These Sentient Tricksters:
A subtly beautiful joke
MFA: New Projects Thesis
Columbus College of Art and Design
This is dedicated to my future wife, my rock, my love. I couldn’t have done this without you. I would have gone insane, worked myself to exhaustion and not have had any clean laundry. I love you.
Table of Contents
- Dedication pg. 2
- Acknowledgements pg. 4
- List of Illustrations pg. 5
- Abstract pg. 6
- The Prelude pg. 7
- The Boxes pg. 7
- The Tricksters pg. 8
- The Clay pg. 10
- Clay Bends and Breaks pg.12
- Moving Tricksters pg. 13
- If It Makes Me Giggle… pg. 16
- …Then It Should Make You Laugh pg.18
- Finale pg. 22
- The Boxes, Epilogue pg. 23
- End Notes/ Bibliography pg. 25
Jenn for everything, I love you. Charlotte Belland for being the devil’s advocate, toys and technology, wisdom, encouragement, stories, animals to pet, and laughter. Malcolm Cochran for your perception, wisdom, for listening, for pushing me and for the never ending questions to make me think and for telling me about Mendelson’s. Nicole Gibbs for being a fellow clay person, for the hugs and the insights. Tamara Mann for all the help with the writing. Elizabeth and John Fergus-Jean for the encouragements, the readings and the boats. Tracy Robbins for introducing me to the wonder of experimental animations. Kaname Takada for guidance, knowledge and for asking why every time we met. Molly Burke for making sure everything stays together, for being the MFA overlord and the source of our puppy therapy (Lulu). Ric Petry for constantly questioning what I’m doing. Phil Garrett for fist bumps and encouragement, pushing me to enter festivals and giggling at my films. Casey Bradley for teaching by showing, for metal pours, and for being one hell of a boss. Daniel Lewis for not being a source of stress and for being a kickass brother. Terry Pratchett for your wit, wisdom, humor, writings and eternal guidance. Sam Meador, Kim Roush, Toby Hale, Erek Nass, Thom Glick, Drew Wilson, you know what you did.
A subtly beautiful joke is embodied by ceramic sculpture and stop-motion animation. It gives life and visual humor to objects and methods that have been cast aside or seen as worthless. These objects are sentient tricksters. They allow the casual viewer to relate using multiple references to the human condition, including fragile strength, hidden truths, individuality, and self-awareness, all the while silently laughing at their own nature.
The sculptures and animations do not take themselves too seriously. They do not try to be presumptuous or too abstract to be understood, nor do they become blatantly literal. They stand somewhere in the middle of understanding. They flirt with the ideas of being campy, of misdirection, ridiculousness, and trompe l’oeil. Even in the titles there is a hint of playfulness. According to Susan Sontag, “The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious.”
There is focus on just the moment. It is not about a single experience, or singularity or the somberness of life, but that point in time when everything is clear and the joke is understood. The instant before and the pause afterwards are simply a path to be in that moment. The creative labor that is given to that one moment is meticulous to the point of absurdity.
I: The Prelude
This body of work is a culmination of humor, craftsmanship, experimentation with materials, exploration of human connections, laughter, stop-motion animation, of irrelevant moments in life, play, endurance and illusion.
II: The Boxes
The Albino King
I am an albino. No one really knows where I came from or why I’m so white. Everyone follows me. They think I’m some sort of god. I puked the other day from nerves and they gathered around it like it was gold bullion. I finally got away from them and had a moment of peace, but then they found me again. Maybe I’ll follow Alexander to his hiding place. I’ll have to disguise myself in the meantime. I wonder where the nearest mud puddle is.
I lost a corner the other day. One of the others just ran right into me and it broke. Then they left. Come on! It’s not like I can just walk around like nothing happened. It hurts. And no one’s been to the store to get any glue. I guess I’ll just stay here and starve to death.
I think I’m lost. I wandered away from the group, looking for that place that Albus had told me about. But he’s always pulling my leg. I shouldn’t have trusted him. I may be lost, but I kind of like it here. It’s quiet and peaceful, all sorts of things to look at. I’m not sure what they are, glittery and made of a flimsy kind of material, lots of lines and colors, but pretty. I might stay here for a while. I’m tired of everyone making fun of me anyway. They’re all a bunch of jerks. But this place is nice.
Oh man, hey hey hey. This is so awesome! Yep yep yep, wooooo! Let’s go do something, like ride a bear! Bears live around here right? There’s a park like, over that way. I bet that’s where they live. Hey, what happened to Thesisus? He was right here. Oh, hahahahaha! He’s passed out. Idiot. Man, I love this stuff!
