Review by Ian Keogh
It’s very difficult to work past the crudity of Amy Lockhart’s illustration in Ditch Life, but if you can you’ll realise Lockhart has a lot to say about the quality of life in the early 21st century. Her satirical extrapolation ranges from acceptance of women suffering domestic violence to internet trolls. That the one we see is an actual troll, working on a game of ‘Females as Furniture’, gaining strength from eating their own shit, indicates the absurdist nature of the entire venture.
Green skinned Barb and grey skinned Mitch call a ditch their home, hence the title, but they have ambitions for something better, like the new shoe boxes up the hill, a literal step up from their pizza box in the ditch. Lockhart’s approach is scattershot, briefly looking at a topic like the vacuous desire of celebrity status or dubious medical certification before she’s moved on to how a lack or parental love breeds an uncaring society and how so many aggressive people consider it acceptable to refashion themselves as a victim. It’s funny in places, but not many, with Barb and her supporting cast little other than mouthpieces for what Lockhart considers to be in need of change, much of which boils down to humanity worshipping, or at least constantly distracted by, false gods.
However valid that message may be, it’s undermined not only by the basic, flat art, but also by the ranting method of transmission, meaning many who might otherwise take in Lockhart’s all too valid thoughts are going to be dissuaded by the method of transmission.