Sunday, September 9, 2007

Basil Wolverton: Producer of Preposterous Pictures of Peculiar People.

I learned about this show on Boing Boing and Cory and I went to go see it on Saturday. I've never seen so much original Basil Wolverton artwork in one place at one time in my entire life!
It's all from the collection of Glenn Bray. To the best of my recollection, I've never actually met Glenn Bray--but his lifetime passion for collecting the work and writing the histories about the work of artists including Wolverton, Carl Barks, and Harvey Kurtzman and others has been something I've been absorbing and enjoying for many years.
Wolverton's personal letterhead perfectly summed up the man's body of work: "Producer of Preposterous Pictures of Peculiar People."
The man had an odd-ball, weird-o sensibility that still seems fresh and vibrant fifty, sixty years after the ink was applied to the paper. Being able to get up really, really close and savor his inks was a priviledge and I soaked up the patterns and lines like a sponge. My mind was literally filled up by the time we had savored every piece and I needed to sit down and just think. I'm not kidding!
Cory laughed and said, "I don't know why you are always talking about other artists so much--I see so much Wolverton influence in your work, Larry."
And I think she is right.
I suspect because I really discovered Wolverton after I had already embarked upon Beanworld
that I've short-shrifted Wolverton's influence on specific aspects of the Hoi-Polloi Ring Herd, Gran'Ma'Pa, Sprout-Butts and the way I ink certain things in general. Looking at his work yesterday--I could see it and I could feel the influence his wacked-out sensibilities have had on me in the past and shall continue to in the future.
When I saw the book in the gallery shop--the lizard part of my brain shreiked "Larry must have! Larry must have NOW!" The Original Art of Basil Wolverton is a 272 page hardcover beauty chock full of superb reproductions of Wolverton's work. I plan on studying it for many hours and days to come.
If you find yourself anywhere near Orange County between now and October 21--take a side trip to Santa Ana. You'll be glad you did!
And thanks to Glenn Bray for being so persistent for so many years and amassing this treasure trove of important comics history.


Unknown said...

I did used to think some of Beanworld's art was inspired by Basil Wolverton, especially in the Inspriation Constellation, but that was mainly because I didn't know much about R. Crumb at the time.

I've always loved Wolverton's art, especially his SciFi stuff. When Spacehawk was reprinted I started to delve into a lot of his work. I'm glad to see more is being released! My copy of WOLVERTON IN SPACE is getting a little ragged.

John R. Platt said...

There's no way I can attend the show, but I must have that book!