Thursday, 28 December 2017

Playfulness and Pretence

Photo LCL
Photo LCL

It feels wholly inappropriate to put a photo of our stove on the blog, all the more so for featuring my freehand copy of a Valdemar Andersen.

I copied out one of his sketches for a wall-decoration he made for the Baltic Exhibition / Baltiska utställningen in Malmoe 1914. The exhibition took place minutes before the world had more arduous considerations to attend to and it was all the stranger a concept in that the Danish pavilion for one was built like a Medieval castle.

One can only cringe at seeing photos of its basking in being old-fashioned, attempting to be what it was not.

The entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.

The walls of the entrance hall, on the other hand...

Valdemar Andersen did what he did best. He obliterated the hall and its walls by way of creating a pattern, which continued across every surface neglecting to acknowledge any detail of the architecture on its way.

Detail of one wall in the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.
The windows for one. They were deep set as if set in solid walls of several meters. The pattern, however, just ran along, turning in and out without making note of the elements and thereby obliterating the claim to heaviness and history of the architecture. It had a quality not unlike that of wallpaper and was as such a piece of modernity with a joyful nod to all pretence.

Valdemar Andersen, sketch for the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.
The pattern was a play on classical grotesques, in this case with animals such as deer and swans with leaves of vines, ribbons and bows and cornucopias from where everything would be unfolding. Not a single straight line within, it is a pattern of constant twirling and movement with figurative elements linking to each other and entering into new alliances.

All of it there for the visitor to try to discover one element here or there and yet all of it ephemeral; airy as it was in its one color, a minium/coral tone red on the white background.

And that color is the only thing, we have left today in that a can of the paint tipped and poured over one sketch while the decoration was underway back in 1914:

Valdemar Andersen, sketch for the entrance hall of the Danish pavilion, 1914.
Shown with permission from The Centre for Maps,
Prints and Photographs, The Royal Library.
I apologize for the poor quality of the photo;
it was taken by me for study purposes.

The Antibodies

The world is the petri dish beneath the microscope that is the cartoonist's eye. 

Prisons are an only too relevant subject for the lens of the cartoonist in that prisons are emblematic of the conditions with which citizens are treated in a society. Mana Neyestani shares his lens for us to see the Iranian societal bacteria at play. 

Testimonials on the Kahrizak Detention Center disclosed routine abuse and torture. Three detainees following the 2009 revolution for citizen rights died at the hands of their prison guards. The court ruled that their deaths were caused by the flu.

Serious microbes indeed were at play, comprising legislative, judiciary, military and police matter. They are very bodies that would define democracy had they been of a healthy nature.

The calmness with which each microbe is drawn, is all the more striking. The microscope highlights the distance that is part of the cartoonist's exposure. Mana Neyestani is taking an intense and calm look of the world, while said world is a place of discord and noise before him.

Thus concludes the lesson of the Anatomia Cartooniensa of the day.

Mana Neyestani, Flu Vira, July 10, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Mana Neyestani and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Ecce Putin

Within every cartoonist is a Dr. Tulp, who diligently lays forth the world to us.

In the present chapter of the Anatomia Cartooniensa Per Marquard Otzen is exposing basics of political systems, how key elements of governing grows from one another. Such as what results from revolting against a dictatorial regime; in which study Per is joining forces with George Orwell:

"One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; 
one makes a revolution in order to establish a dictatorship" 

Orwell was defining the Russian 1917 October Revolution and at its centenary the linkage is not only clear, it is physical of nature. Czarism found its means of survival by way of being revolutionized, maturing into a leaner and stricter version of its former self.

Indeed so lean and strict that it took on the one human form. The cartoonist lays bare and the dictator exposes himself. Ecce Putin:

Per Marquard Otzen, Soon Cured, November 9, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Per Marquard Otzen and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017


Valdemar Andersen is at his publisher's and busily so, and it was time to adapt the name on this blog to languages struggling with the unknown syllables of his name.

This blog will always be Valdemar's. It all began in the playfulness of his constant attempting to developing his line and the transition to his colleagues of today grew naturally from there. We have only just begun.

Valdemar Andersen: Asta Nielsen and Poul Reumert dancing
the gaucho dance in Afgrunden /The Abyss 1910, when silent
movies obliterated the obstacle of languages.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

The Ombudswoman

Cintia Bolio, The Ombudswoman calling out on a bookmark, 2017:
"Know and exercise your rights!"

Cintia Bolio, detail from Puras Evas:
The 10 Commandments, 2015.
"No. 10: Do not try to change the world"
"Baby, you are diminishing femininity..." 
The ombudswoman is the go-between of citizens and the government. A presence taking up complaints on neglect or abuse of democratic rights, and as such a presence securing the right of being critical and the right to be heard.

Officially, the word ombudswoman is not yet implemented, and Merriam-Webster is asking for quotations that they can refer to its first usage. Their asking is an acknowledgement that it is only a matter of time.

She is here.

The Ombudswoman of Cintia Bolio is carrying books on her back, calling out as she is from a place of insight and with pen and paper by her side. She is expressing herself in every way, while energetically marching forward, her mouth metamorphosed into a megaphone. Note also the tiny line between her feet for her shadow, which makes the three of them look like a stepping line of her forging ahead.

Cintia Bolio, detail of Puras Evas:
The Paradox of Support, 2017.
"It's working, woman!"

She is in the limelight and her megaphone is not unlike that of Justice flexing her judging muscles, underlining that she stays blindfolded unlike those who take on her role.

To underline the fundamentality of the role of the two, Cintia Bolio has created another protagonist for their group, and another one we have been missing till now.

Venus of Willendorf may have been a fetish. It has certainly been the general idea since she was found after 25,000 years or thereabout. We could rephrase that and talk of the necessity of her presence to creation. Rather than something being done to her, Venus has a job to do. She has had a smile added to her, but still no need for eyes.

