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In my case, junior year in high school was an especially difficult, painful time. My best friend had been hit by a car at dusk before the first day of my junior year. Last words: "I'll see you tomorrow."
That fall I retreated to my room and stopped watching TV with the family as had been our evening custom. I did my school work and listened to my music. The inner pain and confusion had no real outlet.
Any explanation here of what happened or how it happened is going to be an oversimplification, but these were the elements. What I remember is this. I purchased an album by Deep Purple which had as its cover art this fantastical painting by Hieronymus Bosch from his famous triptych "The Garden of Earthly Delights." The three panels of the painting portray Paradise with a naked Adam & Eve in the Garden of Eden (left panel), a large square central scene depicting the delirious Garden of Earthly Delights, and the stirring imagery used by Deep Purple that depicts the gruesome horrors of Hell, titled The Last Judgment.
|a portion of the painting in graphic detail|
Decades later, when I recalled these memories, my recollection was that the album was titled Tetragrammaton. My recollection, also, was that this was Deep Purple's third album.
By means of Google I've now discovered that Tetragrammaton was not the name of the album. It was the name of the record company that signed Deep Purple and represented them when they emerged with their first hit record Hush.
There are some further faulty elements in my remembrances. Foremost, the Deep Purple album that I thought had the Bosch art was the one with River Deep Mountain High on it, as well as the song Kentucky Woman. Turns out, that second album was titled The Book of Taliesen. The one with Bosch's portrayal of Hell was simply Deep Purple III. I'd matched everything incorrectly. This latter, whose songs are completely forgotten to me, made the lasting visual impression that unleashed renewed creative impulses.
Tetragrammaton issued the album in a stark gatefold sleeve, wrapped around with a segmented illustration from Hieronymus Bosch's painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights". The label ran into difficulty over the use of the Museo del Prado-owned painting, which was incorrectly perceived in the US as being anti-religious - featuring "immoral scenes"; and was thus rejected or poorly stocked by many record shops. The original painting is in colour although it appeared on the LP in monochrome due to a printing error for the original layout and the band opted to keep it that way. (Wikipedia)
What's interesting to me in retrospect is that my drawings were not induced by hallucinatory drugs, or drinking binges or ingested stimuli from without. At this time in my life I had never touched a drop of alcohol, never inhaled an illegal substance. I was honor society, straight-laced, probably even a square to the cool kids... just a kid trying to sort out who I was, and expressing some of what I was feeling through my art, primitive as it was.
While visiting my family a couple years back I found a folder with a couple dozen drawings from this period in my life. (Here are five of them.) Making the pictures evidently fulfilled an inner need of sorts. I wasn't a sicko, and the subject matter did not remain a lifelong obsession. My skills were unrefined, but my imagination had begun to soar.
Meantime, I'm looking forward to seeing the documentary. What are you looking forward to this weekend?