During the Naphthalene inception phase, participating artists were invited to reflect upon the ways they treat their body of work, as well as on the questions of the "politics of choice", paying attention to specific reasons why do certain works remain in the shadows for a long time without being exhibited.
Alexander Chepelev has decided to showcase the cartoons created at the age of 12 in now-occupied city of Alchevsk, despite his primary artistic media is watercolor. This gesture is symptomatic in the sense that it attacks the established stereotype of the artist-as-self-censor. Indeed, not all art put aside by its maker is bad. In fact, Chepelev admits he always dreamed to showcase his comic books. He maintains they contain “a whole different universe that intersected with school life and sometimes superseded it”. From the very childhood, the future artist watched cartoon series about monsters (“Ghostbusters” and “Real Monsters!”), but at that time the coverage of ICTV channel in Alchevsk was so terrible, that Alexander had to videotape the episodes (those pirate rips he then watched over and over again).
Leafing through Chepelev’s “Monsters”, one can not help but noticing the saturation with violence and graphic content, whereas “Real Monsters” do not feature blood and murders. The way teenage Chepelev treated the cartoon referents (images of his favorite characters), mixing them with atrocities regularly observed at school, is extremely instructive. Appropriation, rebranding - so many “grown-up” words are there to describe something that used to be, perhaps, a mere child’s imagination.