Alternate Histories by Matthew Buccholz
My high school history class wouldn’t have been nearly so dull had Pittsburgh artist Matthew Buchholz been teaching it. After all, few but Buchholz can recall the tale of Rosie, the East River sea monster who claimed the life of New York architect Rohn Roebling in the making of the Brooklyn Bridge; or the grossly misunderstood story of the Boston Tea Party, when citizens, exhausted from daily harassment by a great, scaly dragon known as “Beast,” determined that the bitterness of the tea leaves would drive the great creature from their harbors. Fortunately, these lost legends and more are on display in Buccholz’ Etsy shop, Alternate Histories, where he peddles old-timey engravings of historical sites and scenes “improved” by the rampaging monsters, evil serpents and grizzly ghouls plaguing his imagination.
Brilliantly, Buccholz doesn’t limit his creativity to the confines of real historical events. For example, one of the artist’s more hilarious prints, “The 1932 Zombie Killing Games in Los Angeles,” was fashioned from nothing more than an old map and a few collage cut-outs. While the print itself would make an amusing addition to my living room wall, Buccholz’s punchlines often come from the elaborately-crafted descriptions. Case in point: “After the success of the 1932 Olympics, the city was eager to make use of their newly built stadiums and housing, and to reap more tourist and investment dollars. At the same time, a virulent strain of Living Undead Infections (or “Zombies”) affected the entire Valley area, from Santa Monica to Whittier.” According to Buchholz, the mayor proposed the Zombie Killing Games as a media-friendly solution.
Perhaps a new print is in order this week, maybe depicting a Great Sea Creature – Irene, let’s call her – yawning in the middle of the Atlantic, inadvertently creating tremendous winds and an even bigger media clusterfuck as she exhaled and lazily sank back to the depths.