Thursday, December 8, 2011

Karyn Crisis Sings for Ephel Duath

Ephel Duath Music News:

Steve DiGiorgio (Death, Testament, Sadus, Obscura), Karyn Crisis (Crisis, Karyn Crisis Band) and Marco Minnemann (Paul Gilbert, Necrophagist, Kreator, Tony MacAlpine) join EPHEL DUATH in the upcoming EP due in spring 2012.

The complete line-up presents itself as follows:

Davide Tiso - guitars
Karyn Crisis - vocals
Steve DiGiorgio - bass
Marco Minnemann - drums

Being fully into the preproduction process and about to record drums for the EP, the band will keep posting regular updates and videos of the recording.

In the meantime, check the upcoming issue of Outburn Magazine (#62, on sale December 27 in the US) - it will feature an interview in which Davide Tiso discusses details on the forthcoming release and Ephel Duath's career.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


One of my favorite blogs, Phantasmaphile, mentioned my Tarot paintings tonite. So thankful! This is an inspiring blog filled with occult and visionary art that I love to read in the early a.m. as I'm preparing for my day ahead. Wish I lived closer to attend many lectures by Pam Grossman and other contributers at the Observatory. filled with artists of vision:Phantasmaphile

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Prints now available of my Tarot series

I'm now offering limited edition giclee prints of my Tarot paintings in my etsy shop on a made-to-order basis here:MY ETSY SHOP

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Major Arcana Tarot Show notes

The day I began to study Tarot in the forest I wrote in my sketchbook regarding the major Arcana cards: "My goal is to depict visually the state of consciousness each archetype portrays. This requires study of the Trumps and their meanings, rather than to just interpret artistically the names of each archetype."

I saw the deck in a full vision, then I went deeper into each card as I studied it, channelling more information and visual details. I took extensive notes, but didn't stop there. As I began to sketch out all the paintings and paint them, the channelling continued during the work itself, and the tarot began to study me.

Painting each one was intensely meditative.

I've always had a great respect for the tarot. Whenever I think of it, I feel a particular hum, a frequency, and I feel the antiquity and the seriousness of it. Even more than that, I feel the presences who created it, whom I call the "Council" .

Because I can feel the presences and sometimes see them, (though all those years ago I didn't realize I could communicate with them and feel their emotions and discern their personalities the tarot used to scare me. I could sense the Council who watch over the cards, the creators of the system.

I believe, as with many esoteric systems, Tarot was passed down as a legacy and given to humans. Much in the way other magicians throughout history were given magickal rites systems in visions from the archangels...or healers were given "remembrance" of a system during a vision quest, etc. These systems are far too complicated and deep for them to have been created by one person. I believe they are so so much older than we can imagine.

I've wanted to paint a Tarot deck for more than 15 years, but I hadn't felt ready until recently.
I felt it wasn't right to start until they felt I was ready. And Guides have taken my hand and are leading me through.

In fact, with this deck, I'm having to paint many things I've not painted before and don't really know how; water, for example. I painted these paintings in 2.5 months (building the canvases from scratch to painting all of them), and that's an amazing accomplishment for me, using oil paints. I don' tuse turpentine or any thinners, just walnut oil...although on the final layers I did use some alkyd to speed the drying time. It took me 15 hours a day of painting..and usually one day a week I crashed. if I had to go get groceries, I'd make sure to jog there. When painting something I didn't know how to I'd just hear "keep the brush on the canvas, we'll work it out for you."

In terms of deciding what images to include within each card, my focus was to, instead of hiding meanings in obscure or outdated symbols and images, to bring forth the essence of each personality (which the major arcana is: the Archetypes) within the Figure of each card which we travel through on our path. Since the figures themselves mirror back to us certain personality traits and their strengths and weaknesses, I felt it was important to make those traits very present.

