Artwork by Dalek
Essay by Ryan McGinness
Art / Space Monkeys
8 x 8 inches
35 four-color illustrations and 21 four-color photographs
Born in Alabama in 1968, James Marshall was a highly imaginative and introspective child blessed with a pronounced sense of confusion. Unable to read, he quickly took to television, absorbing endless hours of cartoons and science fiction programming, and refusing to play with other children in the neighborhood. By age five, Marshall was a TV addict unhappy with the prospect of attending kindergarten. Afraid of interacting with other children, the name Dalek—borrowed from his favorite British science fiction program, Dr. Who—became a shield behind which to hide.
It’s hard to say how Dalek got to where he is today. He really doesn’t like to talk about it. So what’s left? What are Space Monkeys? Where are they from? Are they born alive, or are they incubated in egg-like vessels? Why do they smirk at us as like they know something we don’t? Why do they always march to the left? Is there a mother ship calling? Are their hearts situated on the left side of their bodies like ours? We can only guess.
Even when they are suffering from what would be moments of human weakness—like a hole in the head or a recently amputated limb—they continue to smile and stare, assuring their control of the moment. They stare at us with one large orb of an eye, unintimidated and steadfast in their mission. The eye of the Space Monkey can threaten like a cocked and steadied gun, it can insult you without warning, or invite you into a happy, carefree world. In Sonic Order of Happiness, Dalek’s second monograph, we are once again whisked far, far away, to a place where Space Monkeys reign.