Archive for the ‘Illustration’ Category

Way to Work – Strengthening the Links between Active Labour Market Policies and Social Support

June 13, 2022

Way to Work, this drawing ®1992-2022 by Torsten Slama
Way to Work, 9.1 x 12.6 inches, pencil on yellow carton, 2022

This drawing is the recreation of a drawing from 30 years ago. That drawing was nearly identical in composition, but the figure was fully dressed. While the original was not found, presumably lost or sold, a photocopy still existed, begging in its inferior quality for the undertaking of making a new drawing, a handmade copy of the remembered original, coming as close as possible or even surpassing its original craftspersonship (perfectionism/youthful folly). Actually, even though slightly larger than the original A4, the technical execution is inferior, no doubt due to use of single mechanical pencil with HB mine and tip size 0.3 mm instead of multiple finely and variably sharpened wooden pencils of different grades.

The original clothing of the depicted person was first executed, then, by means of an eraser, removed again, and the nude body reconstructed, to achieve something of an Helmut-Newton effect, with a tint of irony perhaps, as the depicted person is not really the preferred Newton body-type. There was the idea that this could be a sort of nudist yoga teacher, but the muscular tonus is not there, nor the general width of the core which normally results from yoga practice. 

The source of the depicted setting is not clearly remembered. In all probability it was inspired or rendered from a photograph of an architectural decoration project by Victor Vasarely somewhere in France, either a shopping centre or university campus.

The following is a non-realized passage concerning dress codes and where nudism would or could be placed on a scale between “casual” and “formal”. 

Please observe the extant photocopy of the 1994 original:

Copy of original drawing, drawing by Torsten Slama, copy made at a Düsseldorf copy shop in 1993

First version (copy) “The second Idyl” A4,  ~1993

Drawing and text © 2052 by Torsten Slama and the SHY Laboratory Group

Recently, at the Film School

May 27, 2022
Film School Student in Akira Kurosawa Jumper, 9.1 x 12.6 inches, pencil and Chinese white on red carton, Drawing 1992 - - 2031 by Torsten Slama and the Media Group
Film School Student in Akira Kurosawa Jumper, 9.1 x 12.6 inches, pencil and Chinese white on red carton, 2022

This drawing is a medium faithful copy of an original which the artist produced in their early prime, probably around the year 1994. It is an effort to reproduce ancient charms in place of new inspirations. This reproduction was made from an old low-quality photocopy of the presumably lost original. It features a Caucasian male in front of a large library or university canteen window overlooking a Japanese garden, wearing a designer pullover (fashion statement) inspired by one worn by Akira Kurosawa on the occasion of one of his latest interviews, probably in the early 1990’s. It is drawn with mechanical pencil on the back of a French Exacompta folder in an exquisitely elegant warm red tone. Some highlights where added to the shrine and tree in the upper left corner. Grease marks will fade over time, while fold creases are original property of the medium and will remain.

Drawing and text © 2052 by Torsten Slama and the SHY Laboratory Group

The Marianne Dreams House

March 18, 2022
This drawing ®2031 by Torsten Slama
The 2nd Marianne Dreams House/The House on the Borderland (Acrylics, [coloured] pencil, on two A4 sheets of “Durex” technical drafting paper)

This house is the second variation on a dream location described in the book “Marianne Dreams”, by Catherine Storr. It is a house containing a boy, inflicted by polio, who lost the will to live (or to move which according to Wolf Larsen is roughly the same), a house with barred windows at first and no interior furnishings, surrounded by encroaching rocks with evil eyes. Marianne enters the house, which she had created by drawing it with some sort of very powerful pencil, in her dreams, while herself in her waking state being bedridden with some illness but a sense of agility far surpassing the progress of her recuperation, and engages with the boy, whose name is Mark (he could have been aptly called “Mark One” had this story been set in a science fiction as opposed to a sort of fantasy setting).* She challenges him, much to his discomfort, to get out of his self-protective identification with the limitations and the confinement of his illness, and finally succeeds, after having empowered him by dreaming/drawing up an exercise bike for him to train his legs, to have them both rescued by helicopters.**

*If set in a “parodic” sort of internet and social media world of the 2010’s, the character could also be aptly rechristened “Chris”.

