Posts Tagged ‘anthropomorphism’

The Art and Times of Katherine Roy

Published March 2, 2010 by Molly

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The only thing better than enthusiasm is enthusaiasm + talent. Katherine Roy is an exemplar of both— a cartooning machine whose Caterpillar Tales celebrates the adventures and struggles of its namesake hero. Roy is a natural storyteller (she released her first childrens’, A Kid’s Guide to Boston’s Freedom Trail last year) and a zippy cartoonist. She also maintains a nice little blog cataloging her art experiments and assorted daily thoughts. Just delightful.

Kyle Pellet

Published February 4, 2010 by Molly

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Nice to see an artist who isn’t afraid of deploying the color pink in a judicious fashion. Kyle Pellet dabs his paintings with Pepto Bismol-pink, flamingo-pink, cotton candy-pink and other variations of that difficult shade. It certainly makes for a pleasant viewing experience. You don’t realize how much you miss the color until you see it in action.

Contentwise, Pellet has a predilection for drawing rubbery humanlike figures going about their obscure humanlike existence. His illustrations and animations are also worth checking out, as is this neat little summary of the drawing process as it happens. Good stuff.

Dantes Wharf

Published January 27, 2010 by Molly

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If you had a personal in-house artist to illustrate your nightmares (and maybe a couple of your dreams), the result would be something like Dantes Wharf.

Not sure what the overarching scheme of the site is, but it sure as hell does a good job at assembling all the classic nightmare signifiers in one place. We’ve got hominid skeletons, beady-eyed reptiles, de-gloved arms, swirling indescribable polygons, disturbing girls with Princess Leia buns, overenthusiastic canines, aliens, freaky kids, ultrasound machines, jellyfish, robots, anthropomorphism, googly eyes, human hearts, the food pyramid, blood, guts, horns, beaks, contorted mannequins and so much more.

The browsing might give you a heart attack but, hey, what’s a heart attack now and then? It’s worth it. We promise.

Sheila Egoff Gives Us Some Context

Published September 23, 2009 by Graham

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It’s hard to imagine the unease that adults felt about Where the Wild Things Are upon its release. While so much was changing across the spectrum of society in 1963, how could a now-beloved children’s book ruffle so many feathers? To understand the climate of that time, we must consider the popular children’s books that preceded Sendak’s revolutionary work.

“Significantly there were fewer child protagonists than child surrogates in the forms of animals and mechanical personalities,” wrote children’s librarian and scholar Sheila Egoff in 1981. “But when children did appear, there was no question as to the tone of security, affection, and familial comfort that surrounded them.” The mere fact that Max was a mischievous child, rather than a monkey or a duck, represented a subtle break with the prevailing order. Egoff paints us a picture in her fascinating collection of writings, Thursday’s Child:

The picture books of the first two-thirds of this century reveal a single vision of a secure childhood and an abiding social order. So sure did the society of the time feel about its values– safe, placid, and hopefully enriching– that creators of books for very young children could depict them implicity rather than explicitly. The picture books show a gentle control, usually played out with animals as exemplars. H. A. Rey’s monkey, Curious George (1941) ends up in a zoo because of his pranks, but it is pictured as a pleasant, happy playground where George can indulge in his monkeyshines. Marjorie Flack’s duck Ping in The Story about Ping (1933) receives a gentle spank on his tail for being late. Both animals have an order to return to after their escapades: George to “the man in the yellow hat” and Pink to “the wise one-eyed boat.” The concept of order in Ludwig Bemelmans’s Madeline (1939)–”twelve little girls in two straight lines”–gives a feeling of reassurance and security rather than regimentation.

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Above all, children were to be protected, and writers and illustrators, however different their themes and styles, were unanimous on this point. That these protectors were sincere is unquestionable, but, even more importantly, their views were reinforced by the adult world in general. This consensus was shattered in 1963 with the appearance of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are and it would appear today that not “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men” could restore that phallanxed viewpoint.

While the illustrations disturbed those adults who saw the “Wild Things” as ferociously threatening rather than humorously subservient to Max’s will, the extreme reaction to Sendak’s work intimated that there was more at stake than a matter of interpretation of the pictures. As it turned out, this as yet unformulated anxiety was justified. Sendak’s underlying theme that a child has unconscious needs, frustrations, and fears unsettled society’s hitherto conceived ideals of early childhood and the book itself broke the stereotypic mold that had held for almost a hundred years.

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What made Sendak an innovator was that he expressed this catharsis for the preschool children through their own medium, the picture book. He also caught, very early and creatively, a general trend of society which was to rise to the fore over the next two decades: an acceptance that the very young child matures more by sharing in the real and emotional world around it than by being protected from it.

Micro-Questionnaire: Vanessa Dualib

Published August 26, 2009 by Molly

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A few weeks ago we featured the inimitable Edith Zimmerman as an examplar of high-concept food trickery. Well, it turns out there’s more than one way to impart human characteristics onto vegetables!

Meet Vanessa Dualib, a 29 year-old Brazilian artist and photographer living and working in São Paulo. Her book, “Playing With Food”, documents the mind-expanding convergence of her three favorite things: food, photography, and humor. Get a comprehensive preview at Vanessa’s Flickr page, and read on for a micro-questionnaire.

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Hey Vanessa! What do you like about working with food?

The possibilities! Truly. They are absolutely endless! I honestly tell people that there are some fruits and veggies in this world that are ‘born’ to be something else. It’s not really how I look at them, but more of how they look at me.

Do you work in other media too?

Currently I am focusing on photography– I still have a lot to learn. And most important of all, I’m still trying to convince my mom that what I do can be considered a form of art. The last time she saw me photographing one of my creations she looked at me with that familiar disapproving look and said “I sure hope you plan on eating that once you’re done playing with it…”

Yes, mom. I will.

Have you read “Where The Wild Things Are”?

I was pretty young when I first read Sendak’s book and it was totally different from anything else I had ever seen or read. The illustrations blew my mind and there was also this other ‘thing’ about this book, something that only later on my life I could define better. And that was actually that for me the essence of WTWTA lies in the genuine ability of the book to portray the feelings and fears of a child…

What are your favorite foods to work with?

Fruits and veggies. Any kind. I got a soft spot for eggs too. By now all my friends are very likely getting nervous when they invite me to lunch or dinner at a public place… probably thinking “Oh my… if she makes the olives talk to the waiter again I’m never going to invite her for lunch ever again!!”

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Kevin Hooyman

Published April 26, 2009 by Graham

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Bred in the Pacific Northwest’s wooded wonderland and currently residing on a dilapidated farm in upstate New York, Kevin Hooyman has always felt strongly connected to the natural world. His paintings, illustrations and comics depict fantastic forests rich in psychedelic detail, anthropomorphic animals, and bearded shamans imparting deep wisdoms. Critiquing contemporary life from a perspective more transcendentalist than environmentalist, Hooyman’s images and stories use a detached sense of humor to break down everyday social interactions until they no longer seem to make sense or feel comfortable. Check out some pages from his latest book, Love to Live, on Arthur Magazine’s blog.