Geof Darrow Part 2: Heir to "Ligne Claire"
// Tell Forward
The technical vulnerabilities that the style risks exposing, while significant, are nothing when compared to the manner in which "ligne claire" reveals any deficiencies of investigation or any disconnect between narrative elements and an underlying metaphor. The approach's success only reaches its full potential when an artist possesses the capacity to do both.
Geof Darrow's work is a truly exceptional example of "ligne claire" in 'sequential art', because of the way that his artwork utilizes "linge claire" in a manner that speaks to the time in which we find ourselves living. Darrow's ability to use this visual language to create a unique voice is largely the result of his inherent authenticity as an artist. Through his work, Darrow is able to accentuate the radiance of the 'commonplace' and, very often, the banality of the 'sacred'.
Darrow's art displays a profound sensitivity to our modern surroundings, and how overwhelmingly complicated they have become. The visual quality of his artwork acknowledges the relentless nature of modern life and its constant bombardment of sensory stimuli. It is intellectually lazy to classify the complexity and density, present in some of Darrow's storytelling imagery, as a shortcoming because it fails to abide by the modern belief in the sanctity of simplicity. Darrow's ability to share his observations and idiosyncrasies, as well as his ability to conjure modern visual metaphors, allow his "ligne claire" work to transcend the twentieth century ideal of paternalism and formula at the expense of nuance and investigation.
The sum of these qualities make Geof Darrow the heir to "ligne claire". His most compelling work yet is his ongoing series, "The Shaolin Cowboy". Its trans-genre stream of consciousness narrative, creates mythic imagery inspired by everything from Shintaro Katsu's "Zatoichi" to Sergio Leone's Westerns.
If one is interested in exploring the relationship between Hergé's and Geof Darrow's work further, it might be helpful to begin by comparing "Les Adventures de Tintin" and "The Shaolin Cowboy". In particular, noting that both artists include a similar white animal sidekick that seems to always be a step ahead of the protagonist, and the different manner in which the two artists have used sharks as a metaphor in their stories.
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