Monday, July 19, 2010

Not A Word

My drawings have started creeping into this site through various posts (including this one), so I decided to make yet another sister-blog, dedicated entirely to recent pen and ink work.

These new drawings can be found at Not A Word (linked to the right as "New Drawings by Drew Martin!!!). This title is obviously a play on René Magritte's This is Not a Pipe as well as suggesting the curt command, Not a word out of you. Both instances are fitting because people sometimes feel the urge/need to give captions to my drawings, perhaps because of the style favored by The New Yorker.

That is not beyond fact, there was once a time when I had entered a couple drawings with captions (including the one on the right, without the caption) to the magazine, only to be politely declined. Although there was a part of me that felt like I needed to be in The New Yorker, I have moved on and think adding text to my drawings is a bit suffocating. Drawings should be free and open to a myriad of interpretations.

At one point, early on, my cartoons were more text than image but this all changed one dreary morning in Prague in the early 1990's when I went to a library and saw the work of Jirí Slíva.

The drawing that opened my eyes to what could be done with the medium, was of a caveman who had made a slingshot on the tusks of a living woolly mammoth, which was loaded with a boulder he was ready to release upon his game. It was cruel but witty and in the cartoonists' version of history, put an end to the question of what brought the woolly mammoth to extinction: a design flaw taken advantage of by early man.

It was also a time, when I had the rude awakening that all of my previous work was literally lost in translation. I was abroad, traveling through and living in non-English speaking countries and the idea of relying on text to finish off an image was simply limiting.