Tuesday, 15 August 2017

This Is Your Moment As A Human

Ramsés Morales Izquierdo, Traces from Charlottesville, August 14, 2017.

Ramsés Morales Izquierdo with his wife, Brigitte Mauchle
exemplifying how he initiates a cartoon
Every day brings the need for new cartoons and so Ramsés Morales Izquierdo had only just returned home from Copenhagen, when the cartoon above was made.

Steve Bannon looking back at the trails leading from him, unable to see the connection and as such his figure is the epitome of Ramsés' pen.

When in town Ramsés Morales Izquierdo gave a lecture to his colleagues in which he defined himself as a writer. As a cartoonist he is a writer of his ideas, transforming them into an image, he stated. A highly interesting point, which he developed further well into the evening, this time exemplifying his work process on paper.

The core notion is responsibility, instilled in Ramsés from his grandfather. The very grandfather, who gave him pen and paper with the exclamation mark: "Begin now!" when the small boy expressed his dream to be published in The New Yorker when he grew up. To a child dream and passion are one, as Ramsés says, recalling his reaction to his grandfather's words: "It was like gasoline".

His grandfather implanted in him a system of belief on how you are as a human, being in the moment that is given to you and answering the tough question before you - and you do it, you need to, without seeking to slip away.

Earlier in the day Ramsés had laid out the history of Cuba. Not just the past decade or two, but the length of Cuban history, stressing the grand personal responsibility of dealing with and to understand when living within a wall away from the rest of the world.

He is now living and working in Switzerland, which means a new concept of life as he puts it, except it makes of course no difference to his grandfather's dictum. Every day is begun with a meditation on what he is doing, seeing himself, visualizing his studio to create focus, listening in. He draws for two-three hours forcing him not to leave his desk except from looking up something. 

He is not allowed to do anything else until his grandfather's answer is found on paper. 

Ramsés demonstrated doing circles over and over again, while his brain is at work, testing the pencil. As he says, materials were lacking in Cuba and the need to invent is part and parcel with his working process. What he demonstrated that evening at the table, was a circling movement, which began adding in some sharp edges, distilling itself into a human head. 

Before us we have the key to his compositions. His cartoons features the person responsible, exposed to us in his or her utter lack of answering responsibly. Ramsés' grandfather's dictum has gained another layer by his grandson confronting the very one with the power to make a difference and who more often than not refuses to give an answer. Such as Steve Bannon above or the Saudi state below representing the human rights in the UN.

We see the betrayal. In steep contrast to the cartoonist, who will underline his assessment on subjects he ought not draw. Such as the troubled Venezuela right now. There is no need to give the US an excuse for military intervention.

Ramsés Morales Izquierdo, Saudi Arabia... Guardian of women's human rights...
April 25, 2017.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Ramsés Morales Izquierdo and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Sunday, 13 August 2017

Remembrance vs Reverence

Per Marquard Otzen, The Stymphalian Birds, September 5, 2011.
The man-eating birds with beaks of bronze, the creation of Ares, the god of war
 in Greek Mythology, along with the Danish Queen Margrethe II,
all of them ready to receive our fear and reverence.

"These monuments celebrate a fictional, sanitized Confederacy ignoring the death, ignoring the enslavement, ignoring the terror that it actually stood for". 

Earlier this year the Mayor of New Orleans, Mitch Landrieu had four monuments removed from public space, each of the four celebrating the Confederacy, the cause of which was lost in the Civil War. 

A movement known as The Lost Cause of the Confederacy, consisting of white supremacists had the monuments erected in the century following the Civil War, in the words of Mitch Landrieu:

Per Marquard Otzen, The Stymphalian Birds, September 5, 2011.
Their defeat was one of the hero Heracles' Twelve Labours.
"And after the Civil War these monuments were part of that terrorism as much as burning a cross on someone's lawn. They were erected purposefully to send a strong message to all who walked in the shadows about who was still in charge in this city".

His words form part of a strong speech Mitch Landrieu gave on May 19, 2017. Seeing the White House is unable to confront itself on its own rhetoric, let alone its key voters, let us listen to the Mayor after the violent white supremacist demonstration in Charlottesville. His speech is of particular interest to this blog defining how and especially why art matter:

Monuments form part of our public space and as such they define how we are supposed to see each other. They are efficient at hiding what took place by creating another presence before us. 

