Tuesday 7 September 2021

My review of Grotesque Illuminations: The Art of David Whitlam



This is an amazing volume, US letter size (8.5 x 11 inches), 143-page hardcover, filled with some absolutely fabulous surrealistic art by David Whitlam, beautifully printed in full-colour.

David Whitlam first came to my attention with some distinctively painted book covers, a couple of which have graced two published under my own Parallel Universe Publications imprint (A Little Light Screaming and A Distasteful Horror Story by Johnny Mains), though neither of these are in this current volume.

Whitlam has an obvious predilection for certain colours, mainly of the dark browns and sepia hues, which handsomely compliment his images, which are fabulously bizarre.

If I had a grumble it would be that the pictures are so fascinating in their range and concept I would have liked to read something about the artist’s inspirations and about the pictures themselves, their source and perhaps a little about what techniques he used to create them. As it is the only text in the book are the titles of the paintings. But this minor gripe apart, this is a great showcase for Whitlam’s work and one which can be pored over for hour on end. Whitlam is a true original, with an impressive command of whatever he is depicting.

Thoroughly recommended to anyone with a love of bizarre surrealistic art.

The book is available from:



This review originally appeared in Phantasmagoria #18

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