MOME Interview 3: Kurt Wolfgang

gg: You insist on cramming every panel with enormous amounts of detail, which is interesting, because I think you’re one of the few guys who can make that work.

kw: Thank you. That’s good. [Laughs.] That’s good to hear, because I often…

gg: Why the compulsion to do that?

kw: I think it’s… I think it’s maybe insecurity [Groth laughs], I think is maybe a big part of it. I wish I could let go of things.

gg: It gives your work a really distinctive density and feel to it. Think of the first strip in MOME, for example.

{mosimage}kw: Is this the first MOME? Because that was one of the least detailed things, that was my scaling- everything-down style, if you compare that to say, the Pinokio stuff. There’s no crosshatching in that first MOME. Yeah.

gg: There are the cityscapes, and they’re…

kw: But compare that to a cityscape from Pinokio or Where Hats Go.

gg: No, that’s true, but the panels are still full. No negative space.

{mosimage}kw: Part of it I think is some level of insecurity. I don’t draw technically very well, so I figure if I fill, and I’m not being clear, but if I fill it up with lines, then certainly I intended it to look this way, all this work has gone into it. I don’t think my work stands on its own in a more simple form. I think that’s part of it. Another thing is a lot of the work I enjoy, have enjoyed through life, has been very dense.

I’ve heard people say that they prefer art that leaves something to the imagination, to where you can imagine what’s going on, that every bump on the plaster on the wall doesn’t need to be there, it’s not adding anything, but I disagree. I mean, there’s movies I can watch that are terrible movies, but they just have such a nice look to them, and they set the tone so beautifully, and you’re in love with the cinematographer in this terrible, terrible movie. Take the first Rocky movie, for example, and I like the first Rocky movie OK, I suppose, but the whole look of that movie is so beautiful. It’s got this dinginess that maybe I can relate to from my youth or something, but it really tells so much of the story, and I find that…

I was looking at some Charles Addams last night, and he had these one-line gags where he could have summed everything up with nine lines, and put so much lush detail and beauty into it. I know this is a foolish assumption, but once someone put so much work into it, I feel like they loved it. You know, they really put something into it, and they really spent time with this thing and had some kind of love for this to spend that much time with it. I love doing what I do, I really do, I really love making these little worlds, and if you’re going to make a world, that’s the most fun, including all the little things in it. Being the set designer and just going crazy.

More books featuring Kurt Wolfgang (click covers for complete product details)

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All books featuring Kurt Wolfgang