Death of the Artist, by Karrie Fransman (and friends)

https://i1.wp.com/s3.amazonaws.com/karriefransman/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Death-of-the-Artist-Cover-950-pix-width.jpgWhen five artists came together to write a graphic novel with the theme ‘Death of the Artist,’ nobody knew that one would be dead before the book was in print.

(Oops. Spoiled it. Just kidding, it’s in the Foreword.)

Karrie Fransman and her four friends- Vincent, Helena, Jackson, and Manuel- get together for a week to create. The artist inside each of them is dying- the essence of his life gulped by the banalities of everyday life.

Whatever limitations one might assume would be imposed upon the story due to the graphic novel format are gloriously defied.

Linear plotline? Nope. Each artist gives themselves up to telling a part of the story, and you, the Reader, must string the daisy chain together. Only the story isn’t as innocent as that sounds. (Can’t say I didn’t warn you, ’cause I just did.)

Consistency? Aw, hell no. Each artist uses a different medium (painting, photography, comic art) and has a distinct style. Some were ugly and terrifying  slightly unappealing at first glance. However, much like eggnog, pretzels or anything with bitter gourd in it, one simply has to acquire a taste for it.

It is easy to judge these people, who have bared themselves in the telling of this story. They are in turns self-absorbed, awkward, cruel, selfish… Then dawns the realization that they are us. (Suspend eye-roll and judgement at this sentence till after you read the book, please.)

The search for eternal youth.

The despair of disappointment.

The greed of desire.

These themes merge and overlap, sometimes coming to the surface to color specific characters or their actions. This book would appeal to both artists and philosophers, though perhaps one could argue that all artists are philosophers.

There is but one thing more: the ubiquitousness of drugs and alcohol rather plays into the stereotype. Contrary to popular belief, they do not make you more creative- in fact, they are more likely to fuel your distraction and eventual destruction, which is the fate of one unfortunate artist among them. In other words, DRUGS ARE BAD. STAY IN SCHOOL, KIDS. Be hug dealers, not drug dealers. Peace out.

Image Credit: Karrie Fransman
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