Tag Archives: satire

Polska part II

3 Oct

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Drawing in Polska

3 Oct

These drawing are from a recent trip to Poland to attend a conference on word and image at Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz. I was presenting a paper about the experience of creating my graphic novel and how it posed some interesting questions about the dynamic relationship between text and image and how the narrative of the text takes on new dimensions through the medium of the comic. Some of the work from the graphic novel can be seen here

To my eyes, Bydgoszcz was a friendly and beautiful city. I hope one can sense the warmth in these drawings through the clearly satirical bent, as there was full respect for the complex social, political and cultural landscape of the Poles. I got caught a few times, most notably by an old woman who sat next to me after I had quickly turned the page of a drawing I had just started of her. She sat next to me and rather unnervingly stared as I drew, giving audible bursts of approval. Needless to say I needed to find a new perch from which to draw.

Reportage drawing is the central focus of my Mphil/PhD study at the Royal College of Art and Design. I am looking at how the act reveals intuitive visual language and speaks to the multiple layers of both perception and commentary on the social, political and cultural conditions of the subjects themselves. I am also bringing in other reportage practitioners to contribute to a greater understanding of this highly challenging and revelatory act.

Enjoy Polska!

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Torture – Through the channels

22 Apr

This is a piece specifically created for a book about torture. The idea came from a well known Norman Rockwell painting called Gossip. In Rockwell’s painting, a juicy bit of gossip is spread through a town and eventually the source found and chastised. In my version, the directive to torture is passed through several people and the result is…well, torture. I was interested in the bureaucracy of torture. It has to start somewhere and likely, it was a decision that shocked, thrilled and dismayed different parties. Still, it went forward and still does to this day.

Flesh on Parade

22 Sep

Here are some more drawings from North Carolina. After three days I had nearly filled up my sketchbook and exhausted my tolerance for drawing fat people. I had also found what I was looking for. Pushing yourself to always finding something new can render a prescribed result. 

On a cheery note, these drawings have become the springboard for some pretty funny animation ideas that will be brought to full moving color very soon.

Still shaking the sand out of my sketchbook

21 Sep

Here are some more drawings from North Carolina. It isn’t quite the deep south but as you can see, it is deep enough. It is a strip mall paradise and too hot for rational thought. I found myself having much more sympathy for the people I was drawing. Usually I snicker to myself and gloat as only a Northeastern liberal can when witnessing the true ills of Red State America. Instead I felt sad. Sad for them and sad for me that this country doesn’t work very well. We have let our Southern neighbors figure it out on their own and they aren’t doing a good job (neither are we for that matter).  So I ventured forth. With pencil in hand I drew the voluminous patrons of Ocean Isle Beach and imagined that maybe all is well (or at least as it should be). After all, they are only fulfilling their duties as gross consumers of all things. As a Blue State liberal, am I just horrified at how American they really are? Damn right!

Drawing at the end of the pier (and contemplating the dive)

18 Sep

The next few posts will be sketchbook drawings from my vacation in North Carolina late August. These drawings reflect a shift in my thinking and drawing. For one, my ideas about America have been crystallized. Unfortunately, I no longer see the promise of a more perfect union because as I have come to realize, this country’s brain damage is permanent. On the drawing front, my sketchbook drawing is becoming the center point of all of my creative work. My next animation and a new series of etchings will be based on the drawings I will be posting here.

Confirming my suspicions, on the spot drawing opens up the brain in ways that a thoughtful and considered drawing can’t. As I have told my drawing students in the past, thinking can kill drawing. Strange but true. Intuition is the driver of great drawing not slow plodding hammering away.

So, at the end of the pier and looking down at the American paradise. It is a sea of broken bodies and broken souls. You be the judge if these drawings reflect something sad, cynical, decaying, bloated, broken, busted, vacant or all of the above or none of the above. I see an endangered species roaming around like a large animal too big and too weird to live with no idea that with each high fructose soda they creep closer to a stressed gurney under fluorescent lights at the end of their world.

Cakeaters – An animated film too weird to live

31 Jul

These are some images from my animated film called Cakeaters. I like the stills better than the film as a whole. At a New York screening of the film I had my worst but most educational artistic experience. Seeing something that you spent nearly three years making being quickly disregarded and judged (rightly) on the merits of it as a film was eye opening (even gut wrenching). Leaving the screening I felt bizarre. It was as if I had never seen the film. The deafening silence spoke volumes about the films snail paced timing and limited animation but also taught me that in the end, a film’s primary goal is to entertain. Even when you are bludgeoning your audience with a frightening truth, you must make it look good. I may be too hard on myself. Check out the animation and judge for yourself at:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOZwa0th5q8&feature=channel_page

Drawing the end of the world

15 Jun

Last Saturday night in the pre summer mugginess of Baltimore, I was drawing and thinking about what a strange and magical city this is. A Yankee Oriole’s game had just finished and dumped its fans out into the streets looking to continue the good times. Win or lose, the pace of a baseball game is conducive to drinking and eating too much and when it is over, dawning sobriety in a city of sin like Baltimore is unthinkable.

The people of Baltimore are extremely nice and physically to these eyes, it seemed that short and plump was the city standard. Unlike the menace I have felt in other poor cities such as Hartford, Connecticut, Baltimore has a friendly vibe like the forgotten city eager to please and prove that it is worthy of your time. In my estimation it is and after being glued to the HBO show the Wire, I realized that a city can be deeply flawed in many respects and still be incredibly charming. The night I spent their also had an air of nostalgia. People get very drunk in Baltimore and late night scenes of young women drunk with smeared lipstick and men standing outside of bars smoking large cigars, evoked scenery more befitting of the 1890’s than the start of a new millennium.

The inner harbor was crowded with Yankee fans mostly looking for an overpriced bar that would make them feel more at home. I heard a local say sarcastically, “I love it when the Yankees come to town”, like the ugly Americans have arrived. From the looks of it, they were dead on. Yankees, like the English on holiday in continental Europe, were a loud and obnoxious bunch quickly claiming ownership to the establishments they stretched out their elephantine bodies in. After paying for a few expensive beers I nearly called it a night until I spotted out of the corner of my eye a great little bar called Peter’s. It glittered with decay and the promise of great characters. I was home, and my drawing pencil was furiously dashing about trying to get it all. Above are all the drawings I did that night…