My Writing Is How I Connect with People: A Chat with S. Elizabeth of Unquiet Things

I know that before every episode I always say how delighted I am to be in conversation with that week’s interviewee, but–I truly always am delighted! The whole point of this podcast, for me anyway, is connecting with people who fascinate and inspire me with their creativity. So it’s hard for me to think of anything that could be more aptly described as delightful than getting to delve deep into conversations about the process of art making with these humans. So, believe me when I say, once again, that I am DELIGHTED to be in conversation today with S. Elizabeth.

(You can stream our chat via the embed here, on Anchor, or pretty much anywhere else you source your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, and Google Podcasts.)

S. Elizabeth is a writer, curator, and frill-seeker. Her essays and interviews about esoteric art have appeared in Haute Macabre, Coilhouse, Dirge Magazine, Death & The Maiden, as well as on her own occulture blog Unquiet Things, which intersects music, fashion, horror, perfume, and grief. Born of the strange and fraught relationship between an astrologer and an artist, S. Elizabeth draws upon the magic in her blood and a lifelong passion for the visual arts to explore her obsessions through her writing. She is the co-creator of The Occult Activity Book Volumes 1 and 2 and the author of The Art of the Occult. She lives in the Florida swamps with a Viking named Ývan and an imaginary corgi named Cheese Tray.

Today we chat about being the avenging angel of properly crediting supposedly anonymous artwork found online, why intros are the hardest part of the writing process, the arcane expectations of the publishing industry, being terrified of academics, reining in the tendency to be clever at the expense of kindness, and her Taurean ability to become more of herself while staying cozy at home.


Find S. Elizabeth online:

A Funny Question; An Honest Response,” posted February 8, 2019

S. Elizabeth’s writing on Haute Macabre

“This week’s eyeball fodder consists of a few mystery works of art, that were either uncredited or incorrectly credited when I originally found them, and for which over the years I have researched and tracked down the creators. I thought it might be nice to have them all in one spot, and if even one person sees this and says ‘oh! so that’s who the artist is! I’ve loved that photo forever!’ then I will feel pretty great.” —Weekly Eyeball Fodder, December 1, 2019

Rosaleen Norton

More info on Aby Warburg’s Mnemosyne Atlas

AT DINNER WITH LAURA ESQUIVEL; Sensing the Spirit In All Things, Seen and Unseen” (Molly O’Neill, New York Times, March 31, 1993):

It was morning, and she had just completed her daily ritual at altars she had built in the corners of her room at the Westwood Marquis. “I acknowledge the four elements,” she said. “Water in the north; incense to recognize the air in the east; flowers for the earth in the south; a candle for light from the west. It helps me keep perspective.”

From The Art of the Occult, page 72:

“At the forefront, a cat perches atop an indistinct object, both alert and idle, as only cats can be. ‘Fuck this thing in particular,’ it seems to say, regarding the toppled container at its feet.”

From The Art of the Occult, facing pages 72 and 73, featuring Giovanni Domenico Valentino’s Alchemist’s Laboratory and William Fettes Douglas’s The Alchemist:

Remedios Varo, Witch Going to the Sabbath:

Carrie Ann Baade, Artemis:

Susan Jamison, Under the Rose (also, be sure to check out Sarah’s fabulous interview with Susan Jamison on Unquiet Things here):

Mark Ryden, Allegory of the Four Elements:

Marjorie Cameron, from Songs for the Witch Woman:

Vali Myers, Witch of Atlas:

Sarah’s interview with Carrie Ann Baade can be read on Unquiet Things here. And here’s Carrie Ann Baade’s portrait of Pam Grossman:

Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s “Ars Inspiratio” collection can be found here

T. Bloom

The exhibition Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future ran at the Guggenheim from October 12, 2018 through April 23, 2019