Natural elements I've reserved for the pip cards, since that is their domain. While a spirit/personality moves through growth cycles of the majot arcana, the pip cards affect her journey elementally, spiritually, mentally, and physically...
choosing which ones of these influences should be imbedded within amajor aracana card so depends on the time and place interpretation of the reader, I felt to make this deck more concentrated within each card's essence...rather than clutter with symbols that might not pertain to the actual reading. Perhaps this is because my ability to read (as a clairvoyant/clairsentient/clairaudient) began with no tools, so I'm coming from a different place..but I believe in studying the structure and procedures proper of a system. Being so visual though, I find that many decks' visual vocabularies actually give me an unrelated or confusing image of the archetype at hand many times...or takes me on a vocabulary journey : attaching an image to a word, then to another word, then to an finally find out what the original images mean.

Clairvoyants, for example, use a particular system to "see", but each clarivoyant "sees" in a language that is their own, which also speaks and uses the language of the readee of the moment. Yet each clairvoyant has a "master" language that they see and visually speak from a place of neutrality, and this langauge can speak/see/interpret with any other person's language.

and so in the tarot also, there is a clairvoyant lanugage depicted in imagery. A "master tabluea" if you will, upon which a reader will meet with their own master language. Together these will communicate and build a bridge of communication with a readee. The Tarot is the teacher here, the reader is the medium/channel for the readee.

I wanted to search deeply into Tarot...and I knew as I did the tarot would see deeply into me!

The photos here are of me outside Sacred Rose Tattoo in Berkeley, CA, where I presented my Tarot show for the month of October. SR2 Gallery is located inside.

New Blood Milk

This is my wonderful new BloodMilk crescent necklace in white bronze.

BloodMilk has also released a fantastic new lookbook called "The Conjurer", available as a free download on a new website. Feast your eyes

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Halloween Treat

A little belated Halloween Treat news...the artist Amber Michelle Russell, who draws graphite portraits, made a portrait of me and gifted it to me..thanks arrived on Halloween! My favorite portrait of hers is Christopher Walken. You can see more of her work on her facebook page: AmberMichelleRussell

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spirit Board Painting details

Forgot a detail on the planchette yesterday, and now my "Spirit Board" painting is complete and ready to be delivered to the gallery tomorrow! I thought it only fitting to use a Victorian theme, and therefore Victorian mourning jewelry on the ladies.

The woman on the right has a round necklace with woven hair of her beloved departed inside, and a "jeweled" necklace made of teeth. The woman on the left has a parrot brooch inspired by Disce Mori Julia Deville shop
And the rings are all lovingly reproduced from the Etsy shop of my favorite Jewel Designer, Blood Milk. There's a Bear Tooth Engagement ring...: Blood Milk Bear Tooth

as well as a LYDIA ring by BLood Milk... BloodMilk Etsy

SPIRIT GUIDE necklace by Blood MilkBlood Milk Shop and I used the "Spirit Guide" necklace hand and turned it into a ring. I think the jewelry in this painting tells as much as story as the overall painting does. Following the hints behind the meanings of all the rings and necklaces and hairpieces gives certain insight into the personalities of the ladies and what they are doing here in this situation.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Spirit Board Painting

I've completed my painting for the Spirit Board Group Show which opens Nov 5th!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Spirit Board Update

IN PROGRESS: Still painting away on my piece for the Spirit Board group show. I'm just a few days away from completion I think! The main elements are here, minus one very special detail that will be painted in a bit later, and I'll post that final photo here when possible. This unfinished painting measures 26" x 36". Building my own canvases gives me the flexibility to build the appropriate shape for the idea, and I love canvas. For the sake of durability though, I'm having to consider moving to board eventually, especially since I like to work large. Transporting canvas is always nerve-wracking...but I am not such a fan of that flat texture. I found a company that makes custom sizes, only problem is they sell their boards's there's not only no ground on which to paint (and I've had unhappy experiences applying my own gesso to wood), but there's no sealant to protect the paint from wood acids. I'm shocked at how many artists paint oil directly on wood and then marvel at how that wood just soaks in all the paint. That is a process that will devour a painting over time. Wood acids mixed with oil, no ground to hold them in...strange to put all that work into something so unstable. Even canvas expands and contracts over time, risking cracking. Such is the nature of ever-changing organic matter!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Back from the Inner Between

