|I’ve had no time for illustration this past month or so, but I have had plenty of time to think, so I thought I’d write a few posts about the book and the project and that kind of nonsense. The synopsis isn’t working for me anymore – every time I do a page it gets harder and harder to write it in a way that makes any coherent sense – so I think I’ll replace it with a page of my illiterate, ill-informed musings instead. Enjoy! |
First off, I thought it might be good to explain my decision to make all my illustrations look like they were soaked in tea for a primary school history project. There is an actual reason, which is all to do with the role that the book itself plays within the narrative of Finnegans Wake. That’s right, you don't really know a book is arty until you’ve found out how self-referential it is, and now I'm going to tell you.
Just as the “characters” of Finnegans Wake shift among a huge cast of figures and settings, so the book itself appears in a variety of different guises. It is first discovered in a rubbish pile in chapter one, as the mysterious “Book of Doublends Jined”, an illuminated manuscript, part almanac, part religious text,
|which tells the history of civilisation. Later it appears as the “Mamafesta” of the wife character, ALP, and as the scandalous novel of ALP's son, Shem the Penman. In what you might call the underlying narrative of the book, it is the letter, dictated by ALP to Shem, and delivered by Shem's brother, Shaun the Post, to their father, HCE, as a simultaneous love letter and testament to his innocence of the various unknown crimes for which he is brought to trial. Finally it is lost, and rediscovered in a rubbish pile, in chapter one.|
When I began this project, I wanted the look of the illustrations to take into account the book’s various incarnations -- to appear variously as an illuminated manuscript, as the work of an obsessive artist, and as scavenged discoveries of the city dump. So that’s why my pictures look like garbage.
Well, that’s one reason, anyway.