Monstermind by Rupert White is packed with rare photos, a well-researched tale of the magical life and art of Tony “Doc” Shiels, surrealist, magician and creator of folklore.
From Doc’s involvement in the ‘50s St Ives art scene– then the hippest happening place in the world for abstract art - to being barred from St Ives pubs for being a beatnik (I know how it feels, I was there a decade or so later), being banged up in St Ives nick for barmy behaviour (likewise), and onto increasingly surrealistic monster-raising stunts...
Check out how Doc conjures up Morgawr, the Falmouth sea serpent, (or was it a sea-slug?), the Ponsanooth Fairy Photos, the Owlman of Mawnan.
Many other curious entertainments feature in the book.
As it says on the cover, “Shiels used skills learnt as an artist to manipulate the public in a brazen and audacious display of theatrical, imaginative daring. In the process he left an indefinable but not insignificant magical and artistic legacy”.
All these years after the two sevens clashed, I’m not sure what rates as the magical highlight of 1977, was it the situ-shamanism of the New Wave Punk Rock Explosion, was it the Hammer House of Windsor’s Jubilee itself, or was it was it Doc Shiels’ manifestation of the Loch Ness Monster?
Monstermind offers a welcome antidote to the horrid occult practices of the likes of Aleister Campbell and may help those of you still suffering from the theeee goth hangover onto the road to recovery…
A cracking read.
Doc's paintings rock.
Also, there's some very good bits in here where Rupert contextualises Doc's practice in terms of developments in dematerialised art.
Now I want the big glossy coffee table-sized monograph.
(Will somebody publish one, please?)
Monstermind: The Magical Life and Art of Tony 'Doc' Shiels:
Paperback: 157 pages
Publisher: Antenna Publications; First edition (1 Feb. 2015)
Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 15.2 x 1.4 cm