So, I had been meaning to post something here for a couple weeks now.
“Woah! Ben is having trouble updating the blog? It’s not like that has been the case since August, right?”
Right you are, truth-dropper. But tonight I find myself in the shitty position of having to stay awake. Everyone has their techniques to accomplish this, and for me it mostly means writing a bit and then playing a fuck-load of Mega Man. You know, apparently not having a regular sleep schedule can have a noticeable effect on how long you live? With my track record for sleeping at odd hours makes me believe I may have about 13 more years left.
Irregular sleeping may not seem like the coolest way to die, but your body will actually explode. So it’s really just a matter of timing your death for a concert or a job interview.
Anyway, a friend of mine gave me some Ralph Steadman posters for Christmas, and even though I’ve had them up for awhile now, I still like talking about them. Looking at them. Learning from them. So let’s do some of that!
Ralph Steadman, for you empty shells pretending to be people, is an artist who is most often associated with the illustrative work he did with Hunter S. Thompson. In fact, the first poster is of what is probably the most iconic image from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is book that will easily throw lump you in with a certain crowd in High School, should a teacher find you reading it. It’s very easy for people to see it as just a crazy drug story, and it certainly fills that role. It’s probably one of the funniest damn books you could read (with a pretty great movie to match), but the book had a huge effect on me as a writer. The story was humorous, but Thompson also wrote it so directly and with such conviction, that there was always a strong spirit to the words, even when there wasn’t necessarily a message.
He was trying to communicate such a bizarre story, and the illustrations from Steadman remind you how fucked up the ride really was. What I love about Steadman’s illustrations here is how everything is distorted and rather ugly, but it really stops itself from going too dark with it. Everything is just weird. It can be ugly, and it can even be depressing at spots, but it keeps going. Even when you really want to stop and make sense of it all, you may only be able to hold on for dear life.
Probably reading too much into it, at this point.
Now, this rabbit is easily my favorite of the two. Alice in Wonderland is absolutely one of my favorite books, and Ralph Steadman’s style really fits the insanity of it perfectly. What I love about the story is how insane everything and everyone is, but there is still an abundance of intelligence and wit to it all.
Once again, the art itself is distorted in Steadman’s style, but once again it’s not making The White Rabbit something dark necessarily. It hits that sweet spot where the rabbit isn’t natural-looking or cute in contrast to something like the Disney interpretation, but he’s certainly not obnoxiously goth either. He’s an insane creature that will lead Alice into an insane world.
There’s also significantly more detail to Steadman’s Alice in Wonderland drawings in comparison to his F&L stuff. I like the simplicity and feeling of every line serving a purpose, but somehow the rabbit still carries that for me.
So, yeah, Ralph Steadman is pretty cool. And even if these are just posters that cost a few bucks, I find them frame-worthy. They look awesome now that they’re up on my wall, even if I fear that the rabbit one has invaded my psyche a bit.
Totally worth it.