Wow, this is boring. I only came because Artemis said there would be popcorn. I didn’t think we’d have to sit for so long before the movie started. I wonder if everything is all right. I bet they broke something. If I could get over there, I think I could help, after all, I am a mechanical engineer. I went to MIT, or something like that. The wires don’t look like they’ve been plugged in right. The TV isn’t even facing the right way. All right, I’ve had enough. I’m going to fix this. This goes here and unplug this, push this button, twist this, and done. Fixed! Yes, I’m awesome. Now we can finally watch the movie. Hopefully it’s not some independent film documentary like last time. It wasn’t that bad though. Ooh, popcorn.
II: The Tricksters
These sentient tricksters, these seemingly simple boxes are constantly evolving, much like the humans, the people they resemble. They are shy, mean, evil, shifty, insecure, coy, spunky, peaceful, introverted, interacting, playful, vulnerable, waiting, self-aware, campy, strong, fragile, individualistic, named, broken, whole, gathered, still, moving, multiples, square, conscious, absurd and an illusion.
The boxes are of two personalities. Both the one they must have and the one that they are. They are found in both the physical realm and in the lies told by the animation. The rules they must follow to be in both worlds are finite and unbending. The most important of these is that they stay aware of their physicality and their mortality. They must understand that they are only made of clay and will shatter. They are not the material that they seem to be.
They appear to be made of metal. They look and sound as if they were rusted steel mesh and angle iron welded together to make cubes. Cubes for no particular purpose. Except for maybe as building blocks for children or tiny metal cages to house small animals or even as novelty souvenir items from a very industrial tourist trap. They all are partially rusted and some are broken and warped. Stacked in a large pile they could be detritus or industrial waste found in an abandoned warehouse. They resemble architecture. They seem partially organized, as if someone gave up halfway through. They want to be something they cannot be. They are an illusion.
Instead of metal, these small boxes are made of paper clay. Paper clay is simply clay that has been mixed with paper fibers. These will burn out when the clay is fired in the kiln. This material choice makes the hand-building process easier but creates extremely fragile work. When the paper fiber is burned away, small holes are left behind, much like pumice. This causes an uncommon lightness to the pieces, but the lack of solidity steals away the material’s stability. The strength perceived is a smokescreen to hide their fragility. This is something the cubes must understand to survive. Illus. I. Still from The Meticulous Ununhexium of Calamity
III: The Clay
My tricksters can only be made of clay, a common material with an ancient history. Clay is one of the oldest materials that man has been manipulating for his own purpose. It has been used to create drinking vessels and cooking pots and sacred containers, used to build bricks, shelters and temples, used as the sketching material for marble sculptures. There are groups of people in China who spend their lives studying and working with clay to become masters, who make enormous amounts of clay and then bury it for the next generation to use. It is a traditional material, a craft material. There is something both childlike and visceral about working in clay. It brings back childhood memories of being handed Silly Putty or Play-Doh to keep the hands busy and out of mischief. It is able to link the present with the past, both on an individual level and on a civilization level. There are pots in ancient Pompeii that were made in the same fashion as the pottery sold at a modern-day summer festivals. It connects people to the past and reminds them that there are still those who willingly work with their hands.
Secondly, it is an incredibly malleable and adaptable material, allowing for the creation of practically anything, from marble statue sketches and drinking vessels to the Gumby & Pokey and Ming vases. Clay has been considered a craft material for most of its history, but in the recent past, it has been used more and more by mainstream artists, such as Marilyn Levine, Viktor Spinksi, Kathy Butterly, and Ann Agee, bringing it closer to the fine art realm1. I hope to add my voice to this growing movement.
Thirdly, I am a maker. I always have been. I like making things with my hands, it resonates with me on a cellular level. Making anything, be it fine art or commonplace, functional objects, is what I do. Madeleine L’Engle, author of A Wrinkle in Time, once wrote “Be obedient to the work.”2 I have found that in my making, there is no option then to be just that. These boxes evolved as I continued to make more of them and I began to see them as characters. Animations were simply the next step in the work.
