Molotov City Blues – Graphic Novel Synopsis




Luigi Monteferrante



Molotov, a metropolis riddled by corruption and crime, where mobsters, bankers, and city officials collude to run the city, clean the streets of the poor, the derelict, the petty criminals, and make themselves rich by manufacturing, distributing, and selling from drugs to body parts, and everything in between.

In the midst of this dark city where the aflluent live well, isolated from the burroughs across the river, two honest cops in a guttersnipe world.

Miles, ace driver, top-notch shooter, is a relic from the Disco Era, the music playing from their patrol car; his partner, Pogo, an unreformed punk.

They patrol the streets where the poor snatch pedigreed dogs from the rich for food, where FUN drugs are sold at concert stadiums to pacify the fans, where protest marches are quickly quelled, where petty criminals are brutally handled or killed by the police, while Banks, Organized Crime, and a new power-hungry Mayor, manage Big Business as a Team, or Consortium, to eradicate any and all opposition or rivals.

A chink: Pogo’s brother, Leonard Pegaso, an ambitious outsider, who owns and manages a transport company.

We ship. Anything. Anywhere. Anytime.

Successful in transporting arms, drugs, vital goods from war zone to war zone, he has now returned to Molotov to expand his business on a local

and national level. He is making waves, growing increasingly ambitious, powerful, so the Consortium makes several attempts on his life after warning Pogo to speak to him, have him cooperate.

But both men are rebels, loners, as is Miles.

Only Leonard is shot, hospitalised, in a coma induced by his niece, Pogo’s daughter Natascha, who has a defense-and-security-related research company in Sweden. Her start-up financed by Uncle Leo, she returns to Molotov to take over his business, keep Leo coma-induced, and further their interests mightily, despite her father’s warnings. Pogo is, in fact, from the same old neighbourhood of the de facto heads of the Consortium: Johnson, Santantonio, Liebovitz.

Pogo and Miles patrol, intervene on crime: the homeless nabbed from the street by Sanitation Dept and sold for body parts, in collusion with the Consortium; students marching for the cancellation of student loans, with police cracking down hard; a teacher made redundant holding up a class;

expensive paintings being copied, replaced, and resold – and here, Pogo’s sometimes-girlfriend, Louise, an artist who runs Lou’s Diner, the cops hang-out, is involved, with Pogo so close to discovering the truth he doesn’t want to know.

There is also a sniper, more than one; some dressed like Pogo, the intention being he will by shot by mistake, or even intentionally, by his own colleagues in a cover-up. And Miles. Big, slow, placid Miles, who reads philosophy, after yet another unjust incident, shoots an arch-criminal, released, unconvicted, by a corrupt jury and judge.

But he, too, folds; throughout, they two cops are reminded they, too, are vulnerable; Miles has a daughter, and two grandchildren; Pogo, his daughter, and brother, Leo, with whom, as several scenes depict, has little reason to be loved by Pogo.

Miles folds, goes along, while Pogo takes beatings, literally and morally, from all sides. Louise he discovers for the art fraud; she has her reasons he seems to accept. Natascha, a power-hungry Young woman he calls a monster, is pushing for the increased militarization of the Police Department, and the Mayor is soon infatuated with her beauty, her brains, her naked ambition. He proposes to her.

Everywhere, the mad dash for money, power, more money; and all Pogo wants to do is play his music, walk the streets, a punk with a badge, and a mission: survival in a guttersnipe run by rats.

Why I went to Art School.

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Why I went to Art School, acrylic on wood, 137 x 87 cm, Luigi Monteferrante

Clearly, attending art school serves a purpose. You learn technique,  history, the lingo, the affrontery, brashness, abuse of being critiqued by peers, and you may not learn how to defend your self, your inner self,  but you learn how to strike back.

No, no. You are not supposed to strike back, counter-attack, volley verbal even physical violence on all assailants, but rather defend your work in a pacific, if impassioned, argumentative, reasonable, even-handed, cordial, gentlemanly civilised fashion.

And beat the shit out of the most ardent critics.

One by one, in the days, weeks, months, even years, as they emerge from the repertoire theatre, the romantic dinner with a fellow intellectual at a bring-your-own-wine trattoria, or schmaltzy diner, or sauntering free of admirers, a glib one or two, after a vernissage, a finissage,  a talk.

You strike flesh, bone, muscle and nerve beneath flesh, bone, muscle, nerve, rage and frustration – oh, the sweet, anarchic, bloodlustful freedom that comes with vengeance!

To talk, discuss, debate, rant and rave, scream and shout, insult, even push and shove – yes, these are fine and good,  acceptable, but violence, ultraviolence?


Well, why not?

