ever to work in comics, his name still rare- ly comes up in typical debates about the medium\u2019s best practitioners. Maybe that\u2019s because in the public consciousness Pratt\u2019s not easily associated with any one charac- ter or series, any
placed in the pantheon among some of the medium\u2019s most respected and revered artists. As it is, Pratt is still most readily
identi\ue000ed with his \ue000rst signi\ue000cant com- ics work, Enemy Ace, which is easily as complex and textured as the best of EC\u2019s
was based on the character created by Robert Kanigher and originally drawn by Joe Kubert, and immediately announced Pratt as a formidable talent within the
and military uniforms that might\u2019ve even forced Harvey Kurtzman to keep the cap sealed on his red corrections pen. While not a huge hit stateside, the book\u2019s depth, artistry and attention to detail nonetheless resulted in multiple translations worldwide and Pratt recieved personal accolades from World War veterans touched by his empa-
readers or himself in the process. Pratt sty- mies lazy conventional criticism that artists can\u2019t imbue mainstream work with person- al statement by infusing his own themes and interests into even the most crass com- mercial characters. To that end he was rec-
artist can\u2019t explain fully. Still Pratt\u2019s rumi- nations on the brutality of war are perpetu- ally relevant, and never moreso than in eras of false patriotism, jingoism, and war
we\u2019re not quite a half-decade into the next thousand years. But given his past history and current interests it \ue000gures that George
Pratt will continue to touch on similar themes in his future projects, regardless of the political climate. No doubt he\u2019ll also
Robert Young: Let\u2019s start with your various artistic peers? You\u2019re good friends with Jeff Jones, Jon Muth,
generally, and that sort of pulled us together artistically. Scott Hampton I met while in school, as well as Jeff Muth. Jeff I met at a convention while in school and he sort of took me under his wing and allowed me to come to upstate New York to
drawing and painting. Kent was my real spiritual painter buddy and we learned an awful lot from each oth- er. One would stumble onto some- thing and pass it on to the other. It was an extremely exciting time for us. When you\u2019re just
to level out and you have to work harder to continue to grow. The nat- ural tendency is to slow down and sort of repeat oneself. That\u2019s death.
Young: Outside of your circle of friends are there any current comics artists whose work you particularly
Pratt: Dave Mazzuchelli\u2019s work is always fantastic, and he\u2019s a super nice guy. Mike Mignola\u2019s work I always enjoy as well. Mike does go back to the old days when we were
Young: As a fellow painter in com- ics do you have any thoughts about the enormous commercial success
Pratt: Alex hit a nerve with people and it\u2019s great to see that painted comics can command that much attention. More power to him.
Young: It has to be asked: There are numerous paintings in your comics that, if they appeared on the covers or interiors of say The New Yorker
Pratt: Not at all. I do gallery work as well and painting is painting. The comics work has different goals, namely to tell a story, keep the reader turning the pages and reading the story. They shouldn\u2019t be getting too caught up in the art. Again, it\u2019s about the story. If they\u2019re getting hung up on the paintings then it\u2019s working against itself, whereas my gallery work is paint-
ing for painting\u2019s sake. I\u2019m not try- ing to say anything profound in my paintings for galleries, they\u2019re ve- hicles for paint. It is a dialogue with the material that\u2019s interesting to me.
And there I want the paintings to be paintings. I\u2019m not interested in ap- ing nature at all, everything is sec- ond best in that attempt, even pho-
little or no aesthetic appeal for you, but the storytelling is so deft or personal that you\u2019re drawn in any-
there\u2019s a certain aesthetic at work there that is part and parcel of the appeal. This is something that I\u2019ve had to nurture in myself because my initial reaction is always to be swayed by the eye candy of great art. And great art can save a sorry
story, at least for me. I can stom- ach a lame story if the art is nice. I can just wallow in the beauty of
self trying various books because I want a satisfying read, I hunger for a good read. So I\u2019m getting better about trying books where the art is less than inspired, but carries the story in a different way that has
of the work that is just right for the story they\u2019re telling. Nothing else would have been as effective. So I\u2019m growing to appreciate all the different approaches and that\u2019s
Pratt: I don\u2019t try to teach anyone to draw or paint like myself. I show them ways of approaching tech-
niques with various media and push them to \ue000nd their own way with it all. But basically go where
blow off the hard work of really learning how to draw. If you can\u2019t draw then nothing you say will come across. You have to learn how to speak before you can sing.
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