Monuments are not relics. They are not sacred items to be revered at all costs. Someone put them there for a reason. That reason may have a great ideal as its starting-point. Then again, it may just be a self-serving one. 

History cannot be removed, but monuments are not history. They are interpretations of it and must as such be up for questioning. Why place the Confederacy on a pedestal, when it "lost and we are better for it?" as Mitch Landrieu puts it. 

To uproot them are not an act of Nihilism nor problem-solving per se, but it is an insistence of seeing things from anew. Creating inclusion rather than continue the exclusion as is the case in New Orleans.

The removed monuments may be preserved at a cemetery for former monuments on which this blog quoted the idea by the sculptor Steffen Harder a few years back (sadly, so far in Danish only) A place with public admittance, but they are not taking up public space. They are at a place for thought and critical scrutiny. 

In their stead, there are other, far more relevant topics of art and life to have before us. Such as the anatomy of peace. Can we do this better?

Per Marquard Otzen, The Peace Dove,
December 6, 2007.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Per Marquard Otzen and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Stone Scissor Paper

Darío Castillejos, Profound Anger, January 18, 2017.

The Mexican anatomy harbours anger so deep-rooted that the country is tearing its ribcage apart to be heard. The cartoonist is there listening in, giving it a visual presence of the sound so that we shall hear. So that we will understand.

Darío Castillejos, Corruption, September 30, 2017.

Shapes in bold volumes; foreshortenings in bold perspectives; highlights against deep shadowing: Darío Castillejos is working within the grand tradition of cartooning, reaching back from José Guadalupe Posada in the 19th century, who in turn inspired the muralists and cartoonists alike of the next generation. That is as grandiose a scale and outlook in art, which art history has ever seen, and Darío Castillejos is a worthy descendant two centuries later.

Darío Castillejos, Change of Bone.
His reaching across the centuries accentuates the deep-rootedness of the problems of our day and age. Man is all too ready to be corrupted and when we see the same problem across time, we understand how the undermining of society is not just stemming from crime as such, but from the organization of crime.

Organized crime as a means of social progression, as the chance to change one's status in society with the added glow of heroism when successful.

Corruption as a creator of mobility in society, however, is the antithesis of society or should we say, deformation of society to give it a visual expression. Darío Castillejos defines the deformation by emphasizing how no one is ever acting in isolation.

Everyone before us have grown together into new formations, which at first glance seems exactly that, a unity until he pressures our eyes to continue across the formation, forcing them to make a sharp turn, the sudden movement that leads us to see money changing hands or to the realization of who carries the burden of it all.

Darío Castillejos, Globalized Conflicts, June 29, 2016.

Those who carry it all remain outside: those at the lowest end of the ladder remain scattered, fearful of the next blow, continuing to carry the weight out of the very the very fear of what happens should they collapse. 

Darío Castillejos, Armed Intolerance, Jun 14, 2016.
Darío Castillejos creates texture as if his works were carved with a knife on the printing slate. At times they are.

His pen-as-knife juxtaposes highlighting with the density of the line. His figures are greasy in their greed or unwavering in their hide of metal while in stone as the institutions of society they loom monumentally to the side of the powerful.

Corruption is but one corner of what troubles society. Underneath its fellow troublemakers such as injustice, discrimination and violence, lie the basic components of human life in which greed and vanity have been allowed to create the pattern of society for too long.

Darío Castillejos, Justice in Crisis, 2014.

The imbalance is in every way a reality, with journalists losing their lives while doing their job. It is a struggle of the paper against stronger structures of the metal and stone, but he does so with the insistence of the importance of afterthought. Darío Castillejos lays the truth before us with the frankness of daring to look it in the eyes and sharing it with us. 

Darío Castillejos, October 25, 2014:
"The lady looks familiar to me..."

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Darío Castillejos and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Caveman Ruleth

We have established before on this blog that the iconography on the line-up of evolution of man proves a strong, critical and original take each and every time it is applied in cartooning. It is never a stereotype, never relying on lazy cartooning.

