Thus Begins the Archiving Project

I have been storing and hauling around a lot of old papers and ephemera for a long time now. I have always meant to set up a digital archive for some of this stuff. I also want to use it to think about my own creative life over time. Where have I been creatively? Where did I start? Are there any through lines in things that have interested me? I am discovering some interesting patterns, and the reflection is really enjoyable. This old robot cut out is pretty old. There is no date on it, but it came in a stack of stuff that seems to have been done around 1975, a couple of years before Star Wars was released. It was drawn on notebook paper, which I then cut out and pieced together with masking tape on the back. What's most interesting to me was the degree to which my younger self kept the humanoid face.

Cutout RobotI'm also pleased to note that the pose of the figure, its proportions, and facial features indicated that I was super-influenced, even then, by Jack Kirby. As a big fan of Jonathan Lethem, particularly his essays, I always wished I could claim some lineage to the Silver Age comic art he writes so eloquently about. I came to it as a historical artifact, though, because I grew up in the Bronze Age of the 1970s.

The more I look at this paper robot, I suppose I'd also have to say that I was influenced visually by late 60s and early 70s covers of European science fiction novels, like those of Stanislaw Lem, though I haven't the foggiest idea where I would have seen them. Perhaps it was just part of the atmosphere.

It seems, in general, that growing up in the 70s was an awesome thing for developing a certain kind of aesthetic, one for which I don't even know if there is a name. For me it's a mashup of saturated Kodak film stock, comic books, bold Eastern European and Scandinavian illustration styles, muscle cars, and formless urban architecture. I'm going to have to ask my old friend Strath Shepard.

As an art director and all around hip dude, Strath seems like he has a good handle on this visual mode.