KN/PC Presents: Inside Look at Cody Hoyt

Continuing our series of interviews with the artists behind the first series of the Kitsune Noir Poster Club I’d like to present a fellow named Cody Hoyt. Cody grew up in Florida, studied printmaking at the Massachusetts College of Art, and now lives in Los Angeles. I don’t remember how I came across Cody’s work but about a year and a half ago I asked him to create a desktop wallpaper and he obliged. Since then I’ve been absolutely in love with his work. It still boggles my mind that Cody isn’t a super famous artist, I tell him this all the time, and his Infinite Jest poster further proves this.

To give a little background, Infinite Jest is a book by the recently deceased David Foster Wallace that was written in 1996. If you haven’t heard of it you should have, because Time magazine put the book in it’s list of best English-language novels from 1923 to the present. Wikipedia sums up the book nicely as being about “tennis, substance addiction and recovery programs, depression, child abuse, family relationships, advertising and popular entertainment, film theory, and Quebec separatism.” So you see, it’s a chaotic book about a lot of stuff, and Cody nailed it on the head.

Why did you choose Infinite Jest?
I made a short list of potential candidates. I had originally chosen A Scanner Darkly by Phillip K. Dick, which was a tragic mind-fuck of a book. Infinite Jest was my second choice, but should have been my first, because its absolutely perfect. Its also a tragic mind-fuck, but more so, and hasn’t been made into a movie starring Keanu Reeves yet. Its an epic, dark and touching jackpot of cinematic imagery.

Why did you choose the images in the poster to represent the novel?
The process started with rereading as much of the 1,088 (or whatever) page book as I could to reacquaint myself. I made a few lists and used a lot of tiny post-its and bookmarks. Once I had a rich supply of ideas and themes, I went bananas and drew everything. I scanned all of it and assembled it in Adobe Photoshop. The final image is a result of constantly rotating in my chair between two desks- one for drawing and one for scanning.

The central skull-face is the character James Incandenza, a patriarchal figure who commits suicide by modifying a microwave oven to cook his own head. I took the moment of head-microwaving to create an environment that could reflect how the text is more or less a huge shit-storm of information and ideas. Intense, grandiose, and challenging but hopefully beautiful and exciting too.

According to Wallace, he structured the book as a “lopsided Sierpinski gasket.” I would love to see someone translate the book into an organized visual aid, like some kind of monstrous flow chart or diagram, or something. I opted to do the opposite and focused on the emotional components to get something visceral and raw.

The pieces of text combine to read “I think of John (No Relation) Wayne, standing watch in a mask as Donald Gately and I dig up my father’s head.” One of my favorite lines in the novel. Also a kind of lynch-pin for the entire narrative scope of the novel. (Hidden in plain sight, right in the beginning of the book, before you have any context for it to mean anything.)

Do you remember the first time you read the book?
In 2003 or ’04, a friend of mine who was more or less a literary genius told me he was “reading the most ridiculous and mind-numbingly awesome book” he’d ever read. Good enough for me, so I borrowed it from the library. I was living in Boston at the time, where a large portion of the book takes place, and that played a crucial role in how I experienced reading it.

What’s your favorite part of the book?
The meta part that doesn’t actually exist in the book. Also, trying to figure out what happened. Solving mysteries. Example: Was his toothbrush dosed with a highly potent psychedelic drug, or did his own gastro-intestinal system organically produce it from a mold he consumed as a toddler? Who knows?

Cody you’re a genius, please make more art for me all the time.
To purchase Cody’s print click here.


December 18, 2009