The Ars Goetia is the first section of the grimoire (or book of magic) The Lesser Key of Solomon, compiled anonymously in the seventeenth century from various older sources -some dating as early as the thirteenth century. It contains the descriptions of seventy-two demons or spirits that are believed to have been evoked from nature by the Biblical King Solomon and confined to a bronze vessel, bound with and sealed by magical symbols. These spirits, each unique in appearance and powers, can be summoned forth by sorcerers to do their bidding and handiwork through the enactment of specific rituals outlined in other chapters of The Lesser Key of Solomon.
Pokémon is a Japanese media franchise created in 1995. The franchise’s universe is centered around the hunting, evocation, and capture of fictional creatures called Pokémon by trainers, who then use the Pokémon to battle each other and reap rewards. In the Pokémon universe there are up to 809 spirits to be summoned, each unique in appearance and powers.
In the summer of 2016, the augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go was released to critical acclaim. Using a mobile device’s GPS, players are able to locate, capture, battle, and train various Pokémon existing virtually in nature.
The idea of venturing forth in search of the unseen with the promise of power to be obtained is a notion that has its roots in the content of The Lesser Key of Solomon and other similar grimoires. Humanity’s relationship with seeking out the supernatural stretches millennia back into our heritage. As an artist, I’m interested in exploring the unique personalities of the Ars Goetia through a contemporary lens, in the distinct visual language of the Pokémon franchise, in an effort to illustrate and anchor the history of the ideas presented by Pokémon Go in a longer lineage of magic(k) and demonology. A true collision of the arcane and the postmodern.
The resulting conceptual illustration work from this exploration is the Ars Goetiamon, a zine and coloring book. Selected pages from the Ars Goetiamon are presented here.