I felt like I was on “The Apprentice”! I got into the city centre around 8am. Which is early for me to be in town, but it wasn’t early for all the experienced trades-people. They’d been there since six, fitting their stalls together, setting up their tables and displaying their wares. They all had vans or trailers, I had to borrow the boot space of a kind volunteer and their car. The very kind owner of the Little Sweet Shop Company loaned me a spare gazebo, which he even helped me to set up too. What a nice man! Once the gazebo was up I then spent about half an hour or so putting up my fold out table, getting out my stock, setting it up and generally faffing around with the placement and display. Which I kept on tweaking throughout the entire day. I watched the early morning stream of pedestrians go back and forth. An average of 23 people passed in front of the stall every single minute in the morning, that definitely increased as the day went on. It was Saturday after all. Soon town was heaving with shoppers and students and every one in between. There must have been thousands of people going past over the course of the day. The early morning shoppers weren’t up for browsing or deviating from their plans, they clearly had somewhere to be or something specific to buy and they had eyes only for that. Everyone else was probably still at home having a weekend lie in. It wasn’t until lunchtime that the browsers emerged and saw the new stall in Lancaster market. People really seemed to like my “geek chic” merchandise, and a lot of people didn’t realise that I’d actually designed everything myself. One browser asked me “do you do any One Direction t-shirts?”, alas, I’m afraid not. It was a great day, chatted to a lot of people, gave out many, many business cards and leaflets. Saw plenty of people that I knew and many more that I didn’t, the weather was pleasant too – which helped. Eventually the day ended and I packed everything back up again, happily there was a lot less to put away. If I had a van, and a gazebo, and I could drive, and I had free time – then I’d definitely do it again. As it stands though, I’m not going to appear regularly, but I’ll let you know if I’ve got any special market days planned. The next time I’ll be behind a stall will be at the Kendal comic art festival on the 18th and 19th October. 🙂
My latest project is taking me on an exciting mission to investigate the world of Roy Lichtenstein. I’m not compelled to do it in depth, but for this commission I need to get a feel for his style and the word that he’s done. It was whilst doing this research I discovered a startling revelation, something which may have already been apparent to some of you but for me it’s news.
Roy Lichtenstein was a no good plagiarist! This is just terrible news. Not that I particularly hold any affection for the guy, although I am a huge fan of graphic novels and comic book art I’d always like the fact he’d championed their style…but wait, no he didn’t. That’s why it’s terrible news. In actual fact, what Lichtenstein did do was wholesale take art from comic books, copy them out again in with much less skill and then go on to make a mint off it whilst the original artist faded into obscurity. The high toned and fancy critics in the art world back then and to this day, continue to look down their noses at comic book art. When compelled to review comic books they usually take a long suffering stance that begrudgingly admits that this particular comic book “isn’t for kids” and is therefore almost worthy of their notice.
But I digress. Lichtenstein was popular. Critics were gushing and fawning at him over their chilled champagne and at the same time they were all still belittling comic book art. He could have said something, spoken up for them. Maybe he was too scared someone would look into it and out him as being the massive plagiarist that he was.
As far as I’m aware, nobody outed him for being a bounder and a cad until relatively recently. A bloke called David Barsalou spent something like 25 years going through old comic books one panel at a time, comparing them with Lichtenstein’s work until he managed to find all the pieces he’d ripped off. It’s a real life’s work, this guy obviously feels very strongly on the struggling comic book artists getting their credit where credit is due. Good for him. These artists could have been you or me, trying to earn a living doing what they loved, putting their heart and soul in getting the right pose, the right look and for what, for their names to be forgotten whilst Lichtenstein’s name is actually programmed into Spellcheck.
But what do you think? Has his work improved upon the originals by cleaning them up a bit? Is he in some way inspired or he just a low down rat? What’s your opinion?
Picture on left – original piece by artist Tony Abruzzo. Picture on right, one by Lichtenstein.