Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Project Romantic

Project Romantic


This is a page from a 4-page comic told in suicide notes for an anthology soon to be published by Ad House Books.

Since I'm the furthest thing from a sequential artist, I did away with dialog (I've always preferred comics without word ballons anyway, text in comics makes no sense to me); the idea is conveyed through 4 vignettes. The concept itself is direct and to the point and it's based on the true story of my father's suicide (with a twist). When Ad House's editor Chris Pitzer asked me to take part in this collection of stories called "Project Romantic", I immediately thought of my father's own struggle with, and eventual surrender to suicide, although killing myself is something I feel no inclination towards, I find the subject extremely fascinating and worth of artistic exploration.

To some people (mainly adolescents and troubled artistes), there's nothing more romantic than to die for, because of -or as in my story, for lack of love. In art (as in life) suicide is viewed as romantic, even heroic and noble in some cultures, my father's death stands as proof, he became obsessed with taking his own life after being rejected by the woman he loved. (not my Mom). Perhaps the casual tone of my writing regarding my father's tragedy may seem weird but this happened 25 years ago and we weren't much of family to speak of, I didn't grow up with him and saw him only a couple of times in my entire life.


A warm-up drawing done this morning.

Glad to be back posting again :)


Abrazos,
-Alberto

25 comments:

Pierre FIHUE said...

Very nice ! I like a lot the second one.

Process Junkie said...

Thank you, Pierre.

Oscar Grillo said...

Ahh!!!...El demonio del lapiz vuelve a cabalgar...Heigh ho!!!!

COMIKXGUY said...

GOD, NO WONDER I RELATE WITH YOU SO MUCH,

NOW HERE IS A STORY WITH SOME DETAILS I WILL LET YOU ALL KNOW WHO CARE TO READ IT, BESIDES MY COMMENTS STAND OUT LIKE A SORE THUMB :)

ENJOY MY MISERY:

ONCE UPON A TIME...

