ASTONISHING - ZAPANJUJUĆE
Dom omladine Beograda
Beograd, 29. 05. - 10.06.2012.
THE WORD 'ASTONISHING' comes first to my mind when I see David Vartabedian's artwork - both old and new.
The latest exuberant escapade is dedicated to the outrageous impact left by the one and only Marylyn Manson haunting David's latest batch of loud, screaming graphic sheets oozing purest rock and roll energy and excess. He doesn't ask questions letting the viewers of his extraordinary visual riffing seek the answers - - nor does he stand 'as a neutral observer' letting his subject become The Meaning.
David does NOT let his viewers not his subject. Music becomes graphic - graphics become musical in his diary of understanding and digesting devoured passion that blares back loudly the way only the interpretation of an honest rocker whose art becomes the very meaning through passionate lustful 'jamming' with everything Manson.
Vartabedian is all but an 'artful observer' simply because he IS part of the world depicted in his challenging, neurotic and uncompromising art that needs decorum like chainsaw treatment of wood requires tenderness. His visuals narrate but unlike sequential art - also known by the monicker 'comics' - pictures and words are 'freeze-framed' in endlessly lasting snippets telling stories that form in viewer's astonished minds, no matter if they are Manson's fans, devoted followers, indifferent, ignorant or uncompromising opponents.
The artist doesn't want to bribe his spectators, politely suggesting or rudely demanding their acceptance either of his achievements or Manson's spectacular stageshows, ever-changing image, appearance or surprisingly multi-layered music too easily typecast as heavy metal.
Like Manson's endeavour refusing to allow typecasting or falling into a rut, David's seductive graphic narratives constantly challenge the audiences, divisions by genres - and the artist himself who defies typecasting or walking the same road again, the same way.
More than finished artwork, I prefer to see the artist's work in progress, as it appears from scratch - if possible, of course. Preliminary sketches, preparatory versions, stages of executions - - all those treasures offered to a trusted colleague in person as a witness or to fans enjoying exclusive books accompanied with interviews or videos showing how something emerges getting the final form and appearance.
I strongly doubt that there are any prelims in David Vartabedian's approach to his artistry. His art just happens and stays to challenge status quo of the fine art's world, independently impress or co-exist with growling rock sound ... Indeed, even non-Manson inspired artwork from David always sounded to me like a FIGHT SONG.
And what a statement that song and David's homage to Marylyn Manson are..!
Bojan M. Đukić, Narrative illustrator and bassist