Upcoming Editorial Illustration Project

Ligon + Knezovich collaboration no.2/

Wonderland Story detail.jpg

I'm about to embark on a year-long editorial illustration project with the always awesome fiction writer Samuel Ligon.

As a reminder, Sam and I collaborated a few years ago on a collection of 13 short stories entitled Wonderland (pictured above).

Wonderland was billed as:

"... a picture book for adults featuring tales as dark and absurd as they are poignant, playful, and true. ... containing thirteen subversive short stories full of love and ugliness, loss and beauty, donkeys and goats, baked goods and booze, country starlets and bearded ladies, domestic battles and corporate passions, sex and violence and sweet songs of sadness and heartache." 

I could not be more proud to have been a part of the project—the stories are funny and totally fucked up—and I'm excited to be working with Sam again. This time around, we will be tackling a much more ambitious collaborative project: a serialized novel!

The novel will be published in 50+ weekly installments in print edition of The Inlander, as well as on it's own website. Plus, Sam will be reading each installment on the radio, which will be turned into a downloadable podcast (I believe). I love the idea of combining an antiquated approach to publishing and storytelling (a la serialization and radio play) with the modern, digital elements of a website and podcast. 

The novel is not yet written (only the first few chapters are complete), so part of the challenge will be staying on track and keeping up with the publishing schedule without allowing the quality of the writing (or art) to suffer. 

I don't want to divulge too much about the book, but it's about American history and the American West, violence and travel, family and love and life and death and everything in between.

I'm still working out my approach to the illustrations, but I think I'm going to experiment with some different processes and forms. And I, too, may combine analog with digital. We'll see. 

Without question, though, I'll share more as the project evolves. For now, here are all 13 of the collages created for Wonderland

Collage as Collaboration

A working theory/

knezovich-mackowick collab1.jpg

I have a working theory that collage is always collaborative

By that I mean, as a starting point, you are always working with someone else's work: an old photograph or postcard or advertisement or book that someone else at some other time created.

Then, years later, someone like me comes along, cuts that artists original creation into pieces and then re-assembles the scraps (often combining the work of many disparate scraps) into a new whole.

I call this historical collaboration. 

But there is also contemporary collaboration, which is just a fancy way of describing two (or more) collage artists working together in the present moment to create a single piece of work. 

I guess this idea of collaboration is on my mind because I recently came across some work from 2014 that I did with Blake Mackowick—whose individual work is some seriously cool, seriously tripped out, seriously 80s inspired cut-and-paste.

Our process was pretty straightforward. We each created a stapled booklet and pasted a few random images on each page. Then we traded the booklets and used the starter images as the foundation for a finished collage. In the end, we each kept a finished book. 

It'd been a while since I'd looked at the work we made, and I was blown away by how fucking rad some of the pieces are, how they are such a perfect blend of our two aesthetics.

A small sampling of the pieces is below.