I am working hard on a new large piece for an exciting group show coming to Articulated Gallery in November. The super talented supernatural jewelry designer JL Schnabel of Blood Milk is curating this show. I am ever so excited to see what results of the artists she's collected for this Spirit Board show. When she invited me to paint a Ouija Board themed painting, I knew this was the perfect time, as it's October! (And a super haunted one it's already been. I expect to feel quite a buzz at this show.), especially since I've been working on my Tarot deck for the last few months. Divination all around!

And, since I pushed myself so hard, painting 15 hour days and surviving on a body-abusive (but delicious) diet of cappuccinos, I started seeing a phenomenal Chiropractor who also uses Cranial-Sacral, nutrition, muscle testing..I think my husband finally found the magic naturopath for me! Especially after my fist visit, detoxing hard, I tried to get a little balancing energy from a gemstone nap..when the stones started to chuckle at me and told me "nope! this time you can't rely on outside fix: time to get it right on the inside." I knew we were on the right track!

I was born with the mark of a Shaman, or some say the plight of an artist: sickly child; asthma, allergies ( I could barely eat a thing), battling life and death over and over, hearing that Angel of Death laughing in my face. Doctors could never quite help-some along the way contributed, but mostly they pumped me full of meds that destroyed my immune system. Born a Scorpio seems so apt, and it's no wonder I can communicate with Spirits who've passed over, and an occasional earthbound ghost. More importantly, my illness and these spirits were just trying to get me to remember who I am, and my illness and these hauntings directed me on my path (not without great suffering).

Even though feeling exhausted is one of the most frustrating feelings for me, it's exciting to feel my body working. Each day I know what organ is being cleaned out because I am called to feel the emotion associated with it. As the thoughts and feelings erupt, I am carefully listening, observing, learning. This re-balancing is slowing me wayyy down, which is difficult for me, but I know it's needed after a lifetime of living with dis-ease. As I breakthrough to new levels of healing, I feel I'll breakthrough to new levels of creativity, clairvoyance,'s endless!
My intuition has led me to naturopathy over the years, and I am so excited to work with a doctor who's listening to what my body is saying right now in the present (instead of using me as a lab rat for experiments, which has been most of my AMA experience). That's a healer!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Karyn is interviewed by Eclectix!
Karyn Crisis, Eclectix Interview 24

Posted on September 29, 2011 by eclectixart

Eclectix first became aqquainted with Karyn a couple of years ago, when she came into the gallery, hair swinging, toting some killer leather works – gothic purses and cuffs. They were obviously crafted by someone with an artist’s eye and a gypsy soul – offbeat, with beautiful quality and embracing the darkness of life. Karyn has a huge energy about her, a quick intelligence and the creative verve to let her freak flag fly. A self-taught artist, she shared some of her paintings and professed that she wanted to concentrate more on them in the future. Luckily, she has been able to, cranking out some powerful Tarot works in her beloved oils, just this past year.
Karyn’s solo show “The Major Arcana” opens October 1st at SR2 Gallery in Berkeley, CA. ( thru Oct. 31st)

Could you give us a little about your background? I’ve always felt out of time and place on this planet. I’ve been able to see and communicate with spirits since I was young- but it scared me then and I’m able to embrace it now. I feel as if all my past lives are being remembered in this lifetime. I don’t look back often, but when I do, I realize just how much I’ve done so far. Having left my touring metal band of 13 years (Crisis) in 2005, I started over as a painter, shaman, Reiki Master Teacher, clairvoyant. My favorite chapter of my life is the current one, with my creative and talented husband and our cat. Music and a Tuscan witch brought us together and keep us moving forward in a creative, magical lifestyle. I made a living selling my paintings and custom leather work a few years ago, until my husband gifted me an art studio and the time to paint for painting’s sake – to get my technical skills where I want them, and to decide what I want to paint without worrying about selling my work. My work now is devoted to Witchcraft culture (European shamanism, healing modalities, and rituals).

