by Randy Fox
Nashville artist Adam Baker first discovered the work of horror pulp-master H.P. Lovecraft at the impressionable age of 12. "I saw Stuart Gordon's movie Re-Animator and thought, 'This is some crazy stuff,' " Baker says. But when he went looking for the source material, he found the thick and formal prose of the original stories a little challenging: "I tried to read Lovecraft, and I didn't know what the hell half the words were. I had to read it with a dictionary beside me."
But what really captured Baker's artistic imagination were the surreal and disturbing covers that John Jude Palencar painted for Lovecraft's books in the 1990s. "Gordon's movies are quirky fun," Baker says, "but Palencar's art showed me a whole new side of Lovecraft — a deep, dark side."
Over time, Baker gained more appreciation for the ornate prose of Lovecraft's writing, and he's certainly not alone in his appreciation of the concepts and imagery that Lovecraft introduced to horror literature. In celebration of the 122nd anniversary of Lovecraft's birth, Nashville-area artists who share Baker's appreciation will have their work on display at Cthulhu Calling: An Evening of Art Inspired by the Works of H.P. Lovecraft at Logue's Black Raven Emporium 6 p.m. to midnight on Saturday, Aug. 18.