Tuesday, May 17, 2011


X-Ray Specs (2011)

This is a watercolor study of the four-color process used in old comics. I was inspired to make it after reading the writings of John Higart on his blog, 4CP/Four Color Process. He describes why this process was perfect for the comics of earlier eras. What he does is "zoom in" on the details of old comics that might otherwise escape our attention. By doing so, he removes the page, the plot, the frame, and the context of the detail. As Higart writes, "These details are aesthetically compelling." I agree. They are mesmerizing, partly because of the dots. The accidental effects caused by colors that don't quite line up the way they should provide an intriguing abstraction.

To make this painting, I chose one of the tiny comic details Higart has curated at his online gallery. I thought that this image came from an advertisement for a pair of X-Ray specs, one of the products advertised in the comics of my youth.It's actually from a Jimmy Olsen comic. For me, the painting represents being able to attain a vision that not everyone can see, artistically. The magic of artistic discovery -- seeing something you never noticed before.

Of course, the Ben Day dot is something Lichtenstein explored, but his results are much more crisp and precise than his source material. I thought it would be interesting to make some paintings that exploited the attributes of this source material.

1 comment:

Bill S. said...

This is really neat; I really like what you did. Definitely more true to the source material than Lichtenstein really was!