Blogs Field Guide

Unicorns and Glitter Text

One of the coolest things about our new teen website is the fact that WACTAC members can change the whole look and feel of the site, and even though our little baby has only been up for a while, the battle over the background has raged at full speed. Check out this cool video of […]

One of the coolest things about our new teen website is the fact that WACTAC members can change the whole look and feel of the site, and even though our little baby has only been up for a while, the battle over the background has raged at full speed. Check out this cool video of what we have come up with in the last couple of months, and we hope you keep checking in to see the new developments!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRBWPJGq1nI[/youtube]

Kiki Smith Tattoo

Whitney Garner, our Teen Programs Intern, permanently solidified her devotion to Kiki Smith‘s Born. Image: Kiki Smith, Born , 2002 bronze Courtesy the artist and PaceWildenstein Gallery, New York Photograph by Kerry Ryan McFate

Whitney Garner, our Teen Programs Intern, permanently solidified her devotion to Kiki Smith‘s Born.

Kiki Smith Tattoo large

Kiki Smith Born

Image:

Kiki Smith, Born , 2002

bronze Courtesy the artist and PaceWildenstein Gallery, New York

Photograph by Kerry Ryan McFate

Frida for Sale Part IV: Juanita Garciagodoy muses on the The Two Fridas

Juanita Garciagodoy breathed the same as-yet-unpolluted air of Mexico City that Frida Kahlo breathed for two years before the latter died. She wrote a book about Mexico’s Days of the Dead, and now she reads and writes mostly about Iberian romances of chivalry. Juanita Garciagodoy holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota in Hispanic […]

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Juanita Garciagodoy breathed the same as-yet-unpolluted air of Mexico City that Frida Kahlo breathed for two years before the latter died. She wrote a book about Mexico’s Days of the Dead, and now she reads and writes mostly about Iberian romances of chivalry. Juanita Garciagodoy holds a PhD from the University of Minnesota in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Languages and Literatures, is a visiting assistant professor emerita at Macalester College, and lives with novelist George Rabasa by the Mississippi.

I was twelve when the Museo de Arte Moderno opened in Chapultepec Park in 1964, and my family went to admire the curious architecture of Pedro Ramrez Vzquez and the marvelous opening exhibition. That was the first time I saw Las dos Fridas (1939). I was and wasn’t ready for it. I found the exposed hearts, the blood, and the veins very disturbing, though I was fascinated by the double self-portrait and compelled by the double gaze–still, steady, magnetic–to remain before the piece (though I really wanted to walk away from those painful hearts). It felt like the two Fridas were inviting me to be part of their ineludible dyad, calling me to know their silence, to reveal my thoughts and feelings to them, to open myself to the new acquaintance.

The painting made my heart ache for my best friend who had just been taken back to New Jersey by her parents. I’d met the sylph-like Monica Lee Schlick in fourth grade. Her brown eyes had jolted me into a friendship that made us long intensely to have been born twins. The best we could do was to become blood sisters, and that little ritual served partially to correct the incomprehensible cosmic error that had us born to different mothers in different countries, three weeks apart. Monica’s and my sisterness was evoked powerfully for me that first time that I regarded Las dos Fridas, which, as Frida wrote in her diary, was inspired by her imaginary friend.

In high school, the double self-portrait still evoked my blood sister even though she had stopped writing me. As I looked at the Fridas’ gently clasped hands, my mind filled with questions. I knew absolutely nothing about her. I was radically alone with this commanding painting, wondering at the metaphor for self and consciousness of self. What did it mean that Frida depicted herself as both prim and casual, European-Victorian and Mexican-timeless (because the dress of our Indigenous women does not change perceptibly until it’s given up)? What did she mean by the stillblood on the stage-right Frida’s lap and the tiny portrait on the lap of the stage-left one? Was it a third self-portrait? Had she once seen herself as male, as I had done (as Salvador Dal had, looking under the skin of the ocean in a girl’s body)?

In those years, my brother “ Manito,” my cousin Carl, and I spent countless hours in the ancient Bosque de Chapultepec, including in its museums. We were intent on knowing ourselves and each other as honestly as possible: docile and rebellious; obtuse and insightful; strong and kind, fragile and cruel. Pre-Columbian and modern art was helpful in our quest.

