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You Did WHAT to My Comic Books?!?

September 24, 2010

Incredible Tree

Isaac Brynjegard-Bialik has created an art series titled “You Did What to My Comics?!?” The images are created out of thematically-relevant comic books in order to convey a piece of Jewish history. Brynjegard-Bialik is inspired by his wife (who is also a rabbi), and sees his work as “visual Biblical commentary.”

The artist sees his work as being made of “clean lines and patterns, sinuous shapes and sharp edges, large fields of color and small intimate spaces.”

Fountains of the Deep

1. What is the story behind “You Did What to My Comic Books?!?”

My current work incorporates bits and pieces of cut-up comic books as backgrounds and textures for my papercuts. My intention is to draw parallels between the predominantly Jewish-created mythologies of comic books and the bible, exploring the stories of the Jewish tradition. Comic superheroes exist outside of the “natural” world, be they visitors from other planets or people whose powers stem from strange scientific accidents; they have weaknesses and flaws, and their struggles are often a metaphor for the human experience. These stories play a part in my art as foils for the themes I explore in the Bible and other Jewish writings.

I had been cutting paper in a much more traditional way for about 15 years, using colored papers as background. I was developing a piece on the pillars of cloud and fire that guided the Israelites through their desert wanderings, thinking about different materials I could use to add some depth to the work. I had grown up reading comics and had rediscovered them through my young daughters, so I had some out on the drawing table. I started experimenting with different ways of incorporating the textures and panels, painting and scanning and cutting, and when it all came together late one night I realized I had hit upon something very powerful.

2. Has suburbia influenced your art at all?

Being an artist in suburbia has its own special challenges. Not just the location, but what suburbia means in a larger sense. I’m married to my high school sweetheart, we have three young daughters and two toy poodles; it’s a far cry from the traditional idea of an artist’s lifestyle. Carving out space for a studio, carving out time for the intense focus I need to really create—it’s been a challenge. But I took as inspiration the fact that Henri Matisse painted his first “important” painting (“La femme au chapeau,” 1905) at roughly my age, while married and raising three daughters and struggling to maintain his middle-class lifestyle. Granted this was in Paris, but he was living what I would consider a suburban-style life. Does suburbia show up in my work? Its influence is certainly there in where and how I create, and how I feel about the work.

 

Parting of the Red Sea

Revelation

Brynjegard-Bialik’s gallery is showing at Brave New World Comics until October 9. The shop is located at 22722 Lyons Ave. in Santa Clarita. For more information on the artist, visit NiceJewishArtist.com.

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