Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Nilsen's Birds and Big Questions

I viewed Anders Nilsen’s work in terms of art alone. An assortment of panels from Big Questions, a graphic novel about talking birds, was displayed without a specific sequence. I believe they were generally placed in order from beginning to end, but it was impossible to understand the narrative from the pages given. The panel told the story of an underground cavern filled with sightless birds, some guy ends up there, and a plucky young sparrow saves a friend? I’m not really sure how the stories connected. The show obviously wasn’t about the narrative, it was about the art. And let me tell you, the art was fantastic.

A panel from Big Questions

The panels were much larger than a normal, 8.5X11 page, allowing me to see the details lost when shrunk for publication. The art reveals the little secrets of creation. I could see every stroke of the pen, every tiny dot used for shading or creating a line, details that in a book would blend together and go unnoticed. My cousin Liam just sent me a website where you can buy original work by a bunch of artists. If I could, I would purchase this panel by Nilsen. Does anybody want to lend me $350?

Another panel from Big Questions

My favorite panel showed the sparrow investigating a downed plane. Perhaps it is all for the best that there was no narrative attached to the story, so I can create my own without bias. The sparrow looks into the cockpit of a plane with curiosity, observing the compasses, switches, and buttons that make the machine fly. When I saw the image, I though it amazing the amount of technology needed to do what a bird does effortlessly.

And thus concludes my discussion of the New Chicago Comics. I wish the show would continue, but alas, it has been taken down. I finally found pictures of the show, although I think reposting it on my blog may be illegal, so you can check them out on The Monologuist, Nilsen’s blog.

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