The Hunchback OF East Hollywood

bUK1

In 2003 Headpress publisher David Kerekes invited me to illustrate a biography of Charles Bukowski. After years of doing nothing but over-the-top sex & violence imagery for comix and zines – work that I’d frankly grown tired of and wanted to distance myself from – it was nice to be asked to work in a vein more suited to my own tastes. I’d discovered Bukowski when I was in my 20’s, which is the perfect age to fall under his spell, and over time I’d learnt that not everything he wrote was gold, but when at the height of his powers (Love Is A Dog From Hell, for example) he was everything the true believers said he was. But, at his worst, he could be a maudlin misanthrope, a pathetic drunk and a nightmare to be in the same room with. A “complex character” then, and one ripe for biographical study. Enter Aubrey Malone, who was arguably arriving late to the piss-up as Howard Sounes has already published a solid biography of Bukowski’s life, but he was bringing a great title – ‘The Hunchback Of East Hollywood’ – which gave me a cue on how to go about illustrating the book. Below are a few of the drawings I produced.

bUK2bUK3bUK4bUK5This is a later drawing of Buk, from my 2010 sketchbook:

Charles Bukowski

For those who believe in God, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept the God formula, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command nor faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the church, state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.
Charles Bukowski

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