Normal History Vol. 642: The Art Of David Lester

Every week, we’ll be posting a new illustration by David Lester. The Mecca Normal guitarist is visually documenting people, places and events from his band’s 37-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

“If it’s a radical subject you are dealing with, you want to take a radical approach to the drawing.” —David Lester

In the case of David Lester’s graphic novel about Winnipeg’s general strike in 1919, he drew quickly with large motions as if he were a traditional war artist documenting battles before cameras were common. The drawing method and resulting style both matches and runs counter to the era beautifully in an unexpected way. Back then, artists would have aimed for painstakingly realistic depictions while the mud and bullets flew.

The illustration here is another example of a radical approach. The character is more conventionally drawn than the surrounding location, which is basically a painting. Perhaps our uniquely individual understanding of how art and images affect us gives each viewer a somewhat different experience as we try to mesh these disparate styles.

I chose this image to go with “Will He Change?” because it is one of the rare Mecca Normal songs with a question mark, and I feel the subject wondering if that train is ever going to come, creates a vibrational visual tone much like what could be accomplished by a specific chord progression in a film soundtrack.

Will He Change?” from Calico Kills The Cat (K, 1988) (download):