Monday, May 24, 2010
In her mini Secret Weirdo, Lauren Barnett complains that her biggest pet peeve is when someone calls her comics "cute." "I think 'cute' is a terrible way to describe someone's work," she grumbles. This leads me to two thoughts. 1) Someone should give Barnett a copy of James Kochalka's The Cute Manifesto so she realizes she needn't fear the cute. 2) If she doesn't want people to think of her work as cute, she should really stop anthropomorphizing fruit and birds. It's the road to adorable.
Barnett's drawings of people could, honestly, benefit from some added cute. I'd Sure Like Some Fucking Pancakes, the shorter -- and less cohesive -- comic, contains a story "When a Bird Loses Its Feathers." The eight panel piece features a naked chicken and reads like a demented children's book. The comics featuring humans are nowhere near as visually interesting.
It's lurking in there somewhere, and every now and then it shines through. There's the delightful weirdness of "When a Bird Loses Its Feathers" and the simple dream logic of the unicorn story above. And the posters on her blog, which pair animal sketches with odd little taglines, tickle my funny bone (I find them -- gasp -- cute). I think Barnett has the right idea, trying to tap into her secret weirdo. She just needs to drag that weirdo farther into the limelight.
You can buy Lauren Barnett's mini comics on Etsy and check out her artwork at Me Likes You.
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