Yes, okay. He, too, will write critiques, slag off his peers, laugh at the nonsense on display, scorn at essays describing trash proclaimed titillatingly fresh art of new, up – and – coming, established artists by mediocrities, but also by Professors Emeritus, Distinguished, and their tribe if woolly hangers-on via his own essays, blogs, posts, talks, seminars, conferences, and questions during his peers’ events.

But why rule out the power of physical force?

Why not use the stick when the carrot, one presumably huge and inflatable set floating in the currents of  the Thames, Hudson, and Seine Rivers,  when the carrot proves insufficient?

A club, cane, umbrella, a tome, bottle a well-aimed kick, or slew of bare-knuckled punches, applied like strokes to a brigjt, witty, now darkening, wistful face.

A good-hearted, generous beating as performance art!

A happening which continues when Ignoramus is wheeled into the hospital, tubes sticking from his arms and nostrils, contraptions beeping and blinking, nurses wailing for more blood.

Yes, more blood.

Of course, there’s the Law.

Tell that to Signor Gallerista, says this artist, cutting short, putting on the mask of Caravaggio, tomorrow Chris Marlowe, the day after…

Well, I won’t tell you, will I, in case your sleight of hand has proved harmful, ineffective, or you’ve failed to notice, and now you are looking behind your back in a crowd, an admiring crowd of art school students, peers, artists, journalists, critics, a general public wherein stands, is approaching, a man faintly resembling, can it be..?

End of Part One.

Why go to museums & galleries?

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Down at the Disco at Midnight, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood.

Down at the Disco at Midnight, 106 x 96 cm, acrylic on wood.

I spent the last week in London. I visited several galleries in and around Albermarle, Cork, New/Old Bond Streets and I meandered through and across the following museums: Imperial War Museum, Tate Britain, Tate Modern, National Gallery, and the National Portrait Gallery.

Friday Night & MOnday Morning

Friday Night & Monday Morning, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

I also visited Somerset House to see Blondie, the Advent of Punk, featuring the photography of Chris Stein, and I paid fifteen pounds to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Right from the start of my wanderings, I wondered and debated the question:

Why go to museums?

Every image is available via our smartphones and computers. It is all on the web and is accessible 24/7 without the least inconvenience. No bus, train, taxi to take. No braving the rain, snow, sleet, heat and smog, nor the crowds. And it doesn’t cost 15 pounds.

I went to the aforementioned museums and galleries because I love walking and it gave me a sense of purpose. I saw art that was interesting and art that was drivel, the equivalent of drip painting by anybody who is not Pollock.

Pool Hall, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Pool Hall, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Entre-nous, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Menage a Cinque, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Menage a Cinque, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014

La Nuite des Maudits, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014


Self-portrait, photography, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

Of course, some art had me wondering why my own work was not on exhibit in any number of galleries, and since no answer was forthcoming, I concentrated less on my own work, and tried to understand and enjoy the work I was seeing.

I was not blown away. Kiefer’s work, but not all, was powerful, willingly dreary, German. Grand in scale, they filled the immense walls of the Academy and could not but impress.

And viewers or spectators gazed in silence or, at most, whispered commentary, which leads to my next question:

Why is everyone so quiet? It’s not like going to Church or the Synagogue, or is it?

Maybe anything we might say would sound trite, stupid, pretentious, misplaced, and few of us want to sound uneducated, especially after spending so much money on becoming schooled. (I dropped out of the Classics Programme at Concordia U, Montreal, so I qualify as seriously ignorant, and why, presumably, have no answers, why I appeal to you, reader, for commentary here or at my Facebook page.)

Everything in the museum is so sanctimonious: the guardians, custodians, standing around like altarboys and girls; the distance from the artwork itself that must be respectfully kept, the lighting, and there is even a scent to museums, but it is in our own animal behaviour, comportamento, as we approach and entry into the museum: we gape, we gaze, we hold our breath in anticipation of wonder and imminent revelation, describe sidelong glances to our mates, eyebrows arched, at being impressed, confused, understanding, bewildered.

Hands clasped at our backs,or arms folded, or grappling with the museum guide, the Bible, the alms book of daily prayer, we shuffle along from painting to sculpture to installation to paper works and artists books,in and out of rooms, and onto the next, until we emerge from the museum, purged of our own insignificance, enriched and empowered, members of a sect, a religion, a faith that sets us apart from those who do not go to exhibitions, do not go to  the opera, do not read Literature and History.

You stand apart from the hordes. Entrenched behind books, culture, art,  knowledge, sensibilities or sensitivities, Kultur, you believe you are safe from the boor who will deride the art that has so touched and moved you you cannot sleep.

When the huddled mass of ignorance, sweat and intellectual hogwash and stink laughs out loud to say: it’s bullshit!, you cringe, turn away, sneer, distance yourself as fast as it is discretely possible to do so without being noticed  because you know you don’t have a chance against the horde, or the crazed boor who insists Rothko is a fake.

