Monday, 19 September 2011

Obsessions and Weird Interests

One thing that I absolutely love about being an artist is the 'permission' it gives me to follow any interest. However weird, however bizarre, however unrelated to my art. You never know where it might lead...

Bead weaving, astronomy, ancient history, cake decorating, bees, species of grass, torch welding, refashioning, computer games, macrophotography - it can all feed your creativity and your art. Your interest can be unfashionable, childish, unsophisticated and perhaps hard to understand. Extremely weird could be good. Though it doesn't need to be weird.

It could be about how you combine two relatively common interests. Say... knitting and coastal environments, or scrap-booking and global politics.

Artists are allowed to be Eccentric
(even assumed to be!)

I love this!!! It makes me feel free.

You may already know about my fairly recent interest in refashioning, taking old clothes and changing them into something different.

While I was in the United States, another new interest raised its head. Comic books. Graphic novels. I suddenly became inexplicably attracted.
It started with Poison Ivy, a villain in a Batman comic. You know my recent drawing of a woman with grass hair? Well, Poison Ivy has a bit in common with her. They are both rather fanatical about the environment. I wanted to learn more about this eco-terrorist so I started looking for batman comics.

This lead me to looking at other comics (they were right there, next to the batman comics) to looking up comic book stores (I didn't meet a lot of other middle-aged women, but there were lots of nice geekie young men). I started out walking into a comic store, not knowing what I was there for, but by the end of the month I knew what kind of comics interested me (complex, tortured women, superheros), recognizing that certain artists and writers were much better than your run-of-the-mill types. Did you know that there are zillions of artists and writers creating batman comics? Different styles and different takes. Some hand drawn and painted, others are entirely computer generated. Dozens of minor characters, some of who become major characters with their own comic books. Back stories, sons and daughters stories, it is endless.

Comic books aren't just comic books. Apparently they haven't just been for decades. Graphic novels, what a cool idea. As a narrative painter, how can I help but love this?

Where will it lead me? I have a few ideas, but the truth is: I don't know. Maybe just a few months of reading comic books. Maybe a new direction for my art. Either way, it makes life interesting.

6 comments:

the GyPsY said...

Love it!! Yes, it's always been the perfect excuse and continues to be. I love Graphic novels, too, and my list of interest is non-ending. Great post.

susan christensen said...

Your art seems like a natural fit with the graphic novel/comic book visual style. I love this art form, myself,got hooked when my kid was in middle school.

amy said...

hm.
one time a boy said that i looked like poison ivy and i was Suuuuper flattered and charmed. then he real quick said, 'but totally not like uma'

fucker.

xx,
amy

agnespterry said...

That's pretty awesome. :-) I only got started really reading comics when I was eighteen. I mean, before that I had read Tintin and Calvin and Hobbes, but that was pretty much it. Now I keep track of a bunch of different stories.

Have you ever searched for webcomics online? Most of the time they're free, and some of them are quite good. I'd recommend Ursula Vernon's "Digger." It is finished and beautiful. :-) Or "Gunnerkrigg Court." Not finished, but also gorgeous and regularly updated. And "Rice Boy" is finished and had a great story line. :-D All free.

agnespterry said...

That's pretty awesome. :-) I only got started really reading comics when I was eighteen. I mean, before that I had read Tintin and Calvin and Hobbes, but that was pretty much it. Now I keep track of a bunch of different stories.

Have you ever searched for webcomics online? Most of the time they're free, and some of them are quite good. I'd recommend Ursula Vernon's "Digger." It is finished and beautiful. :-) Or "Gunnerkrigg Court." Not finished, but also gorgeous and regularly updated. And "Rice Boy" is finished and had a great story line. :-D All free.

Zom said...

Amy, bummer. Still Poison Ivy is hot.

Agnes, thanks for the recommendation. I will definitely check them out.