Up Close: William Harroff & Marcus Griffen

William Harroff’s The Willys

Hailing from Edwardsville, Illinois, Bill Harroff creates digital artwork that is both an homage to comic book artists and writers of the 1950s and a stinging criticism of the culture wars critic of the time, Dr. Frederic Wertham. Wertham, the author of Seduction of the Innocent, claimed that reading comic books cause juvenile delinquency.

Harroff’s work plays off of Wertham’s assumptions about what people “saw” in comic books – and what comic books led to – by digitally manipulating small sections of comic book images.

Here are a few of the tiles you can see at the Schmidt. Remember: Bill informs us that perversity is in the eye of the beholder!

"RestInANiceElectricChair"

Marcus Griffen’s Movable Type #2: Perception

Marcus Griffen, another Edwardsville artist and graphic designer, works with the idea of taking graphic design back as an art form, as well as adding an interactive element.

Griffen makes mutoscopes, which were early motion picture devices invented in the late 1800s and worked on the same principle as the flip book. Mutoscopes were popular in Penny Arcades, in which patrons viewed the coin-operated animations or movies through a single lens enclosed by a hood.

Movable Type #2: Perception features letter forms that create the animation. Visitors to the Schmidt are encouraged to play with the mutoscope.

A video of the animation is available here.

Movable Type #2: Perception

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