those 'synchronicities' so common in the UFO field - including Stanton Friedman, J. Allen Hynek, Jacques Vallee, etc. I made known my interest, and they included me in their lounge discussions. When I met Dr. Vallee, among other things, he said, “In all scientific disciplines, the more data that is amassed, the more one feels a solution is approaching. In the UFO field it is the opposite.” Despite my own ideas of time and reality and “Them,” I deeply feel that concerning anything important, I know absolutely nothing.
If you are in touch with Whitley, please give him my best. ~
|Aquaria by Ted Seth Jacobs|
So what are the eyes actually seeing?