In Praise of Pope Joey 2017-05-18T22:34:32+00:00

Praise for
The Lost and Found Season
of the Most Pope Joey and
Kids of Lower Utopia


“The committee voted to award you …
more than you requested
because your work is brilliant …
Note, you are the first former grant recipient to receive a second grant!”

-The Xeric Foundation

“Toc Fetch shows us our world in a new light… a mystical, secret,
resonating, hypnotically beautiful new light. It’s a gift.”

– Jim Woodring, creator of the profound comic series, Frank

I was stunned by the book.
It’s really exciting to see the freedom of narrative association
that can happen in something like this. The book does not try to tell a story
so much as ask questions and create an actual experience
of engagement for the reader.

– Hal Hartley, writer and director of Henry Fool and Fay Grim

“Don’t try to make great art in your twenties. It’s hopeless.
You’re too neurotic and unconscious… except for Toc…but he’s a freak.”

(’79) – Robert Bly, American poet and author of the bestseller, Iron John

“Toc Fetch is the only comic book creator whose quality of ink line
and multilayered depths of word-craft genuinely intimidated me
when I was producing Cerebus

…I couldn’t determine if what I was looking at was literally a divine or
infernal manifestation on a scale many orders of magnitude above what
anyone else has accomplished in the comic-book field to date.
I have found no reason to change that assessment in the intervening years.”

– Dave Sim, A father of Free-range comics and creator of Cerebus

Nowhere in Toc’s work is his essential vision more clearly and fully presented than in
Of Softdoor Scout Finnagain and Daffodil Dash Eleven.
That vision is his own very personal and profound distillation from the great myths,
mythic thinkers and artists of humankind.
Prominent among them are such incredibly varied sources as
Joseph Campbell, James Joyce, Agnes Martin, Kurt Vonnegut, Peter Shaffer, Advaita and Zen.
As you will see, Toc can tell a story and — WOW — can he draw.

– Peter Markman professor of comparative literature
at the University of California at Long Beach, and
co-author (with Roberta Markman) of
The Flayed God and Masks of the Spirit

“…for many years I have had the opportunity to collaborate with Toc Fetch.
His ability to apply his acute eye to life, as art, has been an inspiration to me…”

– Anna Halprin, The mother of Postmodern Dance, director of Tamalpa Institute

“Toc Fetch is an amazing draftsman.
His comics are haunting, beautiful and intensely weird.”

– Scott McCloud writer/artist of Understanding Comics

“The James Joyce of comics.”

-‘S’ of Secret Identity Comics

“…Seriously. …a freakish amount of talent.”

– Brett Warnock of Top Shelf Productions

“It’s such a relief to see you keep doing what you do;
the feeling of freedom and recognition I get when I return to …
your work can be found almost nowhere else in comics.
I feel like you are making the future possible.
And more importantly, when I read your comics I realize that I am not alone…”

– Nathan Strait of After Comics

“Toc Fetch is a fine artist, and his books contain far and away the most
beautiful, meticulous and effective photo-realistic art I’ve ever seen in comics.
I don’t begin to understand them- they’re either complete gibberish
or just too mystical for an unevolved churl like me to grasp –
but by God, they’re lovely.”

-Chris Ekman, critic for Ninth Art

“Toc lives charting the inroads to good-madness, drawing out it’s
secrets with the loving slyness of an honest man. While standing
wide-eyed to the onslaught of his Very-Self, his voice is DADA at it’s
best; yes, obsession, and good-bye.
And the relationship between his images and writings is the exact distance
that only a soul wet with poetry can cross. And for you, I recommend it highly.
It is a work that lives, and life, after all, is why.”

-‘Doc’Taylor Stubblefield, Wolfli Institute, Lausane, Switzerland

“Toc is an Accident for which … I apologize.”

-Pope Joey First Citizen of Lower Utopia
and Chairmen of the Puer Aeternus Party

“Toc’s work stands alone in the art world,
and his beautiful poetic dialogues are haunting and full of the echos of wisdom.
Toc goes inside himself and fearlessly pulls out his stories in allegorical drawing
and poetry. In his work you’ll recall dreams long forgotten;
you will understand in your own memory the complex visions he renders,
stroke by stroke, into startlingly clear moments of light and dark –
with each moment evoking an entire sphere of time and space surrounding it.
This is his gift.”

-Roger Ricco, of Ricco/Maresca Gallery in New York, NY

“After ingesting the weird brew served up at the Bettcher Gallery (Miami), one is left
wondering whether Toc Fetch and Tricia Cline are savant fugitives from Bellvue’s Peter Pan
ward or just plain old-fangled eccentrics living off the fat of imagination in their Woodstock Xanadu.

Exiles in Lower Utopia narrates the story of River Scout Finnagain, PapaWolf, Pope Joey, Holybean,
and a schizy cast of others that unfolds a tale of an inward pilgrimage or what the artists refer to as
“the heroic journey to self.”

“…the self-described artistic unit of Fetch and Cline confesses an obsession
with “articulating consciousness, in images, as the subtext of the real.”

Unfettered by contemporary notions of wholeness, their characters serve as metaphors and allegories for the fragmented interior life of the subconscious as reflected in the language of dreams, feelings, and inspiration.”

“These drawings and others in the show are masterfully executed and exude an ethereal quality that transports the viewer into the wacky machinations of what Fetch calls his Grand Circus Psyche.”

“…Cline creates exquisitely detailed porcelain sculptures depicting relationships between humans and animals
or humans personified as animals. Her work tills the murky subconscious loam in which Fetch squishes his toes,
and symbiotically serves to enhance the illusion that one might well encounter the sacred denizens of Lower Utopia
in these artists’ mysterious neck of the woods.”

Miami New Times
Exiles in Never-Never Land – Tales of Displacement When There’s No Place Like Home
Published: Thursday, December 8, 2005
By Carlos Suarez De Jesus

“Spotlight: Toc Fetch And Tricia Cline’s
Drawings and Sculptures At Obsolete –
Two medias, one story.
Tricia Cline’s sculptures provide a raw look at the integration of humans and animals
while Toc Fetch uses pencil and paper to narrate a moment in the story.
Both artists are masters of their craft, making the tale and characters incredibly illustrated in
both mediums. It is this same acute sensitivity and awareness that Toc and Tricia both explore in graphite
and porcelain. Beautiful glimpses into their truth accompanied by narratives that embody this search.”

Huffington Post – Arts Section
April 5 2011