On the contrary it is a masterful piece of iconography and of course it is so in the hands of Bonil, who exemplifies the recent election in Venezuela to rewrite the constitution in one single take on dictator and ballot box. Maduro has reversed the country he was supposed to serve to the lost regions of pre-history. 

Atop the ballot box, he is doubly mocking democracy in his aggression toward the peaceful demonstrators in the streets of Venezuela and their lawful expression of democratic rights. Instead, he is having adversaries killed or as we have just heard a few hours ago, taken from their home.

All of it encompassed in a strong composition of but a few lines of Bonil's pen upon a background of textured calm for contrast. 

Bonil, July 30, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Bonil and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Art Historian vs. Cartoonist

The Villa of Thielska Galleriet, built 1904-1907.
Architect: Ferdinand Boberg. Photo LCL, July 30, 2017.

I was pondering on the lines of the balustrades to the Thielska Gallery in Stockholm.

Built at the time of Valdemar Andersen and seeking the same solution to the use of the line: giving it at once presence and yet delicacy as if it is hardly there by punctuating it by little dots.

Valdemar would use the technique to draw cascades of a dress surrounding the actress Betty Nansen as tragedienne and in the act of posing as a tragedienne.

His architectural equivalent reaches the same effect by way of wringing the iron, removing all sense of solidity.

Valdemar Andersen, Betty Nansen, full-page monumental portrait
in the weekly satirical Klods-Hans, 1907.

The balustrade up close, The Thielska Gallery. Photo LCL, July 30, 2017.

Suddenly I discovered that we were surrounded by fire engines with blue lights ablaze. The firemen were in fact wrapping up that all was well by the time I turned around.

And that is why the art historian would fail as a cartoonist.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Imprint of Mankind

Humans have created patterns for as long as they have been in existence. We see patterns as proof of intelligent life, of man's ability to create change. Anything and everything has been decorated with patterns through history and when we hold a tool in our hands taking a closer look at its pattern carved into it a thousand years ago, we nod: this is man. Man was here.

Man was indeed here.

Fadi Abou Hassan/FadiToOn, July 27, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan/FadiToOn and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Monday, 24 July 2017

"The Art of the Future"

"In our iconic society we look for meaningful images" in the words of Ramsés Morales Izquierdo, who teaches and lectures on cartooning on top of drawing them.

We were messaging this morning, the day of the trial of Musa Kart in Turkey. Cartooning is seen as a distraction and a danger, when it has the potential of which our day is in dire need. Our time and age will go down in history among those of decline of which everyone of the aftermath will shake his or her head in shame. A sentiment, which tends to encompass its artworks also. Cartoons on the other hand will be an entirely different story for their energy and critique, openly thinking and saying what their contemporaries had no time for or refused to do so.

The Statue of Liberty is one such example. She was laid out in the era of Napoleon III in which sculptures were piled with sugary detailing from wedding cake territory. The Statue of Liberty, however, was to be based upon the principle for all good drawing: The simplicity of the line.

Simplicity implies knowledge, as its artist, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi underlined in his 1885-book The Statue of Liberty enlightening the World. A sketch in its rapidity is a concentration of what the hand of the artist has seen and understood. It encompasses the world, baring it all, omitting nothing.

"The model, like the design, should have a summarized character, such as one would give to a rapid sketch", wrote Bartholdi.

His work became an icon for the centuries as a moral compass. Ink, paper and ideas are the components of a good drawing as Ramsés says, keeping vigil with his pen.

Ramsés Morales Izquierdo, July 15, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Ramsés Morales Izquierdo and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017


Antonio Rodríguez García, The Reunion, July 10, 2017.

He would seek out the other at the dinner table, having nothing in common with his allies of which there were aplenty at the recent G20 Summit.

They have no verbal language between them, but then they have no need for any. Putin's translator was at hand that evening.

The serenity of their second meeting of the day, the official one not being enough. Undisclosed till now that it took place, as is it unknown what they exchanged, in full view, but out of earshot of the other dinner attendants.

Those inner secrets from the one, who cannot hold back and the one, who knows how to take advantage of any information he obtains in an hour-long one-on-one+translator.

Bear in mind. Ulay sought out Marina Abramovic during her performance The Artist Is Present at MOMA in 2010, and we were all in tears at the two former lovers sitting across each other in full view. But then, Ulay would go on to sue Abramovic for his share of their royalties from their years together. Ah, love!

