Forces of Nature / Multiple Vortexes

Jim Shaw


Drawing, 35.6 × 27.9 cm.
Materials: ink on paper

Collection: Gagosian, Los Angeles (Inv. no. JSHAW 2010.0018).

“I’ve been doing drawings based on hairdos that really existed in the sixties, turning them into different forces of nature. And this is all before the tsunami [in Japan, 11 March 2011].”

(From an Interview in Metropolis M.)

In the series 'Forces of Nature', Jim Shaw examines the way in which forces of nature are stereotypically represented. The ideas of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) on how to draw waterfalls or clouds produce very stylised images, which according to Shaw are very similar to the practice of comic strip artists. Shaw uses the style of comics from the 1950s and 1960s not only as a reference to childhood memories, but also because he is interested in the production methods that are used. He taught himself to draw in a style that was mainly aimed at 'quick delivery' (after all, illustrators were usually paid per page) and then applied it to works of art intended for museum walls. The depiction of expressionistic elements such as explosions, speed, and natural forces are essential in comics. They aim to set the action in motion – in the mind of the reader.


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