A Los Angeles-based illustrator and writer Kevin Finney  is known for his a bit decadant and eery artworks. Now he is working on a new breathtaking graphic novel The Cormorant on Instagram.

Kevin Finney. The Cormorant Kevin Finney. The Cormorant

As usual, emotional and exquisite, the novel tells a sad story of a lachrymose “The Cormorant.” The subject of a NASA experiment known as “The Sea Project,” it can make everyone debilitated and sorrowful.  “It takes place in the 1980s during the Reagan administration but is not nostalgic. It has CIA interaction. It has assassins. It has the dark side of the moon, and a woman who has taken the name of Hester Prynne,” – tells Finney. “He is used by NASA to supplement their decreasing budget, often carrying out operational tasks for government agencies. When someone begins destroying members of the Sea Bird project (whose locations are supposed to be secret), it is decided the Cormorant should be brought in from the field… A shuttle launch is just weeks away; which, by-the-way, it would be great to have go smoothly.”

Kevin Finney. The Cormorant

Where does inspiration come from?

Finney’s inspiration comes from complex and deep works of such authors as homas Pynchon (Gravity’s Rainbow), Colson Whitehead (The Institutionist), T. S. Eliot’s (The Waste Land) or Peter Mathiesson (The Snow Leopard). He is also fond ofmagical style of Sjón,  who frequently collaborates with the singer  Björk. Finney is also a filmlover, especially the French New Wave. No wonder their alienated and decadent works affected Finney, as well as Tarkovsky’s films did.  “I am deeply moved by Andrei Tarkovsky’s films—the mood, the vagueness, the unobtainable. I am a fan of the unexplained. Watch something like Tarkovsky’s Mirror. I don’t think you are supposed to know what exactly is happening because it’s about memories and memories are corrupted over time. I think Tarkovsky said that even he doesn’t understand certain scenes,” says Finney. And the most immense inspiration comes from Sam Harkham’s dramatic comics Poor Sailor.

A variety of sources and muses brings lots of references and different techniques to his novel. Though, Finney feels that this also brings lack of system: “But, I often draw the pictures first and then I figure out what the text is going to be, which probably seems backwards. I don’t like writing a long scene and then finding that I am drawing the same panel over and over to deliver the scene. I want the art to do more than that, so often the art takes the lead.” He ususally separates work on graphics and texts and never has a certain plan. “I also, usually, don’t know what is going to happen more than a page or so deep. But that’s ok—I like the conflict it creates. I like not really knowing what is going to happen next.”

Kevin Finney. The Cormorant

The need for feedback

This, a bit spontaneous, yet full of inspiration approch calls for specific way of sharing. Finney prefer to put his works on Instagram and receive immediate feedbacks. “I like that it’s a global proposition. I direct message with people from around the world—that makes me happy. I’m also trying to promote and cross-promote the various projects I have going on. Hopefully, someone who likes The Cormorant will also like Turd and Things We’ve Found in Our Traps,” -says Finney. “I have five [graphic novels] going right now and am posting them all on my site and on Instagram, rotating them on Instagram a chapter at a time. It’s a bit of an experiment to juggle give at once and make them unique, but also allow them to share common themes and to embed my personality and style into each.”

Kevin Finney. The Cormorant


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