Chronophotograph by Étienne-Jules Marey (ca. 1885)

Thinking about cartoon action lines to depict motion. They seem to have their origins in C19th chronophotography (above) and the work of the Italian Futurists, including Giacommo Balla (below).


Giacommo Balla Dinamismo di un cane al guinzaglio [Dynamism of a Dog on a Leash] (1912) oil on canvas 95.6 x 115.6cm

There are cartoon action lines in some of my earliest childhood drawings, probably influenced by The Beano comic books. I still enjoy cartoon depictions of action, especially in Viz magazine (below).

Screen Shot 2017-03-14 at 10.59.05

Fat Slags: Thelma’s Affair (detail) Viz magazine (2015)

There are also examples in these paintings by George Condo and Dana Schutz (below).


George Condo Nude Homeless Drinker (1999) oil on canvas 182.9 x 165.1cm

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Dana Schutz Shaking, Cooking, Peeing (2009) oil on canvas 182.9 x 152.4cm

Last year I copied out some of the action illustrations from Theodor Geisel (aka. Dr Seuss)’s The Cat in the Hat (1957) and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (1958).


160922 Dr Seuss Sketches (2016) pen on paper, each 29.7 x 21cm

My sketches (above) remind me of Mike Kelley’s Garbage Drawings (1988).


Mike Kelley Garbage Drawing no.23 (1988) acrylic on paper 87 x 71cm

Today I tried making a painting thinking about this kind of cartoon action. 170314a Motion Doodles is the result (below). It was interesting to do, but some of it looks to me more like Pop Art than I intended. Like Lichtenstein, the blown up cartoon imagery ceases to evoke the subject, but instead draws attention to itself as a stylised sign. That’s not something I’m aiming for, in itself.


170314a Motion Doodles (2017) oil on canvas 58.3 x 94cm

I’ve often thought about painting on a large canvas as if I’m doodling on a note pad. This is the first time I’ve actually done it. I don’t love the painting, but making it was a free and fast process. It reminded me of this video of George Condo drawing.


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