Friday, September 30, 2016


Do you think an artist has any kind of social responsibility?

No. Because an artist has more important responsibilities which have to do with the creation of works of art and works of art are not sociologically motivated nor are they even particularly useful, I mean what is the use of Alice in Wonderland? The use of it is pleasure. 
People often tell artists that you have to be responsible but that is always a way of telling them not to do what they want. The thing that people value in art is that nobody owns it. It is just the artist’s voice (or I) doing what it wants because that is how it sees things and I think you want from art a unique and particular vision of one person. And we value that because you can’t just say, ‘Oh he’s just pushing this line or she is enthralled to this or that ideology or political grouping or whatever it might be. 
The point about the artist is that nobody owns you. You just say what you have to say because that’s how you see it. And that is the value of the thing. And if people don’t like that, I’m sorry but that’s what it is. You can’t ask it to be another thing. Art is irreverent. It is not good at keeping to the rules, it doesn’t do what it is told or supposed to do. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Oil and Water

The last time I was compelled to work closely with an author was a few years ago while designing a book. The author told me that she had experience in designing. She told me that she had sat on a carpet with a couple of her friends and decided, ‘Let’s put this here!’ and ‘Let’s put that there!’ She thought it amusing to relate this to me. I won't even waste my words mentioning what the book looked like. The printed book deluded the author into thinking she could design, after all that was what designing was all about - Sitting on a carpet and deciding let’s put this here and that there.Eventually the author overrode my work with her suggestions since she was the experienced designer.People love that, waving their arms at a person sitting in front of a comp and saying: 'Change the font! Move this that side!' It gives them a sense of power and control. Needless to say we parted ways very soon. No self-respecting illustrator can work with a control freak.

Now once more I have to deal with an author and ‘his baby'. While most authors and illustrators are kept apart by editors and art-directors, this one managed to ferret his way in to give me ‘his vision’ for the illustrations. This consisted of first complimenting me on my portfolio and then systematically shooting down how I said I would be going about illustrating the book and then bombarding me with a barrage of his suggestions and reference material, none of which work for my style, the subject at hand or the composition space (43 emails and 4 phone calls lasting at least an hour, all in the space of 3 weeks for one illustration). Like the author who tried her hand at designing on the carpet, illustration is considered easy, as easy as all creative work is usually considered to be, as easy as: ‘Why don’t you show it from this angle like this other illustrator has done this in this picture here?' and the grand decision, 'Don't show the faces of any of the characters!' Then at the end of it all incredulously, the magnanimous permission: Please feel free to do what you like! 

Oh thank you, thank you,if you would please f*** off, let go and allow me to do just that it would save us all a lot of time not to mention the acute stress of having to justify every single thing within the illustration to you. 

An illustrator who has had award after award after award showered on him for his extraordinary illustrations and writing is far more scathing with his criticism of authors who want to interfere in every aspect of making a book. He had this to say about my predicament:
The author’s suggestions are in fact expressions of his dissatisfaction with an illustration which is not what he wants and which by the way can’t be because he doesn’t really know what he wants. And for that very reason you can comply with the punctilious cretin's suggestions until the cows come home and he will still not be satisfied.