I have never read “Pickman’s Model” before today. I was shocked to find that my most recent short story, I’m revising it now, is closely related. It was not my intention to write a story so close in relation. I merely wanted to write a story that included the Lovecraft Mythos and art. I did not know that the character of Pickman was a visual artist, as it the main character of my story; however, in my story, the visual artist make his living as a tattoo artist in Minneapolis, and instead of a model, he is painting skin with his horrific visions of The Dreamlands.
I wasn’t delude enough to believe that my story would be completely original, who’s are any more, but I thought that I would have at least stumbled upon something that the master himself hadn’t explored. Anyway, I will not let that keep me from revising my story and completing it. I still believe, selfishly so, that I have something to contribute to the ever expanding fiction derivative of Lovecraft’s original works of cosmic horror.
“Pickman’s Model” is a great story for a cloudy, sunless day. The story is a conversation between the narrator and his friend Elliot, who listens intently to the narrator’s experience in New England’s weird art scene.
The narrator and Pickman become fast friends through their common understanding of art’s strange ability to depict reality in away that celebrates it, but equally condemns it through grotesque comparisons. Expanding on their friendship, Pickman offers the narrator the opportunity to join him in his artist’s refuge to view those paintings too strange for even the weird art scene.
Pickman’s refuge is a broken down shack with boarded up windows in a long forgotten neighborhood left to squalor and squatters. He chose this specific location because it had cellar with an earthen floor and an exposed well opening that had been bricked up. These wells were all over the city and contained energies that inspired the open and keenly sensitive mind into creative frenzies.
In the refuge, the narrator experiences Pickman’s paintings with a revolution so acute that it elicits a most girlish scream that wakens something dire within the cellar that provides a most import insight into the realist work of Pickman. This thing that is wakened is the model for Pickman’s mix of human features with those of a slick skinned canine.
You can read it here: Pickman's Model
Listen to it here: Pickman’s Model
Note: The narrator mentions that he is familiar with the work of Clark Aston Smith, a contemporary horror writer and frequent correspondent of Lovecraft’s.
Lovecraft, H. P. , “Pickman’s Model.” The Dream Cycle of H. P. Lovecraft: Dreams of Terror and Death . New York: Del Rey , 1995, 94 – 105