There’s a new artist on my radar. By new I mean I just heard about him, although he’s been known to the art world for decades. “[C]onceived by a highly pornographic act” and born in France, Alex Varenne is a painter and the author of over 20 graphic novels, most of which are erotic or kinky or both.
Some of the first images to catch my eye were these pop-art pieces.
The rightmost painting is Femme à la Banane, Acrylic on silk 92 x 73 cm. I love how the embiggened version of this image shows the texture of the canvas Varenne used. While he uses a warmer palette, the simplicity of the lines suggests Patrick Nagel. Yeah, that guy whose images were so ubiquitous in the ’80s that they quickly became clichéd. Scoff if you want to. I like his stuff.
Come to think of it, Varenne also reminds me of Michael Manning. It’s the white space made to represent the expanses of bare skin. Every one of them owes a debt to the shunga artists of the Edo period. Varenne references this explicitly with his clever Esprit d’Utamaro. He also does a kind of Liechtenstein japonisme for Kiss BD.
Anyway, I’m wondering if a Varenne graphic novel is in my future. One of the most exciting discoveries in the course of researching Varenne is the following video. It is one of a series entitled Durchgeblättert [leafed through] showing well-produced overviews of a graphic novels set to unobtrusive background music.
This idea is brilliant! Graphic novels as much about the art as the story. Being able to see the page layouts beforehand is immensely helpful in deciding whether to buy. Panties off to GaijinjoesBlog and eroticcomic.info.
Images via alexvarenne.com