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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.