Comanche Maneater

Drawing from United States history and popular culture, this series is steeped in Americana. On the surface, much of the artwork resembles Southwestern Art, which typically focuses on the American Frontier, Westward Expansion, and the culture of indigenous tribes. Beneath the surface, however, there are references to film, television, and comic books—all of which spread American folklore with a unique visual style.

 

Building off of tropes established by Westerns and horror movies, the storyline unfolds through a series of found artwork. An anonymous stagecoach passenger illustrates a supernatural tale of rebirth, violence, and revenge. Following an ancient Indian blood ritual, fallen tribal warriors across America have awoken to wreak havoc on white settlements. They attack with a ferocity yet unseen by settlers or the military. The stagecoach and its passengers are placed under the protection of the U.S. cavalry while traveling to Lordsburg, New Mexico. The first part of the story closes with a devastating attack on the sequestered travelers in a small fort in Arizona.

 

Inspiration is drawn from the Westerns of John Wayne, with Stagecoach acting as the essential blueprint. Passengers from different strata of society have been brought together for a journey across the American frontier. From the priest to the gambler to the prostitute, each archetype is represented. John Wayne has been replaced, however, with a half-white, half-Comanche outlaw that will help subvert the traditional storyline.

 

As the viewer, we can enter this world through the sketchbook entries, watercolor studies, and acrylic paintings. It is almost like being able to enter a graphic novel to interact with the artifacts that shape the story. The sketchbook allows us to follow the story as it unfolds, while the paintings expand upon these events. We can almost imagine the images of watercolor and acrylic resurfacing in the mind of the narrator in the days following the attack.

 

Nick Franco [July 20, 2019]