Best known for his Hellraiser films and Books of Blood series, Clive Barker has another lesser known talent. Barker has been painting and illustrating throughout his career, saying that his art is the root element of anything that he does.
What began on Kickstarter is now a reality;his collection of artwork, titled Clive Barker: Imaginer-Paintings and Drawings, Vol.1, was recently released. Containing over 20 years of art, Imaginer is a 10 x 13 hardcover book containing over 75 pieces of art and 208 pages. These are all new pieces that have not yet been seen.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Barker said that, “There is definitely a through line. The through line is The Figure. I draw human beings, or that is to say, variations on the human being — mutations, transformations, abstractions — pretty consistently. In fact, it's arguably the only thing that I'm really interested in.”
He also went on to admit that his art can look “like inventions that are more concerned with taking a line for a walk” rather than being directly representational, but he defended this by saying that, “This is Picasso's idea and not mine, but the artist was instantly freed from the necessity of likeness when the camera was invented,” he explained. “I have no respect for or need to be respectful of reality. Reality is taken care of by photography. I can now look internally into my imagination and what that has to say about the world. My lines can investigate entirely different kinds of journeys. And my curiosity is more about where a line might go more than what it will look like when I get there.”
Considering himself a visual artist before being known as a literary artist, Mr. Barker explained, “I don't know any other way but to be a visual thinker,” he said. “I describe in my stories what my mind sees. And I find words that are most economically and stylistically effective in describing the internal vistas which come inevitably to me. I can't see another way to be. I understand that other people do write without seeing images in their heads. I don't know how that happens. I'm a journalist who records the figurescapes that congregate, and transform, and argue, and make love inside my head.”
As an out gay man since the early 90's, Barker has a unique ability to connect horror and eroticism together. Stating that his stories originate as visuals first, he has said that he keeps a brush and ink next to his bed so he can capture pieces of dreams. Barker considers Imaginer to be the missing element in the overall picture of his career and if fans really want to know who he is or where his ideas come from, this book is the answer.
A limited edition of 1000 copies was released August 23. You can order via the Century Guild website.