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Dirty Diamonds: From Pain Comes Art

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #4)

There’s a lot to love about Dirty Diamonds #7. Imagination. For starters, it’s completely powered by women. From the art on the cover to the writing and drawings in the pages to even the editing and publishing; it’s all girl power! Secondly, the amount of work that went into this seventh installation of a series of comic anthologies shows in the gorgeous black, white, and grey art and the thought-provoking writing that graces the paper of this book. But, even beyond the carefully chosen submissions of art comes an even deeper subject. The mind of the artist.

I was lucky enough to purchase a copy of Dirty Diamonds at an indie comic convention in Brooklyn. It called to me amongst the many comics and merchandise in the gymnasium where it was being held. The cover, the only colored piece of art in the whole book, is of a girl in a red one-piece swimsuit sitting at the edge of a diving board looking  out at a mercreature swimming towards her. A story is told in the piece alone before the pages are even turned. The woman is the artist, curious and vulnerable, and the mercreature is her mind, frightening and full of mystic wonder. This theme of artist and mind is explored throughout the book’s comics that culminate in relatable and genuine displays of what it’s really like inside the minds of creators.

Although the anthology does address other topics like bullying and the power of creativity and imagination, to me the most vivid and palpable pieces were ones about the inner sanctums of an artist’s mind. One comic in particular really summed all the nuances of the other comics into a two page splash. In four pages, Kelly Phillips, a contributor to the all-girl anthology not only through art and writing but also editing and publishing with partner Claire Folkman, exposes the constant darkness that an artist must come to face with on a daily basis. The splash has speech bubbles around the character that read “you’re petty and heartless while I flourish and grow” and “you think you can get away with that?!” Clearly there is a battle going on with self, possibly she is talking to her depression, anxiety, or [insert any disability here] and when the character is asked a simple inquiry, “are you alright”, she responds with “I’m fine.” She says this because truly she is. She has an inner strength that overcomes the hurt and she births something incredible through the outlet of art and writing. Her craft heals her. This is the strength of the artist and of art, together they overcome the darkness and continue to always fight against it. From pain comes creation and with creation comes an endless string of possibilities.

– Kathryn Fornier



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