But are they cartoons?

Every so often I post about some form of visual art (often presented as a webcomic) whose categorization is unclear. Today’s puzzle: the books of Sloane Tanen (with photographer Stefan Hagen), for instance “Bitter with Baggage Seeks Same: The Life and Times of Some Chickens” (2003):


The Publishers Weekly blurb for this book labels Tanen as a “visual artist”, while Tanen herself (in an interview on the Mommy Tracked site), asked to describe her job, replied:

Hmmm. Hard to do. I used to be a painter. Now I am sort of a 3-D cartoonist — with chickens.

(Hat tip to Aric Olnes.)

From Publishers Weekly:

Wee, bright yellow, plastic chicks complain about shopping, calories and boyfriends in this sassy volume by visual artist Tanen. The collection features full-page color photographs in which the author’s tiny, beady-eyed chicks confront a hilarious selection of modern (and sometimes fantastical) situations. In one picture, for example, a chick expresses frustration over a crowded exercise class (“Maude was peeved. Her 3:30 yoga class was full again. Didn’t anybody work in this town?”). In another, a princess chick stares at the frog sitting on her bed and decides to terminate their relationship (“Anastasia was through making out with Ian. He was never going to change.”) The chicks are darling, and the dioramas in which Tanen places them are perfect. This satirical take on the trials and tribulations of the modern, urbane female is sure to please the very sort it gently teases.

… [Tanen] received her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and holds graduate degrees in literary theory from NYU and in art history from Columbia University. She lives with her husband in New York City.

Sweetly whimsical plastic chicks, posed, photographed, and captioned. Let’s count such creations as cartoons.

Tanen’s books include:

for adults: Bitter / Baggage (2003), Going for the Bronze: Still Bitter, More Baggage (2005), Hatched! The Big Push from Pregnancy to Motherhood (2007)

for teens: Appetite for Detention (2008)

for young children, in the preschool range, featuring the chick Coco: Where Is Coco Going? (2004), Coco All Year Round (2006), Coco Counts: A Little Chick’s First Book of Numbers (2007), C is for Coco: A Little Chick’s First Book of Letters (2007)


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