A picture book I drew as a young man around 2000 and self-published in a run of 4 copies a few years later. I couldn't find a publisher for this surreal, bleak tale about - I guess - the blurring of the lines between capitalism and socialism in our times. It did end up as a short story in the anthology Wat Fred niet wist (2004).
The story shares some themes with the movie Goodbye Lenin (2003), as was
pointed out by people when the story appeared in 2004. My protagonist and his mother haven't left their appartment since the Berlin wall fell and fill their days by reading old communist newspapers and him dressing up as his father. I guess the feeling of 'ostalgia' was in the air then.
I was immodestly and foolishly under the spell of people like Max Beckmann, Otto Dix, Joseph Lada, Picasso and obviously Frans Masereel. I was living in Peshawar, Pakistan when I made this as my girlfriend Tessa worked with Afghan refugees there. I remember bringing the art along on a long trip we did in Pakistan and India and me drawing further panels in the night trains we took. I got the idea for the drawing above at an art show in a church in Goa that warned against the abuse of alcohol. I'd like to see that Goan picture again sometime.
Some drawings from my first attempt at a long story, done while still studying at the art academy in Rotterdam in 1995 or 1996. Done as an exercise as of course I didn't have any permission to rework this Nabokov tale. It is interesting for me to see again today as I realize I've been somewhat consistent in my foolish artistic ambitions. I was mainly reading Moebius, Richard Corben, old Creepy's and Eerie's at the time (and I still do) but for my own work I choose to get entangled in my love for literature.
I drew the 15 pages with reed pen and Indian ink. It appeared photocopied in the amateur comic magazine Incognito and that was that!
A creature I've called Leslie. I drew the thing using the Balinese mask I found at the thrift a few months ago. Illustration for filmmagazine Schokkend Nieuws for a program with Indonesian horror movies at the Imagine filmfestival 2021.
Recorded from 78rpm
dennis farnon - a casual affair/don banks - revolutionary research 1/frank rothman - jazz mysterioso/steve race - sioux night ride/don banks - revolutionary research 3/eric delaney - midnight melancholy/dennis farnon - the last voyage/don banks - fear/russ garcia - border trouble/library 78 - african rhythm 1 and 2/nino nardini - melody tropicale/e. sendel - astronautics/Horst Jankowski - haunting melody/library 78 - mallets/dennis farnon - in piper's wood/ralph dollimore - toady/don banks - revolutionary research 2/Ivor Slaney - carrasco/nino nardini - laguna beach/sam fonteyn - design for mambo/Ivor Slaney - jungle flute/don banks - revolutionary research 4/dennis farnon - monday's child/J. Scott - percussion abstraction/wolf droysen - uneasy dream/J. Scott - percussion fast-ride/gert wilden - belly dance/don banks - revolutionary research 5/freddie philips - el souk
In conclusion, here's one of Burians most lurid illustrations, done for a Robinson Crusoe edition. You'd have to see it printed on paper to fully appreciate it, but still. And another very enigmatic one for the Verne book, in which you can clearly see how much Richard Corben was influenced by him.
One saturday morning, sorry to say it was actually misty and damp, I walked along the canals of Delft. A bookseller was setting up his stall and my eye fell on the odd book Octobriana and the Russian Underground from 1971.
Bohumil Konečný and Zdeněk Burian, who's work was ripped off, stolen, altered and butchered for this strange publication. The red communist star was painted on randomly and subversive texts were added.
The perpetrator, one Petr Sadecký, a Czech deflector, turned out to be a childhood admirer of these Czech artists. He had stolen their work and abused it to find fame himself with the Octobriana hoax and discredit and corrupt the communist party in his home country at the same time.
Those who read my book De Smokkelaar (The Smuggler) will notice that I took this strange Cold War episode as the basis of the story, but I altered and skewed it to my liking.
Sadecký's story becomes evermore unbelievable as you progress through his book full of forgeries. To add some authenticity he staged photo's of the alleged Soviet underground, sometimes featuring himself among the renegate artists.
Back home, the signature styles of Konečný and Burian were quickly recognized and the two were persecuted.
Luckily Octobriana is now just a footnote in Zdeněk Burians biography and he is rightly remembered and celebrated as one of the biggest illustrators of the previous century. His influence is apparent in so many illustrators and comic artists who came after him. Richard Corben is a confessed fan and Frank Frazetta evidently looked at Burians work. In me and my brother, Burians work brought to life the earliest urge to draw when perusing his books our Czech mother Vera owned.
I'll write a bit about my passion for Burians work soon.