‘Chazan! Unfiltered’ is a must-read for passionate artists


Never Enough Books RI

Lenny Schwartz’s “Chazan! Unfiltered” is a graphic novel about Dr. Joseph A. Chazan and his contributions to medicine and art in Rhode Island.

“Chazan! Unfiltered” is a local biographical graphic novel written by Lenny Schwartz and illustrated by Erminio Pinque. The novel depicts the life of local medical practitioner, Dr. Joseph A. Chazan. The book reads in a free-flowing form and shifts between the past and the future. This creative decision, however, does not make it difficult to read.

The book’s progression was beautiful and it was interesting to see how passionate Chazan was for medicine and where art came into play in his life. Seeing the build up of these two passions helped reinforce his values and ideals when, later on in the novel, there is further explanation about how Chazan became intertwined with art and why he viewed his work as important.

Due to Chazan’s personal philosophy, “life cycles through us,” the story’s structure adds to Chazan’s character and brings more personality to the biography. Those reading will clearly gain a sense of his character.

Cycling through Chazan’s life was deeply enriching. Dr. Chazan lived a life full of perseverance, yet he never gave up when he had a goal in mind. The novel showcased a few pop culture references, like “Jurassic Park” and the “Vitruvian Man.” This was greatly counterbalanced by incorporating real-life events, such as the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing that took place in 1963 in Alabama and the destruction of the old Jamestown Bridge in 2006.

The illustrations within the biography were notable and interesting to look at. The art style displayed in the novel changed when Chazan cycled through different parts of his life, with an artistic progression that reflected his experiences. It was incredibly powerful to see the transition of pages after his wife Helene’s passing, when the vibrant colors turned into an absence of color on the page.

“Chazan! Unfiltered” is a lovely and greatly recommended read, especially to those who love graphic novels as there is much to be appreciated in how the illustrations are stylized differently from page to page. It would have been interesting to see how Chazan’s parents being immigrants impacted him or perhaps how it did not impact him since the text mentioned he was a first-generation American. Seeing as how the main focus was on Chazan’s career and love for art, it is understandable why that may not have been included.

Those with a passion or appreciation for art would also greatly enjoy this book. As Chazan expresses how important art is as an escape for him, the novel is full of many great pieces and speaks very briefly of the artists he has met throughout his life that have left a lasting impression on him. If you are interested in reading “Chazan! Unfiltered,” please visit: neverenoughbooksri.com/home.