Dame Darcy‘s latest art project, a soft cover over-sized book published this month by Feral House, “Hi-Jax and Hi-Jinx: Life’s a Pitch – and Then You Live Forever,” feels like the friend you always wanted to have: creative, bold, and ambitious–like the cool girl who walks down the halls of high school, when she bothers to show up, and throws a smile your way even though you’re not popular. Or, the mermaid who suddenly appears when you’re swimming in some random body of water, dreaming with eyes closed that such a creature exists and wishing she would appear when you open your eyes.
With a swish of her shimmering tail and her artistic pen, she appears in this playful daredevil of a book.
Filled with Darcy’s line drawings, short stories, memoir writing, and vegan recipes, “Hi-Jax and Hi-Jinx: Life’s a Pitch – and Then You Live Forever” creates a narrative much the way the mind works, making sense of events and sensory experience through language and art. Teacakes, unicorns, Darcy herself as a mermaid on a tarot deck, her beloved rock star crush, Adam Ant, cityscapes, nightmares, and fantasies–all are just a few of the themes in her art.
I love the tiara-wearing skeleton holding a critter! The gentle horses! The stripe-socked girls who leap through comic panels, escaping and discovering! Dame Darcy includes photographs and lists, too, which heighten the sense of intimacy, and documentation. Survival and strategy emerge as tenets; one chapter is called “A Mermaid’s Guide To Surviving the Patriarchy.”
A very disturbing story in “Hi-Jax and Hi-Jinx: Life’s a Pitch – and Then You Live Forever” about her time working at a slaughterhouse, still haunts me, as does her sensitive drawing about it.
The cabaret-performing artist who makes films, music, graphic novels, tarot cards, and comics such as “Meat Cake,” also made a doll with Kurt Cobain’s hair. According to the press release, Dame Darcy lives life as a self-identified mermaid. Accolades from NPR, The New York Times, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and comedian, Margaret Cho, make me believe that they might be subversive mermaids and mermen, too.