Saturday, October 16, 2010
Does art save?
While working my way through the Idiot (almost done with part two of four) I took a break yesterday and took a long bath with a graphic novel. I am a big fan of the saying "plain Jane" so this book caught my eye at the library. It is part of DC's short-lived Minx books which were geared towards teen girls. Since I am also a perpetual teenager, this seemed like a good pick.
Jane is present at a bombing in Metro City and her parent move her out to the suburbs where things will be "safer." Jane has trouble finding her place in the new high school. She wants to be friends with three girls who are outcasts but interesting and also all named Jane (or Jayne).
All of the characters seem to be just really exaggerated stereotypes. Drama Jane is always quoting playwrights and dressing up dramatically. Science Jayne spends her time getting to the lab early and doing homework at lunch. Sporty Jane is on all the teams but only as a bench warmer. And our main Jane isn't sure what she is.
After the bombing, Jane grabbed the notebook of a man who was next to her and writes him letters throughout the book, even though he is in a coma back in Metro City. Because of his sketchbook, she is inspired to create a new club, P.L.A.I.N. People Loving Art In Neighborhoods. She gets the other Janes in and they quickly get to work creating guerrilla art installations around their town. The local law enforcement does its best to shut P.L.A.I.N. down, but our gals keep on trucking.
I love the idea of art out in the community. In college, one of the art classes did something like this. As we students woke up and went around campus to classes we saw cut-out silhouettes of figures dancing or sitting in random places. I remember interviewing the professor for a reporting assignment and he had been really excited about getting art out where people can see it in unexpected places. Even my girl Keri Smith has a book on how to be a guerrilla artist, which I sadly do not own.
I liked this graphic novel and would recommend it even though the end was a little abrupt. I am interested in seeing if I can get more of the Minx books, and think that it is too bad that DC stopped that endeavor. Girls like comics too!
So readers, what do you think of art in the community like this? Have you ever experienced art in an unexpected place? What did you think about it? Don't be shy; leave me some comments!