I AS WELL DIDN'T HAVE MY FATHER AROUND MUCH DUE TO BEING AWAY OVER SEA IN THE NAVY AND WHEN HE WAS AROUND, HE WOULD ONLY DO HOUSEWORK AND NOT REALLY GET TO KNOW ME AND MY SISTER. WHEN I SHOWED INTEREST IN SOMETHING LIKE MY OWN ARTWORK OR COMIC BOOKS, HE JUST HAD NO INTEREST IN THEM AND FOR THAT HE MADE IT LIKE HE WASN'T INTERESTED IN ME. FOR A WHILE IT REMAINED LIKE THAT UNTIL HE RETIRED FROM THE NAVY. WE MOVED FROM A MILDLY SAFE NAVY BASE TO A UNSAFE CITY WITH GANGS AND NO GOOD JOBS. I MOVED THERE AND STRUGGLED MY WAY THROUGH SCHOOL AND ADULT SCHOOL SINCE THE PRINCIPAL WAS RETIRING THAT YEAR AND LET ALOT OF US GO, I JUST COULDN'T LEARN HOW TO DO THINGS CORRECTLY MAINLY IN MATH, EVERYTIME THE TEACHERS WOULD TEACH SOMETHING I WOULD GET IT ALL JUMBLED UP INTO ONE BIG MESS THAT I COULDN'T UNRAVEL IN MY HEAD, AND I HAVE HAVEN'T GONE BACK, A YEAR OR TWO LATER MY FATHER SUFFERED FROM DEPRESSTION AND ONE DAY I FOUND HIM IN THE KITCHEN IN THE CORNER HUDDLED INTO A BALL. HE WAS OUT OF IT. I YELLED AT HIM TO GET HIMSELF UP, HE WOULDN'T DO IT SO
I HELP HIM TO HIS FEET AND A WEEK LATER HE OMITTED HIMSELF IN THE HOSPITAL. WHEN WE WENT TO SEE HIM, HE HAD NO EMOTION LEFT,NONE. WE VISITED AND LEFT HIM THERE UNTIL HE GOT BETTER, BUT THEN LATER ALL OF IT AND MORE MADE MY PARENTS,MY MOTHER'S IDEA, GET SEPARATED. I STILL WAS WORKING AT A CAFETERIA ON ANOTHER NAVY BASE NEARBY AND MY MOTHER CAME IN AND INTRODUCED ME TO A GUY WHO WOULD LATER LIVE WITH MY MOM. MY DAD EVENTUALLY MET SOMEON AND MARRIED HER. THEY BOTH ARE WELL BUT BEFORE THEY GOT MARRIED, SHE GOT IN A CAR ACCIDENT AND RUINED HER BACK. THEY NOW LIVE NEARBY. I SEE HIM ONCE IN A WHILE. JUST RESENTLY IT'S GOTTEN BETTER AND WE ARE IN CONTACT MORE. ME,I WENT TO ARIZONA WITH MY COUSIN AND HER THREE KIDS AND HER ASSHOLE HUSBAND WHO WAS AN EX-NAVY SEAL WHO WOULDN'T LET ME DO ANYTHING I WANTED TO DO UNLESS HE WAS THERE TOO, HE WOULD DRIVE ME TO WORK AND BACK AND INTERROGATING ME FOR NO REASON. WOULD BE OVER MY SHOULDER WHEN I WOULD MAKE PHONE CALLS LISTENING IN EVEN WHEN I CALLED MY MOTHER AND ON THE WAY TO WORK THE INTERROGATION WOULD CONTINUE. HIS WIFE/ MY COUSIN WOULD FIGHT AND WHEN THEY WERE NOT FIGHTING IT WOULD BE ONE OF THE KIDS' TURNS AND I ALSO PUT UP WITH HIS JERK FRIEND WHO WANTED TO FIGHT ME AT WORK BECAUSE I HAD NO ENERGY TO DO THE JOB, BECAUSE MOST OF THE TIME I WOULD ONLY GET 4 HOURS OF SLEEP, I ALMOST GOT FIRED AGAIN. THAT'S HOW ALL MY JOBS HAVE BEEN. A BUNCH OF OTHER SIMILAR THINGS HAPPENED THERE UNTIL ONE DAY THEY DECIDED TO GO VISIT MY GRANDFATHER AND AUNT WHO LIVE ACOSS FROM EACHOTHER. BY THE TIME WE GOT THERE I GOT INTO ANOTHER ARGUEMENT WITH HIM AND TOLD HIM THAT SINCE I WAS THERE I MIGHT AS WELL STAY, I STARTED TO WALKED BACK TO MY SALVATION, MY REAL HOME, MY MOTHER, AND WHEN I WALKED UP THOSE STEPS I WASN'T RELIEVED UNTIL I OPENED THE SCREEN DOOR AND KNOCKED.
THE DOOR OPENED AND THERE AFTER A YEAR AND A HALF WAS MY MOTHER. I BROKE OUT INTO TEARS, COULDN'T EVEN SPEAK, THAT WAS WHEN I TRUELY WAS RELIEVED. MY FRIENDS AND JOBS HAVE BEEN THE SAME WAY, IT HASN'T BEEN GOOD FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS, I'M JUST NOW GETTING BACK ON TRACK AND NOW KNOW BETTER AND WHO TO REALLY DEPEND ON -

ME

SO HERE I AM IN A UNSAFE CITY STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS MEET, NOT BEING TO HOLD DOWN A JOB NO MORE THAN A YEAR EACH AND STILL LIVING AT HOME AND THE ONE THAT HASN'T BEEN PLUMBLED OUT OF ME IS MY DRAWING AND EVEN THAT IS NOT ENOUGH NOW, I'M STILL JUMBLED AS EVER, HAVE LESS THAN 5 FRIENDS I COUNT AS REAL FRIENDS, DON'T CURRENTLY HAVE A JOB, WILL LOOK FOR ONE SOON, AND TRY ADULT SCHOOL AGAIN FOR THE SEVENTH TIME, NO SKILLS, CONTINUE DRAWING AND TRY TO FINISH MY PROJECTS, AND ON MY OWN WITH NO HELP LEARN COMPUTER GRAPHICS OUT OF A 60 DOLLAR BOOK THAT CONFUSES ME TOO AND NEXT MONTH GO TO THE ONE OTHER THING THAT LIGHTENS ME UP BUT NOT MUCH, THE SAN DIEGO COMIC CONVENTION.
GET THAT MARCH 10TH DRAWING FROM THE SCRIBBLETTES PAGE FROM YOU, ALBERTO, AND ENJOY MY TIME THERE

SEE, YOUR NOT THE ONLY ONE, I CAN RANT TOO :P

PERSONALLY I THINK MY RANT IS BETTER :P

cat said...

