Genotype To Phenotype

Episode One Hundred Ninety Three: Genotype To Phenotype.
In which we manifest.


  1. This one. Pretty satisfying. All those dots.

    The needlepoint sampler type of comic that I do, in which I just explore patterns or textures, never failing to disappoint. There are three images here that I took during a visit to New Haven - the first and third frames from the Yale Gallery of Art (incidental, of the building), and the last is a skeleton of a young Homo Erectus on display at the Peabody.

    So, that first frame is from a real concrete brick wall, and frame three is from a screen that hangs below a stairwell railing. The herringbone is, well, from a swatch of fabric, and the fourth frame is Eno, from the cover of Reflection, 2017.

    There's a good deal of obsessiveness in the detail. The practice itself is both delicious and also both tortuously boring, which itself is a kind of delicious. What I didn't anticipate was the feelings I'd get from the textures which, themselves, tell a story. The concrete wall looks solid to me, and I can feel the weight behind it, and the solidness of it, and the slight painful pocks that would imprint my palm as I hit it, and the subsequent chalk-like concrete dust. The fabric is soft and perhaps a little coarse, but comforting by comparison. The metal in the middle frame is inviting; I find that it pulls me in with a depth that wasn't in the previous two frames - somehow this 3D feeling causes the strip to pivot around that frame. It's hard and cold, and it's more of a jail than a fence. But it's also a lattice, and everything grows upon it.

    The idea was to portray elemental building blocks, and the rules under which the building blocks iterate. Building blocks of biology, building blocks of psychology, building blocks of logic, building blocks of artistic elements. Unintentional, I've depicted a solid wall, a repetition of horizontal lines (often a 'caution' or 'prohibited' indication), and solid fencing. So, our genetic heritage (by the title) is one of restriction.

    The fourth frame is a human figure, but is only impressionistic. It's not even clear how that person manifests. As we exist as individuals, our existence is the fuzziest thing in the story.

    And finally, in the fifth, is the phenotype - the morphology of the previous steps in the process. And, surprise, it's death. It's sketchy, not quite accurate, and incomplete. Still, it's the closest thing to an identifiable character here. We can get our heads around that fellow, yet, even in death, our death is not our own. It's a concept of death represented by a human predecessor. We can't even imagine a death in the moment.

    The depiction of the skeleton asked for some post-reworking, and I inadvertently made him look terribly unhappy.

    Of course, that story, as impressively told as it is, is still petulant and stubborn. It's preposterous, and having that sad, broken skeleton as the payoff turned out to be such a great punchline here. I laugh out loud every time I look at it.

  2. On social media, an old friend looked at this and commented "we all run out of toner eventually!" ...this is also an adequate summary.



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