What is it about erotic art that compels you to
What qualifies as erotic art, something titillating, sexually arousing, voyeuristic? Political?
Am I off the track here, perhaps erotic art has nothing to do with sexuality, but stripping the human form back to something real, something raw, honest and or candid?
Is erotica directly related to our sexuality or can it be an androgynous commodity?
Who are some artists/ periods of history in which erotic art appealed/ inspired you?
What doesn't qualify as erotic art?
Is painting as strong a medium as photography in this realm?
COPYRIGHT 2002 BY MILTON KNIGHT
|This is the skeleton of what was to be a major illustrated
article in a comics news magazine. The interview was conducted in late
spring '03. The magazine has since become a Victim of the Economy, the
interviewer has fled the scene, and I am left with these carefully worded
answers to some incisive questions:
Which artists -- especially 1940s cartoonists -- have inspired your work?
MK: V.T. Hamlin (ALLEY OOP); Will Eisner; Animators at N.Y. studios Fleischer, Famous and Terrytoons (especially Jim Tyer, Dick Huemer, Grim Natwick); Warners directors Art Davis, Frank Tashlin and Bob Clampett; animators who worked in 1940s comic books such as Dan Gordon (who directed a few Popeyes early in the decade). Also Wilhelm Busch, Art Nouveau and Deco, and woodblock artists from the world over (and especially China and Japan!)
How did you meet editor Rick Marschall ? The man
who wanted to publish
MK: At age 16, I started hanging around the Marvel offices to show my latest. They ushered me in to his office. [Marschall,at that time editor of EPIC, is an afficianado of classic newspaper strips, and wanted HUGO to break up the "adventure comics" material in the magazine.The rest of the staff didn't go for the idea, and I concur that I wasn't ready yet.]
When you say, “I’m still finding my language in my work,” what do you mean?
MK: Working in one of my favored mediums teaches me more about another. In painting, I am learning more about creating true atmosphere and textures,as well as observation of life and effective caricature (as opposed to following caricaturing guidelines set by others before me). In animation, I am using these lessons to stage and communicate uniquely and dramatically. This naturally feeds into the comics, where I use ink, the language of words, and a cinematic focus to communicate atmosphere, drama, mood and perspective.
You say Midnite was a work of discovery for you. How exactly?
MK: I created Midnite to fill the publisher's demand
for an "action hero". She was my first published comic book to star a truly
sympathetic female character. (She was also created to, in a sense, counter
Hugo's Trish.) Through the Midnite character, I pushed for my own ideals
of beauty, fair play, etc., but in a positive sense (unlike the doomed,
desperate...and possibly more realistic...Hugo.) The strip was to become
more politically oriented, but for the demise of the publisher.
MK: They're two completely different beings! But most obviously (and smuttily): Trish was raised as a member of medieval royalty; Ginger comes from a present-day working-class, abusive background. Trish realizes and revels in her "full worth", and uses her sex (often unconciously) as a means of bargaining. If Ginger 'uses' it at all, it is for approval. While Ginger clings to, loves and lives for the sex act itself, Trish simply loves the idea and display. To get interested in the actual act, she has to fall "into the mood".
What inspired the transformation of Ginger into someone more "earthy, sensual, and soulful" ?
MK: At first, the character design change. The initial
design, with long black hair and flesh-colored body, was Ginger in her
hoydenish years; it was more
Did you approach SCREW MAGAZINE with the "Slug 'N' Ginger strip," or did they approach you?
MK: I approached them. Ginger first appeared on a cover,
and they just kept
You said that Howard Chaykin's quote helped inspire
you to move to
MK: "Nobody wants your work out there, Milton! Come here!" Inspiring.
You described California as a
surreal place where people aren't exactly
MK: It was a necessary move, and a good one seeing as how my art has grown. And, now that my home is out of the movie-making center (which I hated), I am in a more aesthetically pleasing atmosphere. Peace, but without knowing many people I can take seriously.
Did you approach Mu Press to publish HUGO, or did they come to you?
MK: I approached them in 1995 with the proposal of doing "THE HUGO COLLECTION" of Fantagraphics reprints. In 2002, when MU printed a 1985 Hugo story (for the first time) in their anthology series, WILD KINGDOM, I suggested the new series.
MK: Very much so. I don't hear from as many as I'd
like, but people have written and said many heartening and thoughtful things.
The characters seem to mean many important things to different people.
Some have even written HUGO fiction of their own.
Do you see HUGO as a series of mini-series
-- or as an ongoing series?
MK: I'd like it to be an ONGOING series...when I find
a publisher who'd like that too, it will be.
Do you have any future plans for your other characters -- SLUG 'N'GINGER, HINKLEY, MIDNITE, or others? Will we see their return to comics soon?
MK: HINKLEY was a one shot. But as for the rest, I'd like them all back in comics, and soon.
MK: Good times and bad, often exciting; always a thrill seeing my concepts moving on a screen, but always filtered through the system and (except for the Bakshi project and a public service spot) rendered by artists half a world away. I miss the money.
After all these years -- and all your experiences, which medium do you prefer to work in: comics or animation?
MK: To me, each offers possibilities that are great
and very distinct from the
In which galleries have you displayed your work? What has the response been like?
MK: In 1989, Psychedelic Solution in N.Y., which is
a pioneering gallery of
Photo by Rita Street
Posted December 22, 2006:
Here's a LINK to a new interview at the comic book website, JAZMAONLINE!
COPYRIGHT 2006 BY MILTON KNIGHT