A review of Papercut Heart by Ian Sullivan Cant
Published on August 1, 2009
Ian Sullivan Cant
collects several zines by Ian Sullivan Cant. The book is irresistible for its small size and gorgeous cover. Inside, much of the illustration is intentionally amateurish, and at once both startlingly simple and highly imaginative. The book begins with a poetic journey through depression, with the narrator’s musings placed beside stark images of back alleys and sleeping pills. Ironically, this tortured opening is followed by a section where some film noir characters argue for an end to sad stories. Further on we meet chia pets, glam girls, unicorns, squid, and cupcakes – an odd-ball mixture, for sure, and one requiring a specific sense of humour. This incongruity clutters much of the book, an absurd juxtaposition of images that will leave you either scratching your head, or happily entertained.
Cant is at his best with his more confident, minimalist drawings and his alluringly cryptic lines. There is a simple wonder to his more successful images. Two stand-out sections take this approach. In one we follow a string of Morse code through a dream-like sequence of ribbons, staircases, cell phones, and birds. In another, hand-shadow wings flap across several notebook pages in a flutter of smudges, while a sentimental but heartfelt poem tags along. Cant writes, “all I ever wanted / was to make something beautiful,” and we turn the page to a splash of wildflower bouquet – a gorgeous, wholly satisfying ending. mRb
Correy Baldwin is publisher of Buffalo Runs Press.