Friday, May 20, 2011

A note on illustration

A note on illustration

(a postface in the recently released Swedish edition of Amos Tutuola's "My life in the bush of ghosts")

About the illustrations

During the period when I was reading the translation [by Niklas Nenzén] my inner voice said on one occasion:

– That is my favourite novel.

And it was soon obvious from the hypnagogic flow – often just a few details to improvise from, or additions here and there to my already rendered images – that my subconscious was boiling with a very special kind of enthusiasm this time. In a dream, for example, I met Bela Lugosi in his Dracula regalia, and he announced, eagerly but in a very friendly way, his own proposal for an augmentation, including himself, of the illustration of the smelling-ghost that initiates the suite of images. From the outset, two things were clear to me: 1. I wanted to avoid styles that were too obviously reminiscent of African art; 2. I didn´t want to merely, like an empty mirror, give a dutifully exact representation of Tutuola´s specific character. Instead I was looking for the enhanced option, for example, to make the ghost world multifaceted and link it to other ghost worlds, death realms and so on, just as the way one reads a book about Africa, for instance, is not only that one experiences "Africa" but that one also includes one's own environments in a fusion with things one has seen and things one has never seen before. And as usual with the subconscious, there is, for those who enjoy such things, I dare say, plenty of witty points and a funny, peculiar kind of humorous finesse.

John Andersson