ANIMAL’s new feature Artist’s Notebook asks artists to show us their idea sketch next to a finished piece. This week, Rollin Leonard – emerging, internationally-exhibited net artist currently based in Maine — shares a page. His work The Kiss and the human Tetris mush Pig Pile, were part of a large show at the Fach & Asendorf Gallery along with other pieces and artists. Rollin’s combination of whimsy and morbidity is exciting to us. Check it.

For the Kiss, Ellis and Guthrie keep moving towards each other, pixel by pixel, until the rows pixels meet and stop proceeding, transferring their facial contours to the back of each other’s head. That line, the center line where they’re actually kissing, I was really interested in. The line is the difference of the two facial contours and since their faces are so similar the line is fairly straight. It’s fairly symmetrical.

These are a few sketches of the concept, of bodies being elastic. Of the pile of humans, a car crash, me kicking. You can scramble them and still recognize them. I like it because it’s kind of gory and morbid. It’s super pleasant and pretty the way their bodies turn into pattern, but it looks like a body is decomposing, falling apart.

I guess one of the main premises of this is rearranging existing material, existing information. Here, I’m rearranging superflat bodies to fit into the games I play with them. One game is “splat” and the figures melt into the image’s rectangular box.

I feel satisfied to watch it! I imagine myself in it. You might with anything. Making the subject a person makes that pretty easy. It engenders some base empathy.

I feel pretty uncomfortable just blithering on about it. Not knowing what is obvious to the viewer and what would be interesting to hear. I like the “seeing aloud” approach to writing about art because it doesn’t turn people into bullshitters.

Artist’s Notebook

Artist’s Notebook: Don Hertzfeldt