**For a slightly darker toned rendition of same image, please visit this address

First edition cover art by Marjorie-Ann Watts

Drawing and text © 2052 by Torsten Slama and the SHY Laboratory Group

Recently, at the Model Toy Car Convention

June 28, 2020
Un Re in Ascolto / A King listens
At the Toy Car Convention / Un re in ascolto, 2019, pencil and pastel pencil on tone paper, 22,9 x 31,8 cm / 9 x 12.9 inches

Certain display options do not work due to conversion to a block type page set-up model. A new template ought to be chosen. This drawing belongs to a group of smaller and well accomplished drawings made in 2019, which deal with the topic or the author’s personal endeavour of a return to the human figure (after several years or a decade of abstaining from the depiction of human figures). Note that the human figure is a very dangerous item to depict. While from an Islamist perspective, you defy God’s will, in Western society you make certain dangerous statements with each attribute you choose to endow that figure with for the sake of desired or presumed realism. Class, as demonstrated in dress, skin color, sex, all such things have become contentious due to identity politics. It is easy to hurt someone by callously laying open the fact that the author’s inner society might not contain certain sub-species, gender types etc. or might be in some other way testament to the power of categorization. This drawing features a dog-person (the inspector), an overweight person, an unclad youthful person. All, including the dog type seem to belong to the male category, all are united in reveration of a presumably newly released vintage car model (a 1:8 die-cast scale model of a 1910 Benz Limousine) – a fetish linked to a certain sub-type of masculine sexuality. Other interpretations or readings of this image are at the discretion of the observer. It ought to be noted that the dog type is a paraphrase of an original sketch by the author Wolfdietrich Schnurre, depicting an arrogant dog of breeding, featured in the 1962 novel “Die Aufzeichnungen des Pudels Ali”. In this scene, he might not partake in the reveration process, but acts as the inspector, the arrogant non-human agent, observing two employees of the model toy car company, who might be involved in a crime of sorts.


Future © of this nostalgia-tinted drawing by Torsten Slama and the Instrumentality of the Model Toy Car Board

The Carl Grossberg (The Rift)

April 4, 2018

The Carl Grossberg and rocky landscape with Grossberg motif (by Torsten Slama)

The Carl Grossberg, 48 x 36,5 cm, mixed media on yellow tone paper

A detailed, if slightly crammed drawing with the theme of what our world would and could have looked like if energy independence, chemical independence, transportation independence and true man-nature metabolism had been the goal of industrialization. The drawing could also be an illustration to a treatise on “The Rift” (in the universal metabolism of nature), as described by Karl Marx. Not that the artist is deeply informed on the subject. In fact, any assumption of true literacy in any genre is categorically refuted (in accordance with the law of humbleness and common sense). Embedded in the rocky landscape background are several stylized coal liquefaction plants or chemical factories, tubes and pipelines, and one motif from a painting by Carl Grossberg (Fabriklandschaft im Schnee, 1923). Of course there is no snow here, as in fact the yellow color of the cardboard on which the scene was drawn evokes impressions of a slightly murky,  warm climate (perhaps of the inner earth) with sunlight filtering through a crack in the rocky ceiling, further muted by an emission-saturated atmosphere.  The drawing consists of several layers of pencil, colored pencil, washes of acrylics and different reflective and metallic pigments on a base of human spittle (which are in fact all but invisible.  Note that the “inner earth / Hollow Earth” theme has all sorts of connotations, historical science fiction ones as well as the psychoanalytical/gynacocratic/chthonic idea of earth as a womb. It seems in any case appropriate to annex a quote by Bernard Herrmann, wherein he describes his ideas about scoring the Filme “Journey to the Center of the Earth” (1959), since that film features landscapes not unlike the one depicted above: “I decided to evoke the mood and feeling of inner Earth by using only instruments played in low registers. Eliminating all strings, I utilized an orchestra of woodwinds and brass, with a large percussion section and many harps. But the truly unique feature of this score is the inclusion of five organs, one large Cathedral and four electronic. These organs were used in many adroit ways to suggest ascent and descent, as well as the mystery of Atlantis.” Drawing and words (except for italicized words by Bernard Herrmann) by Torsten Slama>

The Kraftick Liquefaction Plant

March 3, 2018

Coal Liquefaction Plant with cyclopean Landscape, drawing by Torsten Slama

The Kraftick Liquefaction Plant, 36 x 50 cm, pencil, colored pencil on tone paper

“When Germany still strived for complete autonomy and independence of Western (and Eastern…ed.) influences, coal hydration technology was one of her attempts to realise complete energy independence. Had the hydration plants not been completely eradicated by the end of World War II, their gasoline output would have served Germany’s entire private car fleet well into the 1960’s. ”  National Empowerment through Petrolum (NETP)

Apart from all its pertinence to energy empowerment stratagems, this drawing should be judged on its artistic merits and technical peculiarities. Mixed media technique on tone paper makes for interesting depth effects. The pervading pink motor oil atmosphere is sometimes fought back, at times heightened. Some of the liquefaction towers are aslant. The geological rock formation on which the plant rests seems unstable. Even the thick concrete platform on which all rests cannot prevent warping. Yet maybe the warping is only in the eyes and the hands of the draftsperson. Or perceived aslantness could be an optical illusion due to the diagonal dynamics of the rock-layered landscape in the background, which works against the perpendicularness of the liquefaction towers.

In a special effort to facilitate appreciation of technique, two details are included:

Kraftick Liquefaction Plant (by Torsten Slama), Detail   Detail of Kraftick Liquefaction Plant (by Torsten Slama)
Future © of this motor oil colorized drawing by Torsten Slama,the Energy Independence Society, and the NEPT yet undisclosed

The Engine of Confidence

June 6, 2017

Drawing after the New Zealand railway painter W.W.

