By Hervé St-Louis
May 14, 2006 - 15:37
Creator: Lance Tooks
Lance Tooks’ series continues to look at the Devil under different auspice. This time it the one of failed black artist Andree’ Baldwin, who is a strange look a like (or stand in) for Jean-Michel Basquiat, the black artist who dated Madonna before she was a star. In this story, Baldwin, as snubbed artist, sells his soul to an art critic who had destroyed his career previously. Falling into the critic’s plot, Baldwin tries to free himself, while becoming a mega star of the art world.
The book is also a reinterpretation of the 1913 German film The Student of Prague where a poor talented student called Balduin also longs for riches and the heart of a woman, while being tricked by someone called Scapinelli.
This story is quite interesting and probably true for many young artists, minus the involvement of the Devil. Tooks look at the menagerie that is the modern art world where artists are as important as the paintings they paint. Everyt doodle must mean something and contribute to an industry where art dealers, critics, and collectors profit. That Baldwin ends up a mockery of himself with no real value is painful to watch.
Nowhere in this story do you feel he will eventually gain the upper hand and fool the devil. Baldwin ends up as an angry young black man without what made him special in the first place. Tooks writes a good story and seems to be speaking from personal experience.
The black and white artwork has a looseness to the shapes that conveniently captures beauty and the ugliness. Tooks also creates montage from photographs.