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Mike Diana‘s work is powerful, upsetting, offensive, and sometimes unpleasant. His art style is simple, primal, and dangerous: like EC Comics retold for today by Gary Panter. But there‘s an honesty to Mike‘s work that has always made me want to read it, even when it disturbs me. Art should afflict the comfortable and disturb the complacent, and Mike Diana‘s work does that in spades. He‘s been arrested for his art, he‘s been sentenced for his art, and a local police force was even charged to make 24 hour random raids and spot-checks on Mike‘s living space, to make sure he wasn‘t committing art in secret. Now you can find out what all the fuss was about.
Mike Diana‘s style is one of the most unforgettable in contemporary painting and drawing; the bright bold colours of western advertising are combined with rough black lines drawn with the audacity of a Japanese master to form the twisted characters that populate his world. Diana became known in the early nineties for his terrifying child-like drawings published in his Boiled Angel papers. Originally made privately on a copy machine and released in only sixty copies, these comics are now hunted by collectors ready to pay thousands of dollars for only a few pages. These drawings have grown over two decades into an amazing body of work; the main theme of which is a cautionary one, a warning that the adult world is a sick and twisted place. Mike Diana never wanted to be a serious member of the rational adult world, because in his opinion the neo-liberal community of elders he chooses to reject is guilty of the same perversions that the conservative media routinely employ to identify as ‘moral failure’. Mike Diana’s work portrays the adult as a hypocritical sanguinary monster, and the kid as his honest cruel opposer.
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