‘The Art of Gothic’ by Natasha Scharf, in stores by Omnibus Press

Cláudia Carvalho
Cláudia Carvalho

Books focusing on the whole concept known as the Gothic subculture are much more than a rarity, especially if you want to hear the story from someone who stems from within the subculture rather than from a witty historian who decided to channel his inner-Goth. After the huge success of her first book, ‘Worldwide Gothic,’ Natasha Scharf returns with her freshest and mesmerising piece of artwork, ‘The Art of Gothic.’

‘The Art of Gothic’ is much more than just a book describing various aspects of the Gothic subculture, and it is truly a work of art. We are given the occasion to feast our eyes upon 223 pages of wonderful Gothic imagery. Filled with stunning images of various cd covers, movie posters, Gothic models and fashion, this book is not just for lovers of all things Gothic. A genuine essence of the Punk Gothique is captured within these pages as we are taken on a journey from the late 1970s to present day. This amazing “Gothumentary” features not only the development of music within the subculture but focuses on fantasy art and its artists, Gothic fashion and modelling as well as Gothic cinematography.

Natasha Scharf has managed to do what many others have successfully failed at. She was able to describe what this wonderfully bizarre subculture is all about without raising eyebrows from the scenes’ very own. After having dealt with the subculture for over ten years myself, I can frankly state that I have read much material on this subject which was far from legit. Various authors have tried to sum up the very core of the subculture; however, they have terribly failed at it. The Gothic subculture does not only consist of black-clad individuals with a passion for Edgar Allan Poe and Bauhaus; but it also consists of a wide spectre of followers who adore different genres of music, fashion and cinematography. However, they still all fall under the scope of the Gothic subculture.

'The Art of Gothic' was originally published on November 11th, 2014 by Backbeat Books
‘The Art of Gothic’ was originally published on November 11th, 2014 by Backbeat Books

Natasha Scharf takes us on a journey from the very beginning mentioning Gothic household names such as Bauhaus, UK Decay, Sex Gang Children, Siouxsie and the Banshees and The Damned. It is worth mentioning that this lady is also a DJ and a true music connoisseur. In layman’s terms, she knows her stuff. The Gothic subculture has various musical genres which have immensely changed and developed throughout the last 40 years; however, the chronology and coherence of this work sum everything up nicely and offer a clear overview for readers who are not acquainted with the subculture but want to learn something new. ‘The Art of Gothic’ features cd covers and concert posters from some of the scenes’ greatest.

The influence of fantasy art cannot be ignored when it comes to self-expression within the subculture. Artists such as Anne Sudworth, Hans Rudolf Giger, Roman Dirge, Olivia Barnard-Firth, Nange Magro and Alchemy Gothic’s very own Geoff Kayson, among others, are explored within these pages. Natasha Scharf is yet again able successfully to highlight the true essence of Gothic art. It is quite unusual what falls under the Goth umbrella nowadays but she has made an adequate selection of different artists for this book. Everything from fashion designers to jewelry makers and painters is captured within these pages to highlight what makes this subculture so unique and extraordinary.

‘The Art of Gothic’ is the first heavily illustrated tome to explore the aesthetics of this fascinating style in great detail. Previous books on Goth have given a bold overview of the music and culture associated with the genre, but this book goes deeper and hones in on the album art, intricate fashions, fantasy illustrations, and more.

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