Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Mr. Vonnegut!

"Sweet Dreams Mr. Vonnegut" inks on paper / 2007
One of the most influential authors of the 20th century was Kurt Vonnegut, who was born on today's date in 1922 in Indianapolis and passed away just four short years ago.  Before becoming a world-famous author, Vonnegut like so many Americans, was called to duty to defend The United States in World War II.  He became a prisoner of war when he was captured by German forces in The Battle of the Bulge on December 19, 1944.  Imprisoned in Dresden, Vonnegut saw the city decimated in a firestorm of attack the following year.  The young soldier along with other prisoners sought refuge from bombings in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker dubbed Schlachthof Fünf (Slaughterhouse Five), which became the inspiration and title of one of his most celebrated novels exposing the absurdity and atrocity of war with his flamboyant and unique commentary. Vonnegut was eventually liberated from capture by Soviet forces and returned to the U.S.

I was first introduced to Slaughterhouse Five through my Senior English teacher Mrs. Greenfield in High School.  Taking an interest (as opposed to the disdain of others) in my radical and warped nature, she turned me on to many great authors including Huxley, Camus, Burgess and others.  I found this first novel from the author to be my gateway into his world and to other great works including my favorite, Cat's Cradle.  Upon hearing of Kurt's passing in 2007, I was compelled to illustrate his image which I've shared with you today on what would have been his 89th birthday.  After finishing the portrait, I was compelled to pull out an old typewriter and add to the work, "Sweet Dreams Mr. Vonnegut."

"Someday, someday, this crazy world will have to end,
And our God will take things back that He to us did lend.
And if, on that sad day, you want to scold our God,
Why go right ahead and scold Him.  He'll just smile and nod."

-Cat's Cradle


  1. Thanks for linking to this page, Brandt. That's a nice portrait of the master! I liked your artwork. Will keep visiting.

    On another note, have you read China Mieville's Perdido Street Station? The description of the Slake-moth makes me want to draw it, but alas, I lack the skill. Lovely, hypnotic description. Check it out if you haven't.

  2. Thanks! I've not heard of that work but I will look into it... sounds right up my alley!

  3. Thanks for the comment on - like you, I'm a big fan of Kurt Vonnegut.

  4. yeah man. Vonnegut made me want to read. before him, it was a chore. he was in another world altogether

  5. He sure was Greg! Glad he turned you on to literature... he would be proud.

  6. I just loved this portrait. Would love to see it in a huge format

  7. Thanks Admiring Anon, I need to get on some large format printing but I do have prints of this guy in my online store!

  8. Thanks for him. I'm a french vonnegutsy reader, trying to put on the whole works of Kilgore Trout in a french fictive collection. Love your pictures !


    1. Sorry for the broken link. See it there : Trout


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