Books focusing on the whole “concept” known as the Gothic subculture are much more than a rarity, especially if you want to hear the story from someone who stems from within the subculture rather than from a witty historian who decided to channel his “inner-Goth”. After the huge success of her first book, Worldwide Gothic, Natasha Scharf returns with her latest mesmerizing piece of artwork, The Art of Gothic.
The Art of Gothic is definitely much more than just a book describing various aspects of the Gothic subculture, it is truly a work of art. We are given the opportunity to feast our eyes upon 223 pages of wonderful Gothic imagery. Filled with stunning images of various cd covers, movie posters, Gothic models and fashion, this book is not just for lovers of all things Gothic. The true essence of the “Punk Gothique” is captured within these pages as we are taken on a journey from the late 70s to present day. This amazing “Gothumentary” features not only the development of music within the subculture but focuses on fantasy art and its artists, Gothic fashion and modeling as well as Gothic cinematography.
Natasha Scharf has managed to do what many others have successfully failed at. She was able to describe what this wonderfully grotesque subculture is all about without raising eyebrows from the scenes´ very own. After having dealt with the subculture for over 10 years myself, I can frankly state that I have read a lot of material on this subject which was far from legit. Various authors have tried to sum up the very core of the subculture; however, they have terribly failed at it. The Gothic subculture does not only consist of black-clad individuals with a passion for Edgar Allan Poe and Bauhaus, it consists of a wide spectre of followers who adore different genres of music, fashion and cinematography. However, they still all fall under the scope of the Gothic subculture.
Miss Scharf takes us on a journey from the very beginning mentioning household Gothic names such as Bauhaus, UK Decay, Sex Gang Children, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Damned. It is worth mentioning that this lady is also a dj and a true music connoisseur. In layman´s terms, she knows her stuff. The Gothic subculture has various musical genres which have immensely changed and developed throughout the last 40 years; however, the chronology and coherence of this work sum everything up nicely and offer a clear overview for readers who are not aquainted with the subculture but want to learn something new. The Art of Gothic features cd covers and concert posters from some of the scenes´ greatest.
The influence of fantasy art cannot be ignored when it comes to self-expression within the subculture. Artists such as Anne Sudworth, H.R. Giger, Roman Dirge, Olivia Barnard-Firth, Nange Magro and Alchemy Gothic´s very own Geoff Kayson, among others, are explored within these pages. Miss Scharf is yet again able to successfully highlight the true essence of Gothic art. It is quite funny what falls under the “Goth” umbrella nowadays but she has made an adequate selection of different artists for this book. Everything from fashion designers to jewelery makers and painters are captured within these pages in order to highlight what makes this subculture so unique and special.
Whether you consider yourself a “true” Goth or simply have a fondness for certain aspects of this wonderful subculture, The Art of Gothic will satisfy your hunger and leave you craving for more Gothy goodness. I find myself always going back to this book in order to indulge in these lovely images. And let me tell you, as a student of literature, this is also a very good and entertaining read! Two thumbs up for Miss Scharf and The Art of Gothic!
written by Arnela Alagic