As an adolescent, I was sure–as I am to this day–that Las dos Fridas was also a metaphor for self-knowledge and for acceptance of one’s complexity and integrity. I was sure that Frida sought herself both in the looking glass and in her mental and psychological self-image, plumbing the mystery of who and what she was: docile and rebellious; mesmerizingly beautiful; strong and fragile; polymorphously sexual, sensual, playfully perverse…(I staunch the flow of adjectives with editorial hemostats).

The two women on the canvas, one with perfect posture, one slouching like me, gave me more of a sense of Frida Kahlo than one alone might have done. As a reader and a poet, I admired her artistic insight and inventiveness, her allusions to pre-Hispanic dualism and Christian trinitarianism. I admired the great skill that delivered the almost tangible skin; the sticky, hot and the cooled, dry blood; the rubbery conjoining artery; the smoothly combed hair. (Was it silky like Monica’s or coarse like mine?) Myriad encounters later, I can, for a few weeks, stand in front of Las dos Fridas in Minneapolis, as often as I did in Mexico City. On my visit last week, I saw the painting as I hadn’t before: Frida renders herself double, inescapable, practically life-size. There’s no mistaking her, and she serenely, softly, firmly holds her own hand, such that she accompanies herself completely, sufficient unto herself. The picture of the child Diego shows a sharp contrast. He is in such a wee format that it’s hard to recognize him, and he supports himself on a table. Frida, who wrote about Diego with mystical adoration, painted him dependent on her more than once, and in Las dos Fridas, while she is all there, twice, not reaching beyond herself at all, he is not even animate.

Sometimes I still ask questions of this painting, but soon enough, its beauty dissolves my questioning. Sometimes I feel vertigo before it, not exactly like that I feel before Las Meninas, but the two masterworks cast on me a mirroring spell.(Yet not the stupefying mirror-spell of poor Narcissus who lacked enough self-knowledge to survive his self-seeking.) Both Las dos Fridas and Las Meninas induce me to stand still and long in their presence and to seek the artists and to seek myself. Both canvases request that I give myself to their fullness, their inevitability. (Had Velzquez not painted the one, had Kahlo not painted the other, they must still have come into existence. But that’s the quandary that perplexed Monica and me as children: If we had been twins, whose parents would have engendered us? Could we still be who we are? Would we still be friends?)

Today, everything I know about Frida melts away as I contemplate this poetic work. Both Fridas feel as thoroughly present, warm, and vibrant as my husband and my friends, as the Frida-tattooed lady and the reverent students in the Walker’s Frida-enchanted galleries. That’s the power and the mystery of Art.

Many of us can remember the impact that seeing Frida’s work for the first time had on us. She is not for sale. But while seeing an exhibition of her paintings is a rare (wonderful!) privilege, we can buy, carry, or wear reproductions of them to remind us of the truth and the beauty of the vivid canvas; to continue to contemplate meanings; and of course, to honor an artist who has moved us so profoundly that we may experience her as very much nuestra Frida.

Frida for Sale Part III: Poet and writer Lorena Duarte muses on Frida consumption.

Lorena Duarte is a poet and writer living in the Twin Cities. She has a degree in Hispanic Studies from Harvard University and taught a class on Kahlo for the Walker ArtCenter in conjunction with their current exhibit. Whenever I think of Frida Kahlo, and her current status as pop icon, I think of Sylvia […]

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Lorena Duarte is a poet and writer living in the Twin Cities. She has a degree in Hispanic Studies from

Harvard University and taught a class on Kahlo for the Walker ArtCenter in conjunction with their current exhibit.

Whenever I think of Frida Kahlo, and her current status as pop icon, I think of Sylvia Plath’s remarkable poem, “ Lady Lazarus”:

“ The Peanut-crunching crowd / Shoves in to see / Them unwrap me hand and foot —— The big strip tease. / Gentleman , ladies / …There is a charge / For the eyeing my scars, there is a charge / For the hearing of my heart— / It really goes. / And there is a charge, a very large charge / For a word or a touch / Or a bit of blood / Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.”

There is this incredible, ravenous quality about the consumption of Frida Kahlo and Plath’s lines kept running in my head this past weekend as I waited over half an hour to see the Walker Art Center’s current Kahlo exhibit. Though largely white, the crowds nevertheless seemed to represent a wide range of folks, from young artsy-punky types, to stroller-pushing families, to distinguished silver bouffants and gold buttoned blazers. She seems to have seduced us all. Personally, I think Frida would laugh at all the fuss. But it is problematic, this consumption – for several reasons. First and foremost, is that a great deal of the furor around Kahlo is not related to her painting, it is biographical in nature. Who was she sleeping with? How many operations did she have? How many lovers?

