The Painter, The Creature and The Father of Lies

Excerpt from the Introduction

As evidenced by the pieces in the second half of this collection, Clive has chosen his non-fiction subjects with care.  He’s recorded thoughts on people and works of art which have influenced his own work, added his voice to praise contemporary talent and championed unknown artists and under-celebrated media, offering to projects and individuals that he admires the possibility of whatever help his own brand of ‘celebrity’ endorsement might allow.

The choices reveal as much about the author as do the essays themselves.  We learn of the influence of Jean Cocteau on a young, feverish Clive Barker, bed-ridden with the flu but entranced by Cocteau’s Testament of Orpheus. We see also the influence of certain movies – and indeed movie posters – encountered in the Liverpool of the 1960’s and other seminal influences: his English teacher, fairy tales, songs from musicals, authors, painters and film-makers.

In these pages there are appreciations of comics, harking back to Clive’s days of rummaging in the dusty box at the back of his local shop, Bascombe’s, fingers-crossed in the hope of discovering American Marvel imports brought into Liverpool by ship.  Explorations of adult material and homoerotic artwork sit alongside celebrations of horror special effects, religious iconography and Mother Nature in all her glories.  Critical essays on censorship and repression mix with sixty-five pieces written to offer insight into and explanation of his own works.  

Obsessions of the flesh, obsessions of the mind.  In all, the obsessions of the painter, illustrator, author, director – creator and imaginer – Clive Barker.

Phil and Sarah Stokes, London, 2009