DOC NYC: Our Review of ‘Mr. Fish’

DOC NYC: Our Review of ‘Mr. Fish’

Unorthodox might be a tame word to describe artist Mr. Fish and his style. He’s the main subject of the documentary Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End.

We could have had a slideshow movie here, as customary of art docs. But the work truly speaks for itself in its provocative nature.

Fish uses his work to twist the knife inside the Western world’s gaping woulds. As if he’s saying that the pain that the oppressive social structures around us isn’t over.

There’s one certain piece of his where there’s a bar code in someone’s skin to prove his point.

The film’s director, Pablo Bryant, also shows the human behind the cartoons, his beginnings and his transitions.

The person commenting on the world’s issues, and crudely, is another skinny white boy. He started distributing obscenities through paper planes to his mother’s chargin.

And in adulthood he shows his work through speeches about how important irreverent images like his are. He’s an anti-capitalist artist in a cruel capitalist word.

I’d describe him as overgrown but the man wrestles with real adulthood even after having a career and family. Bryant’s sympathy towards him is understandable, as we deal with these same issues.

Bryant spends a lot of time watching Fish talk, either through interviews or speeches. And he catches a smile now and then.

It’s a coincidence, a happy one, of a sympathetic director and a mostly benevolent subject. Bryant lends the same optimism towards the other subjects in a documentary with no visible villains.

The bad guy, instead, is a system that lets rebellious people like Fish down. I’m saying that while I’m watching a man in democratic society.

Subversive artworks are a dime a dozen. But it was nice to know one of the people behind some of those images.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you’re working.