Finally, it has been the material that I’ve been working with for years and I wanted to be able to push it to its boundaries and to find the limits of this technology. I wanted to explore clay thoroughly. I talked with my mentor and friend, Kaname Takada about various types of clay and he recommended paper clay. I took his suggestions and with a bit of experimenting, found a good mixture of clay and paper pulp. After coming up with methods to create the shapes I needed, I began making in earnest. I knew how many I wanted to make and was very aware of the time restraints. I had to come up with a system of making. It was very similar to factory production. Each box needed 13 pieces of angle iron, 6 sheets of mesh and 1 hinge. Eight of the angle iron had to be cut at a 45o angle to “weld” them together to create the frames of the top and the bottom. The other 4 pieces were the upright sides and were welded to the bottom frame. The last piece would be welded to the top frame to act as a handle. Each hole in the mesh was cut out individually using a cookie cutter that I had fabricated from a small piece of aluminum. Each hinge needed to be made in 4 pieces and assembled. So I began this process with slab-rolling sheets of clay. I would make as many as I could, knowing that the more I made in one sitting, the more things I could make later that day or later that week. I would make long strips of angle iron to cut down after they had dried. After cutting them down to size, I had to cut the angles on two-thirds of them. Then after making sure I had arranged them according to size, I would “weld” 4 of them together to make a frame. After going through the angle iron, I would cookie-cut the mesh, leaving the diamond shapes in to avoid warping. These would be taken out later and saved in a plastic bucket. After the mesh was dried to leather hard and more stable to pick up, the individual mesh holes would then be smoothed with a needle tool. I would start making the hinges, using the slab rolled clay for the flat parts, and hand-building the moving parts. Everything had to be measured and cut to uniformity. Once everything was dry, I would start to glaze. After applying the first glaze with a paintbrush, I started the assembly. After they were built, I would then apply the black glaze and the metallic glaze, trying to get all the welds both inside and outside the boxes covered and the brush work to convey the idea of paint. On average, I spent ten hours on each box, making them as uniformly individual as I could. The end result is a density of labor.
IV: Clay Bends and Breaks
Clay is a building material with a hilarious threshold. One of the problems I encountered with paper clay is that the thinner it gets, the more it warps. I wanted to push it past that point of warping, so I made a large cube. Larger than anything I had made yet. One and a half cubic feet may not seem like a lot, but it took a great deal of engineering to make sure it did not collapse in the construction process. I had made smaller boxes without difficulty; the 4 inch ones hardly moved in the kiln. If they had the right support, they would stay very close to the unfired shape. I decided to go bigger. The small ones were taking up a large amount of time and if I made larger ones they would still resemble the original boxes and become housing for the T.V.’s. The new boxes were 8 inches tall. These were promising, but I had not fired them yet. After coming out of the kiln, most had started warping but had not followed through. I had a good idea of what might happen once the large box was put into the kiln, from those previous experiments, but no certainty. When I opened the kiln after the firing, I laughed out loud. The box had fallen in on itself, cracking mesh and bending angle iron. It resembled a metal box that had barely escaped a car crusher only to get thrown into an intense fire. It was more than I had imagined. As a ceramicist, I never trust that what I put in the kiln will come out the way I want. I have to trust the fire instead.
Putting my trust in an inanimate object and in an antiquated means of creation allows me to let my work be imperfect. The boxes are not perfect. They are not meant to be. They are created to resemble rusty broken boxes, each one individual but resembling all the rest. Some are whole but flawed, others are have broken or bent mesh, chipped corners, missing or broken hinges and a few are completely shattered.
Illus. II. Flerovium Turns to the Evil Forces (detail)
V: Moving Tricksters
The animations are no less perfect. There are flickers in the film where the lighting was different, there are frames that should have been edited out and occasionally the boxes move awkwardly. They are played on tiny analog cathode ray tubes televisions that cannot play high-definition videos, that have imperfect lines and tracking, that only play things in black and white, and that occasionally flicker out and darken and that are an antiquated version of the modern day electronics. Although the T.V.s are an old method of entertainment, the lenticular print that graces the front of one of the cathode ray tubes, is not. However, it does portray the idea of imperfection. I made it with a black and white computer printout and a sheet of the lenticular lens. If it was professionally printed, it would have been almost perfect, but it was not meant to reflect perfection. It is there to create the idea of illusion, the idea of animation without electricity. It sits there, waiting for the viewer to walk across the space to see the animation. It has no means to produce sound. Its silence is disturbing enough to draw the viewer back to the larger collective and the false life of the televisions.
