Interplanet Janet Leaves the Boys Behind

 

size: 184 x 257 mm • 7 1/4 x 10 1/8 in
medium: cut paper + washi + chiyogami / wood
private collection

 
“Lone eagles, soaring in the clouds, fly with silent, peaceful poise, While turkeys, in their earth-bound crowds, fill the atmosphere with noise.” -William Arthur Ward

All the boys love a girl with big dreams. The sad paradox of the situation is that by clinging on too strongly, they might ground that flight.

If you haven't guessed by now (and really, you should have) the inspiration for this piece is the amazing Schoolhouse Rock educational 'toons my generation grew up with on Saturday mornings through the 70's and the 80's. And, of course, Gallery 1988's "Idiot Box" group show which gave me the excuse to rock down memory lane. It opens tonight, April 2, 2009.

Our cast of characters (and their songs!):

Interplanet Janet

No man can tame her no matter how funky they are or how unimpeachable their command of the english language.

It might be me, but I don't remember seeing Janet all that often as a kid. Or it might be that, despite the cool space setting, I just wasn't ready for a female protagonist yet. She's grown to be one of my favorites though, mostly for the sheer surreal bizarreness of her design and adventures. The poofy hair just didn't rock my boat though, so I re-styled her with a decade-appropriate Farrah Fawcett 'do. Those wings help her soar! 

Verb

Verb was, hands-down, my favorite of the Schoolhouse Rocks. It still is. It started my love of all things truly funky. Plus: superheroes. What more can I say.

I always felt SuperVerb was just a little too clean-cut in the cartoon. I took the liberty of adding a little 70's swagger and style.

Conjunction Junction

Ah, to have the power of the Conjunction Junction engineer (Conjunctioneer?). To hook up words and phrases and clauses at a whim. The entirety of language and meaning at your fingertips. This may very well be the reason I became an English Major (before the magic of paper swept me away).

Bill

Ah Bill, you were my first pulpy hero. The first piece of paper with pathos. You fought for truth, justice and the American way (probably alongside Verb). You taught me how the Laws of our Country came into being; fighting the good fight, clawing your way up Capital Hill one step at a time. You filled me with hope, patriotism and pride.

Of course, back then I didn't know how much pork they shoved down your neck. But I still love you, man.