Why Art? (Eleanor Davis, 2018)

Excerpt of  Why Art?  by Eleanor Davis

Excerpt of Why Art? by Eleanor Davis

Why art? Eleanor Davis asks on her latest comic. Why not, Eleanor, why not?

If her previous work How to be happy was nothing closer to a self-help book, even though the title might say otherwise, then Why art? is not exactly an essay about the importance of art.

You can tell Eleanor Davis is taking the piss on the first pages, when she shows us shapes and colours —“These are orange objects”, “These are blue objects”—, but everything is in black and white. Davis is clearly stating that this is far from being a John Berger or Susan Sontag essay.

Towards the end, though, the graphic novel does answer why we crave for art. Past its comical introduction, things get really weird, and all the different types of artists and techniques that Davis showed us at the beginning meet in a very meta resolution. When things get tough, almost in an apocalyptic way, the main characters find refuge in art and get inspired by it to fight back.

That’s what art is for, Eleanor Davis answers, that’s why.


Why Art?

By Eleanor Davis | 2018 | Fantagraphics | 200 pages