Clive on Visions Of Heaven And Hell

"Firstly, Alicia - who designed the Abarat books - is designing this book... and I went to Joanna Cotler and said, 'Is it OK, can I steal her away?' because there was nobody I wanted more than her. And so she came over from New York before I came away and we looked at every painting and every drawing that I had and then we talked about the pictures that I don't have - like The Arsonist - and things that I want to have in the book, that I don't have copies of. And there's a lot of such pictures. But you know, we've got hundreds and hundreds and in fact thousands of pictures to start with, so we're in pretty good shape. And we decided on a rough 200, I suppose mostly colour pictures - because it'll be an all-colour book. It'll be about 400 pages, large format, hardcover with a very limited amount of text, at my desire, my design - I don't want this to be a book of words, I want it to be a book of pictures. And probably most of those words will be words from my various books. I'm going to find ways to connect word and image, or to illuminate one with the other and it's going to be, I think, a beautiful thing. I think the great thing about Rizzoli, and you see this with David's book, they're gloriously produced; it's going to be a beautifully crafted book and reproduced book. So one of the things we are going to do is we're going to do some close-ups of the paintings so that the process we were talking about before, as my online dream for the paintings of an online gallery, as what I want to do eventually, will have its first incarnation in the pages of this book - which will be called Clive Barker's Heaven and Hell. And we'll choose a painting or two paintings and we'll just go in for close-ups of the way the paint's been layered and this stuff about the way the paintings are made, which Alicia is incredibly insightful about. I mean, she's dealt with illustrations and illustrators for years in her capacity as art director of Joanna Cotler, so she's very smart and insightful about the work and it was very nice to have somebody else coming in and saying, 'I think we should have this and not that. I think we should have this, but not that one - we've got to have this, we've got to have this, but not that.' It was useful to have another eye. I argue once in a while, but I basically go with - her take on things is very smart and I think we're going to have an amazing book. I mean, it's a kind of dream book for me, because nothing could be better than having a big, fat, beautiful reproduction book of my paintings. I mean, that's, to me, a very exciting thing and I think we're aiming for Christmas of next year and we're looking at it costing something like forty-five bucks - so it's a very exciting thing."

In Anticipation Of The Deluge: A Moment At The River's Edge

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 1 and 12 July 2004 (note - full text here)

"It's a pretty big book from Rizzoli, pretty much all colour, and pretty much all pictures. I'm trying to keep the words down, because it's really a book of visions. I want people to sit back with their favourite music on, look at this book and dream a while."

Days Of Magic

By Joe Nazzaro, Fantasy Worlds, No 5, February 2005

"I feel as though I've been painting, if you will, PG paintings for a long time and it's time to paint some R-rated paintings. The Rizzoli book, Visions of Heaven and Hell, will come out in October [2005] and that has a lot of the erotic art in as well as a lot of Abarat art - and a lot of fold-outs, a lot of gatefolds; there are twelve gatefolds in the book, so it will have a lot of really big illustrations in it which is great, very exciting. So that will really start to get people to be able to see paintings that they were only able to see small - like the island painting, so small in the book, is now going to be a foot and a half long and so it's fun... Just about the only frustration on 'Visions' is that I have not been able to track down the owner of The Arsonist, so we're having to reproduce it from a smaller transparancy and you don't get the same veracity. I think the painting will survive it, but it's just a frustration because I like the painting and I would like to know that it was well and was being looked after. It's strange that whoever has it hasn't heard that I am looking... "The book is going to be gorgeous - it's not going to be cheap - it's going to be $50... I've just talked them down, they wanted to do the $75 edition with slipcase and I said let the limited edition be that one and just do the edition that people can reasonably afford. So we are going to go down to fifty bucks. It doesn't change the quality of the book at all - the seventy-five buck book was simply the fifty buck book packaged differently, so it's still the same length, it's still the same quality of printing and binding, and the whole point is to get these pictures out to the largest number of people I possibly can."

The Hellbound Art : Memory, Fantasy And Filigree

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 10 February 2005 (note - full text here)

"I'm writing the introduction to the Rizzoli book right now. We don't actually have a precise date for a release but it is sometime in October. And it's going to be a beautiful book. It's almost four hundred pages in full color. And it has foldouts - so the very long paintings can be fully viewed. It's going to be wonderful. And it has a lot of the paintings from Abarat in it - but obviously much larger than they appear in the regular books. And it also has a lot of older work that nobody has seen before and a lot of erotic. So it's really a very diverse book. "I'm trying to keep the introduction as informative as possible. I want to try and describe for readers and viewers something of the process that gets me form a blank canvas to a finished painting. And that's sort of hard. I'm not very good at talking about my own painting processes. I don't think any painter would ever - or even a writer - would ever say: Wow, I do this, I do this, I do this... Whenever anybody says to me 'Where do you get your ideas from?' my mind goes blank. But I am trying to talk about the process of painting. So that's the Rizzoli book - it's going to be a very beautiful book."

