The Amazing Stick Figures of Amazing Rain

Columbus Alive | January 20, 2005
Sam Brown’s, in the artist’s words, “could be thought of as a long-term semi-collaborative art project.” Visitors e-mail him titles, and he creates drawings to match, which he then posts on his site. Through links, conversations and e-mails between friends with subjects like “Re: cool site,” Brown’s work has circulated through Hipsterville like a rumor.

That it’s worth circulating has a lot to do with his mastery of the most basic subject of all drawing, the one thing every person who’s picked up a crayon can draw—the stick figure. But Brown’s stick figures aren’t like yours or mine—their ping-pong ball heads, inky whirlpool eyes and depressingly blank slashes for mouths emote just as well as the most photorealistic work, if not more so, because the familiar abstraction asks you to see yourself in them.

Now even Luddites can enjoy Brown’s work, thanks to Amazing Rain (Soft Skull), a picture book telling a dreamily dreary story about a couple of stick figures leaving the city, getting lost, hearing stories and suffering the consequences of poor leadership. Along the way, Brown visits favorite subjects like robots, green monsters and fish. Just as his posted pieces suggest bigger stories outside their frames, Amazing Rain radiates mood and implies a deep story while spelling out little. It’s about as strong a case as can be made for the fact that sometimes less is more.

Columbus Alive

Founded in 1983, Alive is the Capital City's oldest and only independent alternative and is known for providing a forum for the area's free thinkers. The paper's spirited and original perspective on music, arts and culture distinguish it from the...
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