Comic Book Style
For a while, into the 1990s, I felt that movie making was behind the storytelling capabilities of the comic book. Then came The Matrix and it seemed that films were finally catching up - The Matrix being able to take the audience into this multi-planed universe of reality and pseudo-reality. Then comic book sensibilities entered the film world with the episodic style that introduces us and allows us to enter a whole world with films like Ghost World and Sin City (two of my favorites), and all the intertwined story possibilities and story vignettes that work as short films or stories unto themselves just as with stories in comic books or the comic strip.
I've always been a bit peripheral in regard to enjoying comic books but I always found what is now often called the "graphic novel" (when I was younger it seemed to be called "adult comics" - not necessarily sexual but geared toward adults) to be interesting because much of the style is about taking real life (as opposed to fantasy) and putting it down in images. This is basically what the storyboard does.
I am thinking of this project, currently titled Suburban Red as a vignette, a part of a larger story or series of stories that are strung together. As I think of this current story I let my mind stretch to the possible future or past stories. The story will work on its own either as a completed story with complete dramatic arc or as a scene, like a glimpse into a world as in a short story that does not complete the arc.
MOTIF: My Family in Black, White and Red
These images of my family (in photo ) were drawn (painted in gouache on Bristol board), while referring to old photographs of my family. I tried to find photographs which weren’t only posed, they were also candid. In this way they are like snapshots but also like story board frames or comic book cells that hint at story. This artwork, film props, will don the walls of my character’s bedroom. I want to stick to the black, white and red motif and find a way to fill his bedroom with these colors. Images from family photographs will be interspersed with images of fantasy art and also something that hints at punk rock album cover and poster art. I want to create a character that reflects some of my life in the early 1980s. He’s an extension of a certain aspect of me at that time.
Reflections on Color Separation
Color separation is a process by which each color to be combined as a final full color image is printed one at a time. The red (or magenta) is printed first on the white sheet, for example, then the black over that. The red being the gray tones perhaps and the black being the dark defined shadows and lines. I grew up Mexican American and mostly thought of myself as a white person (though I didn’t feel like one), from Spain – European, etc., but then I also knew I was Native American (possibly part Huichol) and then later was reminded that there was a large population of African peoples in Mexico and absorbed into our blood and culture as well (much of this is evident in the varieties of Mexican music). Black, white and red, color separation, come together in the final image.