Living in Frames, by meshing the lyrical moments of life with the captured images of experience. This is a reverie, a journey, the fork in the road, and the never-ending story....

Friday, September 6, 2013

cartoons: where convention meets surrealist thought

Today, while browsing for inspiring images for another tattoo, my interest was drawn to the mixed media art of Max Ernst's graphic novel, Une Semaine De Bonté ("A Week of Kindness")
The last time I took the plunge, I was seventeen and just liked the idea of having ink permanently etched into my skin for bragging rights. While now, at this point in my life, as a more rational adult (at least I like to tell myself this) I want to actually have a design I can live with, inextricably erasing those poor decisions of adolescence.
Ernst's work, progressive and controversial for the 30's, recalls for me a night where I was bartending in a hotel by an airport, and unknowingly struck up a conversation with Robin Zander, the lead singer and guitarist for Cheap Trick. At the time, Zander was working on a comic book about the corporate dominance of the music industry, and how his hero was fighting for the creative freedom of musicians (and artists, I should also include broadly). The High Priest of Sonic Noise, was the working title he gave it, which was later changed at the time of publication to .... of Rhythmic Noise.

Admittedly, I was fascinated with this concept. Because all I knew of comics and graphic novels, was the good versus evil plot line, the busty babes and the well-toned fighting machines having to save them. And although, I could recognize the standard story of all good will overcome and the underdog will always come out on top as optimistic messages of moral importance and grandeur, I still saw comics as fantastical creations for young-at-heart imaginations. I needed depth, and my preconceived notions of what this meant, were challenged when Zander talked about how it wasn't necessarily about the medium having the impact, so much as the underlying themes audiences eat up subconsciously-- the messages contained within. Not even getting into the subliminal, or low frequency sound wave conspiracy theories--just universal themes that trigger emotive responses.
Since that conversation, I have also become acquainted with the series, The Graphic Canon edited by Russ Kick. This is an anthology of sorts, where illustrators from all over, reinterpret famous works of classic literature. Everything from Shakespeare and Hemingway to David Foster Wallace and Edgar Allen Poe.

Needless to say, I was proved wrong. Cartoons can possess depth too.

So, here is a little display of Ernst's work--where images of convention, meet surrealist thought:


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