Call him Ahab

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Matt Kish’s Moby Dick is “Moby Dick.”

In your typical blog-a-day fashion, the modest librarian has given himself a truly ambitious task: draw an original artwork from a page of the Herman Melville classic every day.

The project is made even more ambitious by the fact that his version of the novel is, at 522 pages, nearly twice as long as most editions. Quickly approaching the halfway mark though, he is committed, even if it drives him mad, like a captain with whom he’s become quite familiar.

“What in the hell have I gotten myself into?” asked Kish, who began his quest as a way to weave his passion for art and narrative on Aug. 6; his goal is to finish his drawings in March, 2011.

“It’s this maddening quest. Just page after page after page. The further I get into the project, the more I identify with Ahab — it’s becoming an obsession.”

Jamie Hook can identity with that. As the curator behind the lecture series Open City Dialogue, he invited Kish to share his work at Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg, which Kish will do on April 19.

“The subtext of the lecture series is the nature of an obsessive compulsive and an obsessive compulsive way of going about doing things,” said Hook, who heard about Kish through another “Moby Dick” obsessive, Justin Quinn.

Kish’s varied drawings, a mix between colored pencil, crayon, collage and pen and ink, are vibrant interpretations of the classic — his favorite book, which should come as no surprise — ranging from the abstract (such as the rainbow-sun-moon-bloody heart collision on page 206) to the charmingly straight forward (the battle scene on page 109).

Though primarily a personal project (Kish insists he is a “nobody”), each day he’s been posting his work online, and word has quickly spread. It’s keeping him busy.

“There are so many parallels between my life and the book now,” said Kish. “I’m hoping I’m still sane by the time I finish.”

At the very least, here’s hoping that he fares better than Ahab.

Matt Kish’s “Moby Dick Illustrated” at Pete’s Candy Store [709 Lorimer St. between Richardson and Frost streets in Williamsburg, (718) 302-3770], April 19, 7:30 pm.

Updated 5:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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