Guernsey Literary Festival

Guernsey logoWell, in just under three weeks, we’re off to Guernsey for two pre- literary festival events. Never been to the Channel Islands before, so we’re looking forward to it very much. Bryan will no doubt be twitchy about leaving his drawing board for more than a few hours, mind. We’re going there for an event on Saturday 12th September called A Life in Graphic Novels at the Guille-Allès Library. They’ve also invited us to the opening of an exhibition in the library later that day on The Art of The Graphic Novel: Adapted & Inspired. In fact, they moved the opening event from the Friday to Saturday,  so that we could attend, which was lovely of them.The exhibition includes some artwork from Bryan’s Alice in Alice in SunderlandSunderland (inspired, of course, by Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland), as well as some of Mark Stafford’s pages from The Man Who Laughs (written by David Hine and inspired by Victor Hugo’s L’Homme qui rit).

The Guernsey Literary Festival organisers were no doubt inspired to put on a graphic-novel exhibition by the Hugo connection. Hugo wrote L‘Homme qui rit during his long exile in Guernsey.

So, stealing a quiz question that opens coverage of the exhibition in the Guernsey Press: what’s the link between Guernsey and Batman, eh?

Alice in Cartoonland

Alice in Cartoonland logoLondon’s Cartoon Museum has a new exhibition – Alice in Cartoonland – showcasing a host of diverse Alice-related material. Bryan and I were down there for the opening last Tuesday. There’s some fascinating stuff on display, spanning about 150 years. Well worth a visit. It’s on until 1st November 2015.
Alice talk
There was an event at the museum the following evening – Alice from Wonderland to Sunderland – that involved a brace of Brians, as Bryan Talbot was in conversation with the president of the Lewis Carroll Society, Brian Sibley.
Alice talk 1
If you weren’t there, you missed a treat. After the dinner that followed, Anita O’Brien, director-curator of the museum, presented Brian with an appropriately themed birthday cake.
Pizza Express
cake
Next morning we took a ferry down the Thames as far as Canary Wharf, where the Docklands Museum is located.
on the ferry
on the ferry 1
Bryan, as ever, was collecting photographic reference. Oh look, Inspector Le Brock’s office!
LeBrock's office 1
There’s an exhibition on that I was keen to see called Soldiers and Suffragettes: The Photography of Christina Broom. After an excellent lunch in a restaurant close by, we went into the museum.
Henry's cafe bar
Broom was apparently Britain’s first female press photographer. She started working professionally in 1904, in the early days of the postcard boom. It was her documentation of women’s suffrage rallies and demonstrations that interested me the most; some of the photographs were familiar to me but there are many others that it would have been very useful to have while working on Sally Heathcote Suffragette.
suffragette procession
Home-Makers Demand Votes
MindWhereYouPutYourHookCanary Wharf is a strange place, reminding me of Singapore, all new, shiny and clean and full of finance types. The museum there is great, though; the permanent exhibitions of Docklands and Thames history are well worth a look. And, stevedores, don’t you forget: Mind where you put your hook!

This is Sailortown:
Sailortown 1
Sailortown 2
Sailortown 4
On our way back we stopped for further reference photos. We came upon this rather striking steampunk sculpture called The Navigators located in Hayes Galleria.
TheNavigators in HayesGalleria
TheNavigators in HayesGalleria 1
in the frameBryan’s starting to gear himself up for the fifth and final Grandville book, now that our latest collaboration is completed. He finished the final page of artwork just before we left for London and since we returned home we’ve been finalising the additional material, endpapers etc. I’m bursting to talk about this Arts Council-funded project and will reveal all at the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. And after that, of course, on this website!
Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge 1
carnation
lottery_png_black1

Keel Square, Sunderland

IMG_1746IMG_1740The laying of the flags for the 1st phase of the new Sunderland city square is almost finished. Bryan and I went over to investigate today.

Based on Bryan’s design, the ‘Keel Line’ runs the length of it, listing the ships built on the Wear with accompanying illustrations about Sunderland history. It has a rope border motif that crosses every fifteen flags, creating areas that contain the illustrations. And it’s in granite! Here’s an illustration of Washington Old Hall and George Washington’s family crest, the origin of the stars and stripes, facing one of keelmen hauling coal up the Wear:

IMG_1741

And here’s the first iron bridge over the River Wear and Sunderland hero Jack Crawford nailing Admiral Duncan’s colours to the mast during the Battle of Camperdown, 1797:
IMG_1752
If you’ve read Alice in Sunderland, you’ll already be familiar with him, and with many of the other subjects illustrated. The square has fountains too:
IMG_1755
There are currently hoardings on the site with explanatory text and previews of the illustrations:
IMG_1756
IMG_1760
IMG_1758

Helen Barnrat on Tumblr: a tribute to The Tale of One Bad Rat

Badrat awakesA student in Ontario has just created a Tumblr page about Helen Barnrat. That’s the character from Bryan’s Tale of One Bad Rat who features in the Beatrix Potter pastiche at the end. The page is available to view here. Laura Stortz, the Canadian student, says she was ‘deeply moved’ by Bad Rat and ‘decided to choose and review the graphic novel as a part of my course’.

IBadRat atHillTopt’s now twenty years since the book first came out, so it’s wonderful that it still retains its appeal and people continue to discover it. A new generation of people, indeed. Crikey!

It’s my favourite graphic novel of all time (at least, it was until Alice in Sunderland came along – now I’m conflicted). Of course, being partly set in the Lake District, it featured prominently in Bryan’s Brainstorm! exhibition in Kendal that formed part of the inaugural Lakes International Comic Art Festival last year. Remember this poster?

ExhibitionPoster

 

And here are some gratuitous shots of my February front garden. An abundance of snowdrops and hellebore:

snowdrops

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Brainstorm! The Art of Bryan Talbot

exhibition1ExhibitionPosterThe Brainstorm! exhibition at the Wildman Gallery in Kendal is open until 10th November 2013. It’s one of the best curated exhibitions I’ve seen. Go along if you can. Meanwhile, here’s a photographic tour of the exhibition.

If you can make it to the gallery, you will also be able to have a sneak preview of a Bryan Talbot documentary by Digital Story Engine. The exclusive video presentation, which includes an introduction by legendary science-fiction author Michael Moorcock, offers fans their first glimpse of the extensive celebration of Bryan’s work to be released in 2014!

exhibition01

exhibition2
exhibition3
exhibition4
exhibition6
exhibition7
exhibition8
exhibition9
exhibition12
exhibition13
exhibition14
exhibition11

exhibitionKateexhibition22
exhibition23
exhibition25exhibition26exhibition20exhibition18exhibition17exhibition24
Curated by Sharon Tait. Photographs by Paul Atherton, Dianne Barry and Kate Charlesworth.

Reviews:
Helen Perkins at Cumbria Live.
Viv Walker at Kendal College.