Steven Arnold began the series from which this example is drawn in late 1974, shortly after his return from Spain, where he worked with Salvador Dali on the completion of his Theatre-Museum in Figueres. To see more of this series, and other examples of Arnold’s art, visit our GALLERY page.
This never-before-seen painting is part of a collected body of over 80 surrealist canvases that Steven Arnold painted starting in 1967 in San Francisco, continuing until shortly before his death in 1994 in Los Angeles. For further examples Arnold’s paintings, follow the links listed below.
This rarely seen poster was created in the late 1960s by Steven Arnold for San Francisco filmmaker and scholar Larry Jordan. The producer of this event, The Intersection for the Arts, called simply Intersection here, is still highly active in San Francisco, although now at a new address. During this period, Arnold was also creating posters for the renowned San Francisco nightclub, The Matrix. Follow the text links highlighted in blue in the preceding paragraph and those listed below for more information.
Throughout 1967, Steven created a sizable body of surrealist, psychedelic poster art for the Matrix, a renowned San Fransisco nightclub, which featured regular performances by the likes of The Charlatans, Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks, The Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company w/ Janis Joplin, Grateful Dead, The Doors, Steve Miller Blues Band w/ Boz Scaggs, Santana, and The Velvet Underground. We will be revealing more regularly.
Steven’s film Messages, Messages, which won him an invitation to the Director’s Fortnight at Cannes Film Festival, has been included in the DIRTY LOOKS, NYC Roadshow, as part of the exhibition Female Trouble, which explores gender identity on film using examples spanning 5 decades.
SHOW DATES FOR DIRTY LOOKS’ FEMALE TROUBLE:
2/16/12 LOS ANGELES, CA: HUMAN RESOURCES GALLERY
2/21/12 PORTLAND, OR: PACIFIC NORTHWEST COLLEGE OF ART
2/23/12 PORTLAND, OR: GRAND DETOUR
Steven’s films The Liberation of Mannique Mechanique and Luminous Procuress are to be shown as a part of the ongoing Screen from Barcelona festival.
Below is a review of Luminous Procuress by film historian and critic Albert Johnson:
“The creation of a personal dream-world in cinematic terms seems to have been the aim of film maker Steven Arnold. Mr. Arnold studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and received an M.S. in Filmmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in 1970. His short films have all been beautiful, visual experiments in color and mysterious settings where mythological creatures are given a celluloid life of their own.
Mr. Arnold’s medium-length film, Messages, Messages, attracted a great deal of critical attention when it was shown during the New Directors section of the Cannes Film Festival, and it was linked by the French critics to the fanciful, cinema reveries of Cocteau or Fellini. If Steven Arnold admires the work of these filmmakers, his work does not imitate them, and his first feature, Luminous Procuress is an altogether extraordinary, individualistic phantasmagoria.
[Luminous Procuress] was filmed entirely in San Francisco over a two-year period, and describes the adventures of two wandering youths in San Francisco who visit the home of a mysterious woman, the Procuress. She is an elegant emblem of sorcery, her vivid features glowing under bizarre, striking maquillage, and one is not certain who she is or where she intends to lead the protagonists. Although the language she speaks is vaguely Russian, it appears that the Procuress has psychic powers. She discerns a sympathetic response to her on the part of the youths, and by magical means, conducts them through fantastic rooms, on a psychic journey. Through strange passageways, one voyages with the Procuress and her charges, glimpsing hidden nightmares and panoplied chambers of revelry, where celebrants, ornately festooned, dance and make love before unseen gods.
The youths are soon drawn into the sensuality of the Procuress’ spellbound kingdom, and one is reminded of the sorceress-neighbor to Guilietta in Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits. Only here, in Arnold’s film, the spectator is a willing participant in some unspeakably attractive but menacing ecstasy. The sexes become androgynous and one remains entranced by the wonder of such a film as Luminous Procuress.”
Scanlan’s Monthly was a short-lived political muckraking publication from 1970-1971. The magazine featured controversial political commentary, and news involving the thriving subculture. Scanlan’s is most well-known for publishing the first piece of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s “Gonzo” journalism, titled “The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved.” The magazine was also investigated by the FBI for it’s controversial perspective on the hotbed of early ’70s political upheaval. This particular issue featured an article on underground film in San Franscisco, and a cover-image of Pandora from Steven’s full-length film Luminous Procuress.
Throughout the mid-late 1960s and early 1970s, Steven regularly created flyers, posters, and graphic art for local San Fransisco performance venues and boutiques, including The Palace Theater, The Matrix, and In Gear. The above poster was hand-drawn for The Matrix, a famed psychedelic rock venue which was located in San Francisco’s Fillmore District. The Matrix hosted many up-and-coming groups of the time, including: The Doors, The Jefferson Airplane, and The Grateful Dead. The club was also a favorite haunt of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, among others. This particular example, from 1967, headlines the pioneering psychedelic rock band, Quicksilver Messenger Service.
” I believe it was Steven who actually invented hippie dress in San Fransisco, before it was fashionable. He always wore vintage clothing, carried a cane, top hat, spats, and was decorated with loads of rings and jewelry.”