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R. Crumb’s Never-Before-Seen “Bleak” “Depressing” Source Photos of “Crap”


In the late 80s, legendary comic artist and sensualist R. Crumb wasn’t sure what the suburbs and malls of California looked like anymore, so he asked his friend “Stanley Something-or-other” to drive him around and take updated reference photos for backgrounds. TIME LightBox’s Eugene Reznik tracked acquired the rare photos of shitty parking lots, etc, and tracked down Crumb for an interview.

 I had to always be drawing urban backgrounds in my work from memory and I had this realization that my memory was fixed in a kind of cartoon landscape of the 1920s, 30s, 40s. The modern world no longer looked like that. Garbage cans and traffic lights and all these signals and stuff was different from when I was a little kid.

It was a necessary upgrade.

People don’t draw it, all this crap, people don’t focus attention on it because it’s ugly, it’s bleak, it’s depressing. The stuff is not created to be visually pleasing and you can’t remember exactly what it looks like. But, this is the world we live in; I wanted my work to reflect that, the background reality of urban life.

See more at TIME LightBox and mind the “Warning: The Following Slides My Contain Adult Language.” Eugene Reznik is an ANIMAL alum. So proud.

(Images: TIME LightBox)