The science of Anthropology had its origins, in part, in a classic work by Sir James George Frazer, The Golden Bough, which was a study of ancient ritual and religion, a kind of an encyclopedia of magic.
Frazer wrote, “Hence the strong attraction which magic and science alike have exercised over the human mind; hence the powerful stimulus that both have given to the pursuit of knowledge. They lure the weary enquirer, the footsore seeker, on through the wilderness of disappointment in the present by their endless promises of the future: they take him up to the top of an exceeding high mountain and show him, beyond the dark clouds and rolling mists at his feet, a vision of the celestial city, far off, it may be, but radiant with unearthly splendor, bathed in the light of dreams.”
This image had its start as a drawing of the area around my home, beautifully overgrown with trees, But the drawing itself failed to jell. I would put it away, then pick at it, then put it away again. I simply couldn’t capture the overwhelming, dense information before me, nor could I fix the mess, even though there were parts of it that seemed worthwhile, amid the chaos. The more I worked on it, the more it reminded me of my own artistic shortcomings, all the gaps in my training, all the laziness and lack of discipline,. Then I tried playing with digital enhancements, and did a simple mirror image split screen. With the simple addition of symmetry, or perhaps you could more accurately call it simitry, the drawing suddenly transformed it into an abstracted forest cathedral that pulled the eye into its center. It became an icon of the process of gathering material for this website, the mess and disorder of things that seem to have nothing to do with one another, and my lack of skill in making them all congeal. I’m still working toward this final image, a depiction of the way science and magic are integrated, and what that has to do with law and medicine, Comic Books and Pulp Magazines, Literary Criticism, Fiction, and Art. Yeah, it is only a kind of visual trick, like you could achieve with a child’s kaleidoscope, or opening up endless depths by placing a two mirrors face to face. But it also seemed emblematic of a reality I was failing to convey because I lacked the proper integration of hand and eye. The visual inclusion of the opposite of the uncongealed disorder, equally disordered and uncongealed on its own, but transformed when unified with its opposite.
To escape the boredom and harassment of 4th grade, Stuart Hopen wrote and illustrated a science fiction and fantasy short story collection that began with a work titled “Me, Temporary Teenager.” He’s been escaping into his writing and art ever since. A graduate of Princeton University, he has written comic books published by D.C. Comics, Marvel, Fantagraphics, Eclipse, and Amazing Comics. His critical writing has been published by Rain Taxi Review of Books and the Comics Journal. He married a woman who bears an uncanny resemblance to the cover painting on the first edition of his novel, Warp Angel, and they have three children. Though he has traveled extensively across galaxies and dimensions, he spent most of his life in a small town mantled with its unfulfilled dreams of becoming the east coast motion picture capital of America– Hollywood, Florida.
My artistic heroes, heroines, and influences (in no particular order):
Thomas Pynchon, Graham Greene, Joseph Conrad, Jack Kirby, Tanith Lee, Phillip K. Dick, Brian Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, Roger Zelazny, James Ensor, Jules Bissier, Gunter Grass, James Joyce, William Shakespeare, Elizabeth Hand, Jeff Jones, Alan Moore, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ray Davies, A.S. Byatt, Anais Nin, Ingmar Bergman, Barrington J. Bayley, Stanislaw Lem, Angela Carter, Michael Kaluta, William T. Vollman, China Mieville, Herman Melville, Eudora Welty, Robert E. Howard, Mike Carey, Will and Ariel Durant, G.I. Gurdjieff, Winsor McKay, Neal Stephenson, Toni Morrison, Arnold Drake, Kin Platt, Thomas McGuane, Patti Smith, William Faulkner, Michael Moorcock, Herman Hesse, Lester Dent, Marisha Pessl, Steve Ditko, Maurice Ravel, Ken Russell, P. Craig Russell, Cormack McCarthy, Samuel R. Delaney, Vladimir Nabokov, Colin Wilson, Dashiell Hammett, Donovan, Raymond Chandler, Lon Chaney, Tod Browning, Lawrence Watt-Evans, Norman Spinrad, William Gibson, Bruce Sterling, Flannery O’Connor, John LeCarre, Don Delillo, Neil Gaiman, Ian Fleming, Bert Jansch,Gardner Fox, Robert Stone, Norvell Page, Bob Dylan, and…
Site Contents: Writing, Paintings, and Drawings ©Stuart Hopen 2018 (or earlier as noted on individual works), excluding quoted material, Whisper, Delta-Wave, and Daemon Mask Art by Russ Martin, Delta Wave Art by Albert Val and Kenneth MacFarlane, and Cyril Knight Art by Mike Hoffman.