As British designer/comic book artist Rian Hughes once wrote, “When musicians remake an old hit, it’s called a cover version. When a painter copies an illustrator, it’s called fine art.” Hughes’ article features numerous impassioned quotes from Dave Gibbons on the ethics of fine artists appropriating imagery from comic artists. Brian Bolland recently pursued the Icelandic artist Erro for a particularly blatant act and to a certain extent, won the argument. But comic books remains catnip to the fine art world, the dirty little habit it can’t kick. Plenty of art below the break.
Here’s some recent work by Ben Allen, whose blog boasts of his work residing in the homes of the rich and famous. Some of his stuff is somewhat reminiscent of Lichtenstein’s early ’60s work, with the use of panels from romance comics and a similar fetishization of Ben-Day dots, but screen-printed over collage and abstract brush work. His piece, Hope Series Screenprint No.1, below, features what looks to me like an old John Buscema panel — I’m sure Robot 6’s ever-impressive readership can probably pinpoint the exact source. His collage Milk & Honey, above, reminds me of something else entirely: that it’ll be a long time before Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman replaces Michelle Pfeiffer’s in the public imagination.
A much less controversial re-use of comic art is that by Mr Frivolous. He lists his influences as “Gustav Klimt, David Bray, Aubrey Beardsley, Jack Kirby, Audrey Kawasaki, Mike Allred and last but not least Pat Butcher.” I must admit, Butcher has always had a tremendous influence upon me, too, but mainly in my choice in jewelery. To extend Hughes’ metaphor, Frivolous’ use of comic imagery is more akin to judicious sampling rather than a cover version.
Sometime comic artist Jon Way$hak has a solo exhibition, For the Forgotten, now running at the ZeroFriends Gallery (489 A 25th Street, Oakland CA). Way$hak’s work is very reminiscent of his occasional collaborator Sam Kieth, with maybe a little Simon Bisley in there, too. (via the blog of Alex Pardee)
Let’s give the final word to that most pop-artiest of comic book artists, Shaky Kane. Here’s a panel from the William Burroughs-referencing cut-up section of the upcoming trade paperback The Bulletproof Coffin: Disinterred (in shops Wednesday). Shaky cops Lichtenstein’s style effortlessly, then hilariously plops a copyright notice in the corner. (via David Hine’s blog)