Robert Soulless
5/8/10 12:48 PM

Some people keep written journals, others compose blogs. Some write chatty emails or letters. All of these are ways of recording observations and experiences encountered daily. Robert Soulless, not his real name but all the more revelatory for having been chosen, like many visual artists maintains multiple sketchbooks. And sketchbooks, I am suggesting here, function not unlike diaries in that they stand as the subjective account of life, of events and moments and thoughts that a person wishes to remember or remark upon. So, what does Robert Soulless’s life look like to him? If we take his jazzy colored marker style as an indicator, it looks a lot like the 1970s. Soulless seems to go to a lot of community meetings, music shows, bars and, especially, courtrooms, and he draws everywhere he goes. But though the sketchbooks in question are current ones, the people who appear in these places seem decidedly of an earlier era, as if Soulless were seeing them with decade-tinted glasses. Another of his sketchbooks holds completely different work, natty and precise watercolor studies of insects, complete with notes explaining how their anatomical structure functions in situations of sex or prey. Perhaps this is the diary in which Soulless metaphorizes about life, rather than recording it more directly. Perhaps not. It’s not really polite to read other people’s diaries anyway.

—Lori Waxman
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