When I just started Bleaq I had the idea to share my favorite blogs, as seen in this (ancient) article here. After that first edition I never really returned to featuring other blogs, because I didn’t feel like I found the right format yet. But now I have, as you might have already seen in the first edition of Blogger Spotlight with Renee Ruin. For the second edition I revisit the blog mentioned in that earlier article, one of my all-time favorite blogs: Haute Macabre. I spoke to author and founder Samantha about the blog, the Haute Macabre fragrances and – of course – art. Enjoy!
Bleaq: Hi Samantha! Thanks for taking time to chat with Bleaq :) Can you introduce yourself and Haute Macabre shortly?
Samantha: Hello! It’s my pleasure to chat with Bleaq, your blog is curated quite nicely. My name is Samantha, and I’m one of the co-founders of Haute Macabre, a blog dedicated to a dark aesthetic of fashion, culture, and art.
How did you get into blogging? Can you tell a bit about how Haute Macabre started out?
Samantha: My first online journaling was in 2003, when I joined SuicideGirls.com, which is also where I met Nixon, my partner at Haute Macabre. I had never used any online journaling platforms before, so it was all quite new to me, but over the years, I became very involved in SG, and eventually wanted to launch my own site, with the original idea for it to be focused on my modeling portfolio and personal photography. Nixon and I had joked for many years that we were the token goths of SG, and also had griped that there weren’t any proper fashion blogs devoted to our tastes. Late one night in 2008, I came up the name Haute Macabre, bought the domain, and we started posting. Our first boost of traffic came from the now defunct Coilhouse posting a feature article about us.
Where do you find the inspiration for the articles on the blog?
Samantha: We find our inspiration in many places, and pride ourselves on only featuring items that we ourselves actually like, rather than what we think would appeal to the general public. Although we do have paid advertisers, we do not participate in sponsored or pay-for posts, and wholeheartedly support the designers, companies, and individuals we feature. Most of our content we’ve originally discovered through word of mouth or social media, or just in things that we have a personal interest in.
You launched a special line of Haute Macabre fragrances last year. Can you tell us a bit more about how you came to a fragrance line?
Samantha: Our fragrances are an exclusive blend from Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab that I couldn’t be more proud of. Nixon & I both are long time fans of BPAL, and have wanted to work with them for years. Thankfully, they were receptive when I contacted them for a collaboration, and blended the oils based off a mutual appreciation of a darker genre.
– The fragrances ‘As Above’ and ‘So Below’. Order in the Haute Macabre shop.
You feature some amazing visual artists on your blog. Can you name three artists you really love and tell us why?
Samantha: I’m a longtime fan of Dave McKean, whom I was first introduced to through the Sandman graphic novels. I love the way he can warp reality and geometry in his collage art. In recent years, i’ve been drawn to a number of photographers, especially Joel Peter Witkin and Francesca Woodman. Wikin is a master of creating an image that is so grotesque and perverse that you can’t help but be fascinated and drawn into it, and Woodman is perhaps an inspiration to us all. She was so prolific at experimenting with emotion and the boundaries of conventional femininity. I feel that it’s very easy to see her influence on many of the more modern artists that I admire.
– Haute Macabre top and tote bag. Order in the Haute Macabre shop.
I hope this question isn’t too hard, but can you share some of your favorite articles on Haute Macabre? For instance, is there and interview or feature your especially proud of?
Samantha: Haute Macabre has a back log of over five years of posts and articles, probably numbering in the thousands at this point. My favorite of them have always been any that incite any sort of big reaction from our readers, especially any of controversy. A bit over a year ago, I posted an open letter to our readers regarding an evolutionary step we wanted to take with the direction of the site and our content, which was immediately interpreted as we were going soft and dainty. As a rebuttal to all of the negative and outrageous feedback we were receiving, I posted a Lisa Frank fueled Haute List, which ticked lots of folks off, but at least there were plenty too that got the joke.
I’m also incredibly fond of the personal pieces that we’ve posted. We have one that we all put up photos of us as teens, and another where we were all actually in the same place in the same city at the same time after our Induced Epidemics show in 2009, a truly rare occurrence.
Just a website doesn’t seem to cover it anymore nowadays with the arrival of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and other social platforms. Where can we find you and what are your favorite social media websites?
Samantha: It’s so true, it’s impossible to just have a site nowadays. I don’t think any site at all would get any traffic at all if it weren’t for all of the reposts and reblogs and pins and likes and whatever else there is. We’re all over it: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr and Twitter.
My personal favorite is Instagram, I post to my personal page (more) than daily.
– Some stills of Samantha’s personal Instagram (how cute are her cats?!)
Can you share three of your favorite blogs and tell what you like about them?
Samantha: Sadly, I don’t have enough time in my day to keep up with my ever growing RSS feeds, and the dozens of sites that I subscribe to wind up just piling up. The sites that I habitually check are mostly of friends and a few artists that I admire, including Zoetica Ebb’s Biorequiem, The BloodMilk Blog, and Ellen Roger’s Aberrant Necropolis. Zo is a dear friend, and I also love her photography and artwork, so I am always interested in what she has been up to personally and professionally. BloodMilk always posts phenomenal artists, I am always impressed with her passion for discovery, and her impeccable taste. Ellen Rogers is a photographer I greatly admire, and her blog posts are in depth looks at her images and her emotional connection to them.
Last but not least: can you recommend a book, movie or artist you’ve enjoyed lately?
Samantha: Lately I cannot put down the author Laird Barron. I’m on the fourth in a row of his, he’s just incredible, and possibly second only to Lovecraft when it comes to horror.
Bleaq: That’s all! Hope you enjoyed this second edition of Blogger Spotlight! A big thanks to Samantha for sharing her insights with me, it’s much appreciated. And thank you all for reading! Are you Haute Macabre fans as well?