Blood, Sweat and Tears
comic book illustrations and dark-souled graphics
Die Gestalten Verlag are curious publishers. They produce books of high-spec contemporary graphics and computer animations such as 72dpi and Anime – yet at the same time they come up with this curiously disembodied publication of assorted illustrations and sketch book entries. It’s quite difficult to understand its purpose, except as a sample portfolio of one designer’s work.
Benjamin Guedel is I suppose an illustrator. He draws pictures of a kind which seem to evoke a comic book retro feel of the 1970s and 1980s. The pictures are largely close-ups of people shown in reaction to dramatic situations. You will have to imagine scenes from pulp fiction or ‘adult’ comics. It’s the sort of work you would expect to find in something called Raw Comix or Naked Truth.
The images are largely nightmarish, with lots of the violence, anguish, and suffering to produce the blood, sweat, and tears of the title. The book is bizarre in that it has not a single printed word except its title – so as you flick through the pages there’s a very strong urge to construct a narrative from the sequence of images. Whether you can make a logic or narrative is up to you. I gave up after a couple of attempts.
In fact the illustrations are extracted from dark, violent, and surreal comic books to which he has contributed. And yet I was driven on to make the attempt for an oblique reason. It’s because this guy has got such an interesting web site. It features some of the same images, but there’s much more in his digital presence.
All of which is a shame – because the book could be a great advert for the site if the images were put into some sort of context, and if his web site was listed. But at the moment it’s the wrong way round.
© Roy Johnson 2005
Benjamin Guedel, Blood Sweat & Tears, Die Gestalten Verlag, 2005, no page numbers, ISBN: 3899550749
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