18 June 2014

[#art] All Over Coffee with Paul Madonna

Add this man to the list of artists without which I cannot do.

Paul Madonna is a SF-based artist who does one of the most singular comics out there. All Over Coffee is a impressionistic masterpiece, with moody, visually-delicious drawings of San Francisco street scenes with bits of text strewn within. The text itself is, at best, tangentially referential to the picture; the text seems to provide a sound track to what is happening within the picture, kinda. 

It's very subjective. You can imagine the text as someone thinking to themselves about something that something in the picture referenced; a snatch of a distant conversation heard by the person at the POV; or just text living in the picture.

It's the perfect blend of word and picture, forming a poetry and music of its own. Sometimes the words live within the picture, forming a grim, yet funny existential punchline.

Ultimately what a person sees within an All Over Coffee strip is what they find there; you will probably see what you bring to the experience. And, to be sure, the idea of putting only-vaguely-sequitur words with images is hardly something new or unusual. The way Madonna does it, though, is unique … though it defies embodiment in something as surly as mere words, it certainly is there. There's something approaching vulnerability there, the artist's vulnerability, his love of his hometown, and the pure liberating passion of drawing that make the series absolutely beguiling, and once seen, never to be forgotten.

I've lusted for Madonna's  first eponymously-named collection for quite some time, drawn in by the beguilement that cannot be quite expressed in print. Some weeks ago, I found a copy at Powell's, only to be disappointed that someone had razored-out a single page. Bad human! but at our last visit, last Sunday evening, there was a copy, at a price.

All Over Coffee is now mine to leaf through whenever I want. They have a copy at +Multnomah County Library, and I encourage any of you all to check it out when you can. There's a second volume of AOC collected, Everything Is Its Own Reward, which I shall lust over perforce.

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