Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Here's what happened. In advance of Halloween 2016, I was invited to contribute my art-like doodlings to a group show at Gallery East here in Sparkle City. This was the now-infamous Show of Monsters, which was, oddly enough, a show of monster art, featuring the regional all-stars of the Upstate art community - Kris Inman, Jeremy Kemp, Deede Cohen, Rich Ponder, Christina Ramsey, and the rest - or, as I like to call them, the Foothills Factory.

After dismissing a few of my usual, infantile ideas, I decided to resurrect an long-dead impulse from my art school days: illustrating Mary Shelley's novel, Frankenstein. Why create illustrations for this early-19th century novel, which has been republished, repackaged and re-imagined countless times? The same reason the great B-movie schlockmeisters of yore have eternally tapped the Frankenstein legend: Shelley's novel is in the public domain.
And so, these drawings for the Show of Monsters become the launch of this probably-never-ending project. I may release it in installments on my way to the final book. Too soon to tell. (One thing that's slowed progress so far is that I redrew these three illos since the Gallery East show.)

Those who have never read the novel will find it quite different from the famous Boris Karloff films. For one thing, the monster not only talks, he won't shut up. Page after page of his agonized monologues. His is a depressing life among a whole cast of depressing lives. The monster is sad, he's alone, and nobody likes him (so he reminds us compulsively), but Dr. Frankenstein himself is even more angst-y and poetry-prone. I'm surprised this novel isn't more popular among suicidal teenagers, they of the Plath and Salinger fan club.

Wish me luck on my travels through Frankenstein. This novel covers a lot of European territory, and requires a bit of research. But the real question for anyone embarking on the task of illustrating Shelley's Frankenstein is: how do you feel about drawing lots of icebergs?

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