Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mater-Hulk Revolt Manifest

I've been trying to capture a certain sensation that I once felt pretty strongly. I associate it with science-fiction book covers, polish poster art, Tarkovsky films and a lot more sort of random "things".
I was at first a little reticent to follow that route, as I thought of it as more too-common nostalgia mining ( for a time I wasn't alive in to boot), but - and forgive me for being obtuse here- This fleeting sensation or aesthetic pleasure is one that I feel rooted to in a real way; it's not merely an attempt at dwelling in the past, but of drawing threads from it to now.
It isn't some sort of ironic connection, in other words.

Beyond just kind of feeling my way through lines and forms, while drawing this, I imagined an alternate future/present, in which all those "fantasy" illustrators who sold their self-published "folios" at flea-bag comic conventions throughout the 70s-80s somehow came to prominence. What if their influence was at work in a big way?
I rarely conceive of any sort of literal translation of the image into a coherent narrative or statement, but I think a general theme along those lines that I think is present in a lot of my drawings has to do with the idea of technological "meddling" with biologic forms; stuff like genetic manipulation, nano-technology, etc..
It's something I fear in a general way, but it's also very mysterious and awesome. The fear has more to do with ruining that epic mystery; the would-be masters of creation, in their march toward "progress" rebel against that mystery because it's something that can't be measured or contained. Hopefully that "mystery" is conveyed through lines, forms, colors, etc., that illicit some kind of emotional response. I feel it while drawing sometimes, but have no idea if it translates for the viewer.
Late-Capitalist Mysticism? Judeo-Christian backwash? Maybe so...


Lately I've been using an horizon-line in drawings that are meant to be somewhat representational, or convey the idea of specific forms in a specific space. Sometimes I rebel against that and seek to only use the page as the space to be dealt with. It's another limitation, and it's one I pretty much can never fully go along with. Eventually, I give into my urges to make forms, but like to try to make them just "off-flat", so there is some dimensionality at work, but it's toyed with or its rule is not followed. I often think of medieval Illuminated Manuscripts while I'm drawing images like this. I think they often achieve a perfect "off-flatness", to coin a phrase.
All the while though, I can see a lot of obvious influences come into play, always as an after-thought; Really busy graffiti, the Charles Burns brush-line, other horror comics, etc., etc., All of these were things that I was looking at as I was trying to learn how to draw, and I think it's pretty much impossible for me to shake them.
The connective tissue between all of them is a very controlled, sure line, but often used to create grotesque or outlandish forms. I've been getting better at allowing myself to make dirty or ugly lines (FILTHY!!), but there is something about making clean lines that I'll always enjoy, I think.

ANYHOW. It is good to be back. As I'm sure you ALL FUCKING KNOW AND ARE TIRED OF ME WHINING ABOUT, I tend to be pretty conflicted about a lot of the work I make, and I that makes my art-related "concerns" suffer; all the blogs I've started and stopped, books I've planned to make, every project I've ever talked about and, most of all, all of you guys who put up with it. In all earnesty, I thank you guys for giving a shit. It's pretty amazing that we have the opportunity to communicate the way we do and to show our work to each other. THANK YOU.



Turok Reader said...

i like that first one. and the link to those penguin covers is superb too. thankyou.

I was surprised to find a raw version of my new book`s cover on Comics Reporter when I woke up today.

Aeron said...

Damn Jon, I didn't know you had stuff in Believer. Do you have scanned pages that I can check out?

Uland, I enjoy the abstractions. One of the most important things, for me anyway, to see in an artist is their building a unique world onto itself. You are certainly doing that with these. I think you could take these to the next level with color though. You should seriously consider making or buying some very large stretched canvases and doing these with some sloppy expressive fluid abstract paint strokes.


Alot to think about here Luke... such a thoughtful young man. Grandma! Get out of here! (everyone must now listen to King Diamond's "Tea")
As for the work, they are all pretty damn cool. Not my cup of tea in terms of the level of abstraction & the decorative element, but you've developed a unique & interesting thing here that would definitely be well suited for sci-fi book covers or record albums or whatever. They would suit the sci-fi well in the abstract feelings that they evoke, instead of being representational things that might overtly influence how you view the contents. LIKE, imagine if one of these had been the cover for the enormous piece of shit "Battlefield Earth" instead of the Chuck Norris guy in a battle scene they used. Your illustration would taint the entire reading experience & maybe elevate the shitty writing into something else. This is my argument about Lovecraft stories, which would be best suited by totally claustrophobic or macrocosmic abstract art. So maybe, these pieces would do well with longer, poetic titles or something. Something more to have me think about. Or just stick a Lovecraft story onto the front of them, or a song title. Just to give them the added kick.

zeke said...

Great to see you back on the blog Luke.
Real innaresting style too, perhaps an abstract strip that deals with these forms mutating rather than a 'story' would be cool?

ULAND said...

-I'm actually working on that just now, Zeke, for Chad Verrill's book thingy.
What I wrote about these drawings isn't all there is to what I like to draw, or why. There's a certain existential humor that I like to think I present sometimes..
I just don't want y'all to think I take this way too seriously. Most of it is after-thought, after all..

ULAND said...

Sean- I agree that these images would probably work best with some kind of text, wether as some kind of cover or as an oblique illustration or something like that. Alone, they do act as decorative pieces, in a way.

MD Encolpius said...

good work Luke!

Logœme said...

These are good compositions. You should post post images with a higher resolution because the distorted lines on the two first pictures prevent the viewer from having an aesthetic experience. I guess I understand your feelings. It seems that your propensity to spiritualism makes you doubt and you seem to feel the need to always stay ephemeral. Feel at ease. Have a look at this: middle age comics!!!