" Synchromysticism:
The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance."

- Jake Kotze

July 15, 2018

Pickman's Model/Strieber's Communion?

Another, but subliminal alien/demon on the cover?
I couldn't help thinking of Whitley Strieber's 1987 "true" novel 'Communion' when I was reading H.P.Lovecraft's 1927 short story 'Pickman's Model'.
It wasn't so much the contents of Strieber's novel I was thinking of, but the cover image where I spotted a subliminal image lurking under the chin and to the side of the main alien on Strieber's cover.
Just an ink blot, or a deliberately placed image to somehow grab our subconscious attention? 
I've written about the cover image on 'Communion' and the artist who painted it before -
What Are the Eyes Actually Seeing?
Thinking about the artist in 'Pickman's Model'  made me wonder if Strieber's book would have been such a big seller if it wasn't for the alien image/images on the cover by Ted Jacobs.
I know that it was the cover image that got the attention long enough of a teenage me in a bookstore back in 1987 long enough for me to want to go over and read the blurb on the book and then decide to buy it.
""Pickman's Model" is a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, written in September 1926 and first published in the October 1927 issue of Weird Tales."
That's sixty years before Strieber's 'Communion' came out.
Sleeping Cthulhu by Pickmans-Model
"The story revolves around a Bostonian painter named Richard Upton Pickman who creates horrifying images.
His works are brilliantly executed, but so graphic that they result in the revocation of his membership in the Boston Art Club and he is shunned by his fellow artists.
The narrator is a friend of Pickman, who, after the artist's mysterious disappearance, relates to another acquaintance how he was taken on a tour of Pickman's personal gallery, hidden away in a run-down backwater slum of the city.
As the two delved deeper into Pickman's mind and art, the rooms seemed to grow ever more evil and the paintings ever more horrific, ending with a final enormous painting of an unearthly, red-eyed and vaguely canine humanoid balefully chewing on a human victim.
A noise sent Pickman running outside the room with a gun while the narrator reached out to unfold what looked like a small piece of rolled paper attached to the monstrous painting.
The narrator heard some shots and Pickman walked back in with the smoking gun, telling a story of shooting some rats, and the two men departed.
Afterwards the narrator realized that he had nervously grabbed and put the rolled paper in his pocket when the shots were fired.
He unrolled the paper to reveal that it is a photograph not of the background of the painting, but of the subject.
Pickman drew his inspirations not from a diseased imagination, but from monsters that were very much real."
Kind of makes me wonder just where the inspiration comes from in the artist's mind after reading Lovecraft's short story.

""The Silver Key" is a short story written by H. P. Lovecraft in 1926, considered part of his Dreamlands series.
It was first published in the January 1929 issue of Weird Tales.
Randolph Carter discovers, at the age of 30, that he has gradually "lost the key to the gate of dreams."
Randolph once believed life is made up of nothing but pictures in memory, whether they be from real life or dreams.
He highly prefers his romantic nightly dreams of fantastic places and beings, as an antidote for the "prosiness of life".
He believes his dreams to reveal truths missing from man's waking ideas, regarding the purpose of humans and the universe, primary among these being the truth of beauty as perceived and invented by humans in times past.
As he ages, though, he finds that his daily waking exposure to the more "practical", scientific ideas of man, has eventually eroded his ability to dream as he once did, and has made him regretfully subscribe more and more to the mundane beliefs of everyday, waking "real life".
But still not certain which is truer, he sets out to determine whether the waking ideas of man are superior to his dreams, and in the process, he passes through several unsatisfying philosophical stances.
Discouraged, he eventually withdraws from these lines of inquiry, and goes into seclusion.
After a time, a hint of the fantastic enters his dreams again, though he is still unable to dream of the strange cities of his youth, leaving him wanting more.
During one of these dreams, his long-dead grandfather tells him of a silver key in his attic, inscribed with mysterious arabesque symbols, which he finds and takes with him on a visit to his boyhood home in the backwoods of northeastern Massachusetts (the setting for many of Lovecraft's stories), where he enters a mysterious cave that he used to play in.
The key somehow enables him to return to his childhood as a ten-year-old boy, and his adult self disappears from his normal time.
The story then relates how Randolph's relatives had noted, beginning at the age of ten, that he had somehow gained the ability to glimpse events in his future.
The narrator of the story then states that he expects to meet Randolph soon, in one of his own dreams, "in a certain dream-city we both used to haunt", reigning there as a new king, where the narrator may look at Randolph's key, whose symbols he hopes will tell him the mysteries of the cosmos."
"The Key is a book by American horror author Whitley Strieber that was first self-published by Strieber in January 2001.
An expanded edition called The Key: A True Encounter was published as a trade paperback by Tarcher/Penguin in May 2011.
The book centers around a conversation Strieber claims to have had with a mysterious visitor to his hotel room in the early morning hours of June 6, 1998, while on a book tour in Toronto.
The man did not identify himself, and in The Key Strieber refers to the man as the Master of the Key."
Interview with Wilson Bryan Key
The Key?
The key to it all is out there...maybe...or in here (writes while pointing to my head)?

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