[UPDATE: “Wolf vs Sheep” will be the next gapingvoid print. Details here.]
In case you haven’t been following, I have been updating a few images from my back catalogue [which numbers over 5,000 drawings, the last time I counted] and turning them into limited-edition silkscreens.
It has been a great experience. It’s allowed me to reacquaint myself with the images, that in some cases, I haven’t really thought about for years. It brings back some old memories, and puts my mind to work in a new medium: How to translate 2″ x 3 1/2″ business card-sized doodle into large, 2-or -3-foot images.
As I spend time with this, I can’t help thinking about that age-old, never-quite-answered question, “What is Art?” How is it different, how has our relationship changed with it from even say, a couple of decades ago? Especially with the Internet evolving our sense of “Media” at such a lightning pace?
I don’t have a definitive answer to this, but I do have a few thoughts on the subject:
The artist whose work best summed up for me the Modern, post-World War Two, 20th-Century world that most of us were born into, is the late, great Andy Warhol. A fantastic magazine illustrator in the 1950s, who got into the imagery of televised, mass media in the 1960s. VERY mass-media. Who appropriated the visual language of a mass-produced, top-down, broadcast, CORPORATE world. The visual language of Madison Avenue, the visual language of Kellog’s Corn Flakes, Heinz Ketchup and of course, Campbell’s Soup. And we look at his work with the same sort of detachment as a TV commercial, or a can of beans in the supermarket. And we NEED to remain detached, or else this rather loud, glamorous, oppressive, consumerist worldview would bury us, would turn our brains to corn syrup.
Then along comes the Internet. A place that doesn’t do shotgun-media,”Broadcast” well. A place where if what you’re saying isn’t engaging, isn’t hitting people on a intimate, human level, it doesn’t get seen, it doesn’t get shared, it doesn’t exist.
Which explains why, as a relatively dedicated citizen of the Internet, I am far more interested in what a piece of “Art” can do for you, once it is on your wall, than what I got out of creating it. What it can do as piece of communication between you and the people close to you, not as a piece of academic Art Theory. I like the “Social-bility” of the work. I like creating “Social Objects”. And this to me, of course, is what the Internet also runs on. This, to me, is also what the new internet-enabled, post-TV world is all about. Instant, Human Connection.
And where does this “Human Connection” come from? Easy- from talking about the world you and I actually live in, not the world the “Theory Police” live in. Yes, that one. The messy one. You know EXACTLY what I’m talking about…
And yes, that’s what cartoons have ALWAYS been about to me, long before the Internet was invented, long before I even knew what Art Theory was. As I’m fond of saying, “It isn’t rocket science”. Real, Human Connection never was.
So, with this brave new world in mind, we’re thinking of publishing one of the three following cartoons:
1. “Wolf vs Sheep”. This is a re-working is one of my historical favorites. I first drew it when I had just to moved to New York, in 1998. It was about what I saw as the choices that people are confronted with in the rat race. They were fascinating times and elicited other favorites of mine, like “Company Hierarchy”.
2. “Love Begets Love”. Virgil’s famous quote. I drew the cartoon as a contender for the Stormhoek Valentine’s wine in 2007. It never made it onto the bottle as a label in the end, but a lot of people loved the drawing.
3. “Create Or Die”. Though I only posted this cartoon for the first time a few hours ago, I’ve so far received about 20 emails from people expressing serious interest in it as a print. I never saw that coming, but what the heck, up it goes…
We’ll publish one of the three, depending on the feedback we get. If you have an opinion either way, please feel free to leave a comment below, ping me on Twitter, or if you think you’re in the actual market for buying one, send me an email. Thanks.
The silkscreen print will be roughly the same size [approx 24″ x 35″] and of the same high quality as “Corinthians” and “We Need To Talk”. The price and number of the edition will also be in the same ballpark.
Please let me know your thoughts. All very exciting. Thanks Again.
