TCA (my initials)

February 17, 2008

theory of devolution

Filed under: meta — TCA @ 7:55 pm

“What is your conceptual continuity?” – Frank Zappa

This week I wanted to give an A+ to every artwork that I saw at Illustration Friday.

I’m in the lowest percentile of participants in the weekly IF competition. Less than one percent of IF participants suck as bad as I do.

I couldn’t even motivate myself to enter the competition this week. Its theme is “theory.”

This is what my entry would have been if I’d entered the competition this week. You can see why I thought the better of inflicting it on the minds of those earnest illustrators.

It’s part of a long sequence of collaborative weirdness and filth called SITO Panic. I’ve wasted most of the 21st century contributing to various SITO art projects such as Gridcosm. My contributions there have not been well received. For the most part. With some exceptions.

Getting back to this week’s theme at Illustration Friday. The Theory of Devolution postulated by 1970s band Devo instantly came to mind.

I stumbled across an interview of Jerry Casale in a Rolling Stone blog. He’s a founding member of Devo. Casale was a student at Kent State university when the Ohio National Guard shot dead four antiwar demonstrators there. That’s when the Theory of Devolution was born.

The Church of the SubGenius is in tight with Devo these days. So I cobbled together a manifesto and fired it off to the SubGenius usenet newsgroup.

It’s bulldada, I guess. Or bull something.

Subject: Re: Hey webcomic guy
Newsgroups: alt.slack
Date: 18 Feb 2008 01:41:41 GMT

Flame Warriors by Mike Reed. It’s about usenet. It’s about you.

I miss Doctor Fun. Whatever happened to Dave Farley? What is he doing now?

Joe the Circle. Mike Shapiro is one of many cartoonists who draw in a naive style. But despite the primitiveness of his technique, you can tell that he’s a house-trained artist who could sketch like Leonardo da Vinci if he wanted to…

The style of his Joe the Circle webcomic has become gradually less crude and more sophisticated over the years. It’s almost as if he can’t stand hiding his artistic abilities.

That’s what makes me different. I’m a genuine fraud. I couldn’t sketch the human form to save my life. Perspective? Composition? Light and shadow? Nope.

How do I differ at age 50 from a bored 17 year-old doodling with a Bic ballpoint during algebra class? One word: Philosophy.

After postmodernism, art has nowhere to go. Talent, ingenuity, hard work and a keen awareness of cultural trends… These traits are a curse to the postpostmodernist artist because these traits are so hard to conceal. A prime example of this conundrum is 12 oz. Mouse on Adult Swim.

Webcomics have already supplanted oil painting, sculpture and interpretive dance as high art. Punk rockers are our elder statesmen and women. The ring binder doodle is king.


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