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Antonio Rodríguez García and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Dictator

Erdogan bellowed out recently that we should look up what the word dictator means and with due regret for our tardiness, let us turn to the Encyclopedia Cartooniensa for immediate clarification:

Vasco Gargalo, The Guillotine, July 17, 2017.

"Dictator" derives from dictare, i.e. laying down authoritatively, or the verbal equivalent of an execution.

Vasco Gargalo lets Erdogan's face mirror itself in the blade, giving it a sculptural dimension, which is one of his fortes as a cartoonist. He creates for the startle of what should be the softness of a human face while the shadowing is in fact a property of the metal. The reflection of which is further set off by the texturing of the wooden structure.

Erdogan's eyes are closed to the consequences of his authoritarianism. Dictators can be recognized on their spinal deficiency. They absolutely refuse to take responsibility for their actions.

So, Vasco Gargalo presents Erdogan with blood on his forehead. Erdogan was and is the one dictating that the cartoonist Musa Kart has been imprisoned since November 2016.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Vasco Gargalo and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Monday, 10 July 2017

"They should look up what dictator means!"

- Erdogan burst out during die ZEIT's interview with him last week, of which the former answered his own exclamation mark by willfully misunderstanding, rephrasing what he was asked, insisting he was catching the journalist in double standards.

This is what he looks like, a dictator.

A cartoon of the revelatory kind, so clear in thought and yet not seen before of man as the center of the world. The outlook that once was of man as the conqueror and the overwhelmed alike forming the link between the divine and earth, creating possibility by way of aspiration, daring to question and seek out. 

No violence is before us. Yet, the most violent act is taking place, impeding everything within the human.

The hand of someone, who locks up the cartoonist Musa Kart and according to his own calculating, Erdogan did during the interview, the cartoonist is classified a terrorist.

Firuz Kutal, November 6, 2016.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Firuz Kutal and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Friday, 7 July 2017

The Trumpian Vessel

He is of sagging skin now, Putin. 

It is one thing playing strongman in the nude, the physicality of time is another and dermacartooning is the art of peeling off that last layer of intended hiding. 

Derma speaks at once of the hiding and the hide itself, and in the experience of man, hides are something to be peeled off of their prey. 

Which in turn is a description of the incision of the cartoonist's pen of which Riber Hansson grants the revealed one to show off the prey of his own.

Riber Hansson, The Source, June 12, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Riber Hansson and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Trumpian Legacy

He is so much noise. Much of it calculated to divert attention from his actions.

The silence is all the scarier. The silence we are not supposed to have to give us time to look further to know what is taking place.

The calm look of the cartoonist on that face, excluding the noise of the Trumpian colors. Antonio Rodríguez García lays before us an examination of the pen of classical proportions from back when corpses were used to get beyond the human surface.

The incision to the frontal lope is the river, which runs through the part of the brain in which the personality is formed, including mental processes such as memory and decision-making. 

The incision if performed shall be the condition of the US.

Antonio Rodríguez García, Trumpcare, June 30. 2016.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Antonio Rodríguez Garciá and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

"At the end of the day we all live on this earth together"

Photo and video: Jacob Crawfurd/http://crawfurd.dk/

In late May Khalid Wad Albaih was in Copenhagen as the keynote speaker at the conference Communicating Worlds (2) by Timbuktu Fonden. Below is the video on our conversation on the stage, his words poignant and precise as always:

Below are but two excerpts of his words. Little Omran Daqneesh in the ambulance in Syria was a symptom of our social media with Khalid reflecting on own principles as a cartoonist of getting caught in the race of keeping up:

"I realized that news became my fashion. What is hot today. Omran is hot today. Tomorrow is something else. We can't do something on Omran today and tomorrow, this is left behind. The media and I find myself running with them in this hamster-wheel, so am I creating change or am I just part of this ongoing take away-news? What am I doing?"

Khalid Wad Albaih, August 18, 2016.

"Because I work on social media, because of the fact that you have to be now, you have to be there now, you have to think what you will do now, because nobody takes time to reflect. It is all about now.

