Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Jazzy Caricatures of "LAN"

I first saw these drawings by an artist known as "LAN," by way of a colleague from Brazil, who brought the book E HOJE!, AS ESCOLES DE LAN in to work about 25 years ago. Everybody was pretty much impressed with the wild exaggeration and rhythm "Lan" brought to these sketches, many of which celebrate the riotous pageantry of Carnivale in Rio de Janero. 

It took me this long to track down a copy of my own, and to discover that "Lan" is actually Lanfranco Vasilli, an Italian expat living in South America, where he caricatures many recording celebrities and illustrates the world of musicians, dancers and revelers from all walks of life. Although the book is considered old & rare, (it was published in 1978), Lan himself is still around and drawing, as far as Google tells us. All these years later, the artwork still packs a punch of visual style and energy. (I had to use a handheld camera instead of a scanner, the book is just too damn big to scan, so apologies for the low quality.)

34 years after the fact, however, it is also likely that some viewers in our more enlightened age may find these drawings suspect of sexism and racial insensitivity. Offense is in the eye of the beholder imo, so if any is taken, none is intended by me posting these grabs and my apologies herein are advanced for those who don't like them. Hopefully lovers of dynamic cartoon art will take away Lan's vigorous sense of design and his splashy exaggeration of a culture he may not have been born to, but clearly loves.

1 comment:

Mick said...

sexism? Let's be honest there are waaaaaaaaay too many people poised and ready to be upset on someone else's behalf these days. The drawings are tip top