I´m going to be exhibiting 3 artworks from a single page of my Lovecraft adaption at the Chelsea River Gallery in Michigan. The exhibit opens this Saturday, the 28th of May. As I´ve just written an honestly pretentious artist statement describing what I want out of my art, my Lovecraft, and the specific exhibit, I thought it´d be swell to post the text here. Yes, dear reader, this is my snooty inner-self talking. This is how I think of the work I´m producing:
All my comics, unconnected as they may be, are grounded in the fact that art strives to be free, and thrives in freedom. Copyright has for decades and decades tightened it´s stranglehold on art, but copyright will loose in the end. Freedom will prevail. By working politically in my business-model, rather than in content, I aim to put the killing blow to copyright, or at least do my fair share in the fight.
By choosing to resurrect H.P. Lovecraft´s tale “Pickman´s Model” from the public domain and adapt it with free-to-use illustrations, I hope to not only gain wider recognition than my own small name can warrant, but also to point at some philosophical dilemmas I feel Lovecraft´s work embody. While the story is seeped in Lovecraftian usual flamboyances and personal limitations, such as the longing for ages past, the hatred of modernity, and the blatant racism, it is also more or less an essay on his views on art for art´s sake. In it I find question on the nature of art, far more modern, or proto-post-modern even, than Lovecraft would like to admit.
By developing the story in three distinct art-styles, going from the photographically accurate to the gradual dissolving of linework and form, I hope to hint towards the depth of intrepretations on Lovecraft´s fiction in Maurice Levy´s 1972 doctoral dissertation, published in english as “Lovecraft: A Study in the Fantastic”. This is also a perverse mirroring of the tale; Where Lovecraft tells of the scientific accuracy of Pickman´s Horrors, I try to make it come alive by abstracting the brush-strokes until they are as unrecognisable as a Lovecraftian unnamable horror.
Choosing this single page, in three parts, for the exhibition was a choice decided on by the fact that it is the only page in the story where the all the three art-styles collide. The first two sheets show the subtle brushwork making the digitized photograpies come alive, while the third, showing the protagonist and antagonist in the backstreets of Bostons North End, hint at a reality that can only be achieved by artistic exaggeration and simplification. Hopefully these three pages will present a microcosm of my thoughts around this work, and give a taste of the freedom Lovecraft only found in art and dreams, and that I, through art, humbly try to make reality.
And… Here´s the final composite page as it will be when published: