The wand and lasso are no longer the reserve of magicians and cowboys. In this age of digital tools it has never been easier to splice and merge, in order to create montage and composite images. These tools (and a box of others) make it easy to achieve seamless results, but the ability to create interesting melded and mashed imagery remains a true challenge.
Carl Stimpson’s analog painting practice has, over the last six years, focused on producing strange new narratives from a host of cut and pasted comic book images.
Femme fatales, explosions, comical characters and Japanese heroines from Belgian comics, to name but a few, are sourced and blended in his work. Source materials, including the works of cartoonists; F. Bergese, Philippe Berthet, Dan DeCarlo, Frank Frazetta, Herge, Edgar P. Jacobs, Jack Kirby and Roger Leloup, provide visual information that is appropriated by Stimpson to create his own compositions. The viewer’s attention switches between boyish interests of fast cars and fighter planes and the more adult and alluring depiction of voluptuous women. Stimpson deftly composes these paintings, turning complicated mixtures into final works that feel as though they have always existed. The leftfield text included in his paintings serves to disconcert and intrigue the viewer.
The pulp aesthetic of comic book art demands, in the first instance, only a superficial analysis from the viewer. In recent works Stimpson has looked beyond the graphic quality of his source material in order to explore the print processes used to create it. New paintings incorporate a subtle layering of primary colour washes; this involved technique serves as a simulation of the means by which the original images were produced.
The digital paintbrush is considered to be a relatively crude tool, yet in the hands of this painter its analog equivalent is used sensitively and deftly. Stimpson’s work reflects a painterly aptitude, a long-standing love of the comic book medium and a broad, deepening knowledge of its history. His paintings are peculiar, beguiling and entertaining.
Carl Stimpson © 2013