By Guest Writer, Daniel Quigley
I will preface this article by saying that if you are expecting some written piece discussing the esoteric qualities of Dali, or some article comparing surrealism to impressionism and their impact on culture, you should quit reading now. In fact shut down your computer, phone, or ipad, and pick up a subscription to the New Yorker or sit in on a college class at Yale. I will not be dropping any knowledge on you that will help you be a pretentious jerk, or seem cool to the hipster community. I have no art degree, I have no artistic ability (unless you love stick figures….in which case I’m a professional), and in fact I would go so far as to say that my favorite type of art is when women take pictures in body paint. Because I really enjoy how they um, use that shade of blue, and how it shows er uh emotional fragility, and um totally makes a statement about…..stuff.
As awesome as it would be to write an article devoted entirely to the glorious world of half naked, painted women, I some how think that my good friend and creator of this intrepid blog would not be so keen on the idea. So instead I am here to tell you wondrous people in cyber space about a little known artist that will rock your world.
But first lets Tarantino this and back up a couple of months to where our story began. It was a beautiful day in Georgia, and I just so happened to be sitting at my computer surfing the interwebs, doing what any other red blooded American male does with his free time--and no I was not looking at porn (this time)—I was using Google. By chance I happened to stumble across a picture on google images. Now this was no ordinary picture, there was no attractive woman holding a sword, or Jersey Shore reference, or some kitten doing something adorable. I thought to myself, this is peculiar and interesting. After staring at this image for a few hours, I was struck with an epiphany, and I flew out of my chair in shock. Could this be the thing that I had only heard told about in legends and fables, something I had thought was extinct. Could this be * Gasp * art? And I found it on the Internet? Was this possible?
Being the resourceful lad I am, I clicked on sed image and explored further, it belonged to a certain artist, an artist by the name of Marc Johns. Instantly a completely heterosexual and as far as I know one-sided love affair began. However if Mr. Johns somehow reads this and wants to explore his feelings with another straight man…..I’m open to the idea.
For those of you who don’t know who Marc Johns is, and are too lazy to google the man, I’ll lend you a helping hand. He is Canadian, and normally I am opposed to all things Canada, but for him I’ll make an exception. He describes himself and his artistic background on his site as “He's been drawing since he was tiny. He's not tiny anymore, but he's not exactly big either. Marc is not sure why he's talking about himself in the third person.” If talking about your self in the third person is not the height of bad assery, I don’t know what it is. So I know what you’re thinking, quit building this guy up and show us more pictures of women in body paint already. But we covered this already, this isn’t about hot women, this is about Marc Johns. So lets get to some of his awesome-osity.
|I Knew it!|
What makes his style so fascinating to me, is how simple it is. There is nothing overly complicated about what he does, or how he draws. I mean granted for someone like me who struggles with drawing a smiley face, even his drawings seem like Quantum Physics to me. But he follows the cliché’d K.I.S.S. method… you know that saying that old people like to yell at you, “Keep it Simple Stupid!” Usually they say that before hitting me with blunt objects. It’s traumatizing really. But I digress. While there is simplicity in his work, there is also much more creative depth and meaning beneath the surface.
|Addiction is tough for everyone|
His work has some very common elements to them, he likes to strip away the clutter in his paintings, he focuses in on a subject a situation, an absurdity and shows you just that. There is no background color, or sunset, or landscape. There is no foreground and background. There is just his image, and his focus. He tackles his art in ways that most people wouldn’t, he comes at you sideways, like some sort of artistic Ninja. And not some lame American Ninja Warrior contestant, I’m talking full on Ninja star throwing, disappears-in-a-cloud-of-smoke Ninja. He manages to combine subtly with simplicity, which is a description I can’t imagine has been used to describe anything ever.
|Oh yes my future shall be glorious|
He strives to find truth through humor and many of pictures can strike a cord, or a feeling, or provide insight without burdening you with some Inception-like grand design. The fact of the matter is that life is complicated. Relationships are complicated. Putting together furniture from Ikea is complicated. So with all these complications surrounding me in my everyday life, I think it’s both refreshing and necessary to sometimes kick back with an icy-cold adult beverage and enjoy the simple things in life. It’s fantastic to find an artist who isn’t trying to convey to me the struggle of the proletariat, or visualize the pain of the subconscious mind. I think it would be disrespectful to Marc Johns to say that there is no depth or deeper meaning to his work. Because if you look at enough of his drawings and paintings you will reach the inevitable conclusion that he is an incredibly bright and clever man. But the meaning you will find is not through a complex pattern of colors, dots, and textures. The meaning you will find is through the wit, absurdity, and shear randomness of his drawings. He is brilliant without being grandiose. Think of him like a Robert Downey Jr. without the drugs, women and tabloids.
I hope you have enjoyed my foray into the world of art and culture. I also hope I was able to turn you on to an artist you probably have never heard of. If you have heard about Marc before reading this…. then I hate you. There I said it — and I won’t take it back either. While you may not have learned new things that will allow you to sound smarter, or gleaned any knowledge that will make you hipper, I hope you’ve gained a better appreciation for an underrated and unheralded artist. Please be resourceful and check out his website; www.marcjohns.com and support this guy. I will give you a high five if you do. And for the record my high fives are awesome.
So my wayward travelers, who have traversed this simple man’s writing escapades, I will leave you with one more Marc Johns drawing, my favorite of course. And hope that you grasp its message, and follow its meaning to its fullest extent.