‘Tommy Eugene Higson must hate women’ or so is scrawled in blue coloured pencil somewhere around the middle of ‘I’m a little bit scared of what comes after’. One can easily see where the accusation might come from, a bit like Willem De Kooning, (who was also accused misogyny) Higson deals with the monstrousness of woman, viewed through prism of male desire.
My Name is Casanova is full of line drawings of pornographic images taken from the internet. Beginning with the sort of thing silly young girls post on Facebook and ending up with the kind of thing you’d expect from a members only website, the whole disgraceful thing is annotated with lyrics ‘borrowed’ from someone called Jesse Lacey. It is fantastically unsettling, Higson’s line drawings drain any eroticism these images may have had revealing a pathetic hopelessness, darkness and anger.
Im A Little Bit Scared Of What Comes After is different, but no less dark. Executed in a rather violent yet childish coloured pencil style, the cover features the kind of drawing Jack the Ripper might have brought home from school to be stuck on his parents fridge with a magnet. Within is more pornography collected from both straight and gay websites, but there are other images too. A man falling through the air having just broken his pole vault, a small (monstrous looking) child sliding down a pink slide. These drawings are nothing short of brilliant, capturing with a crude medium a great deal of subtlety and vulnerability. The text works better here, described as ‘Words from various sources, misquoted and self’, the interplay with the text and images is more thoughtful and leaves interpretation open just enough to really engage the reader.
So, to return to the self posed question at the beginning of this post, does Tommy Eugene Higson hate women? Well if he does he’s not the only one, his work brings into focus with elegance and economy the seething mire of wretchedness and frustration that represents the majority of the content contained in our societies finest achievement – the internet. I have a feeling that Higson’s writing needs time to catch up with his incredible art work, but the courage to confront difficult things at the risk of being accused of misogyny (even if you are being accused by yourself) is something artists should have more of.
Higson’s website features more amazing artwork from a new zine