That seems to me to be terribly disrespectful, if not unexpected, considering our scandal-worshipping culture. If you take a moment to learn a little about Kahlo’s influences, intentions and innovations, her paintings are extraordinary; social commentary, mixed with indigenous and Catholic iconography, each one is a gem of mixed and hidden meanings.

And while her portraits I think are fair game for our examination, there are other aspects of her life, her diary for example, that are not so straightforward. While I adore the Diary, in fact, I am using it for a class I am giving at the Walker, it causes me consternation. Here, Frida loses her masks; all the control and self-mastery that are evident in her self portraits are gone. All her fears and foibles are there for our taking, and we take them indiscriminately. It is terribly conflicting, on the one hand, the Diary is a great source for a deeper understanding of this complex woman, on the other hand, would I want someone reading my diary and dissecting it in class?

But of course this is Frida Kahlo who we’re talking about, and as with anything to do with her, nothing is black and white. We can’t simply talk about her as a victim of crass commercialization by a sensationalistic, consumer-driven society.

She created herself an icon. Like her paintings, which are so careful and intentional, so was she about her life, her dress, her image. She knew she caused a fuss wherever she went by her manner of dress, her rowdy behavior. She loved to cause commotion, and seemed to revel in shocking and offending people (the more pompous, the better). So perhaps she wouldn’t mind being on coffee mugs, refrigerator magnets and t-shirts. Perhaps. Still, I would proceed with caution, and a good deal of respect.

Frida fits our stereotypes of so many things: the suffering artist, the femme fatale, the bohemian, the radical, it is really no wonder that she has become such an icon. I just hope that in the end, people will not ignore the art for the character that created it.

I’ll end with Ms. Plath again, and not just because I’m a poet, but because it so perfectly suits: Frida is herself a Lady Lazarus, a woman who rises from the dead and haunts, lives among, has her revenge upon, and enchants the living:

“ I am your opus, / I am your valuable, / The pure gold baby / That melts to a shriek. / I turn and burn. / Do not think I underestimate your great concern. / Ash, ash— / You poke and stir. / Flesh, bone, there is nothing there— / A cake of soap, / A wedding ring, / A gold filling. / Herr God, Herr Lucifer / Beware / Beware. / Out of the ash / I rise with my red hair / And I eat men like air.”

Raising Creative Moms, Part 2

I am always interested in how artists – especially artists who are mothers – figure out how to balance art, home, and a job. My friend Kara Walker-Tome and I went to graduate school together –she was always ambitious, organized, and energetic. Now, she’s raising two kids and working as an independent curator organizing temporary […]

I am always interested in how artists – especially artists who are mothers – figure out how to balance art, home, and a job. My friend Kara Walker-Tome and I went to graduate school together –she was always ambitious, organized, and energetic. Now, she’s raising two kids and working as an independent curator organizing temporary exhibitions in non-traditional spaces (Here’s her website for ShowTel). When I heard she was planning a new project (read an article on 10 x 10) just months after the birth of her second baby, I thought I’d interview her about how she finds – or doesn’t find – balance.

It sounds like your recent curatorial project went well. With finite amounts of time and energy (and lots of demands on both) how did you make that happen?

With 10 x 10, I was sensible enough to know going in that I should make it a manageable project as I have very little time to devote to my work with the demands of a nine-year-old and a one-year-old. Also my husband’s current job requires a lot of his attention, so he is not very available for “ kid time” nor I do have much extended family support.

So I made decisions like using a smaller group of artists, inviting only artists I have worked with in the past that I know are responsible, doing minimal press and promotion and being OK with knowing the crowd might be smaller than other shows I have done, etc. I also had to scale down certain aspects and details along the way in direct proportion to the amount of time I could eek out.

Do you feel like you can keep current & active in your profession, while balancing your curatorial projects with your home life?

With this recent project, I definitely fretted that I wasn’t being as “ professional” and that it would affect the show. In retrospect, I realized that no one noticed any of the little imperfections I was stressing about and overall the show turned out wonderfully. That was a good lesson for me and it renewed my confidence, which in turn helped me decide to commit to my next project.

Are your decisions about taking on projects influenced more by practical factors (like finding child care) or internal ones (like your desires to be home for your kids and to be active in your career)? Or??

