After the very successful Tom Whalen/ Charlie Brown Thanksgiving release Dark Hall Mansion returns with “The Hatter” and “Caterpillar”, two inspired bits of madness by New York City artist Johnny Dombrowski.
On sale next Monday, Oct 29, 2012 at 9:30 AM PST, these two highly select prints, numbering only 99 examples for “The Hatter” and 99 for “Caterpillar,” with an additional 25 Variants for each artwork respectively, all editions are 22″ x 30″ (56 cm x 76 cm), beautifully printed on English Coventry Rag Vellum, and personally signed and numbered by the artist.
Alice and her excursions into Wonderland are an essential touchstone for DHM, as likely comes as no surprise to most, so building on their release of ‘Alice’ by UK artist Eelus in 2011 was both natural and imperative, and this year New York’s own Johnny Dombrowski goes further down the rabbit hole still with his elegant takes on both Hatter and Caterpillar, creating two companion pieces for ‘Alice,’ both printed in exactly the same size as ‘Alice,’and making for a compelling threesome of eccentrics to date.
“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?” -The Hatter
We do, and we agree, we think you will too, but best to let Mr. Dombrowski elucidate:
“Wanting to show the Mad Hatter’s insanity on a physical plane, the idea of him being an empty shell was an idea I was experimenting with during the sketch phase. He was at first split straight down the middle but that evolved into the spiral or helix, which I think shows the idea a bit more successfully. It was also really important for me to have the Cheshire Cat smiling and looking out as a nod to the viewer. His quote “We’re all mad here” proves that he still had at least some of his sanity still intact. He’s aware of what’s going on just like the viewer and Alice. That’s why I think Wonderland is his world. He’s a step above all of this lunacy.”
As elusive a guide and signpost as one would ever hope to encounter, in Johnny’s hands Cheshire’s intensity is as arresting as his ever present smile. Paired with Hatter in a topsy turvy world of visual inversion where teapots, cups and saucers seem to float away, surreal companions they prove to be.
Of Johnny’s striking Caterpillar, a fit companion for Alice indeed, beautifully rendered with Johnny’s nuanced stylizations, his piece challenges not only Alice but the viewer with three little words whose challenge resonates with us all:
Johnny on Caterpillar: Not interested in a thing we have to say. With nowhere else to go, the Caterpillar is forced to exhale his patronizing first words. While the Cheshire cat is my
favorite in Wonderland, the Caterpillar is a very close second. The two of them still have, in some ways, an understanding of what’s happening around them. Like the Mad Hatter
illustration, I tried to have an unique approach to representing the characters. Something
different from the movies or the Tenniel drawings.After a lot of brainstorming, making him this apathetic, judgmental creature was still definitely the strongest way to go. That and running with the body patterns of monarch caterpillars, I tried to incorporate a kind of Fu Manchu vibe to his antennae. A creature trapped in the thoughts of his own mind, not concerned with the worries of Alice and the Wonderland. Only flowers and his smoky apparitions to keep him company.
All Editions go on sale next Monday, Oct, 29, 2012 at Dark Hall Mansion. They’ll go on sale in their dedicated Store page at precisely 9:30 AM PST – HERE!