Dumbo Comic Book, 2011

13″x19″ Leather bound 18 page hand assembled book, presented in the group exhibit “The Un(Framed) Photograph” focusing on how the art of photography, the photographic process, and related media are used to convey content, form, text, and image, within a broader context of book arts practices. Curated by Alexander Campos and Doug Beube, at The Center for Book Arts, New York City, July 2011.

The work is intended to explore the Brooklyn neighborhood of Dumbo, and is part of a series of works using this same material in different formats including video projection and large format prints on paper and canvas. The following are some installation images.

Project Description:
This work takes 30 Washington Street as its starting point, to explore Dumbo’s unique history, and its architectural and sociological development. The artwork, in a form similar to the comic book, take inspiration from the factories built along the East River waterfront.

Dumbo is a place of outsized architecture. Everything is at the scale of elephants or super heroes. In addition to its rich history, it is currently the site of some of the most intense gentrification in New York City. In Dumbo Comic Book the neighborhood and the buildings themselves are characterized through the visual language of the comic book, in order to provoke thought on issues of urban planning, quality of life, and the visual impact of the street level built environment. The project acknowledges the scale of the area and the special place which architecture and development holds here.

This work started from 12 megapixel digital stills shot on the streets of Dumbo. These images are then individually run through a variety of different types of desktop printing software and extensively reworked and elaborated, with a focus on the use of algorithms for edge detection, and chromatic separation and simplification, resulting in a set of “Technicolor” schemed cartoon prints, capturing architectural detail, and the street level build environment.

Text has been added by doing a Google search for the word “Dumbo” and culling bits of text and actual quotes from the search results. Part of the byproduct of this method is that elements of text treating the 1941 Walt Disney Animated feature by the same name also make their way into the work, serendipitously adding to critique of issues within the neighborhood.

Working with the form of the comic, this project attempts to provoke thought on issues of urban planing, quality of life, and visual impact of the street level built environment.

For details on other work from this series see: