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February Cover Artist: CHema Skandal!
Poetry magazine’s February cover is by legendary artist CHema Skandal! While I have known his work from around the way, I never knew it by name. Then during a recent visit to the Sulzer Regional Library in Chicago’s Lincoln Square, I chatted with their head clerk, famed photographer and curator Oscar Arriola, who keyed me in (as he often does). The next thing I knew we had a most exquisite “Reading Monster” to pair with a particularly apt back cover quote from Patricia Smith: “Beginning with A, / she recites (angry, away, awful) the alphabet of a world gone red.”
I wrote to Skandal! about his work and he replied that the “Reading Monster had this book about a crab-spider who turned into a human being for no apparent reason. He woke up terrified! Fortuitously, it was just a nightmare.” He wrote, “My artwork is inspired by fantastic monstrosity as well as raw reality. Characters in my work are often wearing masks. There is another appearance underneath but they use that veil to show themselves as they truly are.” His caption for the illustration? “Lo que fuese con tal de no convertirme en un asqueroso humano…” (Anything to avoid turning into a filthy human…)