It was January 2009 and I had just been the subject of an explosive feature written about me in SPIN magazine. Although I was mildly disappointed that I didn’t get the cover, I did get cover mention. Five pages and some 90 odd restless nights later, I needed something to embark on. Thus began the process of gathering the collection of over 100 original drawings by my late grandfather Anton - from my grandmother Diane, who had collected them throughout her 25 year partnership with him.
Diane had given me a carefully copied (Xerox!!) folder of the bulk of the collection as a birthday present on my 18 th with the added note…”one day these will all be yours” I couldn’t believe my eyes! The drawings were mostly cartoonish but very well done and are examples of some of the very earliest examples of what has become “Outsider Art.” With similarities to Dali and Crumb, the collection is like no other.
Because Anton wasn’t really known for being an artist, although he most obviously was one, his “art” was generally observed in his literary works, beyond that a few records of Anton’s amazing dexterity as an organist exist as a kind wink to the knowing of his real abilities which started with art and that developed into magic which became the foundation of the belief system of which Anton is the founding father; “Satanism.”
Some of the drawings date back to Anton’s teenage years and many of them would have been thrown away had Diane not insisted on collecting them. When I was born she urged Anton to draw more if for no other reason that to leave me with more of him when there is no more him on earth – which is exactly what happened. I think my grandmother must have anticipated Anton’s death. She knew from the stories I was bringing home after my visits with Anton during the last year of his life that his health was rapidly disintegrating. Maybe she gave the copies of his drawings to me before he died so I would know better the kind of personality I was with on those final visits.
The drawings are a sort of illuminated manuscript of Anton’s literary works, most of which were drawn during the 1960’s and 70’s. Included in the collection are things like Anton’s “CoS Membership Card” design and a cover design for the “Cloven Hoof” newsletter. Many of the drawings are unsigned, some of them are on the backs of Church of Satan mailers and study sheets, some are on shredded pieces of tower records bags and See’s Candy box lids, even restaurant napkins.
I decided it was about time to show some of the art but not knowing how to begin pricing originals and needing to first create a market for the art since no one had even ever heard of “a drawing by Anton LaVey” before – I knew my work was cut out for me.
I was hooked up with a guy who was introduced to me by some mutual friend who at the time was running a small gallery in Burbank. He was a tattoo artist and a fan of LaVey and recognized the art as amazing when I showed him and immediately agreed to doing a show and helping me make some limited prints of some of them. Together we made some proofs that weren’t quite turning out exactly the way I wanted them to so I contacted my longtime friend the artist Stephen Kasner who put me in touch with someone in southern California who ran a screen printing shop and had the ability with the right press to make an imprint that suited me. I spent the entire night of February 13 th (which just so happened to be a Friday) 2009 making an edition of 13 different images printed exactly 13 times each. The only print that is in any way altered from the original is the “Self Portrait Study” that I grouped together from a number of individual self portraits creating one print out of them all. The rest of the drawings I printed at an enlarged size but otherwise identical. The manner in which I created variation was based on Anton’s use of black pen, blue pen and some other drawings by Anton with “the kids”:Karla, Zeena or myself” would draw in pencil with Anton drawing in pen. I decided the best thing to do to replicate the effect of the different types and ages of paper the originals were on and the different color inks was to use two different color paper and two different color paint. The results where a collection of prints that are simple, unique and rare.
I displayed the 13 original drawings that the prints are based at the show in 2009. I have only displayed any of Anton’s original drawings that one night and my grandmother, ever supportive, joined me for the arts debut. The
photo of Diane on her Wikipedia page was taken at the show which I gave the title, “Art Incarnate” to and it was a hit! The gallery was full all night and I don’t believe we were offering wine – and in LA that is a damned-good sign!
I stashed the one hundred or so prints and the matching certificates I made to sell with them only taking a few out over the years to give to friends as a fancy gift and when on the move, which, after moving all over the western part of the US and dragging these prints with me, as well as all of the original art, here I am ten years later, almost to the day, writing this story for my website.
There are some minor creases and dents here and there but otherwise the prints are in excellent condition. I’ve decided to bring them out of the trunk that they have been in for the last few years and into the light to sell and in so doing share some of Anton’s wonderful drawings with the world.
I intend to publish the entire collection and will likely do so in the next year or two. Meanwhile I encourage fans, friends, supporters or followers of the LaVey family history to buy one or more of these prints!
Currently Available on eBay