BRIEFS// Ignorance Ends at Death: Corinne Halbert’s Youth-Tripping “Golden Days”

Corinne Halbert, “Pin Up Baby 5.” Image courtesy the artist.

By Michael Workman

For readers unfamiliar with your work, how many years have you been making your Hate Baby Comix? How did you get started drawing it?
I’ve been making Hate Baby Comix since 2009. I read Charles Burns BLACK HOLE and it deeply changed me. I was particularly struck by the dramatic contrast in his … exquisitely rendered black and white drawings, and decided that I wanted to make my own comic book, a large format, 8.5” by 11” high contrast black and white.

Where did the title come from? How does it help shape the stories you tell in the comic?
I was walking under a bridge on North Avenue in Chicago with an ex-boyfriend, sometime in 2009, and we were having a conversation about what to call a child born of vile circumstance, such as drunken debauchery, or from two parents who loathe each other. That’s when I came up with the name Hate Baby, and thought it was perfect for the dark imagery that I wanted to make. In some ways, Hate Baby’s diaristic, the issues often contain elements of things that have happened in my real life. But mostly it’s a dark and foreboding world of bizarre, erotic horror vignettes.

Corinne Halbert, “Double Death.” Image courtesy the artist.

And that’s why they’re great. It’s challenging. I mean, the stories are often bursting at the seams with lurid tales, images adrip with graphic sexuality and violence. Why is that and what do you want the reader to experience when viewing them?
I experienced several traumatic deaths in my family at a young age that shape who I am today. That’s why I am so fixated on death. In my artwork this obsession with death is coupled with a deep love of horror movies, a fascination with the female form and sexual desire. By creating cartoony depictions of heavily violent or erotic subjects, I’m hoping to create a a darkly humorous and provocative dialog. I want the reader to have fun with the imagery and let their imaginations go out of control. I love to draw; my ultimate hope is that the viewer enjoys the aesthetic experience, and either gets turned on or freaked out, and gets a laugh in here or there.

Corinne Halbert, “Hate Baby” issue #1. Image courtesy the artist.

What’s this solo show about and what do you want it to accomplish?
“Golden Days” is, in the words of my good friend Mike McPadden “an acid rainbow of childhood memories and candy-coated gravestones marking the doomed trail to adulthood.” It’s a psychedelic adventure about growing up — whether we want to or not. There’s a duality at play between the bizarre, brightly colored little girls, with three eyes or two tongues and the “seductress destroyers,” rendered in stark, stark black-and-whites. I hope people immerse themselves in it like an ugly fairy tale, riddled with danger and hallucinations, using these drawings.

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Corinne Halbert’s “Golden Days” at Adventureland, 1513 N. Western Ave., Chicago, IL 60622. (312)617–5168. Opening Reception: February 5, 2016 6–9pm.