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The Link reviews PRAYER REQUESTED

Updated November 23, 2009


Reconstituted requests
Northeast steals other people’s prayers in book

by R. Brian Hastie

In this post-modernist, techier-than-thou world, there is a certain pride in being able to effortlessly recombine two seemingly dissonant elements found within the vast spaces of the collective unconscious.

One of the more famous examples found in popular culture today would be the invention/propulsion of musical mash-ups; that is to say, for example, taking a Kurt Cobain guitar riff and then superimposing over it a lyrical verse from the late Big Pun. The taking of two dissimilar elements and then merging them together to form a new work of art—which is then propagated to the masses—is slowly gaining widespread acceptance.

The public, who have in the past few years slowly learned to accept the very nature of plain recombination as a pure art form, are showing their enjoyment of such undertakings that allow them to re-explore previously forgotten bits of knowledge in a new and strange light that was heretofore unavailable.

As such, more endeavours of the sort are undertaken, allowed to roam the zeitgeist and be free in the way they combine things, exploring and letting artists try on different bits of forgotten clutter, marrying disparate cultural elements in an effort to create something that they believe to be a functional fusing.

Prayer Requested is such a book. A collected series of sentences artist Christian Northeast presumably found on the Internet, it is a 96-page tome that sets a page apart for each prayer. It is simply prefaced with a simple image of a computer with the words “PRAYERS I FOUND ON THE INTERNET.” The pages that follow offer a strange form of pseudo-decoupage and collaging that invites the reader to question what will appear at every new turn of the page.

The original meaning of most of the more serious messages are lost as Northeast devalues them in favour of subverting them with his own meaning, recombining the prayers with his thoughts on the subject. For example, the original text “Pray for America and all that she stands for” was probably meant as an earnest invocation to a higher being in order to protect the prayer’s country and all of the values it was built upon, but Northeast injects his own view on the subject. In this case, he draws a giant Big Box restaurant with “ALL YOU CAN EAT” as its name, effectively turning the honest prayer into honest social critique of the doctrine that an entire nation is based upon.

On certain levels the book is what it is, and promises nothing more. Each page is an honest portrayal of what Northeast is feeling, thinking, and/or reacting to. He takes the source material, processes it and comes up with a series of very apt (and at times, equally poignant) images that are meant to instigate, to be studied and pored over. What comes out is vastly different than what was before, but is no less valid as a form of expression and its new intent cannot be simply critiqued based upon the previous forms that were used to make this pairing-up complete. They must instead also be measured against other reconstituted bits of information, a genre of formal critique which has yet to be properly developed.

What one may consider the most interesting facet of the book, though, is that it also forces the reader to ponder about the very nature of prayer. What does it do? Who does it go to? Why do we do it? Are prayers ever answered concretely, or do they linger in the air and disappear into the past? These are all interesting questions tied deeply, in most part, to the theistic nature of a lot of the utterings contained in the tome. Like ransom notes to a higher being, their letters are co-opted and become reconstituted in order to fit a new mission, a singular vision and a new series of perspectives. A compelling read, to say the least.
 
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Featured artist

Christian Northeast

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Prayer Requested




  PRAYER REQUESTED reviewed by Worcester Magazine

Updated October 20, 2009


by John Seven

Prayer Requested by Christian Northeast (Drawn & Quarterly)

This latest edition of the Petits Livres series is also the most ambitious. Northeast pairs his drawings and collages with text he lifted from an online prayer site. This stream of sincerity is punctuated by Northeast’s graphic additions, which function as editorial comments that bring the text out of its context and down to earth — and sometimes the thud of that impact hurts. The prayers themselves are concerned with all forms of ordinary minutiae and nightmarish tragedies, each cryptic in its own way. The mysteries allow Northeast’s punchlines to burst off the page.
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Featured artist

Christian Northeast

           Featured product

Prayer Requested




PRAYER REQUESTED reviewed by Book By Its Cover

Updated September 1, 2009


Prayer Requested
Christian Northeast

This book is a collection of illustrated “found” prayers by Christian Northeast. From the internet, Christian found peoples’ pleas to pray for them and made drawings and collages to accompany them. Of the prayers he picked, many are quite insane, like “Please pray for Bob. He is disabled and practices witchcraft.” Others are a little bit heartbreaking- prayers wishing to find love, to not be gay, to make a daughter lose weight, for courage to sing in front of a group. But somehow Christian’s work lightens them up. Some of the illustrations are even hilarious. Christian’s illustrations cycle between loose line drawings, to textured collages, to full color paintings. I love how his work uses so many mediums and styles. This book is great fun! Get it here.
 
click here to read more


Featured artist

Christian Northeast

           Featured product

Prayer Requested




  PRAYER REQUESTED reviewed by Book By Its Cover

Updated September 1, 2009


Prayer Requested
Christian Northeast

This book is a collection of illustrated “found” prayers by Christian Northeast. From the internet, Christian found peoples’ pleas to pray for them and made drawings and collages to accompany them. Of the prayers he picked, many are quite insane, like “Please pray for Bob. He is disabled and practices witchcraft.” Others are a little bit heartbreaking- prayers wishing to find love, to not be gay, to make a daughter lose weight, for courage to sing in front of a group. But somehow Christian’s work lightens them up. Some of the illustrations are even hilarious. Christian’s illustrations cycle between loose line drawings, to textured collages, to full color paintings. I love how his work uses so many mediums and styles. This book is great fun! Get it here.
click here to read more


Featured artist

Christian Northeast

           Featured product

Prayer Requested




PRAYER REQUESTED reviewed by Drawn

Updated August 12, 2009


Christian Northeast: Prayer Requested

I recently snagged Christian Northeast’s new book: Prayer Requested. It’s a delightful hodgepodge of drawings, collage, and hand lettering that illustrate random prayers he found on the Internet. It’s touching, funny, odd, and completely inspiring. You can see more of Christian’s work, and download some sample pages from the book, on his website.

 
click here to read more


Featured artist

Christian Northeast

           Featured product

Prayer Requested





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