Danijel Zezelj: silence and wordz # ink and story # line and sound

August 31, 2008

I don’t think I’m able to express fully how much graphic novels by Danijel Zezelj have had influence the way I see thingz…

Sometimes, I think that everything what I‘ve learned about composition, relation between black and white tones, telling stories with liquid irony draining from my mind the latest drops of my ‘imaginative exploratorium’ it’s because I’ve red comics by Danijel Zezelj…

dz5.jpg
Danijel Zezelj (c)

Very recent his graphic novel Rex has been issued in Canada by the Optimum Wound Publisher. The title was originally published in 1995 in Croatia, then in Italy (2000) and France (2001). This is his ‘honest_guy_stucked_in_jail’ comic where the leading idea of the story is the motif of revenge. The web comic is readable here

dz2.jpg
Rex by Danijel Žeželj (c)

Somebody would say: nothing unusual for comics, you know. Yeah, that’s true, but from Zezelj’s perspective it’s always a combination of narrative sequences taken from his influences: books, urban life, cinematography and music…

I’m not goin’ to blog you now about Rex just to spoil you the pleasure of reading it…

This is one of his early workz, so if you aren’t familiar with his opus today, you might get a little bit different picture on his style… but, just a little bit… therefore, read it all…

dz3.jpg
Billie Holiday by Danijel Žeželj (c)

Danijel Zezelj is an exceptional graphic novelist (ok, ok… cartoonist), illustrator and artist whose interests are far from drawing comic books only for grownup boys and elektro-punkish chicks with a bunch of zephyrs with favourite comic characters or badges in front (that’s my category, I admit!).

dz11.jpg
Danijel Žeželj (c)

His strongest side is his unique graphic style, very often described as ‘hauntingly dark and lonely nature Kafkaesque illustration’. Zezelj is very contemplative during storytelling, but not easy to digest… and that’s the reason why he’s not very popular among population attached to comix super heroes… Zezelj’s characters, or may I say heroes, are dignified beautiful social losers…

dz6.jpg
Danijel Žeželj (c)

The whole indie image is also enhanced with Zezelj’s secret and reticent character, focused more on his work then on building up his public image just to satisfy ‘very cool underground art scene’, whatever it means…

Danijel Zezelj was born in Zagreb (Croatia) in 1966. He graduated painting at the Academy of Fine Arts. Zezelj started to publish comics during his first year at the academy, and till now he published about thirty graphic novels and short comics collection.

dz7.jpg
Danijel Žeželj (c)

He lived in Seattle with his wife, stunning jazz musician Jessica Lurie, for almost eight years in the nineties and during that period he was working for DC Comics and The New York Times Book Review. Last few years the couple lives in Brooklyn but regularly visits festivals in Europe. His novel The Rhythm Of The Heart, published in 1993 in Italy had an introduction written by Federico Fellini: ‘I am fascinated by Zezelj’s threatening and ghostly perspectives, the way he manages to use his stories and figures to express a sense of melancholy, of some impending doom.’

dz8.jpg
Danijel Žeželj (c)

Zezelj’s influences, as I’ve mentioned above, are disrupted from his favourite films, such as: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligary, Hate, Taxi Driver, Samurai, Apocalypse Now, Amarcord, Andrej Rubljov, Caro Diario, Stranger Then Paradise, Berlin Alexanderplatz, to name a few… which could be definitely seen in a way he is building up his stories with a film narration linear structure…

dz9.jpg
Excerpt from poster, Danijel Žeželj (c)

He claims to be more influenced by cinematography then with comics and all that stuff. Literature, as well, takes an important part in his visual vocabulary and transcendental navigation … he is particularly inspired by artworkz of Franz Kafka and the Russian Avant-garde…

dz10.jpg
Danijel Žeželj (c)

I saw in June at Animafest Zezelj’s performance Crux which he did jointly with his wife Jessica and her band… Flux is kinda built up on the formal duality of music and painting: space to music, time&tempo to painting… vice versa… a painter’s tribute to grafitti art amplified with experimental-classical-punk-blues-free jazz… energizing the whole process from vivid shapess to concrete painting… mutualy… leaving you with the question: who’z the choreographer here?! Musician or painter?!

I took some photos there… it’s hard to catch him publicly… enjoy!

5 Comments
September 1, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

Very nice essay. I really enjoyed reading this. You are in for a
special treat this year. A new webcomic by Danijel starts in 2
weeks and a new book will be out on November 26th. I’ll be making
all of the announcements this week. -Jason Optimum Wound Comics

September 1, 2008 @ 7:34 pm

Very nice essay. I really enjoyed reading this.
You are in for a special treat this year.
A new webcomic by Danijel starts in 2 weeks and a new book will be out on November 26th.
I’ll be making all of the announcements this week.
-Jason
Optimum Wound Comics

September 1, 2008 @ 6:10 pm

Hey Jason… glad you came here… Thanks a lot for reading /
perceiving it… Great to hear that Danijel is in creative mod… cool…
Keep me posted on your activities at Optimum Wound Comics… Best…
Deborah

September 1, 2008 @ 8:10 pm

Hey Jason… glad you came here…
Thanks a lot for reading / perceiving it…
Great to hear that Danijel is in creative mod… cool…
Keep me posted on your activities at Optimum Wound Comics…

Best…

Deborah

  • Pingback: Interview with Danijel Zezelj: Equilibring black and white | Personal Cyber Botanica

  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    *