Month: November 2017

Jon McNaught

In this post I reflect on Jon McNaught’s work. A printmaker and illustrator from England, he uses screen-printing and lithography to create miniature images and silent narratives, depicting quiet moments from everyday life in small, often tile like panels. His inspiration is taken from his local surroundings and the British landscapes. Intrigued by Japanese woodblock prints (e.g. Hiroshige) as a student, he became interested in printmaking in order to recreate the displayed atmosphere.

‘Puddle’, Lithographic print (2012)
From ‘Dockwood’. McNaught’s third comic book published by Nobrow Press 2012
Over the sea. Screenprint (2009)

 

His (mostly) silent comics are almost completely void of text and convey an atmosphere that I find very appealing. It is the simplicity he uses in form and colour that resonates with me and that lead me to discover those quiet narratives that I didn’t perceive at first. By combining the visual elements with sound elements specific to the place he adds another sensory layer, which, in addition to the absence of a clear plot makes the reader feel as if he was discovering and experiencing the depicted moment.

His narratives “are less concerned with plot, drama or action than capturing melancholic moods and ephemeral plays of light and shadow, connections and contrasts between the man-made and natural worlds, and the extraordinary in the ordinary.” (Paul Gravett, 2011)

 

I was happy to find a video from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. In this workshop he talks about his background, motivation and process. I have watched it several times already 🙂

Additionally there is an interview with Paul Gravett from 2011.

 

Gravett, Paul (2011) John McNaught: Printing Comics [Online] May 8, 2011. Available from: http://www.paulgravett.com/articles/article/jon_mcnaught [Accessed: 21st Nov 2017]

Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem (2014) [Online] March 26, 2014. Available from: https://archive.bezalel.ac.il/skn/c6/בצלאל/Search#search=05bbe54a2b9efe8ced6dd6db7792bdbe

Hourly Comic Day

After a tutorial with Thom Cuschieri I felt encouraged to look into some directions he had pointed out to me in terms of comics and “daily”.

Called ‘hourly comic day’ this art project was started by John Campbell and takes place every year. The concept is simple: Comic artists and illustrators who want to participate draw a short comic, even just a panel, for every hour they are awake and load the results onto their blog or any social media platform they see fit.

It is a great way to discover new artists and take a look at what they are up to. Without a doubt this is also a great drawing and writing exercise as well as a creative challenge.

For me it was fascinating to see the different angles artists choose to depict moments from their everyday life.

Some interesting examples:

 

Joe Decie

 

 

Sarah McIntyre

 

Dustin Harbin

 

Interview with Comic artist and letterer Dustin Harbin: SAVA, O. (2015) ‘Diary Comics’:

 

Dustin Harbin on the art of autobiographical comics and lettering [Online] Available from: http://herocomplex.latimes.com/comics/diary-comics-dustin-harbin-on-the-art-of-autobiographical-comics-and-lettering/#/0 [Accessed: 24 November 2017]

Decie, J. (2017) What I drew [Online] Available at: http://www.joedecie.com [Accessed: 24 November 2017]

Hickey, A. (2017) Andrea Hickey [Online] Available at: http://www.andreaghickey.com [Accessed: 24 November 2017]

McIntyre, S. (2017) Hourly Comics [Online] Available at: https://www.jabberworks.co.uk/hourly-comic/ [Accessed: 24 November 2017]

 

Comics Alliance (2017) 17 webcomics diaries that let you peek other people’s life. [Online] Available from: http://comicsalliance.com/autobio-diary-comics-webcomics/ [Accessed: 24 November 2017]

“Souvenir”– Martin Parr

From ‘Common Sense’. Munich. GERMANY 1997 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos

The other day I went to a photography exhibition: “Martin Parr. Souvenir – A Photographic Journey”. Though I had seen some of Parr’s photographs a few years back I did not expect it to be so entertaining and yet so thought provoking at the same time.

Though “the motifs he chooses are strange, the colours are garish and the perspectives are unusual” (curator Thomas Weski) they made me think about the respective situation at hand in the photographs because they offered a strong statement of current society. Thus they don’t just look interesting, funny or sometimes even depressing but they become meaningful.

My take-away for my own work: Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary, especially in regard of my chosen keyword ‘daily’. Reflecting on what is at hand in terms of drawing motifs and injecting them with meaning.

 

From ‘Autoportrait’. CUBA 2001 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos und Kunstfoyer

 

From ‘Think of England’. GB 1996 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos und Kunstfoyer

 

From ‘Small World’. ITALY 2005 © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos und Kunstfoyer

 

Generally speaking I love going to photography exhibitions because they are not only a great resource for inspiration but a great practice to analyse composition, structure and underlying aesthetic principles. If a specific picture really draws my attention I try to capture why that is and then later, if for example I work on a cover design I try to translate this knowledge into my own work.

About Martin Parr from the Magnum Photos website:

“Martin Parr is a chronicler of our age. In the face of the constantly growing flood of images released by the media, his photographs offer us the opportunity to see the world from his unique perspective. At first glance, his photographs seem exaggerated or even grotesque. The motifs he chooses are strange, the colours are garish and the perspectives are unusual. Parr’s term for the overwhelming power of published images is ‘propaganda’. He counters this propaganda with his own chosen weapons: criticism, seduction and humour. As a result, his photographs are original and entertaining, accessible and understandable. But at the same time they show us in a penetrating way how we live, how we present ourselves to others, and what we value.” – Thomas Weski, curator.

 

 

Versicherungskammer Kulturstiftung (2017) MARTIN PARR. Souvenir – a photographic journey [Online] Available from: https://www.versicherungskammer-kulturstiftung.de/en/kunstfoyer/martin-parr-souvenir-a-photographic-journey/ [Accessed: 22 November 2017]

Magnum Photos (2017) Souvenir – a photographic journey [Online] Available from: https://www.magnumphotos.com/events/event/souvenir-a-photographic-journey/ [Accessed: 22 November 2017]

Why graphic recording appeals to me

From time to time I catch myself flirting with the idea of giving graphic recording a go. It is fast, intense and it requires little, if any post editing. According to the article The Big picture (Breselor, S. (2015) ‘The Big Picture’. Communication Arts 56. pp. 24-27., also available from www.commarts.com/columns/the-big-picture) my tasks would be to “synthesize a constant stream of information in real time, select and sketch only what is most insightful and relevant, all while in front of an audience.“ As challenging as this might sound there is a liberating angle to it. I am left in complete control over every line I draw on a white board or paper and all discussions with clients and art directors are rendered obsolete. Any artistic ambition is surrendered to a literally bigger picture since graphic facilitation and recording is not about aesthetics but communicative power and purpose. Applied strategically it can “facilitate meetings and conversations or answer questions that are not manifestly pictorial in nature.” (p. 27)

In context of the MA programme I find the article very encouraging. It is a valuable reminder of the power of the visual mind and the ability to create meaning through images.

 

 

Breselor, S. (2015) ‘The Big Picture’. Communication Arts 56. pp. 24-27.

Online:

Communication Arts (2017) The Big Picture [Online] Available from: https://www.commarts.com/columns/the-big-picture [Accessed: 4 November 2017]