I’ve been a rabid fan of Worthless Endeavors and his work since around 2007 or so when I’d seen the video project he did for the song, “Dajjal.” It was promoting not just the song, but what would be the entire body of work on his self-titled debut. It wouldn’t be until almost four or five years later that I’d actually grab a copy of the LP as at the time the release was circulated personally and only in close circles.
I wrote a fairly extensive review several years back on the LP and Worthless had gotten in touch with me. I was honored, and over the years maintained frequent contact with him. I got to know quite possibly one of the most brilliant living artists and occult visionaries of my time. To lay things out in a more concise manner; Worthless Endeavors is an all encompassing art project that includes canvas and acrylic paintings, music, and other occult related paraphernalia.
All of it is backed and maintained by Worthless himself.
A:.M:. I’d like to start by allowing you to formally introduce yourself and your work. How long have you been an artist? What would you say is the primary influence presiding over your work?
W:.E:. I am Worthless, I call myself Worthless for a myriad of reasons. I suppose I’ve always aimed to be an artist, but defining art or what an artist is depends on so many variable parameters that I hesitate to indicate a measure of time to which I would comfortably give myself that credential. I began the serious study of art and music between the age of 9 and 13 years old which puts about 30 years of practice under my belt.
I don’t think I could name a primary influence which presides over my work, although perhaps thematically, most of my published work could be broadly described in singular terms like evil, demonic, or Satanic. I think pursuing one primary influence to preside over one’s work would be a stifling form religious or mental practice, or even a kind of enslavement, which has it’s place, but not in my artistic life.
A:.M:. I think most people became privy to your collective work by way of your musical project, “Famine.” Would you care to speak on the idea behind Famine’s formation as well as what seems to be the very personal and deliberate recording process?
W:.E:. I began writing some of the music that eventually became Famine in 2003, with the exception of “Liber Porta Lvcis” which was recorded in 1997 or thereabout. I’d spent a few years attempting to form a Black Metal band, starting in the mid nineties. That was a complete waste of time. I eventually realized that Famine would be totally compromised by the inclusion of additional members. It’s difficult for me to explain my creative process in general terms. Writing and recording this form of music should be a ceremonial action and it was my intention to take the execution of that principle to the darkest most demonic place I could with the tools I had at my disposal.
I like your characterization of the recording process as being personal and deliberate, and for me to attempt a more detailed explanation of those qualities in an appropriately brief way would probably appear rather pretentious. Hearing artists go on and on about themselves and their work has always been something that pisses me off. I will say however, that the process is not formulaic, casual or contrived and that it involves a large amount of toil, esoteric procedure, practice and ritual that are all unified by the kind of grim isolation that those things demand. I think elaborating on the details would be beyond the scope of this interview.
A:.M:. I know you were part of a recent collaboration with author Gilles de Laval on his most recent publication, “Sefer Yeroch Ruachot.” Can you elaborate a bit on the task you were given?
W:.E:. Gilles de Laval contacted me in August of 2013 and asked if I would be willing to help visualize and illustrate twenty seven images for a grimoire which he initially described as relating to “permutations of the number three as it relates to lunar magick, and a composite cipher of 27 trigrammatons, enigmas that combine into a secret name of Satan”. That original brief description was quite understated compared to monstrous undertaking the book became for myself and certainly for GDV. I was elated for the opportunity to do that work, which consumed most my creative life until October of 2014. In my younger days I regularly fantasized about having the opportunity to do precisely that kind of work.
The images from the classic grimoires such as “The Magus” by Francis Barrett, and the genius of Louis Breton’s demons for J.A.S Collin de Plancy’s “Dictionnaire Infernal”, were embedded very deeply into my mind from a very young age. Working with GDV on Sefer Yeroch Ruachot gave me the chance to potentially join the ranks of those childhood heroes, and I worked with the intent of honoring those artists and writers while adhering to GDV’s vision. It was definitely the most intense and most significant artistic undertaking I have ever attempted.
A:.M:. That’s definitely an interesting thing to hear. I know that there were a few times in the past where you’d mentioned to me that you were exposed to the occult at a very early age. Are there any particular instances that come to mind as far as exposure to the arcane and esoteric during your childhood (apart from the literary exposures you mentioned above)?
W:.E:. The first thing that comes to mind is the discovery of my mother’s altar in the basement of our apartment when I was eight or nine years old. She was a self professed Witch of her own design, a practitioner of chaos magick before it was known as chaos magick. That was a great moment that opened up the world for me. I still have some of the pieces she kept on that altar, which was a 1930’s oak top drafting table with massive iron claw feet. My mother was artfully introducing her craft to me in thoughtfully subtle ways long before then, and in retrospect I’m sure that the timing of that discovery was carefully planned by her.
Around that time we began our frequent trips to Magickal Childe in Manhattan which was the greatest shop on earth, and I began building my library while eavesdropping on tarot readings and Herman Slater’s awesome phone conversations. I was quite a lucky kid. My life has always been so full of magick and things that aren’t rationally explained, that pinpointing specific moments becomes a monstrous task, especially when considering how absurd and delusional my recollections would appear.
A:.M:. I know you’ve done several commissioned art pieces for high profile bands. Incantation, Morbus 666 and Bestia Arcana come to mind. The acrylic and canvas approach is something that isn’t often seen. Particularly in the digital age. They’ve got an almost Vatican-like apocalyptic vibe. I’m particularly interested to know which well known and maybe even lesser known visual artists have impacted your work.
W:.E:. There’s a wide range of artists that influence me in different ways, and I suppose none of them are really apparent in my work but they have all made a massive impact. The biggest influences are Caravaggio, Bosch, Michelangelo, Rodin, Vermeer, Hans Memling, Gaudi, Toyohara Kunichika, Maxfield Parrish, Aubrey Beardsley, Beksinski, Wayne Barlow, Jon Jay Muth, the Frouds, Derek Riggs, Terry Gilliam, Jim Henson, John Kricfalusi, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Tex Avery, Repka, and the countless anonymous monks who illustrated the medieval manuscripts, and carved the tombs of the pharoahs. I suppose the list could go on forever.
A:.M:. You’ve recently expanded the Worthless Endeavors site. It’s now been expanded to included a storefront with various prints, music, and occult wares for sale. Was this something you’d planned from the very beginning or did things just evolve that way over time?
W:.E:. I hadn’t exactly planned to have a functioning online shop from the beginning. It grew from the disdain I have for massive sites like etsy, deviantart, and bandcamp. The compromise that comes from joining those companies is much too severe. I’m more comfortable in my relative obscurity than I would be as just another thumbnail in a massive corporate catalog, sharing space with people that disgust me. I prefer to have complete control over how my work is presented and sold. I may include work from other artists if things continue to move in the right direction.
A:.M:. I’d like to conclude the interview with a standard space to offer any additional thoughts of yours. On behalf of Plague Haus I would also like to extend our collective gratitude to your for giving us your time.
W:.E:. I appreciate the interview and your support. And thanks to all of your readers for taking the time to check out Worthless Endeavors.