I just google-stumbled across your work a few days ago. Great perspectives and observations. There’s an unapologetic truth to them. Our society is moulting right now — in dire need of shedding past perceptions. Or at least questioning their relevance. Keep at it, and good luck with your book release in June.
has to be love begets
Create or Die I love. That is a print I’d buy if it wins
love begets love
love begets love
Love the colorized version of “Wolf vs Sheep.” I’ll buy one.
I’m all for “Wolf vs Sheep”.
Add a vote for “Wolf versus Sheep”.
I like “Create or Die”, but it almost seems… too simple for a print. Perhaps if you went back to the t-shirts, it’d work.
I think “Wolf vs. Sheep” is a much better example to use in prints, especially now that I can see the cityscape within the work. It’s a classic of yours, and one I think is worthwhile.
+1 for “Create or Die”
I’ve always loved Wolf vs. Sheep, and I’ve been anxious to get my hands on one of your prints, so that’d be a definite must-have for me!
P.S. You mentioned Warhol, but I think your work – especially the colored pieces – seems more inspired by Keith Haring, who was also heavily influenced by Warhol. Are you familiar with his stuff?
Wolf vs Sheep for me. I’ve had it written on my whiteboard for some time so it would be nice to have the actual art hanging.
Create or Die
I vote for Wolf vs Sheep.
“create or die!” – It needs to be PLASTERED on the wall.
I’d buy a copy of “Wolf vs. Sheep”.
+1 for Wolf vs. Sheep. It’s such a powerful concept.
Love begets Love
Wolf vs. Sheep has always been one of my favorites, but as I’m a poor grad student right now, I would rather you do it when I have a job again. lol
I love the Wolf vs Sheep one.
I love Love Begets Love, but I would rather have a print of Wolf Vs. Sheep.
Love Begets Love belongs in my pocket, Wolf Vs. Sheep belongs on my wall.
I like them all, but “love begets love” is my fave. I printed it, along with “A story without love is not worth telling”, and included them as part of my valentine cards sent this year.
My 91 year old great uncle John adored his card (his had “A story without love is not worth telling,”) and he called to tell me so. He shared a loverly story about his wife Ruby. Hugh, your social object begat a warm memory and a shared story that I’ll cherish. That’s powerful stuff. Thanks for being part of it.
I like the idea behind wolf vs. sheep. But it seems that it offers no way to win. What about a wolf in sheeps clothing?
WOLF VS. SHEEP
I’d buy Create or Die in a heartbeat, with Wolf vs. Sheep a close second.
The wolf/sheep one does look more like a print, and perhaps “Create or Die!” would look better as a t-shirt, but the latter definitely hits me closer to home. Actually, the longer I look at it, the more I think “Create or Die!” would look great as a tee or a print.
Create or Die. Definitely. So intrinsic to the human nature!
Wolf vs sheep. I see it in my dreams.
I want one.
Create Or Die. Hands down.
wolf vs. sheep
Wolf vs. Sheep
Love begets love.
Definitely wolf vs. sheep, it’s much, much stronger than the other two. It’s evocative and it really says something.
“Love begets love.”
Keep up the great work, Mr. H.
You’re very talented indeed.
Keep the faith and keep being YOU!
TrueBeliever & HopeDealer
Love Begets Love
Create or die = #1
but I love the message in wolf vs. sheep, so give it a #2 rank
Wolf vs sheep!
love begets love. all day.
Sheep vs Wolf
Sheep v Wolf gets my vote.
Wolf vs Sheep
Definitely Wolf vs Sheep. As a business consultant it speaks to every corporate client I have ever worked with. Will buy one in a heartbeat.
Wolf vs. Sheep, but how about no color, just the black and white print? Having a certain color is too much commitment…the girl laying next to me asking, what does yellow signify to you etc…will pay extra for just black and white.
create or die! of course.
wolf versus sheep
Love Begets Love! It would go perfectly with my Corinthians print (can’t wait for that to arrive!)
And I love Wolf vs Sheep too.
Create or Die, hands down.
Create or Die!!!! There is no choice!
Vote early and vote often, people!
love begets love