This is an opportune time to ask me about “ balancing” family and work life. In April I will curate the sixth installment of a show I had done annually until taking last year off after having my baby. Showtel will involve 30-40 artists doing site-specific work, a printed catalogue, sponsors and an estimated crowd of 600-800. A lot of work!

I know I will have to put out some money for daycare in order to make this show happen. I’ll consider it an investment against the show. Luckily I also feel my daughter is ready for daycare and I was referred to a sitter I like and trust.

I am nervous about pulling it off but I also feel compelled to jump in and do it and I am excited about it.

All this balancing and strategizing and compromising – is it worth it?

I’d like to openly bash the concept of “ balancing” motherhood and work…it’s not possible! In my opinion and experience “ balance” implies an evenness that just doesn’t happen. One side of the scale is always heavier than the other and the sides are always switching! The really challenging part is acknowledging that you are being pulled towards one or the other … As long as you are giving your best to each SOME of the time, that should be the goal.

Reporting for a Brave New World: Janine di Giovanni

Janine di Giovanni is one tough reporter. She’s been to some of the world’s worst war torn regions, met with some of the world’s worst war criminals, and seen human suffering first hand, yet she remains committed to reporting about the human condition and portraying her subjects with compassion and dignity. She was nearly killed […]

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Janine di Giovanni is one tough reporter. She’s been to some of the world’s worst war torn regions, met with some of the world’s worst war criminals, and seen human suffering first hand, yet she remains committed to reporting about the human condition and portraying her subjects with compassion and dignity. She was nearly killed in Kosovo, had to sleep in the car, eat candy bars for dinner, and jump into a ditch being used asa latrine whenthe unit she was with got ambushed in the middle of the night! She’s dodged her fair share of bullits and gives us some of the most honest and riveting firsthand accounts ofwar .

We are very lucky to host her at the Walker as part of our Writing Conflict Drawing War series. I was also very lucky to talk with her and get her thoughts about the future of newspapers, and how art can make a difference.

di Giovanni has been a reporter for over 20 years. She has won the Amnesty International Award for human rights reporting, has written several books, and like Lee Miller, is elegant on top of it all.

Allison Herrera: I know you haven’t seen the Brave New Worlds exhibit, but i’m wondering if you think art can make difference and make people take action against things they think are unjust.

Janine di Giovanni: I’m not up on contemporary art, but I certainly think art can make a difference. Just look at a painting like Guernica. If you know what it stands for and why Picasso painted it, it can make you cry.

I also think that photography can have a huge impact. Like the photographsLee Miller took during WWII.

And in aplace like Bosnia. During the war, a lot of people were making theatre based on their reactions and experiences aboutthe war.

AH: You’ve been a war correspondent for many years and coveredregions where the nature of conflict isvery different. How has war reporting changed? Do you think reporters are targeted more now than they were in the past?

JG: Journalists have always been at risk. That’swhat happenswhen you’re a war correspondent. This is a business where there is no half way. I’ve lost several friends.I think journalists are targeted when governments don’t want the outside worldto know what is going on. Look at what happened to AnnaPolitkovskaya aftershe had been reporting on Chechnya.

The people who really deserve credit are the Afghani and Iraqireporters who are always at risk of being hit by an IED, but don’t get the credit that Bob Woodruff did. The local fixer, or the local driver don’t get nearly enough credit for putting their lives on the line.

Particularly in WWII, there was a lot of censorship, and journalists were targeted then. It was Lee Miller who broke that censorship and instead of waiting for D-Day to happen like a lot of other reporters, she went out there and reallycovered the war.

Furthermore, I don’t believe in being embedded. You can’t get the truth that way or get the real stories or interact with real people that way.

AH: What do you think the future of newspapers is given that a lot of companies are downsizing their staff and trying to appeal to a market that might not be interested in reading “hard news”.

JG: I was lucky in that I was reporting in the “golden age” of journalism which was the 1980’s. I worked for the British press where there is a wonderful history of narrative reporting. When I was doing reporting, we were given a lot of freedom and newspapers had the budget to do it. I don’t know what it will be like for the next generation of journalists who don’t have what we had.

I like buying newspapers. I get the International Herald Tribune, and a French newspaper.I don’t like reading news online. I like to get ink on my hands, I like to tear things out.

AH: How do you get people to care about regions of the world where there is a tremendous amount of suffering, but is so far removed from their daily lives? Does reading about it, having an awareness about it make a difference?