It's great to see you blogging again. To find a new post waiting in my bloglines. I missed you.

A sad story (thanks for sharing), and one that draws me in to look closer.

ps: one day I hope to be able to warm up such as you have. Such fantastic body bits! [deep sigh] When I have time ... time

Welcome back.

A. Riabovitchev said...

Glad to see you back !:O)I love first one!

Ben Baker said...

Very interesting project. I prefer the first drawing. Good Luck.

Patrick Costa said...

Glad to see you are back, beautiful sketch. If only my warmups remotely resembled something like that.

Process Junkie said...

Ocar: Heigh ho, Heigh ho, off to work I go!
I see you've had your share of hospital episodes, I do hope you're feeling better, you continue to inspire nonstop!

comikxguy: My struggles were nothing compared to yours, I did have a rough childhood but somewhat different in nature.

I believe people react differently when faced with hardship, as a kid I thought I was living in a fantasy, I read so many books and watched so much TV I thought my life was an adventure (which it was) I didn't think for a moment that what was going on was real or permanent (though at times it was most certainly painfully real).

Oscar Wilde wrote that pain seems infinite and has the nature of eternity, or something to that effect, that is what most people who commit suicide feel; to them there is no possible end to their suffering, their conditions seem irreparable the odds against them insurmountable. To some this is a fact of life and to others not so true, some of these conditions are not permanent but their pain is so overwhelming that they can't see themselves getting past the current state of misery and despair.

As a child, I viewed what happened to me as temporary TV episodes, chapters in one of those boys adventure books I enjoyed reading. I was so dellusional that I saw myself and my kid brother as characters in a play, book or movie, not much different than Oliver Twist, Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn, in my head I played the abandoned orphan who must be resourceful, tricky and mischievious in order to survive a hostile environment, I wasn't attached to my parents (whom I raely saw) or to anyone other than my kid brother, whom I viewed as my sidekick.

No matter how fucked up things were (and looking back I can see how fucked up they really were) none of that stuff left emotional scars, they were just adventures to me, I can't say the same about my brother though, he was younger and some of these things affected him negatively. It took me years to realize how lucky I was to be an artist and to be dellusional, as an adult hardship hits me harder now because I no longer view life the way I did as a child, I can't pretend I'm living a fantasy, adversity is way more difficult to endure as I have built real emotional attachments to people I care about.

Having an outlet for self-expression is a healthy thing, I welcome your rant, thank you for sharing your experiences. Consider starting your own blog, if for no other reason than to express
what's inside you. It could be a liberating experience. It works for me :)


A. Riabovitchev, Ben Baker, Patrick Costa: Thanks, gentlemen

The Original Dangster said...

My brotha, from anotha' mutha'..Good to see you back drawin' the BEE-ATCHES once again!

The girl you drew in the second drawing really reminds me of a girl I dated in college...Just without the C-section scar.

HOLLAH!

Chrissie A said...

Beautiful!!!

Welcome back, Alberto! You were missed!

Travis Christian said...

Man, it's good to SEE you posting again, Alberto!!!

Process Junkie said...

Dangster: C section scars are cool, you fool!

Chrissie I missed you guys too.

Travis: Thanks, T!

Anonymous said...

hey alberto,

its great to see your back. Thank goodness everything in your life is well.

Love the second pic, awesome!!


carla

wcr1 said...

Such a long silence. I think everyone was beginning to think the worst.

Congratulations.

Drawings: #1, but I've always like the more calligraphic, abstract stuff.

Suicide: Always an option. Part of the human predicament, if that doesn't sound too airy.

Genuinely glad to see all is well.

-bill

jumpman said...