The Confident Engine (after W.W. “Bill” Stewart). pencil, coloured pencil, acrylics, 40×29.7cm

This drawing is based on a painting by the late New Zealand railway painter W.W. Stewart. The New Zealand railway station  and the engine was transplanted into a landscape of possibly Triassic character and the people decorating the scenery were eliminated. More specific information about the engine and the railway line could be obtained by a knowledgeable New Zealand railway buff. This artist, in full possession of his artistic prerogative to be weak-suited in terms of research, failed to do so. The copycat artist, having confidence issues, wants to strengthen the impact or poignancy of his drawing by adding the following impromptu piece of poetry (please observe the judicially placed punctuation; a mark of poetry):

Go, Engine of Confidence,
Go your way.
Unencumbered by self-doubt
Say it loud!
You have no capacity for self-doubt.

You are long in the tooth,
wide in the hip
You go on every trip
With confidence.

Engineered to do your best
Not concerned with all the rest
Your path might be crooked
Perspective unsound
Your wheels go round and round
Until you stop.

You are the horse of steel,
A projectile
In fashionable livery
That is your way
Oh could I be
Like you.  Atmospheric rendering © 2021 by Torsten Slama and the International Steam Traction Board

The Very Potent Hair-Tonic

May 17, 2017

Drawing after Bruno Schulz,

Das sehr wirkungsvolle Haarelixier (A4, 2015)

(What follows is perhaps somewhat rambling while striving to be an encompassing description of what is already there, yet undescribed, and maybe even better left alone and unmolested by words and hearsay-facts. Uncovered, named, listed, documented sources often form a thicket under which lies buried the depth of original conception, and the factual ambiguity of the term “original”. A term which to discuss is not the purpose of the following word-thicket.)

This drawing was made to serve as a decorative side-piece for a show in a special sort of gallery, showcasing original editions of books by Bruno Schulz. The drawing’s author (the “artist”), limited in his choices by the restrictions describing his own realm of inclinations, would not have chosen this author to draw inspiration from, yet found in himself a strong urge to do “something different” (something different, of course, from what he would naturally do). So it was an appealing idea to do something according to somebody else’s wishes. So it had to be a sort of illustration. It was not to be a paraphrase of Bruno Schulz’s own, often somewhat fetish-centric drawings. It is an illustration of a detail in the short story, “The Book”, an ad for a hair tonic mentioned therein. Some pictorial inspiration was drawn from one of this drawing’s author’s favourite oil paintings, “Mourning Picture”, by Edwin Romanzo Elmer. Since the drawing’s author does not get around too much, he has never seen that painting in the original. He first came across it in a book about “Naive Kunst”. For some reason, this painting was classified as that, among numerous Yugoslavian examples, some French, and a notable German entry, Friedrich Gerlach. It was only a black and white reproduction, not particularly crisp, but the cracks in the thickly-painted clouds were still intriguingly visible.

A nom de plume was chosen for this drawing which refers to Edgar Allan Poe. So the original accent is nicely rounded off by the American influence in the form of two late 19th century American sources augmenting or instrumentalizing one Polish-Jewish, 1937 modernist, original inspiration. What this means is that it tells you something about the drawing’s author’s mindset. The artist-illustrator would also maintain that there is a certain touch of Will Elder noticeable in certain details. Which then would make for a third, second half of the 20th century, modern-popular, as opposed to modernist, American influence. The above-mentioned pen name was “Hans Pfaall” (see signature in lower left corner), lending an additional phallic touch to the drawing, already well endowed with phallic forms (eight, or nine, depending on the viewer’s susceptibility to phallic forms). A touch of quaintness is the choice of pink tone-paper, in reminiscence to a certain cheap stock of recycled writing paper, not widely available anymore. The drawing originally also featured a cat (taken from the above-mentioned mourning-painting) with very long hair, which was then erased and replaced by a multitude of overgrown house flies (Musca domestica, of the suborder Cyclorrhapha). To complete the list of references, and, in the process, to add one German influence (an addition of questionable historical and moral sensitivity perhaps), the self portrait of the painter of the Mourning Picture, sitting in a lawn chair and reading a newspaper, originally moustached, wearing a bowler hat, had his head replaced with that of a dog-creature which is a rather faithful copy of a drawing by the German author Wolfdietrich Schnurre, who illustrated his own books. This dog face, bearing the caption “Arrogant, aber von Adel”, was featured in his 1965 novel “Die Aufzeichnungen des Pudels Ali”.

The drawing was never used for its intended purpose, it was not shown, for it was too attention-drawing. So it was sent back to the draftsperson (the drawing’s author). Drawing and explanatory note © 2021 by Torsten Slama and the International Balloonist’s Society for the Applied Arts