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Neo-Cubism and An Incident At The Secret Illustrator's Ball

FEBRUARY 19, 2009
I got into a groove a while back that was a sorta 'neo-Cubist' thing. It wasn't really premeditated and it's a fairly obvious riff on the work of Picasso, the ever-rich minefield of Jim Flora, and Gene Deitch's work of the middle 1940's. Some of it was kinda sinister. That's not altogether rare for me - I grew up on a fairly rich diet of sinister imagery and it's deeply-rooted. Blame Edward Gorey, for whose works my Mother had a curious fondness. "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" followed hot on the heels of Dr Suess in my childhood library.

I recently saw Mr Steven Guarnaccia at an illustrator's shindig and we got to talking. Catching up, really- I hadn't seen him in years. Unfortunately, I was drunk. Not filthy drunk, but at the point where drunkenness had rather rudely and abruptly elbowed sobriety out of the driver's seat and was starting to swerve erratically. He asked me what I'd been up to and I proudly boasted that I was raising my son and doing some 'really interesting work'. Sober me would have never said that, as the work I was doing at the time was pretty far south of interesting and was in fact boring the pants right off of me. But I started in on these 'neo-cubist' scribblings I'd been filling my sketchbooks with to keep me amused. He looked intrigued and asked how I'd come about them.
At this point the margaritas had a rather firm hold on me and I started blathering on about Ben Shahn and David Stone Martin ( neither of which were technically relevant anyhow). David Foster Wallace had recently died and I guess was on my mind and I inadvertently substituted his name for David Stone Martin's. Guarnaccia, ever the gentleman countered with something along the lines of "I'd be interested to see how DAVID STONE MARTIN's work translates to cubism". The slender sliver of sobriety I retained recoiled in horror. My face turned beet red and I dashed from the ballroom in shame. As I passed the buffet my heel broke and I careened recklessly into the table, spilling confectionery and candleabras everywhere. I upset the crystal punchbowl which loudly shattered into a million glistening pieces. The band stopped playing, startled by the din. I looked down at my feet as a cold wave of shame immobilized me. It was then I realized that the bottom half of my taffeta ballgown had ripped away in the melee and I was wearing nothing but my control-top undergarments.

Man, I loved that dress.
© 2024 Steve Wacksman