Normal History Vol. 667: 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 38-year run, with text by vocalist Jean Smith.

So powerful, David! One doesn’t often see a loose, wet-on-wet wash with the tightness of crosshatching together. It seems to highlight the sense of polarization on the subject of slave ownership at that time.

It feels like every pen stroke of the upright men (the ignorers) has slide downward and landed on Lay, pinning him to the ground in a net (of sorts) under the weight of their outlined bodies. It could almost be chain-link fencing, which I’ve also heard called crusader fencing.

I’d be curious to know if this drawing was something you thought out in advance and reproduced based on specific ideas or if the various elements (line, wash, crosshatching and the emotional roles they play) arrived during the process of drawing it.”

“Such excellent observations, Jean! The dynamic of the drawing was carefully thought out, but it took many sketches to get the position of Benjamin Lay visually the way I wanted it.”

Follow Down” from Jarred Up (K, 1995) (download):