Richard McGuire: Blend into Darkness

Could fear be meditated? How could the darkness be blended in with negative space? Seems that Richard McGuire’s Fear(s) of Dark demonstrates this integration at a higher level.

Richard McGuire is known as talented multidisciplinary artist who has been producing numerous of cosmic, animation, toys and children book. His groundbreaking comic strip Here (Fig. 1), which was published in 1989, has been influential to many artists, even Chris Ware finds it as an inspiration. Many of his works (Fig. 2 and Fig. 3) have been published in The New York Times and The New Yorker.

Fig. 1. Richard McGuire, panels from RAW, issue 2, 1989 (USA: Mouly)

Fig. 2. Richard McGuire, illustration from The New Yorker, 2013 (New York: The New Yorker)

McGuire 04

Fig. 3. Richard McGuire, Popeye and Olive, 2005. http://www.bedetheque.com

McGuire’s animated film Fear(s) of the Dark catches my attention simply because of the way it blends the darkness with the negative space. Instead of using negative space as background, he utilizes negative space (black colour) as darkness, a metaphor of fear. In conjunction with the background music, the overall film diffuses great sense of fear, the level of fright reaches its climax when the main character sees lots of hands were hung down. I screenshot some of the major scene (Fig. 4 to Fig. 19) to study the integration of positive and negative space and learned that black colour also served as the transition in between the scenes, i.e. dissolve, zoom in, zoom out, panning, etc. If you want know more about this film, you could find the feature film trailer in his official website or read his interview with AIGA .

Fig. 4. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 5. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 6. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 7. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 8. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 9. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 10. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 11. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 12. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 13. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 14. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 15. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 16. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 17. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 18. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

Fig. 19. Richard McGuire, snapshot from Fear(s) of the Dark, 2010.www.richard-mcguire.com

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