Can you tell us a little about your creative process? I visualize a painting and the most important thing is to capture an action and decide the purpose of the painting. I see it in my mind’s eye, complete. I create her face, decide who she is, what her tools and colors will be and what exactly her intent or action is, then I draw it out with as much detail as possible. I then take a photo of myself for lighting reference and lines of hands, etc. From there, I often refer to fashion magazines or my favorite jewelry designers to use their clothing and jewelry pieces as inspiration. I also use a lot of my own ritual tools (changing them just a bit) and clothing. Then for the oil painting process, I build the canvas, draw the painting on, beginning with a burnt-sienna underpainting. From there, I paint the drawing in burnt umber, adding some shadows. Then I build with layers of greens, blacks and whites… it’s a bastardization of the Verdaccio technique. Throughout the process I get feedback from my husband. He knows what I’m trying to do without my having to say a word, and he’s got a talent for objectivity. I can get overambitious or not know when to stop painting and he reels me back in.

My favorite art memory from my childhood is… floating, out of my body, above my mother and myself. I was sick, lying in bed in my favorite corduroy navy and flowered overalls. Another memory is making potions in our backyard with plants and dirt.

My interest in art/painting started … I was little, watching my mom paint. I was always drawing. Always. And dreaming. She took my sister and I into Chicago often to the museums and galleries. The modern art wing was very dark, art-wise, it was very serious and it scared me. I was hooked.

I am often inspired and motivated by… my struggles. My frustrations with myself become quite a force for transformation. I am my own worst enemy, and when I’m stuck or overrun by an emotion, I’m inspired to use energywork to undertand, to listen, to learn. These modalities give me almost more to see and experience than my waking eyes. And one of my spirit guides and I work together on visualizing my painting concepts.

If I could spend the day with any artist (dead or alive) it would be… Anselm Kiefer (below) And we would… make his giant tar books together.

The tip or art technique (a specific tidbit of craft, advice or mechanical expertise) that has helped me the most is …. ”verdaccio”. An artist described this technique in a magazine interview and it changed my understanding of painting dramatically. Also, while painting, I find myself asking “what do you see” constantly, looking more intently at my reference photo, and with each layer redefining my lightest and darkest points.
(Eclectix note: ”Verdaccio” is an underpainting technique which came from the Italian fresco painters of the early Renaissance. Created traditionally from a mixture of Mars Black and Yellow Ochre pigments, Verdaccio was used to establish tonal values in fresco painting quickly, creating a soft greenish-gray for the shadows of flesh tones.)

If I could own one piece of art, out of the world’s collections, it would be …I’ve never been one to covet “things“. I don’t put alot of energy towards having “things”, but maybe I should! I’m more about wanting to create, to do, to accomplish, and to experience. BUT, if I had the money, I’d pay a good amount of it for some antique Strega Grimoires. ( A book describing magical beliefs and practices, for a female witch)

My favorite piece of my own art is… Witch’s Wands (above) because… I still can’t believe I painted it. In fact, my newer paintings feel like they paint themselves.

My ultimate project or fantasy is … to have my art in museums along with witchy installations, and to tour with my husband. The more we learn about legacies like Egypt, the Maya, etc, we learn all our ancestors had a spiritual system that helped them accomplish great things that they couldn’t have learned just on their own as a human. Call it religion, spirituality, shamanism, witchcraft, they’re culturally relevant systems deserve a visual voice.

The last song I choose to listen to was… a new one Davide is writing for Ephel Duath, and a new one for my solo album.

The last book I couldn’t put down was …. The Cauldron of Memory by Raven Grimassi.

