Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Photorealism: "Run Your Own Race"

Glamourpuss #20 (July 2011)
Art by Dave Sim
(from the 100 Hours Tour: TCJ, 15 February 2008)
...although I don't share all of Alex Ross's political viewpoints -- nor he, mine I'm sure -- I think he probably hit a very high watermark, possibly the highest watermark, in the idealistic FDR and (particularly) Eleanor Roosevelt Liberal political tradition which is the metaphorical nutrient soil in which the comics industry is founded with SUPERMAN PEACE ON EARTH. I think you'd have to be pretty cynical and jaded (a completely protected free will choice) to see that story in particular as just grown men in leotards.

I am loathe to criticize anyone whose work I can't do and Alex Ross is definitely in that category. I can look at it and see WHAT IT is that he's doing and particularly in his tabloid books and MYTHOGRAPHY book of his DC work, I can see HOW it is that he's doing it. But I can't do it and I freely admit that I can't do it. He is at a much, much higher plateau of the Leonardo dictum that "painting is seeing". If you can see clearly and break the image down into a series of colour problems, a series of layers of decision-making, colour density, dilution of colour, brightness of colour then you are UP THERE. I'm not. Far from embarrassment or emptiness my reaction is one of awe and admiration...

Yes, it's one of those molar-grinding qualities of the Neal Adamses and the Alex Rosses of this world: the rock-solid knowledge that if THEY decide to do what YOU'RE doing they're instantly going to be better at it than you are. If Alex Ross sits down tomorrow and says, "Hmm a fashion magazine parody drawn in Alex Raymond's various RIP KIRBY styles. Hmm. I haven't done any black-and-white stuff for the most part, let's see what that's like" his version will BURY mine six ways to Sunday.

That's part of the realism mountain. If you're in the game you have a pretty good idea of where you are (Way Way Down Here in my case). You put your blinders on and "run your own race" (as Danny Thomas reportedly counselled his daughter Marlo). I want to make it up to the next base camp and that's all I'm focused on.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I hope that an eventual collected edition of TSDOAR will have as an appendix an annotated selection of Dave's fashion imagery as a demonstration of what he's taking from Raymond's work to apply to his own.