As the artistic half of the Aul & Callahan team of cultural and political subverts, Bob Aul is less political than you might think. It may be, however, that Orange County, Calif. has jaded Aul so convincingly that he knows not what political is anymore. And though he dares not admit it, his images are a great accompaniment for Nathan Callahans prose and political agenda.
With cover credits from The OCWeekly, Creative Loafing (Atlanta), San Jose Metro, Wheel and Cog, Whim, Archæopteryx Digest, and The Prevaricator, its clear 39-year-old Aul is not just messing about. In fact, his work ranges from computer graphics to comics to detailed paintings of transatlantic steamships that exist only in pictures.
Borrowing time from his sleeping hours and daydreaming at a bizarre customer service gig, Aul is working on a book called Start Lisping Today! or Monocles of Hitlers Germany ... or something like that.
Much of the work that you submit to Friction Magazine is political in nature. Are comics and art good venues for political commentary?
I'm not really a political person; I don't understand political people. I can't help but think they're much more intelligent than me, but I'm baffled by the amount of brain-space they devote to cravenly sucking up to whomever will advance their careers, while mercilessly trying to suppress people who see through them. These are pathetic folks, but I'm hard pressed to commit to memory the things they do it just doesn't soak in. I tend to react to the more absurd elements of culture, and on a good day my brain will automatically collect them and synthesize them into some ridiculous statement or image. All I have to do is be quick or lucky enough to jot them down before I forget them. Comics and art appear increasingly the best way to get a point across since nobody seems to be able to read anymore. On the other hand, you get bombarded by so many cheap images (comics really really included) every second you're awake that the power of a single picture is diluted
For FrictionMagazine.com and Friction Magazine Issue 1, you teamed up with Nathan Callahan for both editorial illustrations and comic art. Your work fits nicely with his. How did you too come to collaborate?
Nate and I found ourselves going for the last macaroon at an art opening in the Gallery Excrescence in Los Angeles. After a scuffle, we decided to split it, and it was then I discovered that he not only was a contributor to the OCWeekly like myself, but was looking for an artist to draw out his ideas. That was fine by me, because having a very verbal 3-year-old around the house makes it difficult to retain any ideas of my own.
Can you describe your style and why you create art?
I try to define an object as much as possible without lifting the pencil off of the paper. If I were a real man, I'd do it directly in ink. I was forced to develop my particular "style" first because I do a lot of spot illustrations which need to be kept uncluttered and bold since they get reduced so much, and second because of the necessities of low-resolution media. If I didn't have to accommodate the world of 72 dpi, I'd be hatching and cross-hatching all over the place and not making the lines so fat. Occasionally I do get something that allows me to stretch out a bit.
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Aul & Callahan on FrictionMagazine.com