My favorite word is… molto, fuck (you can use it in so many ways!)
I can’t live without …my husband

It’s not hip, but I really love … to study pigments and their properties. I will research the history of pigments, what their updated versions are made of and what they do. I love to study systems of all sorts. I had a photography teacher who gave me some great advice while reeling in my experimental photography efforts: “learn how to do things properly and well, then you can do whatever you want with it.”

I’ve been someone to whom things “happen”…I want to paint and “poof”, it happens. I want to do something else and “poof” it comes easy. It’s getting the outcome to present itself with my standard of quality and intensity that is difficult. Being able to recreate that first intuitive magic had also been difficult, until I learned that there’s more to an experience than the “happening” of it, the “being”…which is the technique behind. Learn the technique, or the system, and you can navigate better. I used to think, to demand, that my expression should come naturally, that “poof” I should be able to create a perfect painting each time, and I snubbed my nose at learning technique. Now I’ve found that learning a technique, that I can understand, gives me the freedom to let the painting happen by getting my own bad habits out of the way!

My favorite motto is… you must be certain of your power.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

My Justice Tarot almost-finished painting.

BloodMilk's Eagle Talon Crescent Moon.
The Black BloodMilk Crow Claw Davide bought me
For many years, I did not feel an affinity for jewelry: my idea of adornment was wearing found animal bones, or a rare metal talisman (like the bronze Medusa charm someone gave me years ago). I've not been a person so intent on having "things" or collecting "things" other that ritual -type things but more often found natural objects...but maybe because I was in a touring band for 13 years, thus more of a nomad than a person who could settle into a home to house things. Also, so much jewelry available seemed to be overly feminine and not have some masculinity thrown in there for balance.That changed a few years ago, and I began to notice jewelry made by new designers, which had a very handmade feel, a sense of antiquity like a secret treasure. I look for pieces that have a ritual function and visual appeal. My favorite ongoing collection by far is Blood Milk. Metalsmith Ms Schnabel has blown me away with her talents for precise detail, bold and big designs, embracing the old and the new, and her love of the "supernatural" (a spychic I admire scolded me for using that word. She said there' nothing "super" about it, it's just our natural way to be, pure and simple). Each piece has that wonderful ritualistic feel, and a deep sense of love in its crafting. One of the touching aspects is her use of animal bones and claws to create moon crescents and pentacles and crosses and other symbols of energy portals and transmitters. In this combination I find a Universal balance of masculinity and femininity and great natural power. The prefect gems for a witch! I find them so inspiring that I've included them in two of my Tarot paintings: Justice and the Chariot, and I'm sure they'll appear in future works.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

SR2 Gallery & Sacred Rose Tattoo are Pleased to Present "The Major Arcana: Work by Karyn Crisis"

Opening Reception: Saturday, October 1st, 2011 6pm – 9pm
Artist Bio:
Karyn began oil painting in 2006, after leaving her touring band of 13 years, Crisis. She has been obsessed with the idea of "inner demon/darkness" as a power source, and with facing it as a process of self-acceptance en route to enlightenment; the inner demon and its role as teacher and guide to empowerment via self-knowledge, forgiveness, and unity for a higher good.

Karyn sees light in dark places.

She has chosen to express, through her art, this dark side, the power within it, and the controversial beauty therein. She uses archetypes in her paintings and drawings, whose power and beauty have universally been both admired and feared, and whose images have been molded into harmless, quiet, passive or evil symbols, despite their terrifying and benevolent truths: Angels, Witches, and Mythological Women. Karyn also incorporates her first-hand experience with these beings as a Medium, Clairvoyant, and Seer.

The exhibition runs October 1st, 2011 – November 1st, 2011
Gallery Hours: Monday – Sunday 12pm – 8pm

1728 University Ave
Berkeley, California 94703
510.883.1083 is now live!!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Magus in-progress

Click on photo for larger image...more coming soon!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Tarot Paintings..more in-progress photos