Illusion is what animations are. They are there to trick the viewer, to lie to them. And that is part of what these do. I animate the boxes using the antiquated method of stop-motion and the newer technologies of digital cameras and computer programs to give them life; a life without me they would not have. I portray them as devious, mischievous, odd little characters. Capturing them in the middle of an action, in the middle of a moment of their lives. The micro-films allow for a linear narrative, but not a connective narrative. With characters performing and mini stories being played out, it was impossible to remove narrative completely. I had intended to try and do so, but as I was working with the boxes more and more, they started to become characters with their own stories to tell. So I changed the idea to simply tell fragments. In this way, it gave the animation purpose and allowed the story of their existence. These narratives have become just as important to the entire piece as the material. These animations were also to engage the viewer, but not give them cause to emotionally connect to the boxes. I wanted to interest the viewer, to allow them to peek into the world, to experience the humor, and to bring them a little closer to the sculpture itself. But I did not want to manipulate the viewer’s emotions as I had manipulated the clay.
Emotions were the reason behind making the animations silent. Music can trick the brain into thinking its experiencing something it is not. I want the sculpture and animations to be contemplated before they garnered sentiments. Silence seemed the reasonable choice. But they are not truly silent, being played on cathode ray tubes. There is the hum of the electricity, the buzz of the tube, the metallic ambient noises that are picked up and amplified by the ceramic box which holds it. It is almost undetectable.
Alone, the animations would have no reference and the sculpture would lose a lot of its obvious humor. The physical boxes give the piece, as a whole, a static moment of truth and illusion. I tried to convey that pause, that moment in another animation to connect the animation and the sculpture. There is a group of boxes paying attention to one particular television. In fact, it is the only time they are avidly watching a screen. This animation is simply a flickering “Please stand by” screen with an image of a box superimposed on it. They are waiting for something that will not come. They do not know what they are waiting for, but they do so without complaint. They become playful and relatable objects, not because they have been watching themselves, but because the viewer can see themselves in the objects. This is reflected in their size, being only 4 inches high. The 2 inch wide hinge on the back is huge in comparison. They climb on top of each other like Illus. III. Please Stand By children, using each other as support and as furniture. The boxes understand their existence and laugh at themselves. They are a mimicry of another material, they are watching a lie about themselves as they lie about their true nature, and there are extreme contrasts in size. Having a small version of anything is humorous. There is just something about having small versions of things that makes me laugh. Having the animations play on the small televisions makes the boxes even smaller. Seeing the tiny version of them move around on a small screen that sits next to the actual boxes seems ludicrous and that is part of the humor.
The ideas for the animation came from wanting to depict moments that could happen in the lives of the boxes, but that were also quite silly. If I could storyboard an idea on paper and come back to it and laugh, then it would make the cut. These stories were allowed to be absurd, inane, ridiculous, or dark as long they were short and had a moment where the audience could laugh or at least crack a smile.
VI: If It Makes Me Giggle…
Humor is an essential element of my work. Throughout my life, I have immersed myself in an array of comedy and satire: from Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Mr. Bean to 30 Rock and Wallace & Gromit, from Kurt Vonnegut and Terry Pratchett to Jeff Smith and Edward Gorey 3-11. This humor is infused in my work. It may be subtle in the boxes, but it comes across much stronger in the animations. I took inspiration from Charlie Chaplin for several of the animations. Since there was to be no dialogue in my film, I needed to study one of the masters of slapstick. I had been watching clips of his movies and absolutely loved one particular scene from Modern Times12. I tried to recreate the essence of that scene with my boxes and it was a success. It makes me laugh every time. I conveyed a lot of my humor through the animations and most of the rest through the boxes themselves; how they are arranged, how destroyed they are, what their names are, the titles of the arrangements. Each title contains a metallic element from the periodic table. These are not the usual ones like iron or titanium, but the more unusual ones such as Flerovium and Neodymium. Again, the humor that is so ingrained in my thinking and doing, comes out in both subtle and obvious ways. I also went through and named all of the boxes. At that point they became characters and not just objects. I named them after Greek and Roman gods, goddesses and legends, dinosaurs, old common Roman names and two were named after movie characters. One reason was because they looked as if they had been forgotten about and only Illus. IV. Movie Poster recently made precious again. Another was because some of those names are hard to live up to; a box named Leonidas is laughable.