If you notice, there are keywords. Oh, the refugee crisis, so now everything has to be about the refugee crisis. You have to write and you have to draw about the refugee crisis. What is the refugee crisis nobody knows, but this is a refugee crisis. For whom? Europe is taking a lot of refugees. No, actually the largest refugee camp is in Kenya, you know, this is not real. These things are just words. ISIS is bad. This is how people think of them, when you think about something, ISIS bad. It is literally like a Donald Trump tweet".

Note Khalid's use of tempo and repetition. His words are a piece of poetry, making that very stress come alive in his listeners that is our public life and its lack of memory.

Khalid Wad Albaih, March 26, 2015.
"I did a lot of flags during the Arab Spring,
trying to reflect the real identity of it.
Flags as a whole is a really interesting subject".
We need to combine movement with memory, as he argues. The other side of that spectrum, memory without movement is exemplified in the importance laid on national borders, acting as if they had always been around, while in reality they are but straight lines drawn by a British general yesteryear.

Within shortly, said lines become deadly weapons in the hands of insisting nationalists. With which Khalid stated his particularly beautiful final words:

"As humans we should really understand that we move. Things change. History is very important just because whoever is here now wasn't here 200 years ago. This will not last forever. I think people should look at humanity, not look at man-made issues"

The khartoons shown are courtesy of Khalid Wad Albaih / https://www.facebook.com/khalidalbaih/

The photo and video are courtesy of Jacob Crawfurd http://crawfurd.dk/

White Wednesdays

Marilena Nardi, June 21. 2017.

#whitewednesdays is a protest on social media in which Iranian women are reacting against being forced to cover their hair. They either wear a white headscarf or abandon it altogether. 

Social media are their means of doing so in public while not able to do so in their physical sphere and let us support their voices with two angles of their protest: The necessity of taking their step and the peacefulness of their means of civil disobedience.

Marilena Nardi has drawn a woman all sharp angles and deep shadows to underline the opposition to being a shadow in all black. Her hair has turned out be the megaphone for her quest. She is not violent nor violating anything; on the contrary she is defining her own boundaries. It is not easy, nor without pain, but a movement of necessity.

The White Wednesday women are gaining their own wings as drawn by Mana Neyestani, the movement of which is running all through her body unraveling her entanglement. Note also, how straight lines turn out to be nothing of the sort, even the black of her former confining veil is gently floating in the background. The women have chosen the most peaceful of protests, while taking the first step to regain their dignity.

Mana Neyestani, June 21. 2017.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and Mana Neyestani and must not be reproduced without their permission.

The cartoon by Marilena Nardi forms part of the cartoon campaign in support of the Iranian women by United Sketches.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

"One cartoon at a time"

Detail of screenshot from the Oslo Freedom Forum video.

A close-up of the smiling Ecuadorean President-Elect and the cartoonist who drew him: Bonil telling about his professional life constantly under the threat of the WE SEE YOU! from a presidency on the verge of the despotic, if not already fully so.

Bonil was speaking at this year's Oslo Freedom Forum and it is as always heart wrenching hearing his words. He would never but stress the humorous elements of his situation, but it is one of ceaseless harassment and censorship, never knowing what will be the next from the President.

Bonil, The Breath of Censorship, April 28, 2015.

The drawn President-Elect is terrifyingly similar to the one who is about to leave office when seen up close. Correa has a set row of teeth, but they share the small chin within a heavy lower face. There is not much to hope for and everything to work against.

Bonil speaks the softest and clearest of Spanish, but if you prefer English subtitles, they can be added with a click on the video. In case it does not, a subtitled version can be seen here:

A particularly worrying aspect of Correa's regime has been the weekly assembly, in which he would be calling upon everyone to take part in harassing critical voices. "Visiting" and "mocking" them, as he constantly puts it.

Those are utterly dangerous callings. Humans have been lynched for less through the ages and this is a strategy on a national level under the guise of off-duty entertainment.

Screenshot from the Oslo Freedom Forum video.
The strategy is all the more obvious from the fact of Correa introducing a body of armed civilians with direct inspiration from the present Venezuelan regime. A civil guard with the authority to thrash adversaries. It is sickening even writing that sentence. It purports that the population has been made into a foreign enemy in a manner, in which not even conflicting countries should be assessing one another.

