Modern saints

Illustrator Neal Fox, founder of Le Gun magazine and chronicler of the seamier side of life, has created a series of stained-glass tributes to a dissolute collection of latter-day saints.

Johnny Cash, Francis Bacon and William Burroughs are among the subjects of the profane glassworks, which are going on show next month in the show Neal Fox: Beware of the God.

Billie Holiday by Neal Fox
Billie Holiday by Neal Fox

The exhibition, at London’s Daniel Blau gallery, will feature 12 2.5m-high stained glass windows, worked up using traditional methods at manufacturer Franz Mayer of Munich.

While Fox has used the traditional structure of stained glass windows – which generally feature events in saints’ lives, the instruments of their matyrdom, iconic motifs and a quotation, he has subverted this framework to reflect the debauched and disreputable lives of his subjects.

Francis Bacon by Neal Fox
Francis Bacon by Neal Fox

So a heavily armed and presumably drunk Hunter S Thompson is pictured, cigarette-holder in place, in front of the Stars and Stripes, while occultist Aleister Crowley is shown flanked by Satanic figures with his uncompromising maxim ‘Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be the Whole of the Law’.

Hunter S Thompson
Hunter S Thompson

Fox doesn’t shy away from any aspect of his subjects’ lives – JG Ballard’s obsession with the eroticism of car accidents (the subject of his book Crash), Johnny Cash’s drink-and-drugs breakdown and Jean Genet’s homosexuality (controversial if not illegal at the time) are all portrayed unflinchingly in coloured glass – an alternative church of alternative saints.

Aleister Crowley
Aleister Crowley

Neal Fox: Beware of the God runs at Daniel Blau, London, from 8 July-13 August.

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