Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bethalynne Bajema: Artist of the Dark and Beautiful

     Just a quick post about Michigan artist/author Bethalynne Bajema who has been having health problems and could use some support.
   I first encountered Bajema's art through a post about her "Black Ibis" series of graphic novels and tarot deck on the Coilhouse magazine & blog website. The striking artwork was all black lines, white and sepia, featuring Victorian-influenced clothing and design with fantasy elements, and looked either photo-realist or created by retouching photographs. I thought it might be steampunk, or at least steampunk adjacent.
     Later research uncovered that she is a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, an early 20th-century fantasy writer now probably best known now for his story "Herbert West, Reanimator," upon which the film "Re-Animator" was based, and his tales of the extradimensional being Cthulhu and his kith and kin (some of which have also been filmed).
     I also discovered she was a Michigan native, and was writing the text that accompanied her illustrations (sometimes under the nom du plume Etta Diem). A quick check on Amazon found several titles available, both print and Kindle.
     Reasoning that a Michigan author and artist was a suitable subject for my blog (and possibly a print article), I found a contact email and sent her an interview query. Unfortunately, it took her a while to get back to me, and when she did my schedule was crazy. After several attempts, the interview seems unlikely to happen.
     As Bajema explains on her website, she hasn't had the time to go through her inbox because she has had some back and autoimmune problems, "and there are times when they flare up and lay me out."
     I'd show one of her illustrations here except that she hasn't given me explicit permission, and her website warns that "I shall send feisty squirrels after you to enact my revenge" if I do, so instead I'll have to direct you to her fine website Bajema's Web.
     Bajema solely supports herself through her artwork, she is uninsured, and she has lots of bills piling up. So take a look at her work on her website and DeviantArt, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and consider buying something (you can get one of her e-books for $3 on Amazon) at Red Bubble or Izozzi.


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