"For me the drawing is a language, which combines deflection, joy, therapy, revolt, exorcism of my personal demons and a little more" such are the words of Cintia Bolio in her book La Irreverente Sonrisa (i.e. the disrespectful smile) from 2013.

And a little more. Venus has passed on the torch. Now we know, where art came from.

Cintia Bolio is the fourth axis to the group
Self-portrait on the cover of La Irreverente Sonrisa, 2013.

The cartoons shown are courtesy of Cintia Bolio and must not be reproduced without her permission.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

The Backbone of Peace

The Anatomia Cartooniensa is happy to have proof from a secondary source on the nature of peace.

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini has x-rayed the dove of peace and found the skeletal courage within peace, while proving no less that the intent of the cartooning pen is to provide peace.

We have thus proof of the physical existence of hope and how to promote it by giving the cartoonists the freedom to do their work.

Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini, Peace Bone, December 7, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Meysam Agha Seyed Hosseini and must not be reproduced without his permission.

"Here's the smell of the blood still"

"All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand" as Lady Macbeth cried out in her sleepwalking, immersed as she was in the nightmare of ridding herself of what she had done. The blood no longer there in any physical sense and as such impossible to wipe off.

Fadi Abou Hassan has incorporated the double presence into the razor blade: The empty shadow of Yemen shining all the more poignantly, while its blood from now on shall be smeared on the Saudi.

The blood is on their perpetrator for all to see.

Fadi Abou Hassan/FadiToOn, Yemen Crisis, December 6, 2017.

The cartoon shown is courtesy of Fadi Abou Hassan/FadiToOn and must not be reproduced without his permission.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

"I Want To Dip The Pen"

Mohamad Kraytem, Death Anxiety, 2017.

"Death Anxiety was the first personal thing I did. I think a lot, and I cannot help find myself overthinking. When I cannot control my brain, when I am an insomniac, I do this. I fill one page".

The words are by Mohamad Kraytem, who connects the first and last frame of his comics, proving the loopy insanity of life. Death Anxiety is one of the most silent, weightless of his works. No one is biting on to another on the page. Although that is a fact, which only serves to escalate the existential Angst of the protagonist, floating as he is through his own skull, or in Mohamads own words:

"He is not grounded. He is just discovering he is floating because of his thinking and then he realizes that it is real. It is disturbing and I should just get on with my life, but this one was bothering me and the next day I decided to just draw one page as I see it; death anxiety in a very simple way. I like his nose a lot. Realistic, yet a triangle in the face. I like that he is in his own mind and it is disturbing him. There is nothing in the background. It is beyond his understanding. Where are the people who have already died?"

Mohamad Kraytem, Detail of The Duel 
in the process of being inked in, 2017.
"When I want to draw a story I get these ideas of narration, wanting to jump from one scene to another or this dimension to another, so I always use dreams".

"Usually I begin with sketches and I write at the same time on small pages. I have to do my sketches in parallel with writing. I have to know how it looks".

"Writing is not enough to see if it is a good narration or not. If this panel or the next one is good. Then I start sketching the characters and I start on my page immediately. Sometimes when I don't have an idea of the ending, I just start it and by the time I get to it I will have found it or work my way back to the beginning to change it". 

Mohamad Kraytem, page from Wetmare, 2016.

In a narrative by Mohamad Kraytem, you may get eaten by your own arm. Every form can split open or grow a new form and every form may contain a life of its own. There are no boundaries between humans or animals, nor aliens or beings never before seen - even writing this sentence is a limitation of what may be taking place on his comic pages.

Mohamad Kraytem, detail from Wetmare, 2016.
That takes two things: to drive home the narrative and the drawing skill to do so, keeping every movement interesting of all the unknown limbs in a creature. The Golden Section is at play within every single frame: "I look for my form, for my angle, for my composition, and I look for my volumes. His hand should not be parallel to the frame," as Mohamad points out.

"I love drawing hands. I have reached a level where I can draw them from all angles. If I need a new angle, I simply take a selfie. I learned that from David Lloyd the artist of V for Vendetta. I met him at the Dubai Comic Con. He said that whenever you have problems with hands, you have this one and you have this one" - holding forth both hands.

Mohamad Kraytem, page from Wetmare, 2016.
"I cannot help myself being a perfectionist. Digital is not me. I want to dip the pen. I am a materialist. I want real paper and hold the paper in my hand. The limitation of it. I really like when the brush gets drier and use it to make the texture, tock tock. I love it. I have to work in more details that is how I usually pen it in".

Mohamad Kraytem, Dry Bone Valley,
"My uncle used to give me comics in French and Arabic and sometimes in English. I was reading French Batman. I grew up with superheroes, but I was more inspired by the French ones. The direction was better for me that was how I saw it. I never wanted to draw superhero stuff. I wanted to draw like the Belgians. Inspecteur Bayard (Olivier Schwartz), a Tintin-inspired character. I did not know they were drawn by artists. I was six years old and thought this was definitely done by machines, but then I saw a documentary on TV and I freaked out. I really wanted to learn to draw. This was how it began. It was not a style that says: Oh this is easy to draw. It was drawn with thick beautiful lines and inspired by the ligne claire-movement, like Ives Chaland and Hergé, but it was Inspecteur Bayard that triggered it for me".

I have seen the portfolio of stories by Mohamad Kraytem, each of them constantly transforming within themselves, proving the love of the art form that the mind and the pen in unison can do anything. The head of Moëbius suddenly pops up within a masquerade...

Mohamad Kraytem, The Ghost of Pencils Past, 2017.

The sketches and comics pages shown are courtesy of Mohamad Kraytem and must not be reproduced without his permission.

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