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Monday, August 15, 2016

Influence from the Past: Edward Gorey

My Three Amphigorey Compilation Books

We all have things from childhood that have had an impact on our life, both role-playing and everyday.  Looking around my home, I realized like most folks I have amassed a small collection of things that have had such an impact.  I thought I'd reminisce out loud, in a new blog column I'm gonna call Influence from the Past.

My first exposure to the work of Mr. Gorey came in the form of the opening and closing credits of the PBS show Mystery! in 1980.  It was very close to the time when I was introduced to Dungeons & Dragons, and like many things in my life a strange connection formed in my neural pathways...Edward Gorey will always be ingrained in 11 year old me as part of the wonder of the game, even though his work and life had no connection to that world (I don't think...correct me if you know something I don't).

I've only had a few visual artists affect me in such a way, that is, outside of the amazing and wonderful art found in the early source-books of D&D (especially works like Fiend Folio, where I was first exposed to the likes of Russ Nicholson or the art of Larry Elmore found throughout the TSRverse).  Edward Gorey still affects me today, and the three Amphigorey books above hold a hallowed place on my bookshelf.

His work was a reflection of his life.  A fascinating man (I also own a wonderful biographical work) who's black & white illustrations of strange creatures, curious children, and odd grown-ups in twisted and often horrifying circumstances carved images in my mind's eye that have shaped how I play RPG's, and how I process art, and even how I look at life.

Other Illustrators/Visual Artists I discovered during that time in my life were Ralph Steadman and Brian Froud, and their impact was easily comparable to Edward Gorey, with Froud very much influencing the way in which I viewed the Fairy world through my internal lens.

Next time...10 year old me finds weird music...

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