I was pretty excited when I discovered that Tom Kaczynski was going to be one of the new Mome contributors, back in the Spring 2007 issue. I’d picked up a few of his minicomics at APE, and was impressed by his aesthetic, from drawing style to color choices and cover design. Definitely an artist to watch, and his first couple of contributions to that anthology kept me interested. But his most recent piece, 976 sq. ft., really struck a chord with me.
His previous Mome work is steeped in modern anxiety, a theme he’s continued from his work in the free-associative minicomics Transalaska, Transsiberia, and Transatlantis. While those minis featured first person, stream of consciousness ruminations on the nature of modern society and his place in it, specifically through the lens of his upbringing in Communist Poland, his two initial Mome pieces placed those themes into loose narratives that borrow heavily from the psychological thriller genre.
976 sq. ft. is similar, examining the changing face of urban neighborhoods through the obsession of one couple. When I started reading it, I had to flip to the back of the book and check his biography, to see if he was living in Seattle, since it described so well what was happening all over town. Turns out he’s currently in Minneapolis. But his description of the condominium onslaught in a sub-neighborhood of an unnamed city could’ve easily described one of several neighborhoods here in my town. The tiny chunk of non-descript buildings that suddenly becomes a “Neighborhood,” complete with catchy marketing name and accompanying upscale junk mail, the construction site changing the visual and auditory nature of the neighborhood, the growing unease of the current residents. I felt like I was reading about Ballard, Capitol Hill, Fremont. Like the recent mourning over the death of a certain block of E. Pike here in Seattle, 976 sq. ft. uses a single piece of development to underscore the psychological impact of gentrification. It’s a palpable feeling for those of us enduring the rental market in one of the few cities where the housing boom is still going strong, rather than creating foreclosed ghost towns. It’s a great piece that’s timely, and interesting as a story in its own right.No comment | Categories: Artist, Reviews, Seattle, Uncategorized | Permalink