Friday, January 28, 2011

MOBY-DICK, Page 550

Title: "Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell's heart I stab at thee; for hate's sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither can be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!"

8.25 inches by 12 inches
ink on watercolor paper
January 23, 2011

7 comments:

  1. The clash.

    I was hoping you'd pick this iconic passage to illustrate. Sends chills up my spine.

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  2. Matt, these last drawings are wonderfully evocative of the claustrophobic terror of the final battle. You are closing out the project with more strength and skill than ever. Congratulations!

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  3. I'm with Buck, I had a feeling that this'd be the line you chose to illustrate on your penultimate piece. I get chills every single time I read it. Excellent, excellent work.

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  4. Buck, it was absolutely impossible for me NOT to choose this line. It is so memorable, so iconic, and resonates so deeply with anyone who has even a passing familiarity with the novel. The challenge came from trying to narrow the page down to which parts of the line I wanted to include and, of course, working mightily to create an image that was worthy of such powerful words. In the end, I am pleased with what I have made. It seems the natural culmination of this project, and this artistic journey.

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  5. Many many thanks, Elizabeth. As I alluded to in the comment above, this page was something I knew I would have to grapple with for some time and it occasionally caused sleepless nights and a ton of stress. Everyone knows these lines! I knew there would be so much expectation. But when the time finally came to illustrate it, I was surprisingly calm and knew almost exactly what I wanted to do. The Whale, huge to the point of abstraction, symbolized by the eye which almost looks like a celestial body, or the eye of a watching God. Ahab, completely immolated by his own obsession and hatred, losing his identity and crumbling away. I think it turned out just the way it had to.

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  6. James, thank you. I had so badly hoped that this piece would indeed be chilling, terrifying and powerful so to keep reading that comment...well, I would be lying if I did not admit it is a huge source of relief.

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  7. Astonishing. Absolute connection.

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