Art Games Meet Historical Context

Good morning Afro Triangle Friends. This weekend I have been binge-watching Tac au Tac, a French TV show from the 70s. Famous cartoonists of the time get together to play all kinds of fun drawing games. There are no prizes, just the final picture.

I have watched the following video over a dozen times. I appreciate the way these guys ran with a single concept and expanded upon it. Jean Giraud begins with a box, then each man follows instructions to create elements of the past, present and future. What I hadn’t done before was think about what was happening at the time they were creating this image. You see, this episode was filmed in 1972, while the Vietnam war was still raging. Two of the artists, Neal Adams and Joe Kubert, are American.

People had been protesting the war for almost a decade in the States, and both artists would have already formed their opinions about it. Adams was staunchly against the war while Kubert was known for drawing war comics. I thought it was interesting that once the drawing was on the war path, to hear what Adams was saying to Giraud. He said that no matter what you write on that box, violence could be what comes out. You could put love, you could put religion, and still people would find a reason to fight.

I’m still mulling over what I think about that. Another observation… Giraud drew a guy who looks very much like a German soldier. He would have been 2 years old when the Germans invaded Paris in 1940. I couldn’t tell you how much he remembered of those four years, but it must have been embedded in his psyche somewhere.

My work on Women Behaving Badly has made me think differently about older footage now. Thinking about the context in which things are happening has given me a richer experience of these older films than I could have imagined. I finally understand history!

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