Welcome to Artocratic

Artocratic Magazine is an online gathering place for inquiry at the intersection of art, culture and being. Below, you will find a reverse-chronological listing of pieces we have posted from 2009 to the present. For specific categories, use the content menu. Please enjoy this archive, share with friends, leave us feedback, and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or join our email list to receive notifications of new material. If you are interested in contributing writing or art, please see the submission guidelines.


We are excited to bring our interest in Metamodernism to Artocratic, with this interview of Ukrainian artists Alexander and Alexandra Krolikowski, featuring some of our favorite pieces of their work.


Artocratic is pleased to share Joseph Laycock’s, “Cult Cops and Moral Panic in TV’s True Detective,” an essay that takes us behind the show’s popular first season to investigate how portrayals of satanic ritual, as well as other treatments of occult crime in pop culture, blur the line between actual and fictional monstrous acts.

Rachel LordKenga’s oil on wood paintings – of spectrous subjects that seem to be caught in haunting, half-moments – colorfully adorn the five pages of the aforementioned essay, and are viewable from our gallery.

Our featured poem, “No Bad Days,” came to our lucky hands one fine day in Austin, Texas, when Artocratic editor Linda Ceriello happened upon street poet Bill Keys, aka “The Poem Guy.”  We hope this little gem will punctuate your day as sweetly as it did for us.


We present two poems by John Grey that speak to the encounter of the pure, hope-driven self with contemporary realities, when hearts lose altitude and "Even the merest of likes demands latex."

Artist Justin Duffus offers an ambrosial palate of mixed-media paintings that invite the viewer into his "hide and seek" color play of self-discovery. Two of Justin's pieces decorate John's poems, and all six of them are in our gallery.

Three new poems by Holly Day center largely on themes of keeping and relinquishing: "How to Unlearn the Words," "The Bible Will Keep," and "Gatekeeper."


"Nothing More Precious." Dawn Wilson's short story leads us into the crumbling of social facade around the offense of death. Using character perspectives that are delivered spatially as well as in the flat-semantic sense, her alternarrative enacts the lives that begin the moment you kiss your dead best friend to make sure she's really dead.

Two new installments in our That's AWEsome series: "Awesome Minister" about a surprisingly delightful encounter between two people sharing a row in an airplane, and "Mr. Butt" about a high school teacher with an impossible name.

We interview, "Born This Way: Greg Buell Discusses His Life Without Arms." The subject candidly discusses the mechanics of every day living, dating, religion, and other people's curiosity, as a person with a non-standard body.

A series of bridge paintings by Laura Hamje reveal the colors inside darkness while reflecting on mortality. Please visit our gallery and click on the thumbnails for an expanded view of each piece.

Also, please check out our new spin-off blogs:

  • Artocratic Samples and Clues – Here we share assorted visually-interesting tidbits from Artocratic Magazine and from elsewhere.
  • What Is Metamodern? – This is a new Artocratic side project in which we roll out our take on the next (and current) cultural movement after post-modernism.
  • Demberisms – Artocratic Editor Greg Dember's personal blog where he shares speculations and arm-chair theorizing on various topics, mostly in the areas of social psychology, cultural criticism, and the challenges of leading a creative life.


Four interrelated prose poems by William L. Alton chronicle the relationship of a mercurial, famous-author father to his emotional caretaker son.

Justin Hamm recites his prose poem "The Flour Epiphany" (audio with illustration). We actually first heard "The Flour Epiphany" at our Foodist Art Party, Justin having sent us an mp3 to play during our songs and poems section.

In 2011, Arto editor Greg Dember put out a story-board/slide-show video for his song "How We Met" in collaboration with illustrator Holly DeWolf. Since then, wunderkind animator Ben Rowe has applied his magic to Holly's still images with wonderful results. Please view the updated video.

Five acrylic paintings adorning the pieces above, by Frederick Woodruff. Please visit our gallery and click on the thumbnails for an expanded view of each piece.

