27 March 2013

Easter Island Heads, Part 1

 above: private collection
14" x 17", ink on Bristol board, 2005

I did these ink paintings of the Moai on Easter Island, AKA Rapa Nui, a couple of years before I had the idea to make a graphic novel about their creation, the myths surrounding them, and the overall history of the island. I never did make that graphic novel, but I did a hell of a lot of research for it and I did plan a bit of it in a couple of sketchbooks.

How did this come about? While doing research for my comic book, Weak Species, which dealt with all the nasty things we, as humans, do (to each other, other animals, our environment, etc.) I learned about the history of Rapa Nui and felt strongly about retelling their story in graphic novel form as a cautionary tale. The following excerpt from Easter Island, Earth Island by Paul Bahn and John Flenley explains my main motivation:

The islanders of Rapa Nui "...carried out for us the experiment of permitting unrestricted population growth, profligate use of resources, destruction of the environment, and boundless confidence in their religion to take care of the future. The result was an ecological disaster leading to a population crash...Do we have to repeat the experiment on [a] grand scale?...Is the human personality always the same as that of the person who felled the last tree?"

It seems I wasn't up to the challenge of a full-on graphic novel...and I only ever produced one issue of Weak Species (2007), comics not really being my strong suit –and the extreme time consuming nature of the medium being another major factor. I do have material for about one and a half more issues, though. I'll post some stuff here eventually.

Incidentally, these Moai are based on my own photo reference...from Tivoli Miniature World during a family trip there in the summer of 1989.

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