Matador Review

A Quarterly Missive of Alternative Concern

James Deeb


"Go to heaven"


"the three wise guys"


(What started with a sketch of a man wearing a collared shirt and a thin necktie turned into a humdrum devil with the words 'killing eternity' written at the top of the page. I have been using devils in my work ever since. But like Goya's treatment of the monsters in his 'Caprichos,' I am ambivalent about my devils. On one hand, I feel I can do whatever I want to them, because they deserve whatever happens to them. They are devils, aren't they? On the other hand, I am aware that Hell is sometimes described as a distorted mirror of the world (and that almost all of my devils are left handed). So I am torn between laughing at them and crying with them.)

James Deeb is an artist based in Evanston, IL, born behind the wall in West Berlin in the mid-1960's. He remembers drawing a lot as a child and making animated movies with lumpy clay dinosaurs. He graduated from Indiana University at South Bend in 1988 and received an MFA from Western Michigan University in 1994. Deeb describes his work as darkly humorous and melancholy in roughly equal measure, making it part of a continuum that has its philosophical roots in texts like Friedrich Nietzsche's The Birth of Tragedy. This current is found in the works of artists like James Ensor and the writings of authors like Charles Bukowski. He refers to it as art in a minor key. More of his work can be found on his website.