Artstuffs, by Melody Wang – book review by Fred Patten.
by Patch O'Furr
Submitted by Fred Patten, Furry’s favorite historian and reviewer.
Artstuffs, by Melody Wang
Toronto, Ontario, The artist, November 2016, $20.00 (unpaged [48 pages]).
This is not a book as much as a book-format folio of 48 pages of the artist’s color illustrations, drawings, and sketches, on thick glossy paper. There is no subject. Like most artist’s sketchbooks, this is a hodgepodge of whatever the artist has felt like drawing.
What Melody Wang has felt most like drawing is anthropomorphic animals. There are Constable Nips and Inspector Porkington, of her student film. There are rabbits, pigs, and other animals in late-Victorian dress. Even when she is sketching the plants in a greenhouse, she usually has added an anthropomorphic animal or two. Her birds, “Wingfolk”, are particularly wonderful. A couple, such as the one of a man turning into a mandrill to his young daughter’s delight, cry out for having a story behind them.
Some of these are in black-&-white linework, but most are in full color. There are experiments in pastels and linocuts as well.
Wang’s webpage at http://mellowatt.tumblr.com/ shows many of these with additional notes, including the dates when they were drawn. From the dates, these are Wang’s sketches made from September 2015 through November 2016. An exciting comment is dated Feb. 28, 2016: “A studio approached me about developing N&P as a TV series! It’s an exciting idea but understanding the business end of things has been… mildly harrowing.”
This folio may disappoint those who want a plot. Readers who just want to see what an artist feels like sketching over a year will mostly be as delighted as the young girl watching her father turn into a mandrill.
“Melody Wang spent four years in engineering school before dabbling in animation at Sheridan College. Transfixed by its dark magic, she stuck to it and currently works as a storyboard artist and illustrator in Toronto. Her mother and maternal grandparents are also artists.”
Artstuffs is available from the Stuart Ng Books catalogue.