For the protection of authorities, as Bonil has titled his cartoon, establishing who installed said armed thugs once and for all and in Oslo asking us all to being vigilant as to the situation in Ecuador.

As for himself he will keep drawing in spite of the harassment to his person "one cartoon at a time".

Bonil, May 2, 2017.
Note the strong delineation of each of the faces behind the decision
- for us to recognize each of them from this cartoon forward.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Bonil and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

"Why do you peel me out of myself?"

Marilena Nardi, The Skin, November 5, 2016.

"As she screams, the skin is flayed from the surface of her body, no part is untouched. Blood flows everywhere, the exposed sinews are visible and the trembling veins quiver, without skin to hide them: you can number the internal organs, and the fibers of the lungs, clearly visible in her chest".

Marilena Nardi, June 8, 2017:
Love, all of a sudden
"She kills herself for money, or from the sense of guilt, 
however, she always kills herself.
She even kills herself through the caresses"
Alda Merini.

I have taken the small liberty of adding the "s" to the "he" by Ovid on the flaying of Marsyas, Apollo reveling in the gory display of his powers.

It is not for the faint at heart reading Ovid, nor is it seeing Titian's masterpiece on Marsyas' skin being stripped off his body, and yet that painting has made it to be ranked one of the very best of all times.

Marilena Nardi is referencing the mythological heritage on the severance of the body. The female body is no longer the one of voluptuous promise, showing maximum of skin in anticipation of being raped by a Greek/Roman god.

That skin has already been wrung out. She has been raped.

Marilena Nardi, May 7, 2017.
"Those like me screaming in silence,
because their voice is not confused with tears"
Alda Merini.

That hand seizing the heart, wringing the female body apart. The destruction of her body on the promise of love. At once destruction and self-destruction, walking into her own demise. The female body is an entity against which actions are taken, some of them are actions of her own, emotionally and physically bringing herself beyond all boundaries.

Some of the present cartoons are quoting the poet Alda Merini, who wrote on a similar theme, in her case coming from a life of a deeply troubled mind, but Marilena Nardi is placing the violence portrayed in words beyond day and age. This is woman of all times wringing out her soul, at once wounded from without and bleeding from within.

Marilena Nardi, Thirst, January 16, 2017.

To this end Marilena Nardi draws with a line dirtied up and mixed into the annihilation of all clarity of color, a sickening greenish tint against which its complementary in the red of heart or raw skin is crying out.

Marilena Nardi, April 19, 2017.
The Solution:
"And then you find that one day it is you, who has the weapon, but do not shoot,
because he who hurt you is no longer of importance to you"
Alda Merini 

Note the tight muscle of the upper arm above clutching the hammer, freeing herself of the nail through her mind. A tiny detail underlined by the thickening of line next to it, with the center of the composition in the curving of her back, marking her determination in the straight line through the muscled arm and the exposed nipple of the place where her heart ought to be and leading on directly to the hammer. An operation physically as painful if not more than letting the nail stay in place. Yet, she is ready.

So too is Venus with her mirror. Not to enjoy the flawlessness of her skin, as we have always seen her. She has a job of pain before her; removing not so much the spikes in her body as the hearts caught on them, and while she does so, let us give the final word to Alda Merini on the soul of the artist:

L'imperative categorico del poeta è di morire prima di cominciare a esistere

The categorical imperative of the poet is to die before beginning to exist.

Marilena Nardi, The Grooming, April 26, 2017.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Marilena Nardi and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Aaaand Goa... No, Nope!

Maduro is posing for us in the Anatomia Cartooniensa on the entry: despot.

He is eagerly doing so in the role that is his, according to his self-perception. He insists on being at the centre of attention to which end he has constructed a narrative of being the saviour of the nation. 

The cartoonist, however, revolve the narration from goal to outcome.

Bonil places course and outcome into one compositional line. The despotic ego is no strongman. He has appointed special armed forces, in reality thugs and as such operating against any constitutionally obligations to protect. The citizens are left without protection in every sense of the word. The devastation is a catastrophe and the red grass is growing thick and dense.

It is the result of that one hiding back there, ready to call out the troops at anyone kicking off their rights to - to live, as it is.