“Okay, I got the two-tone bleak on bleak the first time, the second time, but a whole career spent painting the same painting is, yes, frankly beyond me, and b-o-r-i-n-g. And reading the  explanatory notes too hilarious. I mean, what are these guys on to write all that bullshit on a white hole of nothingness.”

(Better not mention the  white-on-whites by deKoonig, or the boor will never stop barking  like a hyena.)

To be honest, I wasn’t impressed by Kiefer’s pile of lead sheets, either; I had the same – no – similar pile when I tore out my bathroom last month, but context is vital, critiques and critics, too,  and an alchemical combination of good fortune, time, place, people, confidence, bravado, vision, arrogance, and talents.

Evidently, I lack most, if not all, of the above. And I probably abound in ignorance. I do what I do, paint, in the safety of my own grounds, oblivious to much, and ignored by all, grateful to the Muses and McFate for granting me this space and time to create, bring to fruition the odd mixture of components and elements of which I am composed.

It’s what I know, in short; that, and museums are full of gorgeous women and openings are great places for starting a conversation with smart, bright ladies.

Redhead at National Gallery

Redhead at National Gallery, acrylic on wood, 106 x 96 cm, Luigi Monteferrante, 2014.

P.S. You were dressed as above, with black-framed glasses, at the National Gallery, 11-19 November; me, Mr Miserable, bearded, thunderstruck:

In she walked

tight white shirt

grey skirt to the knees

bare legged

black stiletto heels

and glasses

red hair and a chignon

whitest skin

most perfect complexion

and a Mona Lisa smile

across the floor

in a long bare-legged stride

she walked to gaze

at a Renaissance nude

that she was

in the mirror.

P.S.S. The Abstracts in this post were produced before my trip to London, while the paintings were made on my return just days ago; the former were, however, side trips, excursions from what might be considered my style, ie Figurative Narrations, while the Others herein posted were painted on my return, the first being Down at the Disco at Midnight.

Now the next question is: what are the effects of going to galleries and museums on one’s own work? What is your experience?

Looking forward to your comments and replies.

Where does Art come from?

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Where do paintings come from? Where does art come, the singular piece?

The above painting, Genesis, is not a painting I would have conceived or, once conceived, wanted to paint. Dark, disquieting, open to a variety of intetpretations I might find interesting, intriguing,  right or wrong though they may be.

Compared to the previous most recent work, Genesis would not be the first to hang on my walls. A woman, moribund, on  a table; a woman very near tears. No use describing it; the picture is posted for you to see, judge, dismiss, revile.

In fact, on the back of this painting, is another piece I had started sketching, near completed, a wholly different painting, one that would have been much less exhausting, and aesthetically pleasing, conceptually gratifying, the literal expression of a profoundly felt sentiment, but not one I plan on acting upon for the time being.

But Genesis, too, was a vision, not one that appeared in a dream, but in my waking hours – at that twilight zone of time of 3 am when I first awake, only to resume my journey towards the dawn.

From the initial vision, the picture expanded as I stared at the unprimed board.

Curled fingers, fingers, eyes, heads and legs generated themselves from nothing, or to be honest, the natural tones of pressed unsand-papered wood.

So where does Genesis, or more generally, art come from?

Not being a neuroscientist, nor a psychotherapist, I have no idea, but I do prescribe to the idea of Muses and visitations and divine intervention; that is often exactly how it feels, a curtain pulled aside, a tap on the shoulder, a word whispered, and everything is suddenly clear, not for nothing are they called illuminations, epiphanies, inspiration – to inspire, breathe in – what? The universe, human history, tragedy, comedy, melodrama, all of it, the human very personal condition.

Enthusiasm follows fast on the heels of inspiration, enthusiasm, being one with the gods, hence creation, Genesis.

Of course, there are electro-chemical actions, flux and reactions, a neural primordial soup, more like a swamp, full of life, one that would have remained a swamp breeding pestilence, no doubt, but for a new and external agent, an accidental spark, a freak bolt of lightning, and the given normal state is upset, disturbed, altered, the elements now in motion, reacting, twisting and gyrating, transforming and reshaping itself into a new body, new stuff, an entirely new thing, but not being gods, all we can do is create art.

Art, humankind’s imitation of Divinity, creating art, man’s mimicking the Divine Act.

I have not answered my initial question; maybe you can.

Me, I am just happy my beautiful muses come knocking; a slap to the head, a shout to the ear, a French kiss to the mouth, however they wish to spark life in this primordial mud of bone, gut and blood held together by pale sack, I welcome and take what comes.

Until the time prophesied by my next painting.