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Monthly Archives: March 2016

House of Illustration: Does it matter? (Comix Creatrix Exhibition)

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Let me start off by asking a question. Does it matter?

Does it matter about a designer’s external factors like Gender, Ethnicity or cultural background?

To me it does not. To others, it still does unfortunately. I’m a man of balance. Equality. So something like an “all female comic gallery” does irritate me quite a bit.

WAIT! before you click elsewhere, hear me out.

Let’s talk about Exhibition I went to. The House of Illustration Comix Exhibition.

At first, I was unaware that this was a gallery specifically highlighting the work of female illustrators only. And to be honest, I would have much preferred it that way.

Before I go on, lets cover the fact. Female illustrators are not as well represented as male illustrators in the comic book industry. That’s a given. However, this is not a excuse to pull up the “Discrimination Card” in hopes of getting female illustrators more attention to their work.day1-2

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for female comic book artists, however, I believe that illustration speaks for itself and highlighting the work to be done by a woman, doesn’t do the work any favors. The same rules apply if the work was done by a man. Illustration has no gender, no age, no race, no religion. It is only the people that create the illustrations who possesses these things.

Illustration is the projections of one’s thoughts, and imagination. Not who they are.

To be honest, after someone rubbed that fact in my face, I couldn’t look at any of the work in the same way, not because the work is done by a “woman”. It’s because the designer is being categorized and not the work.

As far as I know, illustration doesn’t have a vagina or big voluptuous tits. It also doesn’t have a penis. Illustration is ideas, and the ideas should be categorized, not the people who create them.

With the works on display itself, I was really interested in one particular illustrator. Kate Brown.

One of her standalone comics titled “Fish + Chocolate” was on display, so I decided to pick it up and give it a read. And I tell you, I did not put that book down until I was finished reading through. The concept was placing a narrative on some of the more terrifying scenarios middle-aged women can potentially find themselves in. Including; the loss of a mother’s child and the many layers of pain caused by the process of pregnancy. In short, reading Fish + Chocolate, made me glad I’m a man. On top of this, it shed some light on some of the stuff that women and mothers go through.

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The clean illustrations of figures combined with the exageratted, creppy graphic effects, really helped to shape the intensity of these situations. Going from slightly disturbing, to downright horrific within a turn of a page. Now I know why a mother doesn’t want to lose their child in the centre of a busy market. I strongly recommend it, unless you get cringes when you see blood.

With Fish + Chocolate, there’s a lot more the just period Blood in there. Period.kateb.bookfront_72dpi.web__0

After looking at some more of Brown’s illustration on the Web, I plan to keep a close eye on what she does. So don’t be surprised if you see some more K.Brown posts up on here.

 

And the woman behind the work, Kate Brown!20160424_150903.png

As for the exhibition itself, Creatix Comix, i know its ment to be a “Female Only” exibition but still. Categorise the work. Not the illustrator.

 

Bibliography

Brown,K. (2010), “Danse-macabre”, http://danse-macabre.nu (Accessed March 20)

Kate Brown’s Book “Fish+Chocolate highlights the fears that young to middle-age mother’s face. These problems include miscarriage and losing a child in busy areas. The website showcases Brown’s portfolio from the year 2010 onwards.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Exhibition Rant: Celebrating 150 years of Alice – Is this it?

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First off, let’s start with the facts. Alice was first published in 1865 by author Lewis Carol and illustrated by John Tennniel which entails the surrealistic adventures of a young girl that gets thrown into a fantasy world consisting of anthropomorphic creatures. There have been many adaptations of Alice since. Most notably being the child-friendly, Disney adaptation that I am more personally familiar with. Being inspired by a boat trip with 2 young girls, Tenniel used this as a visual point to start the bizarre adventures.

For celebrating 50 years of the success of the franchise, it wasn’t really best represented by being placed in the middle of the British library, in a tight space with security guards breathing down you neck. I don’t think that this should be titled as an exhibition at all. In fact, I may be exaggerating but the only element of this showcase that was appealing was the little content shown as well as differing adaptation sections of Alice and the perceptions of her adventures during different time.

There is not much to go on when visiting this showcase. Not much, if anything at all to take away. With an exhibition being as small as 50 years of Alice illustrations, it doesn’t seem like 50 years of work were on display. Just a few covers, some 3D objects and an interactive game stimulator for the kids.

