I was approached by The Folio Society last year to see if I would be up for working on some illustrations for their planned collection of stories from H.P. Lovecraft, 'The Call of Cthulhu & Other Weird Stories', and after a bit of figuring out whether I'd be able to do it justice, due to having preparations for a solo show on the boil at the same time, I jumped right in and ended up having a large hand in its overall design too.
I wanted to make work that was different to the Lovecraftian illustrations that I've seen over the years. A lot of excellent artwork that has come from Lovecraft's output, and I decided I'd like to make pictures that not only felt as pleasing to me to make as my own personal work, but that were also more about the atmosphere and tone of this work, rather than being illustrative of specific scenes or beings.
I had a totally open brief to do what I wanted, and complete support to go a bit berserk with it all from the ever-excellent Folio Society, and as we went along I made the pictures and got further and further involved in the full concept of the packaging too.
My main desire with the production, especially with the limited edition, was that it would feel like a sinister, dangerous object as much as a book, like Lovecraft's oft recurring 'Necronomicon of Abdul Alhazred' might feel, and I think we've achieved that. With the black-edged pages and the blind-blocked look and leather feel of the limited edition, with its individually hand-marbled end-papers and the extra pages of black mandalas that I made to add to the occult-like feel of the book, there's definitely a sense of something otherworldly and disturbing about it, which I hope complements the pitch-black, mad darkness of Lovecraft's writing…
To be part of something that includes Lovecraft and Alan Moore, who provides the introduction, has been properly excellent, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it's received by Lovecraft's admirers.