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Art as Magic Ritual Gets Explored in ‘Dark Paradise’

In Hollywood, some artists and magicians are meeting up for a three-week long happening.
October 29, 2015, 9:00pm
By Kristin Trammel. Images courtesy the artists

With its abyss-like depths the internet has given rise to a renewed interest in esoterica and the occult. Some of this finds its way onto online visual art communities like Tumblr, while other new media artists—like Matthew Plummer-Fernandez in Hard Copy—have taken aspects of the occult into traditional gallery settings.

Dark Paradise, a three-week event organized by Los Angeles-based artist and curator Yin Shadowz and the “emerging mystical arts organization” The Applied Mythology Project, hopes  to go beyond the superficial vogue of contemporary esoterica to explore whether artmaking is a magical ritual. The event features artists, writers, filmmakers and scholars collaboratively exploring the intersection between art, myth, and the occult.

By Meagan Boyd

“We chose to organize this exhibition this Fall to coincide with age-old mythic traditions of turning inwards to mark the darker time of year, rituals and celebrations such as the Pagan Samhain, Mexican Dia de los Muertos, and the Haitian Ghede, just to name a few,” says Kristin Trammell, Founder and Director of the Applied Mythology Project.

Among a slate of artists and panels either performing or speaking at Dark Paradise, The Creators Project's own Tanja M. Laden will discuss the life and work of Marjorie Cameron, the occult artist who lived a life as artistic as it was fantastic, as Laden previously detailed in an article.

By Meegan Barnes

Motivated by “profound wanderlust” and an early interest in magical thoughts, black cats, art and poetry, Cameron's illustrations and poems were published in Wallace Berman's Semina publication. She was also married to noted alchemist, rocket scientist, and Jet Propulsion Laboratory founder Jack Parsons. (Parsons, it's worth noting, corresponded with Aleister Crowley, and had his yacht and his girl stolen by none other than L. Ron Hubbard.)

By Natalie Yang

By Bunnie Reiss

No such event like Dark Paradise would be complete without Cameron. And while such a three-week long happening seems like typical Los Angeles (and this author assures you that it is), it would be a mistake for the more aristocratic-minded art intelligentsia of New York, Paris and London to simply dismiss it. Laden's talk on Cameron, along with the other artists and speakers, will hopefully dig into the role of magic in everyday life and how ritual infiltrates artistic practices.

Dark Paradise runs from October 23rd through Friday, November 20th at Last Projects gallery in Hollywood. Tanja M. Laden will be speaking on Marjorie Cameron tonight from 7-9 PM PST. Click here for more info.

Related:

The Trippy Art (and Trippier Life) of Occult Artist Marjorie Cameron

Aura Photography Brings Occult Art Back To NYC

Conjuring the Internet: Art and Contemporary Magic