Friday, July 16, 2021

52 Fridays - The Center Isn't Holding Like it Used Too

This week I tweeted, "Looking through the news most days I feel like I am living in a prequel to Cormac McCarthy’s #TheRoad". If you haven't read the book or seen the movie, it's a tale of a father and son trying to survive and also keep their humanity in the face of an all too realistic dystopian near future of extreme weather and marauding bands of cannibals. I read the book once and saw the movie once and that was enough to haunt me. I don't think we are heading to the "end of the world", that would be too easy. No, I think we are moving into a new challenging era of chaos caused by climate change, the pandemic and hyper-tribalism that will just make life less pleasant than it's been in the Western world in the last century or so. Of course for most people in the "undeveloped world", it's more of the same. Life is never easy, so if they get flooded or there is a drought, those people pick-up their few belongs and move somewhere more friendly. In the west, we continue to build on the coasts, binge-watch streaming video in our air-conditioned McMansions and order shit we don't need from Amazon. Nothing hurts and the good times will never end. William Gibson the science fiction author once said, "The future will not be evenly distributed." I think the same thing can be said for this creeping dystopian environment we are living in. Parts of the world are burning and other areas are literally drowning. Some countries have more vaccine than they can ever use and the virus numbers are dropping quickly, while other regions haven't vaccinated anyone and the virus is running unchecked and unmeasured and the variants have fertile ground to mutate and get weirder and stronger. 

So what does all this DOOM TALK have to do with this week's drawings? I'm glad you asked. I drew the same face three times this week and realized that it feels like a scream. My scream. This is my version of Munch's "Scream". It's all I can manage in the face of such existential dread. It's the face I make while, "...listening to the terror through the wall." (Ginsberg) I hope it is not my death mask. Mixed in with this darkness is some light, some hope of reset and finding a new way to live. That a new society will carry on, despite the difficulties, but it will be a bumpy ride.

This is a "Keaka Head" created by the Ejagham People from Cameroon region of Africa.  I found this on "feereafricanart" an Instagram feed I have pulled from before. I was immediately hypnotized by the eyes and teeth. Also made me think of Jack Kirby, the legendary comic book artist's work. I did three versions to explore that face. Two drawn with a cheap-ass ballpoint pen, directly referencing the photo and one from memory with a marker type pen and intentionally trying to channel Kirby's style (and falling short).

Which one do you like?

Do you feel the DOOM as intensely as I do or do you think I am being melodramatic?

See you next week...