Bonil, June 14, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Bonil and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Coming Of Age

Detail of the cover of Børnetegninger 
by Simon Bang.
Wiping across the surface of a book fresh from the printer's, its smell filling the room - THAT smell - with the shock of OH NO! I have already stained the cover - and yes, we accidentally do that too all the time, only this time it is the print of the foxing of a paper from a while ago.

In the foxing we have the whole tale of the book before us; the dividing line of then and now, on drawings made by an artist, when he was still a child.

Børnetegninger (i.e. "Drawings by a child") with the subtitle "a 13-year old draws Fensmark and environs" by Simon Bang captures the spiral notebook of a child determined to qualify himself as an artist, while underway to coming of age, trawling his childhood countryside transforming it into motifs to be put on paper.

Simon Bang, cover of Børnetegninger. 

We have already met the early works of Simon Bang on this blog such as here and here, and twice interviewed him on the subject here and here (all of which are in Danish, alas). Each of the drawings were then on this blog as now on print presented with a short description in his own words.

Simon writes in as precise a style as he draws - then as today - each word to a point on recreating that color or the atmosphere he fought to capture on paper. He remembers every single intention of his drawings, a fact highlighting the intensity with which he was drawing.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger. 

Intention and intensity - in combination with child vs. artist, Simon Bang comes from a long line of artists. He was as such not just any child with a sketchbook. Art was knowing one's tools and techniques, just as it was a matter of his parents discussing with him at the end of a day, what he had been drawing. The drawings printed are from the year when he would sell his first works and soon after arrange his first solo exhibition.

We see a child, still a child, but actively pursuing his goal to become an artist. He is striving, fighting and endeavoring in every line. These are drawings all about seeking to achieve, the intensity of which has been so strong that he each time remembers, such as the texture of a color and his solution to conveying it.

The format of the sketchbook is that of the classical format for landscapes resting along a long horizon. It is perhaps one of the most interesting features of the book; how it is not Fensmark and its environs as such he has drawn. Each feature has been detected as to how it would work on paper. Simon has been testing his eyes, distilling what was before him according to the premises of art. He is composing while seeing, setting his goals constantly higher, such as catching the aforementioned color, which did all it could to defy being drawn.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger. 

The child drawing already had an artistic icon in the cartoonist Ib Andersen, son of Valdemar Andersen. Ib Andersen mapped his local landscape around Fredensborg, traveling the countryside in his jeep and stopping everywhere a sudden shower of rain might have left a puddle in which a light pole was mirroring its vertical lines. Never the nostalgic, but always the analyst, the landscapes of Ib Andersen was that of the 20th century of asphalt roads and light poles. The very combination Simon was testing in Fensmark.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger.
Interestingly, Ib Andersen at 13 had been testing the exact opposite techniques. He was dramatic, overly so, attempting to catch movement and stories of persons rushing or fighting. He was even trying to be funny at his own expense, drawing out his own failing exertions as a sportsman. He was thus trying to be a cartoonist catching that movement of line, which was his father's specialty. Ib Andersen would eventually become a cartoonist in his own right, doing the opposite of movement and portraiture. He specialized in the larger compositions for the Sunday paper for which his beholders would wait in anticipation all week.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger. 

The compositions of Ib Andersen were a serious matter to take lessons from. Obviously the results of hard work and analyses of every element of therein, a child eager to learn would do no less. Not yet at home within a style of his own, he is at this point hardly even a pre-styler, but he is just about to get there and we get to see the struggle he is putting into every part of the road.

Each drawing is a rich material on the learning process, in this case a child working on his own, albeit he would later get to have his work assessed at home. Yet he is an exemplar child, who personifies the layers at hand in any child and what is lost when it all too often puts down the pencil at just about that age.

Simon Bang, spread from Børnetegninger. 

Simon Bang, Børnetegninger; en 13-årig tegner Fensmark & opland, Multivers, Copenhagen 2017. The book can be ordered here.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Every Day...

... cartoonists across the globe are being threatened, prosecuted or live in fear for their life for what they do. Yet, they carry on, insisting on speaking out by way of drawing on what needs to be expressed.

Let us on a day dedicated to a once upon a time visit from The Holy Spirit to spread the word not limit ourselves to any one set of words. Let us underline the right to speak freely and to draw freely for every cartoonist in the world.

The pin can be ordered here.

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