“In a decaying culture, Art, if it is truthful, must also reflect decay. And unless it wants to break faith with its social function, Art must show the world as changeable, and help to change it.” – Ernst Fischer
The world of illustration is oversaturated, as Cliff Galbraith -founder of Crucial Comics– would state, by a “mosh pit of mediocrity.” It seems as though we are living in a culture where everyone thinks they can create something new and unique when they are only copying the same contrived drivel of a bygone era. In two weeks, the Manayunk Arts festival will begin, and artists from far and wide will peddle their wares and business cards. Rather than form a lengthy tirade, analyzing what is or is not art, I want to focus on a specific artist, Michael Majewski.
This year, you will find a curious young man in the emerging artist section. Under a shaded tent, he will have everything from acrylic paintings, to pastel illustrations. But what delineates him form the rest of the cohort? Stacked in a neat pile you will find an original publication entitled Run Like Hell. This is a comic book that he authored in every aspect from concept to print. The comic’s unique storyline will captivate an audience open to new ideas and forms of expression. Comics are far from dead, and no pun intended, Michael Majewski illustrates this very point exceptionally in Run Like Hell. Down to the last detail, it was very important that he made a comic as true to the culture as it was, and has been for him- he is selling them at the same price he paid for comics in his youth. He believes that stories should not only be exceptional, but affordable as well.
Being an artist is not enough for him. His paintings and illustrations tell stories, so it is only fitting that he set out to create his own story. Run Like Hell is not only the brainchild of Michael Majewski, but also a landmark zeitgeist of what it takes to get your work to the masses.
From concept to the countertop, he tried multiple publishers only to be met with resistance and outright rejection. He took it upon himself to invest a large sum of himself, as well as money, into self-publication of Run Like Hell.
Run Like Hell tells the narrative of a future society, where robots are more than outcasts- they are to be killed on site. When you read the comic, you will see parallels to our own decaying culture, as well as a changeable world. Michael Majewski’s website can be easily viewed at mpirestudio.com, and you will have a chance to visit more than just a few illustrations.
As Michael Majewski’s artwork appeals to a wide variety of enthusiasts and aficionados, he was present last year, and will emerge again this year. Though the festival is quite large, it would be foolish to pass the opportunity to see his artwork and meet him in person. In a recent interview, he expressed that people mistake his silence for shyness, while he, unlike most of the artist at the festival, is not attempting to be grandiose and force his art upon you. To him, it is not about sales- it is about being remembered and receiving notoriety for doing something he loves, and believes that others do as well. He contends that comics are much more than a niche market- they are dreams put to paper that tell a story, while holding true to reflecting the climate of our society.