Sleuth – process diary #3: October

4 Oct

So I’ve got a month to go till the exhibition at Inflight Art gallery alongside the well known Neil Haddon. The process so far has been very interesting, I’m still not completely sure how it will look or how the comics will be arranged (I have some thoughts about certain sequences which make up the spine of the comic).

The many comics that I’ve drawn … I count 17 in total … appear to have developed a life of their own … stories are demanding to be written. Which is odd, I set out to let the space between the stories write themselves and I feel like I’ve become a bit of a puppet for the story – it’s telling me what to write, to fill in that space, which wasn’t the plan at all!! I tried to hold back, but it’s out of control.

Some of my favourite characters so far have surprised me – there’s this one who I just labelled the Academic, here he is with Ivan Brackic.

He reads quotes from out of a pile of books – mostly paragraphs that detail the fragility of the modern Australia placed delicately upon this natural world which we’ve held ourselves subtly separate from over time, we seem no closer to becoming one with it. It is an archetypal monster that dwells in the back of our minds.

Then there’s lots of characters in this large panorama that I’ve made

This was based on some old sketches I made whilst sitting on a bench in King’s Cross of people walking by in 2011. I drew lots of people in this version of it, the paper is about four metres long …

I have yet to write the script for this piece, it will be superimposed upon the image. I have some ideas but I’ve purposely tried to keep elements of improvisation in this highly constructed form called comics. I keep a theme, but usually I am forcing myself to keep most of my initial gutfeelings about the words – trying to use my intuition to detect the truths within topics. Slightly terrifying, as I have read over some of the other stuff, and there are glitches all over the place that don’t quite run well together, but there are other bits which even surprise me.

I am currently getting the first Sleuth zine #1 printed, folded and stapled this week – it has a few different comics from the exhibition arranged in a slightly multi-layered fashion to echo the method that I am using in the exhibition as best as can be done in the print format. Can’t wait to see it !!

There are some interesting problems with arranging comics in space – although some conventions to do with reading need to be followed, there are less traditions that need to be followed overall – we don’t have to arrange things left to right or top to bottom. I chose to do this unthinkingly initially because I was thinking generally about how people should move through the space and I wanted them to move around in a clockwise fashion, but technically they could start at any point in the room and read any one of the stories at any time … so this really is not necessary. As I moved on with the development I noticed this was irrelevant and intentionally tried out a right to left comic for the roof (a space that defies the movement of the rest of the room) and some vertical comics.

I have also included a comic with a looped section that moves around two walls and interacts with three different horizontal comics which was quite fun and fluid. I have found more and more that the tying together of separate stories seems to create dialogue between the art and the themes. If you keep the themes totally different between the comics but create a definite physical link between the two – the imagination strives to understand the link even more – and finds links. The human mind’s desire to find patterns is a powerful tool.

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