Hey man,

It's great to see some more cool work of yours... Awesome warm up sketch... Not that the pics of Canada were bad or anything!! ;) It's just that it's nice to see you back on your feet and putting in some wicked lines...

Great to see you around and drawing again. Best to your family.

Cheers, mate.

Oh, and if you ever find yourself with a few minutes to kill, here's my own blog/zine (based on a print magazine I published late last year): www.jumpbutton.com
It's to do with the art and substance of videogame culture. I add an article every 4-5 days. Got a killer interview with Ashley Wood (Metal Gear Solid comics) and an awesome piece by Jon Gibson (iam8bit) coming up; among other things.

Once again, though, can't wait to see some more of your pieces...

Take care.

El editor said...

¡¡¡Volviste con todo y con noticias que ponen muy contento a todos!!! ¡Salud Alberto y avanti a toda máquina!

Process Junkie said...

El Editor, Carla: Gracias.

Jumpman: First off, thanks for the nice email. I will check your blog for sure, Cheerios, mate!

WCR1: Sorry about the long silence, I was totally overwhelmed by the surgery and the aftermath. The surgery was performed 2 weeks ago but I was in no condition to do anything but aid in the rehabilitation process.

I agree with you regarding suicide, when I was younger i used to think that I would never consider suicide as a viable alternative, I love life way too much, but I'm not that sure anymore, I don't believe in cheap exits and quick fixes but the human psyche is more mysterious than we think, I've seen some crazy shit that had made me revised certain concepts and attitudes towards things I felt pretty strong about, the more I learn about the human condition, the less I know.

if you would have met my father you would have never thought he was the suicidal type, I've never met a more optimistic, happy-go-lucky chap than him, that whole thing still bothers me to this day, because i can't put it together. What could have possibly trigger such a drastic and violent choice? love is a very powerful thing for sure but this guy was a womanizer by trade, he believed in free love and all that hippie shit, he was only 43. Could it be that he changed and saw the errors of his ways? there must be more than what was apparent, unfortunately I don't have all the information, I met with him a few months prior to his first suicide attempt (he tried and failed twice, succeeding the third time) and nothing I saw gave any indication of depression or any sign whatsoever of troubled behavior, quite the opposite, he seemed happier and more full of life than in our previous encounter, only he knows what truly happened and what made him do it and he's not telling.

St John Street said...

Great to have u back with us and to hear it's all good man missed your work love your girls there just too much goodness well see u round !!!

Justin Leigh Leiter said...

Alberto -

Very good news to hear things have made the turn for the better..and good to have you posting art again. Your upcoming projects sound exciting!

rickgo said...

Alberto!its Rick!
a)it was great seeimg you at the philly comic-con
b)i'm really glad your wifes surgery went smooth and i hope she is recovering well
c)i'm enjoying the new book!
d)i sadi i'd send you my new website when i got it up,its at www.rickgo.com
definatly check it out and i'd love some feedback,crits,comments and such.
take care
-Rick

jumpman said...

Having had three people I know commit suicide (one over love, two others over not believing they could face certain things about themselves), I can only say that you cannot judge a person at the point at which they commit suicide in the same way than you would at any other point in their life. I don't necessarily believe it is about depression; I think it's about an inability to see things with rationality and hope. Perhaps, even more succinctly, it's a loss of faith. You can't blame someone who commits suicide, because they cannot see things clearly anymore; their mind, for some reason, has become 'sick' and, as you mentioned Alberto, like someone being tortured and tormented, what they crave is for 'it' to stop. Guilt, unhappiness, an inability to forgive, shame...

In my experience, there are three pyschological fundamentals: (1) I am loved, (2) I am needed and/or capable, (3) there is something 'bigger' than me (God?).

Perhaps I am wrong about this, but I also believe that 'art', in its purest or most ideological form, is about communicating this third fundamental.

Just some thoughts.

Cheers,

Aimee's Sketch Blog said...

You are my favorite artist EVER!
the MASTER of line!
Very inspirational.
xxxoxx

&Rew said...

this drawing is ridiculous man.

you're too good for my hood.

&rew.

Kanokadafi said...

Damn! Your the man Alberto, I have to get that book!