Finally ordered a print of one of my favorite li’l art pieces, signed by cartoonist Jim Woodring.Woodring’s words about Hieronymous Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delightsadequately reflect my feelings about Woodring’s work:
“I see endless beauty and mystery in it. Like the world it reflects, it can never be understood, even when it is being deeply enjoyed.”
While my gut tells me that Woodring would prefer not to be labelled, classified, or interpreted, I won’t hesitate to call him an artmonk.
His art stems from a place of compassion. He writes in “Seeing Things” about coming out of an experience of deep depression. “I awoke with a sterile deadpan empathy that forced me to perceive the ubiquitous suffering which the Buddha called life. Every person I saw was rotten with pain.”
And yet these are no anesthetic toons. Woodring and his characters always descend again into the world of “not exactly,” and this is what makes each panel such a work art.
“That’s the way it goes! Nothing gets for very long between me an my love of cool sheets and hot pastrami. The moments of awareness can be very concentrated and sanity can depart, but like the grinning oaf who picks up a picture book as soon as he gets home from the drunk tank, I don’t seek; I pretend.”