I know I usually post my own art, but today I wanted to showcase some of the amazing work by Kara Walker. I think her brilliance is the way she uses a very minimal art style to express something major. By only using silhouettes, Kara Walker shows a vivid picture of the experiences black people went through when they were enslaved in the South.
It might seem strange that Kara Walker’s work is on my blog since she’s not a cartoonist, but I think analysis of her use of silhouettes would be extremely beneficial to any animator or illustrator. These silhouettes are strong and the figures are very lively and expressive. You can tell the black figures apart from the white figures without seeing their faces or different skin colors. Her ironic use of stereotypical imagery to portray the black characters confronts the viewer with a different way of looking what what people would consider “sambos”. The dehumanizing exaggerated imagery of the “sambo” is juxtaposed to the inhumane way these people were treated so that the less-than-human view of them doesn’t hold up anymore. The character designs in Ralph Bakshi’s Coonskin were done with the same idea in mind. The way the figures are designed reminds me of Li’l Abner and the swampy backgrounds remind me of Pogo.