Interview of artist Aunia Kahn, whose self-modeled, mixed-media portraiture confronts the disempowerment of childhood abuse.


Inspired by four difficult-to-categorize pieces by Ricky Garni, we now have a category of writing called "Flashes." So please check out four flashes by Ricky Garni.

Iteration Dance, an experimental-form essay by multi-modal artist Nico Vassilakis embedded in his own digital Alphabet Art image.

A deliberation on the Universe's early design ideas for itself, in poem, list, and collage, by editor Linda Ceriello called Universe Seeking Design Principles in our Conceptual Wallpaper section.

Interview with Rabbi Olivier BenHaim, who is reintroducing into Judaism nondual and mystical traditions that are similar to Eastern spiritual practices found in Buddhism and Hinduism.

Paintings by Michael McDevitt decorating pages 3 thru 5 of the above interview, and two new Hipstamatic digital images by Marty Crandall on pages 1 and 2. These pieces are also displayed in our gallery. Click on thumbnails to view larger-sized images.


Artocratic Editor Greg Dember teams up with artist Holly DeWolf for a fanciful illustrated storyboard video for his song How We Met.

We are delighted by two contributions from poet Tresha Faye Haefner, Consider Not and What Rumi Would Say To Us Today.

Boise, Idaho writer Amanda Turner recalls Sunday School awkwardness in I Won't Make You Play.

New art: Digital paintings by John Morse, and Hipstamatic digital photos by Marty Crandall. The work of these two artists decorates the writings of Tresha and Amanda, and (as with all artworks on our site) is available in larger format by clicking on the thumbnail images.

In his essay The Herrmann Chord, Gregg Williard discusses the music of classic film score composer Bernard Herrmann, and how it brought meaning to his 1950s childhood.

Jessica Kane performs her audio essay, The Anatomy of a Cage, a surrealist, possibly cynical, definitely humorous take on human attempts to connect (music by Greg Dember, illustration by Jessy Butts).


Essay: The Crack in the Sky: An Exegesis, of Sorts, of Sufjan Stevens' "All Delighted People" (the song) by Greg Dember

Photo Essay: Haiku by Orchid Tierney and José Alberto de Hoyos Ramos

Prose Poem: Little Tragedies by Howie Good

Interview with Beb C. Reynol, a photojournalist who has documented the lives of the Pashtun and other ethnic groups in the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Report on our Foodist Art Party: On July 18th, Artocratic held a local event after hours at Seattle's Greenbean Coffee House. We invited folks to bring food art -- artworks in the form of food. We also held a "Food For Thought" open mic with poetry, songs, stories and memoirs shared by Artocratic contributors and guests. Every aspect of the event was a blast and surpassed our expectations! CLICK HERE to see some of the creations we enjoyed.

Poem: The Nursing Home of Your Heart by William Doreski

Poem: Apocalypses I Covet, Apocalypses I Don’t by Justin Hamm

Two new "That's AWEsome!" Blurbs!

New art by Ann Tracy, Leah Oates and Danna Ray adorning our manifesto and the new material listed above


We're pleased to present two new Artocratic INTERVIEWS – Maria-Jose Soerens discusses the crisis of national identity in her home country of Chile, resulting from the trauma of the Pinochet dictatorship, and how art might play a role in healing it. Ron Hale-Evans gives us a guided tour of James Joyce's Finnegans Wake, the novel widely considered to be one of the greatest works of the twentieth century, but actually read by very few.

To inaugurate our new Video & Spoken Word section, we have an animated short film from Michael Nagasaka that narratively portrays a perspective on the slippery philosophical concept of "Qualia."

Also in that section, we've posted a video of highlights from our premiere party that was held at Richard Hugo House October 10th, 2009, in Seattle. Several of our contributors gave live readings and performances of their work, adjacent to a mini-gallery of paintings from our local artists.

