The book title Ink, Blood and Linseed Oil, is verbal entrapment, conjuring smudged fingers, maroon gore and pervading pungency. Unequivocally, Robert Williams has never made art to cater to the prevailing tastes, but his words and work naturally command attention. He’s downright courtly in demeanor, and his mastery of language is as carefully composed as one of his paintings. That said, he’s got too much integrity to speak “off the record” and is ready to suffer—or relish—the slings and arrows.

While a work of art rightly stands on its own, who hasn’t wished for just a little more context, a little more insight into the creative inspiration and motivation, especially when explained with unique wit and insight? A match for this maverick, the equally intrepid Last Gasp publishing company presents Ink, Blood and Linseed Oil: The Collective Writing of Robert Williams, for your amusing and provocative edification. In addition to his Manifestos and a Postscript by Dr. Darius Speith, the book contains essays spanning 12 years and accompanying Juxtapoz covers, juxtaposing (of course) artists like Mike Kelley and Rick Griffin, along with observations on Van Gogh and sculptor Stanislav Szukalski. Offering a colorful platter of food for thought, Williams observes, “Simply put, art has to have the same cultural latitude with drama as does literature, poetry, music and motion pictures. The portrayal of the pathos of life doesn’t always make a good wall decoration. Staying within the parameters of sophistication is great for weddings, church functions, cocktail parties and public presentations, but real life has texture and ribald adventure.” —Gwynned Vitello

Last Gasp,