Calef Brown’s Lecture and His Inspirations (Part 1)

Another inspiring lecture video shared by my tutor Barbara Brownies, and I have been learning a lot from this Calef Brown’s generous sharing. Brown is a talented illustrator and poet; his distinctive art style sometimes is regards as ‘post-modern folk art’. Brown’s fun, creative illusions and poets often reflect his personal mischievous sense of humor and imaginative world. Most of his character designs are not reality proportional, sometimes the characters’ hands or legs are stretched, or the figures are sometimes painted in peculiar colors, or even a hybrid of different animals. And I also realized that most of the figure are drawn in either side view or front view (Fig. 1 to Fig. 3), perhaps he wants to bring up two-dimensional feel.

Fig. 1. Calef Brown, Keep Evolving, 2013.

Fig. 2. Calef Brown, The Sleeping Gypsy, 2013.

Fig. 3. Calef Brown, editorial work, 2012.

What really inspires me is the way Brown extracts the idea from his daily life. Something might seem ordinary or unnoticeable to us, but could be an inspiration to him. Take example from his works, it is normal for a surfer surf in seaside, but changing the environment into desert, it turn out an interesting concept; not to mention a funny scene of a bathtub driver. Besides, he stresses the importance of adding punch line into his rhythmic poets. Examples like ‘Tattlesnake’ (Fig. 4) and ‘Bathtub Driver’ (Fig. 5):

An odd little creature
that every kid fears
is a snake
with unusual stripes
And big ears.
It spies on you,
tells on you,
then disappears.
Leaving the house
with your parents in tears.
Now because of that snake,
and one small mistake,
you’re in trouble,
for sixty or seventy years!

Fig. 4. Calef Brown, ‘Tattlesnake’, 1998.

The bathtub Driver is coming to town
with imported shampoo
that he sells by the pound.
His one-legged duck
rides along for good luck
yelling “Three for a buck!”
When they’re having a sale.
The Bathtub Driver won’t stay very long,
his supply of shampoo will soon be all gone.
So get up and sing out of fabulous song
for a sweet-smelling,
tub dwelling guy
and his one-legged duck named Alphonso.

Fig. 5. Calef Brown, ‘The Bathtub Driver’, 1998.


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