Another video montage from that evening shows sonic snippets of the insta-compositions created during the outrageous music happening led by Dewanatron (subject of an earlier Artocratic interview). In addition to Brian and Leon Dewan on their Dual Primate Console, the jam featured people playing saws, typewriters and wine bottles as well as a complement of expected instruments... including appearances by a trio of guitar wizards named Mark (Blackwell, Mohrlang and Shephard – we didn't plan that, it just happened!) Do check it out, if only to see the super groovy slideshow of ARTOCRATIC artists' works serendipitously projected on people's shirts!

In our ESSAYS section, philosopher and artist Robert Pepperell contributes "Mind-World-Art: 6 Paintings and 60 Notes" a far-reaching treatise on consciousness and aesthetics, illustrated by his paintings.

New material in the FICTION AND POETRY section includes two poems by David Sklar: "The Decline of the Beat Poets" and "My Last Seattle Poem"; flash fiction by Matt Lawrence: "The Playground"; and "Bodies Fly" a short story by Christine Elcee.

New "That's AWEsome!" – one woman's tale of being shunned from an airplane because of her jungle funk.

As usual, you will find the pages lovingly decorated with vivid visual ART. This month our splash page art is by Liz Meyer, whose work is built from patterns she creates skating on ice. We are also proud to present work by Melissa Harshman, Rye Twombly, Nico Vassilakis, and returning artist John Howard.

Please feel free to use the comments section at the bottom of every piece, and/or send us an email. Artocratic is free – all we really want is attention and love. And your submissions, for our next installment.

To share general comments about Artocratic, please go to our Contact Page.

Artocratic is pleased to bring you an interview with cousins Leon & Brian Dewan about their organic approach as inventors and performers on innovative electronic musical instruments.

We also have an interview of Dan Filbin, a Seattle writer, window-washer and aspiring filmmaker... Dan talks about his ideas for a documentary that would reveal the humanity of people who experience mental illness. Along the way, we explore notions of celebrity, averageness, prophecy/insanity.

Greg Dember contributes a short-short story, She’s Got Everything She Needs. It begins, “I call her Jennifer. I suppose I could learn her actual name just by taking a look inside her mailbox some morning, but then I’d feel like a stalker ...” Enough said, except that Greg wants you to know it’s not in any way autobiographical – well, except in a metaphorical sense, of course.

We have five poems that will take you crashing into the boundaries of identity and poking through the other side: from John Howard, one of our featured artists, we have The Introduction; Marc Vincenz offers Invertebrate and Maverick Metaphysick Askance ; Linda Ceriello gives us When the Idiots Came and Tired Coat. Poetry should never be summarized, so just read it. You’ll be glad you did.

Daniel Grandbois shares with us three pieces of flash fiction, each of a surrealist bent.

Laura King ponders the nature of grace and poker in her micro-memoir Just My Luck.

Matthew Lawrence reveals his creative journey in coping with a major loss, in his essay How The American Book of the Dead Saved My Life.

Artocratic will soon sport several columns to which we will ask readers to contribute. Our first is “That’s AWEsome!” which features a metatextual explanation of why we've gone so crazy for these two little words (read it to find out how it is that, "It's now actually cooler to be AWEsome than to be cool,") and several vignettes that can elicit no response other than... “That’s AWEsome!”

John Howard, Christine Elcee, Andie Francoeur, Susanne Friedman, Angielena Chamberlain, Kathryn Andrews and Roger Shurtleff, makes a house a home. Like in the rooms of a house, the artwork shows up on various walls and around corners. Our Art Gallery page is where our guests can see thumbs of all the pieces in one place and access the artist statements.

We hope that what you see here provokes your artistic spirit, and that we'll be hearing from you!

–The eds, Greg Dember (gbd@artocratic.com) and Linda Ceriello (linda@artocratic.com)

To share general comments about Artocratic, please go to our Contact Page.