This one looks a little weird in the scan for some reason. The paper really doesn't have those strange dark areas. I even fiddled with the contrast a bit. Not sure why they are showing, but this one actually looks really fantastic in reality. Perhaps I'll see if I can re-scan in the future. When there is time. Ha! Like there is ever time for anything else these days...
Alright, it was bugging me so much that I rescanned the art and spent some more time trying to slightly alter some of the contrast. This one looks a lot better, and much truer to what the real art looks like.
I really like this picture--the colors, textures and patterns are simply gorgeous. And it really conveys that sense of "other"--really points out how the novel is still so white-centric, despite the fact that Melville does treat some of the non-white characters with surprising sensitivity at times.
Rudy, race and identity are definitely central themes in the novel and this can be difficult to navigate artistically. There are the complex characterizations and depictions of Daggoo, an African, Tashtego, a Native American, and Queequeg, a Pacific Islander, all of which bring up as many questions as they answer. And then there are all these ephemeral characters as well, such as the 5 vaguely demonic silaors brought aboard by Fedallah, himself a Persian. These sailors are supposed to actually be Filipino (they are described as "aboriginal natives of the Manillas") and that idea is further complicated by Melville's indication that Filipinos are "a race notorious for a certain diabolism of subtilty, and by some honest white mariners supposed to be the paid spies and secret confidential agents on the water of the devil, their lord." Given how charged any depiction of Asians in art or literature can be these days, I decided to do my own thing (as I always do) and make the entire series of illustrations uniquely my own. Some day, hopefully, I can address these complex issues of race and representation more thoroughly in a better post.
Another favorite. Yay!
Thanks Tom, this one really turned out well, I think. A nice synthesis of old and new for me. I'm looking forward to more pieces with these guys.