I want to provide here brief commentary on each the samples of the books available here on my website, but it is important to stress first and foremost that I don ´t expect consumers impose onto the work the same interpretation I impose onto it, there is no "correct" way to read anything because there is always infinite potential latent inside everything. For a reader the important thing, I believe, is to appropriate the work, to find ways of owning it and incorporating it into their lives, rather than discerning what the concrete intentions of the artist were at the moment of creation. Artists continually reinterpret their own work anyway. My goal as is to create objects that can go beyond me, that have a pulse and a will of their own; the challenge of creation is to craft spaces big enough that I can get lost in them, and feel overwhelmed by them.
YIFFING IN HELL: SECRET REUNION IN CARFAX LODGE
"In the far distant future, an artificial wolf; a fugitive once revered as a hero across the stars, steals a world and bleeds it to fuel a perverse mating ritual with his high school sweetheart..."
Along with the 12 page long sequence I included an "explanation" ( ; a string of images (it is possible to zoom in on it by opening the image on another tab) that showcases many of the ideas lurking in the pictures. In the surface, science fiction narrative, a character, shown as a combination of a robot body (hardware) and a cartoon soul (software) uses her electric power to melt the ice cap covering one of the poles of a distant planet as part of a terraforming process, to render the planet inhabitable.
The general idea is "Mickey Mouse/Global Warming". Takashi Murakami, the famous artist, has developed a language around the figure of "Mr. Dob" (his own version of Mickey Mouse) in which it stands, among many things, as an icon of surplus value. I continue in that tradition placing my character, running on top of a modified version of the Nike checkmark logo; in this case the "road of Nike, goddess of victory) is made to also look like a serpent, which ties into many other ideas in the book (mainly the concept of "language", as the serpent was the one that "taught" language to Adam and Eve in Genesis). The road on which she runs connects her to Mario, the Nintendo mascot (another version of Mickey: that is, a company brand/icon/mascot that can also act as an avatar for the author, a creature whose printed image on a lunchbox immediately raises the value of said lunchbox: surplus value).
In Mario 64, a game that made a huge impression on my generation (as it was our first steps into the 3D realm, just before the internet really became mainstream) there is a famous "endless" staircase; a red carpeted space that loops as if it was a treadmill, making progress impossible for the player. A magical, cursed space taunting Mario by rendering the endless nature of his quest to save Princess Peach very tangible.
Human activity is illustrated in this series of pictures as a "Sisyphus-like", hellish (in reference to the frozen Hell of Dante´s) struggle of spiral ascension; suspended within a fixed principle, drawing lines in the ice with electric heat (as I do with my Cintiq tablet/carbon footprint) a great, pharaonic showcase of libido that hides a potentially suicidal inertia.
Many things are woven together in this sequence and many things are implied, the goal is to do something similar to Euler´s equation (eiπ + 1 = 0); to find a place for all this junk, for all the important things I love and find interesting within a dynamic "meaning machine". It is very important to me to do this without censoring the incredible potential of meaning each element has.
For example: to respect the fact that Mickey Mouse can be at the same time hellish, horrible, triumphant, nostalgic, futuristic etc, to integrate him into my story alongside Speedy Gonzalez, Sonic the Hedgehog and Revolutionary Girl Utena in a way that grants him an identity, a power, but does so without narrowing down his meaning, this is one of the core principles of the book: to chase after beauty without ideology, or rather, beauty within an expanding, dynamic ideology that celebrates its own continual obsolescence and regeneration.
YIFFING IN HELL: (NOT) FREAK SQUEAL
"SIEGLE GONZÁLEZ, champion of the Glandelinian empire, investigates an ominous node in the world wide web..."