Disappointment is not enough of an emotion to describe 50 years of Alice. Especially considering that there are many more adaptations of Alice which could be used for this showcase from different forms of media. Take for example the New Alice film series featuring Johnny Depp as the mad hatter, or the Bob Kane interpretation of the mad hatter in the batman series. Or what about the Alice madness: video game series which was based off of the asylum culture or LSD. Surely, if you want to celebrate years of a movement, you should show all the forms right?

In addition, the space in which the content was place was not considered. The small exhibition just feels dumped in the middle of the library. Not much though gone into the arrangement unfortunately.

It is quite strange that I can talk about a showcase with this degree of negativity, but the pros outweighed the cons. This feels more like a rant then a review but I believe it is impossible to review something that has no content, and Alice celebrating 50 years is exactly that.

 

Bibliography

British Library (2016), “Alice in Wonderland: Celebrating 150 years”, http://www.bl.uk/events/alice-in-wonderland-exhibition (Accessed March 20).

150 years worth of different “Alice in Wonderland” interpretations in both visualisation and technique. John Tennniel’s Illustrations in 1865, to modern adaptations, this exhibition examines the ideas about each illustrators cm thought behind their approach to Alice, aswell as how each versionight influenced their readers at the time.

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

London Super Comic Con: quick review (20/02/2016)

Firstly, all the images I took with a low-Battery life Phone!

 

Quite a small event, some would say. However, considering that this was my first time going to this type of event, I didn’t see that being a problem.

I had no idea about this event until a colleague of mine told me all about it. Eva Popovolic informed me about and I had some time to spare!

So why not?

There was one feature that caught my attention during the exhibition (not to say the exhibition was bad. It was amazing!) being the Comic-Based newspapers and news articles that I found on a particular stall. Articles like Batman Foiling an Arkham escape plan to wanted posters of Fictional characters are created on A3 Gloss paper and presented as front covers of fictional newspapers like the Daily Planet. A very iinteresting concept that I feel hasn’t been explored enough I this mainstream form of media.

It’s a surprise that this idea isn’t explored enough. Or at the very least, brought this idea to some form of life. A task which I plan to pursue in the future.

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Posted by on March 20, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

CTS SESSION: VIII (26/02/16)

Stereotypes. The term is used to distinguish cultural and social perspectives and categorise them in conjunction with cliché values. On the surface, we all know or have experience of this, so I plan to analyse this topic from a visual angle rather than a general one.

Their have been numorous examples in the history of design that have influences of stereotyping to enhance its own work while demoralising a cultural group. The typical examples being from the 40’s with the animated cartoon TV show”Scrub me mama! with a boogie beat” .

However,  I’m not here to put down the notion of visual categorisation, or the work of Alex Lovy himself.

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Many people believe that the use of stereotyping to enhance media is distributing. Those same people on the over hand, have no problem watching an episode Family Guy or south park.

If used in the right way, stereotyping any format, weather it be about ethnicity, class, gender or culture can really enhance communication in work rathar then penalise it. This might take a while for people to accept this concept in visual media and design, however people have already began to embrace this idea in a popular form of media already, being the genre of comedy.

The Comedy genre has used the technique of indicating the flaws of stereotyping and turned the negatives of stereotyping on its head. This medium is Arguably, the most effective form of embracing stereotypes rather being aware of them.

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A great embodiment of this idea is actor Mat Lucas, who is plays the fictional character vicky pollard in the Comedy sketch show, little Britain. Pollard is the exaggerated represention of the working class, white British Londoner (or in other words,chav). The characterisation of Pollard was for viewers to laugh lightly at the clearly exaggerated steryotype. However, the character portrayal only targeted one cultural stereotype.

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Viewers did not take this lightly:

Little Britain has been a vehicle for two rich kids to make themselves into multimillionaires by mocking the weakest people Ineed Britain.” (Hari, 2005)

Because the portrayal of Pollard was only based on one steryotype, it became difficult for some viewers to adjust to the humorous tone due to the lack of other stereotypes to balance out the offensive approach.

If a technique was used that is simular to family guy where all cultures and values were equally stereotyped, then the medium as a whole would seem more Inviting due to the balance of offensive humor.

I believe that visual art and design is going the wrong way about representing steryotypes. Like the Comedy genre, we can use it to enhance our message rather then just show it. I’m not saying that stereotypes should be generalised,  but I am suggesting that we move away from using visual illustration to only raise awareness for stereotyping. Especially when it can be used for so much more.

And for those of you who are a bit uncomfortable with embracing steryotypes, I will leave you with a quote from Tyrion Lannister from the book “Game of Thrones” created by Gorge,R.Martin:

”Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you” pg.54 George,R.Martin A Game Of Thrones (first published in 1996).

 

 

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2016 in Uncategorized