Cover image for Why art? / Eleanor Davis.
Why art? / Eleanor Davis.
Fourth edition.
Publication Information:
Seattle, WA : Fantagraphics Books, 2018.

Physical Description:
200 unnumbered pages : chiefly illustrations ; 17 cm
General Note:
"First Fantastagraphics Books edition: February 2018."
A treatise on what makes art art, told in graphic novel form.


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
DAV Graphic Novel Adult Graphic Novels

On Order



What is "Art"? It's widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive, in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might hope to achieve. A work of art unto itself, Davis leavens her exploration with a sense of humor and a thirst for challenging preconceptions of art worth of Magritte, instantly drawing the reader in as a willing accomplice in her quest.

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Eisner Award-winner Davis (You & a Bike & a Road) seeks to answer eternal questions about the purpose of creativity in a metaphysical jaunt through the artistic process. In the closest thing this wide-ranging exploration has to a story, a group of artists, having had their gallery and artwork destroyed by a terrible storm, find refuge in creation. Davis sketches their journey with wry humor and her characteristic empathy. Opaque black pages symbolize art people "try hard not to look at" lest despair overwhelm them. Curly-edged doodles of fluff represent the "sweet artwork of no taste" that an audience consumes for mindless comfort. Artists themselves are depicted as nigh-magical, if often foolish: they make "talismans" for times of crisis, incorporate literal shark attacks into their performance pieces, and grow holes in their backs to house their children. Art, to Davis, is an obsession, a pathway, a curse, and a savior. But above all, her figures-big-bodied, yet rendered in the elegantly sparse line that has become her trademark-stumble ever forward, their journey the answer to the title's question: Why art? Davis answers, precisely and with passion: why ever not? (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.