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Quackcast 673 - By their deeds you shall know them

Ozoneocean at 12:00AM, Feb. 6, 2024

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Art Vs the Artist part 2
Here we're fulfilling the promise of Quackcast 671 and examining what the art can tell us about the artist! Can certain themes, an art style, choice of imagery, jokes, humour, character opinions, colour choices or anything else tell us anything about the artist?

This can be pretty subjective though a lot of stupid and dishonest critics pretend it isn't and tell us great long stories about how this director is “deeply misogynist” because of certain repeated themes - I once watched a youtuber focussing this criticism on Tim Burton with content that was 100% subjective motivated reasoning entirely dressed up as objective fact. It was very silly. It helps if you know a bit more about the artist, their opinions and life when using the art to examine them so you don't go too far off the rails like that youtuber. It still doesn't give you a reliable result but it's better and if you do it well it can at least be entertaining and make sense.

In our Patreon vid we tackle our old fave Star Wars and see what that can tell us about George Lucas. A very cool way to begin! And I think we managed to come up with some interesting insights. For the Quackcast first we jokingly examine each other's work in a critical way… then we move on to our absent Quackcast Alumnus Pitface and examine her using her first main comic on DD, Putrid Meat. This was a fascinating examination!

If you're still unsure about this sort of thing, take the example of pulp writer Robert E Howard.
What does his work tell us about him? We mainly know him as the writer of Conan, muscle bound barbarian and poster child for the old Sword and Sorcery genre. But he was also the creator of many similar stories about other characters from different times and places, some funny and some serious but almost all male, big, strong, clever, crafty, physically fit, and intuitive. Knowing what we do of Howard, a young man from a small Texas town who was incredibly well read but also large and muscular it's easy to say his characters usually represented an idealised version of himself. They shared his small town distrust of the big city types (representatives of decadent civilisation in his stories), as well as his own pretensions to “racial superiority” which was very much off the time and area (Texas in the 1920s and 1930s), but more tailored to himself and NOT the silly Nazi “Aryan” version. His characters initially reflect his own thoughtless misogyny and sexual inexperience, almost verging on homosexuality, but that rapidly changes in his later writing, even notions of racial superiority melting away as his own experience of the world broadened and a relationship with a woman in his life changed his ideas about femininity. This culminates in his last story “Red Nails” which features an evolution and almost a reversal of a lot of his earlier themes, with a female protagonist hero while Conan is relegated to a side character.

Reading his stories in the order they were written as well as knowing a little about that man's biography seems to give you a fascinating insight into his thinking and reasoning! THIS sort of thing is where examining the artist through their art shines, even though it is still largely subjective.
What does your art tell us about you?

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme inspired by Maynard and Grimm - Grim and hauntingly introspective. This theme takes you down some dark and mysterious paths, into gloom and hidden places. Be careful, it’s very, very dangerous!

Topics and shownotes


Putrid Meat -

Featured comic:
I Am Not The Protagonist -

Featured music:
Maynard and Grimm - - by Phinmagic, rated E.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace -
Ozoneocean -
Tantz Aerine -
Banes -

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Ozoneocean at 5:47PM, Feb. 6, 2024

@marcorossi That's Pitface's Bones character in a parody of a Conan type thing- hence the He-man look :)

plymayer at 12:12PM, Feb. 6, 2024

I miss El Cid's interaction and comix here on the DD.

PaulEberhardt at 11:21AM, Feb. 6, 2024

Obviously, every choice artists make is for a reason, and everything they say they say for a reason, too. Beyond that, it's anyone's guess. How much of ourselves we give away in our creations or put into them is largely a choice, too. Surely, on some subconscious level it will always be somehow informed by your core values, beliefs and perhaps personal traits, but that can happen in multiple, very different ways and you'll never know in which of them. Duck-related point in case: those who remember El Cid will certainly agree that trying to judge his person on the basis of Death P*rn would be as huge a mistake as can be.

Ozoneocean at 8:26AM, Feb. 6, 2024

*wasn't in the know to guess. -Not everyone has access to you manifesto Karen, haha!

Ozoneocean at 8:24AM, Feb. 6, 2024

We can look at the work through all sorts of lenses- politics, psychology, culture, racism, philosophy... No just Freudian stuff, haha! There's a LOT more on the table than that. "death of the author" is more to do with post modernism- the idea that viewer impressions are more important and since every viewer sees something different author intention is unimportant. THAT went a bit too far, but It had to as a response to the moronic idea in Modernism that author intent was EVERYTHING, even when (frequently) it was impossible for anyone who want in the know to guess.

paneltastic at 2:44AM, Feb. 6, 2024

People need to just start enjoying the work as presented. The author's personal lives are none of their concern. Sometimes a person just gets an idea and wants to tell a story.

marcorossi at 2:04AM, Feb. 6, 2024

The dude in the picture looks a lot like the early He-man, who also had an axe in addition to the sword. I think that what happens most often though is that knowing the artists we interpret the art differently; in some period when freudian theory was very popular this devolved into explaining all works of art through freudian theory (this author has mommy problem, this other is gay, this other again Oedipus complex etc.) in ways that were stupid and non verifiable. In the end those excesses did lead to the "death of the author" theory, the idea that we should ignore the real author when assessing a work of art.

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