As a practicing Fluxus artist, I try and incorporate the idea of play, happenstance and absurdity into my pieces. As Kristine Stiles, the author of Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art, wrote,
“The impulse to laugh at Fluxus represents the artist’s ability to invite laughter with them. The performances are full of the unadulterated foolery, abandon, nonsense and unmitigated silliness that distinguishes human intelligence and endows the entity “Fluxus” with its overriding quality of humanity; for these events merely exaggerate the conceptual paradoxes and contradictory behaviours that guide and determine life.”13
I also want to be able to connect to the casual viewer. For them to understand my work without having it explained to them is an important aspect. Many of the people in my life are in the medicine field or teachers or craftsmen or blue collar workers. I want them to be able to connect to my work on a basic, human level. There was a visitor to the gallery, the father of one of my classmates. He is an electrical engineer, a craftsman, a proletarian. He wandered through my installation without have been given an explanation as to what it was about, stared at it thoughtfully, looked up and proclaimed, “It’s about people!”
VII: …It Should Make You Laugh
It is about people. It is a bit of satire on the human condition. It is about how strength is found in numbers, about how the boxes are aware of their own mortality, their own material and their true nature. It talks of how transparent that the boxes are, with their mesh sides, they cannot truly hide anything they although they try. It is about the moments in life that are ridiculous and mundane. It’s about being campy. Susan Sontag, in Notes on Camp, wrote, “The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious.”13 It laughs at its true nature as it continuously mimics itself. But that was only part of what I wanted viewers to take away from my boxes. I want the viewer to experience the process of discovery, to have that aha moment where they finally realize the boxes are made of clay and not metal and to finally get the joke. I wanted them to see the humor in the physical nature of the pieces. These cubes are small 4 inch high boxes. They are ½ inch angle iron welded box frames with mesh top, bottom and sides. There is a 2 inch working hinge welded to the frame on the back, allowing the top to open and close with the aid of the angle iron handle on the front. They were painted black but have begun to rust. Some have broken. Some have lost pieces. Although they are functional, they convey the illusion of purpose. Being made of clay, of mesh and their size, they are severely limited in what they can do. But they are still stackable, much like building blocks. They become playful objects, familiar objects, things that may have once been precious, but have been discarded. These boxes are whimsical in a way that starts to redefine their purpose.
I also wanted them to laugh and to appreciate the labor that went into them and the animations. Not everyone can or does. Nor does everyone understand the craftsmanship that it takes to make such convincing trompe l’oiel boxes. Craft and clay have a dirty, second class association when talked about in fine art conversations. This has been a long-argued topic. I am aware of where I stand in the discussion with my clay objects; somewhere between art and craft. My pieces are functional yet untouchable, made from clay yet resemble metal. I make sculptures, but use an “inferior” material. I am a part of the movement of artists who use clay to make fine art. But in that same way of riding those fine dividing lines, I am also now a film maker. My animations are based on the sculptures that I have created. And that puts me into a whole new realm of art vs craft vs film and entertainment. These are meant to entertain, to amuse, and to make the spectator pause and reflect. But that is part of the function of fine art now, to entertain, to make the observer think, to enrich and inspire others, to connect to the casual viewer.
The sculpture, Flerovium Turns to the Evil Forces, stands almost four feet tall, but it is also spread out, three large mesh boxes on the bottom, supporting the rest. There are groups of small boxes on and around the larger ones, stacked haphazardly. Some are gathered in front of a box containing a television that plays nothing but the “Please stand by” image from the early days of television. Others are stacked together on the floor, leaning against the large boxes as if they were trying to climb. Still more are interspersed along the detritus trail of a broken box that had fallen when the large box it was sitting on had bent and warped. There are a few still trying to stay on the deformed box, including one with a mini television. The majority of the boxes are stacked on the three large ones, almost as if a child had placed them there without pattern. Intermingled with the small boxes are some medium sized boxes that contain the cathode ray tube televisions. These are continuously playing the animations “All Darmstadtium to the Unsophisticated Havoc” and “The Meticulous Ununhexium of Calamity”. These animations are related, both portraying the boxes as their mischievous selves, both with short forays into their lives. They are meant to be viewed together, one not being more important or insightful than the other. They are short narratives ranging from 6-17 seconds. One of the televisions is so dark that
Illus. V. Flerovium Turns to the Evil Forces
only the whitest parts of the animation can be seen. All of the televisions have been shucked of their protective plastic housing. The mainboard, wires, and the cathode ray tube are all exposed. The RCA cords and the power adaptors are also visible. They lead to the evident DVD players and power strips that are contained in one of the three large boxes. The black extension cord that gives the components their electricity is bunched up on the floor between the boxes and the wall.