The sample for the second book constitutes three pages; a sequence where one characters is chased by another, then caught and murdered brutally. This takes place in the context of a big battle royale inside a strange space covered in square white tiles (a reference to the work of artist Jean Pierre Raynaud). Every time I integrate something into my work the challenge and pleasure for me is to find a way to come to "Own" it. In my comic the Jean Pierre Raynaud-like space is meant serve as a way to explore the nature of the page as an alternatively bidimensional or tridimensional space and the relationship of that space with time and the characters within it. The main character of the book is the reader, the viewer, and the story was crafted to act as an illustration of the relationship between the reader in its image in the mirror (the comic acts as the mirror).
There is a concrete narrative here of course, we are witnessing a battle in cyberspace, and a whole mysterious story can be deduced by an attentive reader, but the more immediately evident thing is that we witness in the first page of the sample a werewolf being chased by another, almost identical werewolf clothed in sheep´s clothing. I used the same exact pose in different panels to emphasize the nature of the sequence, the nature of time in comics and the role the reader plays in crafting the illusion. I find it very interesting how we project ourselves into a picture. For example, how we project ourselves into a character we see from the back, or how in pornographic comics the eyes of the male characters are often not drawn in, to make it so the reader can more easily project onto them. The dynamic between the wolf in sheep´s clothing and the wolf playing the role of victim has many levels of meaning. It is a commentary on the interplay between Nietzsche´s master morality/slave morality, and an exploration of Derrida´s ideas pertaining to language (the relationship between form, content and time).
The core, key idea to read this book (as I made it, which might not be the best way to read it) is to see each page as an illustration of yourself seeing the page. Each character is a vessel you can fill. Within our minds we play many different roles, chasing ourselves, admonishing ourselves, weaseling out of things we think we should etc.
In the last of the three pages we see in the bottom right a character staring right at the viewer, and behind him a red circle with a crosshair in the center; a representation of the gaze of the Superman-like anthropomorphic dog. The reader is thus placed inside the work, floating, transparent. Two other characters in the foreground act as illustrations of the reader: the blue and pink little robot stares at the fight, standing separate from it yet remaining inside the story, while SIEGLE, the pink haired hedgehog girl stands "outside" the page, alongside the Superman dog, and observes towards the right of the page the two other characters. The purpose of this sort of equation is to corner the reader so that he has no place to stand on that is truly "outside" the comic; to create a ravenous work from which there is no escape.
As products, both books deliberately stand in crossroads between many worlds. The first book´s format is inspired by the work of Edward Gorey and would be classified by most as an illustrated book I think. The second book "(Not) Freak Squeal" can be more comfortably called a "comic", but both would have a hard time fitting into any category beyond that. It is very important to me that they are both technically, strictly science-fiction(I could talk for a long time about why), but I understand most people wouldn´t know exactly what to call them. They feature many structures that come from the world of contemporary art, tons of references to cartoons and historical events. The first book is meant to be read with a Smartphone in hand, so one can research the different concepts alluded to in the text pages, and, more importantly, the music, which is a big part of the whole. In this way it´s meant to "appropriate" the world wide web in a way that mirrors the event of the book. The second book is meant to "appropriate" the processes by which the reader could create a sense of distance towards the work. Both books are "mises en abîme" in that sense.
I will conclude by restating that there is no "correct" way to read the books, and my intent is not to transmit to the reader a precise idea, but rather to provide a space where he can lose himself, gifts that keep on giving and resist attempts to reduce them and exhaust them. I wrote the first book during a very dark time in my life; a book made for death basically, since I made it believing my own death to be imminent. The second book was originally a collaboration with another author that did not work out, and therefore its status as a "shadow book of shadows" "mirror book of mirrors" is (I believe) made more poignant, as the book the story was meant to mirror is now missing, leaving a mirror without a reflection in its wake.
At the end of the day my dream is for my work to be discovered by some person that will feel like an archeologist unearthing some mysterious piece of a long lost civilization. I want my readers to feel really lost and I want to reward their investment in my comics with and endless stream of layered, Lovecraftian revelations.
Thank you for your time and attention