Clive Barker On The Phone

By [Thomas Hemmerich], That's Clive!, 29 March 2005 (note - full text online at

"I think you're going to adore Visions of Heaven and Hell; the reproduction is amazing... It's just lovely, they've really gone the full distance to make this an 'A+' art book, so that for instance the colour of the paper on which the black and white pictures are painted, you know, sepia or whatever - because some of that paper is kinda old, these pictures go back a way - we've preserved that in the reproduction which is really nice. And the colours from the Abarat reproductions are eye-pricking!"

Rummaging Through The Toybox: Plushes, Plagues and Plaudits

By Phil and Sarah Stokes, 11 August 2005 (note: full text here)

"[Visions] has just under 400 color images, including foldouts. So that's kind of cool, particularly for the triptychs whose detail can oftentimes get lost. I've written introductions to the ten chapters trying to pulll together some thematic material. The book does have pretty strong violent and erotic stuff in it. There are a lot of people around right now, who should know better, who are very queasy about content. Rizzoli came and said, 'We want this book to be as beautifully printed as we can make it.' Hurrah! 'We want it to be as big as we can make it and we want it to be comprehensive in terms of content.' When I heard that, I said, 'Hey, sign me up!'...
"[Alicia Mikles] said, 'What ideas do you have about organising this?' I said, 'I don't have a single smart idea about any of it.' She didn't panic, which was good, because then I would've panicked. She went into a huddle with Chris [Steighuer, editor] and came out with ten chapters which were iconographically titled 'Sorcerers', 'Land and Sea'... We played around or maybe changed two of them. I think 'Sex' became 'Lovers', for instance. Small changes, but what she did then, which was brilliant, was find threads of imagery that I'd never seen in the pictures. She laid them side by side, and at first I'd say, 'What are those two pictures doing together?' Then I'd go, 'Oh look, there's a spiral in the middle of both of them!'"

Visions In Paint And Celluloid

By Carnell, Fangoria, No.247, October 2005

"When a book is gilded like [Visions] the edges are stuck with the gold. When you ease these pages separately it never sticks again. It may be a lot of work but on the other hand you get gold edges on the book!...
"The limited edition is coming out - from B.E. Trice. Actually I'm doing the cover for it now. So, yes, there will be a limited edition."

Some Visions

By Thomas Hemmerich, That's Clive!, 15 December 2005

...other comments

"Crack open Visions of Heaven and Hell, and you have unlocked a Pandora's box of images that are certain to stay inside your head. For more than twenty-five years Barker has awed fans and critics alike with his groundbreaking works of fiction, but what few know is that the heart of his fantastic worlds lies in pictures. Now, for the first time, this book brings out from the dark depths more than 400 of Barker's most stunning drawings and oil paintings. Illuminated with ten essays on the recurring themes of his oeuvre, this artwork renders with expressionist fervor some of our most primal passions - good, evil, and all that's between. From the graphically terrifying to the ecstatically sensual, Visions of Heaven and Hell takes you on a journey through unexplored and forbidden realms.
"Designed in a luxurious package that perhaps recalls a devotional medieval manuscript or the works of Blake and Cocteau, this volume itself has the feel of a talisman from one of Barker's stories. Providing the true key to the mysteries of his imagination, it is a must-have collectible for all Barker fans."

Clive Barker: Visions of Heaven and Hell - Information Sheet

By [ ], March 2005

Chris Steighner (Rizzoli USA) : "Readers may find that some pages of Visions of Heaven and Hell stick together at the edges. This sticking is caused by the gold color foil that has been applied to the edges of the pages as a decorative element. This is the same gilding technique that historically has been used for Bibles. However, because the pages of this book are of a high-quality, coated, art paper stock, they react differently to the gilding process than the thinner, uncoated paper stock of Bibles. When the gold foil of the gilding is applied, the heat and moisture cause the coating of the paper stock to melt slightly, leading to the sticking. When first opening the book, it is best to fan through all of the pages quickly back and forth a few times, allowing most of the pages to fall free on their own. This is preferable to going through the book pulling apart page by page individually. We regret any inconvenience this may cause the reader and we hope that you will enjoy the unique production values of this book."

Visions of Heaven and Hell

By Chris Steighner, 4 January 2006

Visions of Heaven and Hell bibliography...

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