Monday, October 19, 2009

Aaron Zvi Felder

Second in a series of interviews with abstract-comics artists of whose work I learned only after finalizing the roster for the anthology. I asked Aaron the same questions I asked Chris Kreuter. Here are Aaron's answers:

I initially started doing abstract comics for my college newspaper. My biggest concern when I came up with the idea to do abstract comics (not that I was the first to come up with them, only the first to my knowledge) was that they would not be viewed as comics, but rather viewed as something like an abstract triptych or other work of art containing multiple images. I thought Scott McCloud did a very good job defining comics in Understanding Comics and I thought one could do abstract comics without breaking those boundaries. To totally do away with the boundaries of the definition of comics would make the term comics meaningless. What I wanted to do, was show how much wider the interpretation of that definition could be. I was very lucky that my work was printed in a newspaper on a page clearly marked "Comics" this allowed there to be acceptance from the viewer that they were in fact looking at something intended to be a comic.

With my goal in mind I came up with a few boundaries for myself. I wasn't going to do any non-sequitur abstract comics. To do so seemed no different than making a bunch of unrelated abstract images and arbitrarily putting them in a sequence. Now I believe that if one were to do just that they would in fact have an abstract comic on their hands, but this did not serve my goal of widening the perception of said definition. The work could simply be disregarded as not a sequence but merely a juxtaposition. I decided to keep my focus on what I considered logical sequences. For me this meant sequences centered around movement and or progression.

Movement intimidated me at first so I focused on progression. I had been been working on many solitary image abstract drawing at the time and I noticed I would fall in love (pardon my romanticism) with the drawing at various stages of its completion. My very first abstract comics centered around this. I would scan in the drawing at various stages and then put the images in sequence. The viewer sees the image being built little by little in each panel.

It's when I started working digitally that I was able to embrace movement and the combination of movement and progression. Working in a vector based program allowed me to make an image and literally move around or change various components of that image.

For me comics are very much about storytelling. My stories instead of being about characters with personalities are about shapes or lines moving, changing, and/or multiplying. The life of a composition if you will.

I believe that comics are more than an aesthetic or genre. Panels, gutters, and word balloons do not make a comic. It is sequence and readability that are the true nature of comics. If one looks at an abstract comic, or any comic for that matter, as a single composition they are not doing it justice. Comics are by nature a sequence of separate but related images. They are meant to be read rather than simply looked at.

I am very open to discussion of my ideas and/or work, if you have the slightest inclination please contact me. Also check out my comics (abstract and other) blog at

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