Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Marcel Dzama

Marcel Dzama is an artist from Winnipeg, Canada who paints small and surreal figurative watercolors. Even if you've never heard of him, you've probably seen his influence on young artists today.

The paintings are hard to categorize, but if I had to free associate some things they connote for me I'd say WWII, Little Red Riding Hood, the forties, Grimm's Fairy Tales and bleak winters. There are dominating themes of sex and violence, illness and death and repressed emotions. Some characters are missing limbs, some are dressed in stylish military garb, some smoke cigarettes and dance gleefully with tree people. His predominant color choices are hunter greens, deep roses and layered browns. He's mentioned previously that he achieves his desired browns by painting with root beer.

I just treated myself to a collection of Dzama's drawings from McSweeney's. Included was a copy of one of his eclectic scrapbooks. Even outside of his artwork, he definitely has a penchant for old timey photos, nature and science, military paraphernalia and other oddities.

Above are some of his paintings. Below are a couple pages from his scrapbooks...

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