by Art Chantry (email@example.com)
this ‘editorial cartoon’ ran on the rocket op/ed page back during the first gulf war. it seems disturbingly apropos today, doesn’t it? it seems we’re stuck in an endless moronic cycle of testosterone overdose and oil jonesing. we’ve really lost it in this country, ya know? we’re a laughing stock.
but, that’s not what i’m writing about today. i’m writing about the artist who did this amazing image. her name is carel moiseiwitsch, and she’s amazing.
you might note that i actually called her an ‘artist’. to be honest, i don’t see what we do as designers as being ‘art’ as it is contemporarily defined. we tend to use “art’ almost generically to describe any creative act. but, “fine art’ as it exists today is a very carefully defined area of activity. and us graphic designers and illustrators are not involved in that world. what we do is completely different that what they do in the the ‘fine art’ world. it’s apples and oranges. sure it’s still fruit, but they taste and look way different.
i call karel an ‘artist’ because that’s actually what she does. she makes gallery art, paintings mostly. she creates these intense wonderful paintings and then sells them through a gallery and they get into the hands of art buyers and collectors. it’s her job. so, i feel safe calling carel an ‘artist’.
sometimes, fine artists cross over and try their hand at graphic design or illustration. ever seen an fine artist’ design a decent logo? or a poster? man, it’s rare that turn out at all well. they can’t do it because it’s like a dentist trying to do brain surgery. it looks the same, but it sure is different. but, we all go on thinking it’s all the same thing, that it’s all ‘art’. i think that attitude is really stupid.
carel is one of those rare artists who can do rally amazing illustration, too. i haven’t met many who can cross over so well. but, she’s one of the few i’ve met. i first encountered her through (of course. yet again) dennis p. eichhorn, the best connected guy in the known universe.
it seems denny was hanging out with carel (who lives in vancouver BC) and they were swapping war stories. it seems that carel is a veteran of the original english punk scene. she’s a tad older than the general rocket gang and brought an incredible personal history to her work. she was an amazing looking woman, too. tall, fit and still dressing in tight punky fashion with bleach blonde spiky hair and an general imposing energy. she was like an amazon or wonder woman. an extremely impressive presence.
denny somehow told her the story of a woman that he met in a bar (i think) that he went home with and they had sex. they said goodbye and then she killed herself. it was a profoundly disturbing event and it really bothered denny for years after words. when carel heard the story, she immediately said, “it is it ok if i try to make a comic strip out of your story?” denny thought it over and ok’d the idea. so, he wrote it up and she created denny’s very first ‘autobiographical’ comic (he later created an periodical autobiographical comic book of these life stories called “real stuff”.) thus was born denny’s first comic – “the blowjob of death”. thank you carel!
we actually ran that comic in the rocket (if i reme
correctly). it was stunning, powerful, disturbing and actually rather moving. after that we continued to hire carel to illustrate articles of import – especially political impact. her work was so powerful and opinionated, that it was a perfect match. eventually, we started having her do editorial cartoons for us. this was one of her earliest efforts.
actually, this “priapic alphabet” was a strip done in another place for another reason. she handed it to us and told us to use this alongside out anti-gulf war editorial. originally, it was vertical format. but, i took it apart and placed it into the horizontal design of an american flag and then reversed-out the title splash panel to crate the ‘star field area” to look even more flag-like. it came out perfect. it was one of those rare moments where i took the liberty to alter an artist’s piece and actually improved it (carel approved).
i’ve completely lost track of carel. i’ve heard that she’s become a rather prominent important artist in canada these days. i sure hope so. she deserves any recognition she can get. she’s brilliant.