JG: I really hope so. I’ll give you an example of something that happened a few weeks ago. My husband, son, and I were coming back from the circus on the metro in Paris. An African woman got on and it looked as if she was pregnant. She had just given birth a couple of weeks ago and was living in a hotel for immigrantsin Paris. They’re terrible places. One had burnt down a couple of years ago. She said she desparately needed money to buy food for her child. My husband and I looked through our wallets. I had a couple of euros, but noticed I also had 20 euros.I thought to myself,”She needs this more than I do.” I handed it to her and she threw her arms around me and thanked me and thanked me. We just stood there with our arms around one another on the metrowhile everyone elseacted like nothing happened just reading their newspapers.

I am just a vessel for peoples stories and I hope they effect people the way it has affected me.

The Violin – Nuevo Cine Mexicano

This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing. I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas. The Violin: “In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best […]

This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing.

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I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas.

The Violin:

“In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best actor award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival) supports the peasant movement’s armed revolt along with his son and grandson. After their village is attacked by the military in the harrowing first minutes of the film, Plutarco wins over the army captain with his music, which gets him closer to information and supplies that can help the guerrillas counterattack.”

The Violin is the best film I have seen all year, for three reasons:

  1. It is apart of a new and exciting film movement. Personally I am very excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano movement that is going on in Mexico and other Latin Countries, I am excited that it is beginning to receive some of the attention that it deserves. The film The Violin is a strong example of the anthem of emerging filmmakers from Mexico, the anthem is reflecting on misguided policy structure, economic crisis, rejection of institutions and rights for the people (not only in Mexico). In a time were consumerism and weakened policy structure is common among many countries the artist response to the abuse of power and the corruptions that come along with is a direct response to oppression all over the world.
  2. The filmmaking and use of close ups is stunning. Francisco Vargas ability to capture human emotion through high contrast close ups is stunning. The main character Plutarco is the hero of The Violin, throughout the film we are stunned by his wisdom and courage, often we see him reflecting on life, playing music with his grandson and passing on crucial information to the revolutionaries, we see him in high contrast at night in front of a fire the glow of the embers on his face are stunning.
  3. The director has positive things to say to youth filmmakers. Francisco Vargas was at the screening of the film, after the film was shown I was able to ask him if he has any words of wisdom for young filmmakers, he described the process of creating The Violin, he discussed how many people did not want him to make the film, people believed that the issues that are discussed, the political edge of it was unimportant,and that no one would care . He searched for 6 months to find the character Plutarco numerous times people told him that the character they wanted did not exist. It took them five years to make this film, and they only had 4 weeks to shot it on a very modest budget. The film has since become a blockbuster and the lead actor Plutarco, who had never acted before, won the Best Actor Award from the Cannes Film Festival. Overall he said that if you have passion no matter what people say to follow your dreams!!!

If you ever have the opportunity to see The Violin or future Francisco Vargas films make a point of doing so you will not be disappointed.

I am Youtube-ing a trailer of the film, there are not English Subtitles, however this can serve as an example of the filmmaking and to get you excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano.

Enjoy..

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=51lFasmxMMk[/youtube]

If you are interested in reading more WACTAC reviews check out teens.walkerart.org

The Violin – Nuevo Cine Mexicano

This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing. I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas. The Violin: “In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best […]

This post was written by Walker Art Center Teen Arts Council (WACTAC) member Bre Blaesing.

thumbnail.jpg

I went with a group of people to see The Violin last night, directed by Francisco Vargas.

The Violin:

“In the 1970s, a seemingly harmless violin player named Don Plutarco (Don ngel Tavira, winner of the Un Certain Regard best actor award at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival) supports the peasant movement’s armed revolt along with his son and grandson. After their village is attacked by the military in the harrowing first minutes of the film, Plutarco wins over the army captain with his music, which gets him closer to information and supplies that can help the guerrillas counterattack.”

The Violin is the best film I have seen all year, for three reasons:

