Oliver East is another artist I had been thinking about for a while. He's a UK based walker and drawer and he publishes books about his travels.
Like Einspruch's work, Easts is directly linked to his experience - he takes weird walks, then translates them into pages of drawings. They're kind of comics but kind of not.
His "Trains Are...Mint" series is great, the his recent larger works, "Proper Go Well High" and "Berlin and That" are wonderful too. His work is a cross between language and experience, sometimes we're walking with him and sometimes we're deciphering some arcane code about something. In the crowded world of comics, this work is fresh, original, and beautifully eccentric.
For the show we have some original pages - they're big! - and copies of a bunch of books for sale. I wish we could have him come here and do a book about walking around Charlottesville.
From the beginning I wanted Franklin Einspruch's online comics work to be in the show. This work, produced over the last few years, has a clarity and focus I greatly admire. Einspruch hones in on experience and phenomena in his seemingly simple watercolor and ink drawings - simple like a petal on a pond, something lovely covering depths.
His I-70 travelogue series (the first one here) recalls the great travel narratives of old Japanese Poetry masters. They sprinkled their prose with poems as Einspruch uses words and pictures with the same aim - to capture and transmit elements of experience and life.
Einspruch publishes these online and having a work that uses this way to show work was important to me - this is another lo-fi way to send art out into the world. His comics use elaborate Python scripting and CSS - again, simple only on the surface. In the show we'll have a collection of the lovely watercolor and ink originals along with, hopefully, Einspruch himself at the opening (and Supergirl too!).
I've deliberately left this until last, but he is known more as a painter and well-regarded art writer than as a comics-poet. His writing at the now defunct artblog.net and his new Journal is educational, challenging and clear. I've learned a great deal about a great deal from reading and interacting with Franklin and I greatly look forward to showing his work and meeting him.
Andre, my Lisboan hero, sent a bunch of really nice ink drawings and collages. Big bold and beautiful.
I put tape tabs on the backs for hanging. He also sent a bunch of great books he's published - I'll have a complete checklist next week.
BTW, Andre is the greatest packager ever. Getting his box open was a real puzzle - see that weird handle? It turns out to be a little drawer inside the box! And inside everything was bagged and taped. I bet he even kisses them goodbye.
Getting pages ready last night. We have images from books so along with original work we'll have tons and tons of pages from their books. That's some Opuntia Books stuff in the top two pictures and some Oliver East printouts in the bottom picture.
I mentioned a new mystery artist joining the show recently... Actually there's a lot of artists not mentioned yet who are from the three publishers participating. I've been working with Opuntia Books' files and there's a lot of great stuff in there with artists from all over. The same with Café Royal. Little Paper Planes sent a box full of prints from a long list of artists too. I'll do a big run down of ALL the names once we get closer to the opening.
We do have a new artist though...
A couple weeks ago I asked Geof Huth (also see here) to be in the show. Geof is a visual poet who publishes his work both in small weird books and, quite literally, all over he place. For the show we'll have some great text-based pages from books he's done along with documentary images of work he's done in snow, steam, pollen and dust.
Like the other "solo" artists in the show, Franklin Einspruch and Oliver East, Geof 's work has a very strong connection to his life and the places he goes. Years ago when I met him he showed me a book he keeps adding to - a dictionary of family expressions collected from his kids, his parents, everyone, all organized into a real working dictionary. Reading it is seeing his family in a strange and unique cross-section and I still remember it as a great and powerful expression of his love for his family shown though his artistic interests.
I thought of him as a good example of another facet of this lo-fi publishing movement, one that comes from the poetry side into the visual. Geof's work has as one of it's ancestors Apollinaire, so of course I'm all over it.
Next, back to how all this happened, with comics that aren't comics but are comics....
I just sent this for The Bridge's website. We're making a postcard that looks similar to this as well. And yes, if you're paying attention you can see a sixth artist on there - we added a secret mystery guest artist that I'll announce soon.
First I got in touch with Craig at Cafe Royal and he reminded me of Little Paper Planes and Kelly Lynn Jones. LPP is another artist-run online store with books, prints, t-shirts and other strange items. I've sold books and prints with Kelly before and thought having some of LPPs work in the show would be great.
The problem was the AMOUNT of stuff they have available. So much of it is great and from a wide variety of artists from all over. I ended up asking her about the series of prints that LPP published themselves - most things they carry are made by the artists and just sold through LPP but they started up a series of books and prints that LPP commissions and sells. So I got to go shopping at LPPs print area.
These aren't books like most of the other work in the show, but I wanted to show some other ways of sending one's work out into the world and digital prints are good too*. I did a lot of printmaking in school and though I really value the handmade litho or etching, I think it's foolish to ignore the ease and cheapness of this way of working - like zines being an alternative to the precious handmade book.
"We are not your enemies
We wish to offer you vast and stange domains'
where mystery in flower offers itself to whoever wishes to pick it
there are new fires there and colors never seen"
- Guillaume Apollinaire
I guess that could be the motto of the whole dang show...
Next - Comics that aren't comics but really are comics.
PS Kelly herself won't have any work in the show - she's busy getting ready for a solo show that opens when ours does. I'm trying to get some work from her for the book I'm making - her work is really good.
*There's another way of getting work out - that's the next artist I thought of.