In contrast, Immortal Nobidium is a singular unglazed, almost perfectly white mesh box astride a mound of small diamond shapes that are just as pale. These are interred atop a floating cube shelf, high above the rest of the rusted boxes. These sit in high esteem, being the one exalted for its difference. It not only conveys the ideas of distinction and of process, but of bones as well. It shows the viewer the bare clay, the pieces that are taken away to make the Illus. VI. Immortal Nobidium boxes what they are, and what they look like underneath their façade.
Neodymium of Doom is similar to the larger construct but in the corner of the gallery space, with two medium rusty boxes stacked on top each other, a cathode ray tube television in the top. Surrounding those are maybe fifteen smaller boxes, arranged as if they were waiting for something. There is no animation playing on this television. Instead, a lenticular print that shows a box falling over and breaking is placed on the screen in lieu of moving images.
Illus. VII. Neodymium of Doom
In this body of work, I have both functional and non-functional pieces. This is where the lines between craft and art become blurred. To paraphrase Howard Risatti, author of A Theory of Craft, the craft pieces which I am making with my hands are functional, the shapes of the pieces are informed by my hands which are, in turn, a direct extension of my mind. These objects as craft offer an invitation to use them. But in the case of fine art, the figural component is created, not a functional object. The figure is found even in cubes, like Tony Smith’s Die. It is of such a size (6 ft tall) that it relates to the human figure as a whole.14
My cubes relate to the human figure, but they fit in your hand. The boxes and the animations offer an invitation to the idea of usage. They are seen as fine art and not craft because although they are made of clay and are functional, that is not their purpose.
Their purpose is to relate to the viewer, to be seen as people. They are there to express a meticulous process, to make the observer aware of craftsmanship. They are whimsical, humorous, campy and absurd. They stand there and mimic, they laugh and invite laughter. They are a subtly beautiful joke.
IX: The Boxes, Epilogue
This is not really me. I want to be over there, with the people that I know. I hate meeting new people. It’s always so awkward. But I promised my brother that I would do this with him. I guess he has to get away from his old friends. They had a bit of a falling out after one of them pushed Dionysus so hard that she lost a bit of mesh. It’s not my business, but Remus is my younger brother, and I have to take care of him. So if that means defending Dionysus as well then I’ll do it. But making new acquaintances is pushing it. I may end up resenting him for this.
I made it. I really did. Almost fell a few times, but I’m here on top and I can see everything. Does that mean I’m supreme ruler now? I don’t see that albino freak anywhere so maybe they finally got rid of him. He creeped me out. Glad he’s gone. I am going to rule these fools with an iron fist. I’ve learned from those who were king before me and I will not repeat their mistakes. I will not allow them to see my weaknesses. I will not allow a coup. I will not bend. I will not be merciful. I will not grant favors. I will not be generous. I will not allow my enemies to get behind me. I will nooooooooooooooooo…*crunch*
I’ve been locked in this place for days now. I can’t quite see out to be able to tell the time and no one else here will talk to me. We’re stacked on top of each other. I’m panicking. Oh wait. No that’s just me getting hungry. Hahaha!
End Notes/ Bibliography
- Wei, Lily, “Claytime! Ceramics Finds Its Place in the Art-World Mainstream” Artnews 15 January 2014. 2 April 2015 <http://www.artnews.com/2014/01/15/ceramics-enters-art-world-mainstream/>
- L’Engle, Madeleine, Walking on Water, Colorado Springs, WaterBook Press, 1998
- Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Python (Monty) Pictures, BBC, London, England1969-1974
- Mr Bean, Tiger Aspect Productions, ITV, London, England, 1990-1995
- 30 Rock, Little Stranger, NBC, NY NY, 2006-2013
- Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers, Dir. Nick Park, Aardman Animation Productions, 1993
- Vonnegut, Kurt, Welcome to the Monkey House, NY, Delacorte Press, 1968
- Pratchett, Terry, The Discworld Series, UK, org. published by Colin Smythe, 1983-2015, (total of 41 books)
- Smith, Jeff, Bone, Columbus, OH, Cartoon Books, 2004
- Gorey, Edward, The Haunted Tea Cosy, UK, Bloomsbury, 1999
- Modern Times, Charlie Chaplin, United Artists, 1936
- Higgie, Jennifer, The Artist’s Joke, London, Whitechapel, 2007
- Sontag, Susan, Against Interpretation, NY, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1966
- Risatti, Howard, A Theory of Craft, USA, The University of North Carolina Press, 2007