Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I had to write an artist's statement for the upcoming gallery show I'm apart of, an exercise I wasn't too terribly excited about. Here's what I came up with.

"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly; it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink; but he whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves his conduct, will pursue his principles unto death."

-Thomas Paine

Comics live in a bizarre landscape suspended between art and literature. Since they often have a mass appeal and are mass produced, they are classified as low or popular culture products in America. To many, they are only stories of superheroes, monsters, and adventure; escapist literature that serves no purpose greater than distraction. 

Comics are far more than that though. Outside the US, much of the world carries a high opinion of the medium. In France for instance, they are considered the 9th Art. Comics can be easily disseminated and understood; they have the unique opportunity to address a wide array of topics such as politics, philosophy, or even social interaction, something not unique only to comics admittedly, though comics have the ability to be put in people’s hands. These themes are addressed by thousands of artists around the world, from various backgrounds. What’s amazing about that is that these stories remain relevant outside language or cultural barriers, for these things are transcended by the medium in which they all work. Comics speak a visual language, one based on intuition and experience. A skilled cartoonist is like a magician; both have a unique understanding of people and their habits and seek to exploit that knowledge in an effort to create a seamless, masterful and immersive illusion. The written narrative in many cases is the icing on the cake. The layouts, the panels, even the placement of the word bubbles are more important than the words themselves in some cases.

Comics like any art, is a reflection of its creator, a selective re-creation of reality based on what is important to that person. For my work, the hero is central to my vision. I prefer archetypes, instantly known and accessible characters and concepts that have served as mankind’s moral compass for thousands of years. The kinds of stories and characters that give strength to the viewer, that reinforce the best in us, those are the stories I want to draw, more over, these are the stories I want to share. 

I probably should have just said I draw comics because of a deep rooted oedipus complex, brought on by my Teddy Ruxbin that didn't function properly. 


peanut said...

Ha well done sir! I'll find out later today if I can come to your show!

Anonymous said...

this is just the romantic manifesto, try again

mrchrishunt said...

@anonymous Hmmm, yes, it was based heavily on the romantic manifesto mainly because I hate writing artist statements and I found it to be a great framework. So, anonymous, who ever you are, I'm not going to try again because it served its purpose. If you're feeling saucy, you can come out of your cloud of secrecy and we could talk about it if you'd like.