March 19, 2011

In the Realms of the Unreal

I recently watched the movie "In the Realms of the Unreal", a documentary by Jessica Yu of the late Henry Darger.  Darger has become a new mentor to me, as I feel I seriously lack one lately.

His unrelenting drive, meticulous work ethic and unencumbered imagination.  It's seriously inspiring stuff.

* As a side note, I totally disagree with the choice to animate Darger's work, it's pointless, so you just have to get past it.

I've felt a dark cloud over my work lately, but it's really my doing.  Will someone like this?  Is it good?  Is this helping my career go forward?"  Darger had none such worries - because they are a waste of time to begin with.  He just made stuff, all the time, in total creative freedom.

In other news, I am supremely excited to be offered the chance to be an Artist in Residence at the Eagle Hill School in Hardwick, Massachusetts this fall!   I'll be working on a new project in a studio on campus and teaching a class in storytelling and graphic novels later in the semester.

I'll also be living there for just over 4 months, about half the week.  It will still be hard to live away from Andy, but we'll make it work.  And thanks to Darger, I'm super inspired to delve into some epic work.

The campus is really inspiring, and the faculty and staff are unbelievably positive.  Should be awesome!


So I've been into preparing good food lately!  Not exactly complicated things, but kind of a leap into "the Finer Things Club" from my end.  I think even taking the time to put something nicely on a plate and wait for your tea to steep is a good way to slow down your day.

That is a feta mini burger, (bakery-bought) danish, my favorite fig jam with Vermont sharp cheddar cubes, mozzarella , tomato and pesto panini, and zucchini pancakes!


  1. I started watching In the Realms of the Unreal on Netflix (I really love some of the documentaries I've found there) but got side-tracked and never finished it. I should go back and finish it...

  2. I so want to see that documentary. As for your work, I'm sure whatever you are working on - it is AMAZING like everything you do - soon the cloud will pass and you will be able to see what everyone else sees - some kick ass art! And ooh that mozz, tomato, and pesto panini - can I have a bite?? ;)

  3. Thanks guys!!

    It's actually more interesting to learn about his life rather than watch the bizarre animation of his 2D work, but I can see what they were trying to do.

  4. The American Museum of Folk Art ran a Darger show in 2002. His larger paintings were mounted on hanging sheets of Plexiglas so both sides could be viewed. Astounding! There's also two excellent books on Darger by Michael Bonestell and John MacGregor.

  5. zucchiiinniii pancakes!?!?! BOGGLING MY MIND.

    they are like the shrek version of pancakes :P

    And total creative freedom... I thought about it and in his situation it's really a vast, infinite state with absolutely no boundaries... yet he went with children and gruesome subjects. makes me wonder where mine would go in such a state. :0

  6. Brian - I definitely want to see his work in person!

    Becca - Yes, in the film it explains he was physically abused as a child, sent to an asylum and poor houses, so he felt it was his duty to punish people who punished children.

  7. Self-taught and without apprehension?? Truly an inspiration no matter your field! Ah the animation reminds me of the 3-D gimmick to draw in people who otherwise wouldn't watch it =_=;;

    It's really great to know so far in advanced about the new opportunity too, you have the spring & summer to prepare!

  8. Anonymous28.3.11

    Congrats on the artist in residence gig, that is so exciting!
    And i love all the pics of food you've been making. Everything looks divine!