man, what a concept!

Several years ago I started drawing these little cartoons that I called “The Man” and each little image was a quirky or philosophical musing on what it was to be alive. Most of them are pretty absurd (and crudely drawn) but they struck a chord with some other friends, one of whom even made a t-shirt out of one of them (what an honour!). So I kept drawing them, and many of them still make me chuckle, and others even feel like they came from something unconscious within me and told some grander truth. Most of all they were just enjoyable to draw, and it is an idea I revisit time to time. I have bucketloads more of them that may well see the light of day as a series sometime, but for now, here are initial scraps of sketches and ideas for that cartoon series of “The Man”. I quite like the simplicity of them and the ideas they evoke.

Sketchbook: The Table of Ideas


I was sifting through an old series of sketchbooks I kept during my time living in New York and found some fun old doodles, ideas and unfinished concepts. This one, The Table of Ideas, was one that I’m no longer sure what I was trying to do with. I know that it was inspired by some very dense philosophical writings I had encountered in college by two gents who went by Horkheimer and Adorno. However none of the actual substance of the book formed part of this idea, but really just the colour scheme of the book it looks like. See for yourself (the actual book is a bot more orange looking).


Then the idea must have evolved somehow to become a working idea for artlick, a website I ran for fun with my good friends Dave and Jenn (more on that some other time). The idea clearly never left the sketchbook stage, possibly because I have no idea what the ultimate goal was – maybe a section of the site was going to be called this, and would be a place to spark conversations and ideas? You have to remember the internet back in 1999 / 2000 was a pretty clunky slow place, so we may have jettisoned this idea purely because messageboards and virtual guestbooks were the main way of interacting with a website, and that was well beyond our primitive web skills.

At some point the idea seems to have been conflated with other ones and reverted back to being The Dialectic of Enlightenment, but now by some new authors Bo Henstergaard and Ulf Hammarsten. I think this was some reference to a Swedish radio documentary I had heard about hemp farmers (strange I know!), and I loved the names of the people being interviewed, so I mucked around with their names to make them sound even more unusual, and then clearly made them the new authors of this seminal philosophical tome. That must have tickled me for some reason


At this point the idea had clearly spiralled in on itself and become some weird set of personal references and touchpoints, that mean almost nothing to me now several years later. Still though, I think the central concept of being able to visit a Table of Ideas, whatever that may be, is a nice one. Worth revisiting maybe.