Artsy Fartsy – Part the First

Other homages have been cultural in nature. Literary, cinematic, and so on. You might remember this chap from page 42. He’s one of the Monster KerDoodles I developed during the pandemic. His watching TV here is reminiscent of the Pink Floyd thing, don’t you think? Skip back and forth and you can certainly see the differences in the details.

As I recall everything in this drawing was done free-hand. I re-used the popcorn and the tables from other places, but they’re still mine. The art on the wall is a previous KerDoodle outpouring. I’ve often decorated the village walls with art work comprised of earlier drawings. That, too, is something of an homage, isn’t it? Either that or it’s shameless self-promotion.

This one is an homage to the Chinese philosopher, Confucius.

I don’t much know the history behind that ancient character, but he has become known for his wisdom and for his sage sayings. So, how could I not honour him with a KerDoodle version? I named him Kerducius. I drew him one time, like a template, and featured him often with such trite, comedic, absolutely essential observations as the one you see here.

I thought about re-drawing him after a couple of years, but changed my mind, because, ultimately, I like him just the way he is.

Ok, let’s get maudlin. Serious artists leave me in the dust – I think we can agree on that – but that doesn’t mean I can’t emulate them and so show my appreciation. Edvard Munch is one such artist. In 1893 he painted the work which has become known as The Scream which is thought to portray the anxiety of the human condition. Well, if the KerDoodles are a tongue-in-cheek mirror image of the humanity, then I feel there absolutely must be a KerDoodle rendition of Munch’s classic work. It’s not a matter of choice, really. It simply must be.

Another classic which I felt the need to celebrate is Rene Magritte’s work from 1964 – The Son of Man. I don’t know why. Maybe it was because I watched The Thomas Crown Affair; or maybe I was intrigued by the weird juxtaposition of objects in the frame. All I know is I felt the need to acknowledge it as a foundation of modern culture. Here it is. What do you think? It’s faithful, but definitely KerDoodular. It’s an homage. An honorific. It’s done with love.

Next is another iconic work. American Gothic, by Grant Wood, was painted in 1930. It’s widely recognized, and when I saw it one winter morning I quickly saw the KerDoodle version in my mind. The faces of those two rural residents absolutely demanded respectful reproduction. I’ve long prided myself on being able to make my characters emote, and, well, I thought they should be given a chance to be farmers.

When I do these homages I have the original work in front of me, and I… KerDoodle-ize them. I give them the KerDoodle treatment. Of course, today I note that the lady here is mauve, like the male, so I can use that particular carbon-dating tool to place this work before the much-vaunted pink period – the time, if you will, before women were women. Either that or I just made a mistake.

Another form of cultural expression which I often felt demanded appreciation was the movies. I’m like just about anybody these days: I like a good movie. Too bad there aren’t very many any more.

The first I’ll show you here is South Pacific. Based on the 1949 musical, the movie is what inspired me. With musical hits like, “I’m going to wash that man right out of my hair,” and “Bali Ha’i”, it truly is a classic. I’ve mentioned before, I think, that the KerDoodles are very musical, so it seemed only right that they honour a classic musical movie.

I think this was my first attempt to draw palm trees. I like the way the sand meets the water, and how the mountains rise up in the background. It’s minimalist. But hey, it’s about the music.

The next movie I honoured was Rear Window, a Hitchcock classic. I’ve long enjoyed Hitchcock’s take on suspense, and Rear Window (1954) was no exception.

The movie starred Jimmy Stewart as a man who is forced to stay home to heal after breaking his leg, and who, while home, observes all sorts of strange incidents in the area he can see from his apartment. These incidents include murder, though no one will believe him. The movie is quite intense and it’s worth a look. That’s why I honoured it with a KerDoodle version.

Here we see our hero, with the cast on his leg, looking out the window. There’s no TV – such things were not common at that time. I know, that’s a sixties chair – I guess my continuity people let me down there. Outside, life is continuing apace – someone is out on the fire escape, taking the air. Over on the right we see a couple having an argument in their apartment, while a lady below them looks a little disturbed by the commotion. I don’t know about you, but with the brick, the orange sky behind, the skyscrapers in the distance, I can almost feel the heat of the summer evening as the hero in his forced convalescence observes the world around him.

Another Hitchcock classic is North By Northwest (1959), with Cary Grant. Mistaken for a government agent, the hero goes on the run to escape numerous attempts on his life. This is my rendition of a most iconic scene from the movie in which the hero is dive-bombed by a small plane which ultimately crashes into a fuel tanker.

You can see I’ve named it North By Northeast. That was a tongue-in-cheek way of acknowledging it whilst keeping the original at arms length. Cary Grant was better-looking than my KerDoodle, of course, but my guy does look dapper in that suit! I didn’t stress about drawing the corn in the fields, but I think I caught the angst of the moment quite well.

Another honorific I felt compelled to draw was The Addams Family. What an iconic family they were! Yes, I borrowed one of their many family portraits for this one, but they are all one hundred percent original KerDoodles. I think granny’s hair is the first time I used the ‘fluff’ tool in a project. I think it’s also the first time I tried to draw a bat. What do you think? Did it work?

Next up is the long-time favourite, Lost In Space. I watched the TV series from 1965 as a child, of course. Who didn’t? (“Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!”) Of course, my treatment of the subject was a little different. In fact, the only common element in my drawing – which only came a about after I invented the KerDoodle alien – is the show’s title – which I unashamedly, in the interests of legitimacy, lifted from a poster I found.

No, my treatment shows an KerDoodle alien flying aimlessly around in his spaceship, scratching his head as he looks around and realizes that he is, in fact, lost.

I like the double-entendre as a comedic device. There’s a head-on meaning and a blindside meaning at the same time, and together they catch a reader unaware.

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