  1. It is apart of a new and exciting film movement. Personally I am very excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano movement that is going on in Mexico and other Latin Countries, I am excited that it is beginning to receive some of the attention that it deserves. The film The Violin is a strong example of the anthem of emerging filmmakers from Mexico, the anthem is reflecting on misguided policy structure, economic crisis, rejection of institutions and rights for the people (not only in Mexico). In a time were consumerism and weakened policy structure is common among many countries the artist response to the abuse of power and the corruptions that come along with is a direct response to oppression all over the world.
  2. The filmmaking and use of close ups is stunning. Francisco Vargas ability to capture human emotion through high contrast close ups is stunning. The main character Plutarco is the hero of The Violin, throughout the film we are stunned by his wisdom and courage, often we see him reflecting on life, playing music with his grandson and passing on crucial information to the revolutionaries, we see him in high contrast at night in front of a fire the glow of the embers on his face are stunning.
  3. The director has positive things to say to youth filmmakers. Francisco Vargas was at the screening of the film, after the film was shown I was able to ask him if he has any words of wisdom for young filmmakers, he described the process of creating The Violin, he discussed how many people did not want him to make the film, people believed that the issues that are discussed, the political edge of it was unimportant,and that no one would care . He searched for 6 months to find the character Plutarco numerous times people told him that the character they wanted did not exist. It took them five years to make this film, and they only had 4 weeks to shot it on a very modest budget. The film has since become a blockbuster and the lead actor Plutarco, who had never acted before, won the Best Actor Award from the Cannes Film Festival. Overall he said that if you have passion no matter what people say to follow your dreams!!!

If you ever have the opportunity to see The Violin or future Francisco Vargas films make a point of doing so you will not be disappointed.

I am Youtube-ing a trailer of the film, there are not English Subtitles, however this can serve as an example of the filmmaking and to get you excited for the Nuevo Cine Mexicano.

Enjoy..

[youtube]http://youtube.com/watch?v=51lFasmxMMk[/youtube]

If you are interested in reading more WACTAC reviews check out teens.walkerart.org

Joe Sacco and WACTAC

This post was written by WACTAC alumnus and current Teen Programs Intern Emmanuel Mauleon. One thing all teens (or alt-teens) love are comic books. Although that may be a completely facetious statement, one thing I do know about teens is our shared love of confusing elders with a barrage of unnecessary questions. Cue picture: That […]

This post was written by WACTAC alumnus and current Teen Programs Intern Emmanuel Mauleon.

One thing all teens (or alt-teens) love are comic books. Although that may be a completely facetious statement, one thing I do know about teens is our shared love of confusing elders with a barrage of unnecessary questions. Cue picture:

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That uncomfortable-looking artist in the middle (the ruggedly-handsome one) goes by the name of Joe Sacco.

In all seriousness we had the great opportunity to meet Sacco a couple of days ago and talk to him about his artwork. If you are unfamiliar with Sacco’s work it can best be described as fantastic. Sacco blends two passions of his to create a very aesthetically pleasing convergence of cartooning and journalism. You heard right. “Cartoonalism.” Or if you perfer “Jourtoons.”

Sacco, who went to school for journalism and later came to the conclusion that he did not like being told what news he would report depending on who bought the most ad space, turned to a lifelong passion for cartooning. After turning out some pretty funny and well-executed, not to mention visually-engaging comics, Sacco ventured new ground. Illustrations of journalism. Real world stories mapped out and drawn to create a new form of art. *see “Cartoonalism”

Sacco has since published a critically acclaimed book about the conflict in Palestine, and continues to draw readers in with the raw and very personal tellings of those who are usually avoided by camera and print.

Now the nitty gritty:

Sacco is a straight G, no… no, O.G. He came in cool and calm and didn’t show the slightest aversion to to a group of hungry teens (in the media world they have often been referred to as a pack of wolves). Even when senior member Ricardo went off on a complete tangent and started asking a question that went something like this…

“If the universe was connected with strings made of internet threads and the community of the world started visualizing people inside of the mind of computers would journalism fax itself and I.O.U.?”

…Sacco didn’t slap him, which showed how even a great artist like Sacco didn’t mind wasting time to listen to an blowhard teen run his mouth.

When we got down to some real questions it was apparent that Sacco has put a lot of thought into his medium, not just slapping some cartoons over a story. We discussed how his process involves everything from tedious note-taking and asking odd questions, (What type of clothing were you wearing? What were your surroundings like? How were you sitting?) to traveling across the globe in search for untold stories. He made it evident that there was an awful lot of work involved in keeping the integrity of the story-teller’s experience intact to hold true to his journalistic roots.

Meeting Sacco was a great experience, and if you are interested in the world, politics, cartooning, or perhaps a myriad of human experiences we would suggest definitely checking him out.

PS: Recently I was listening to “The Story” distributed by American Public Media and they had a story about one of two combat artists the military hires to produce art in the field, and they discuss a few of the issues Sacco says he encountered like being creative in the midst of such horrible occurrences. Subscribe to “The Story’s” podcast, I highly recommend it.

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