Our sons were really taken with Scott McCloud's recently released graphic novel "The Sculptor."
I'll admit I was slightly surprised by their interest. I felt that I had to buy the book for my own personal and professional reasons. (For the casual or accidental reader of this page- ie, if you are not one of my relatives- when I am not drawing on napkins, my actual vocation is making sculpture.)
But I was dubious that my sons were going to be able to stay engaged for the 496 page run of this fairly adult story. David Smith, an aspiring sculptor makes a deal with death, trading the rest of his life for 200 days of the ability to make anything out of any material with only his bare hands.
The story proved so compelling to my sons that we had to read the book every chance we got: on the train and past bedtime. The story is definitely not designed for kids. The life versus art question is not resolved in a neat or upbeat way. And there are a few some tasteful depictions of sex that we paged past rather quickly.
Reading "The Sculptor" lead to a couple of interesting conversations with my sons about sculpture and the making of art in general. They rarely take much of an interest in what I do in the studio. Most often, they see my non-napkin artwork as getting in the way of the services that I provide to them.
At the end of "The Sculptor" the doomed protagonist gets the opportunity to make one more magnum opus before he dies. He models a partially constructed unpopular skyscraper into an enormous personal figurative sculpture. We discussed the question: If you had a chance to make a giant sculpture in a very public context, what would it be? This is something that I have been thinking about for 30 years without arriving at a good answer. My sons agreed that it might be impossible to come up with a serious solution, and that maybe a slightly silly one was best.
Therefore, this napkin takes the still-under-construction and somewhat controversial "tallest residential building in the western hemisphere," 432 Park Avenue, and turns it into a sculpture of Godzilla
(You can see the actual building, described as "Gotham's fickle finger of real estate wealth signaling the next Gilded Age."in this New York Times Article)